FUNimation Distances Itself from Writers Shoehorning Politics into English Dub for Prison School

prison school 10-02-15-1

We’re very much-so against censorship here at Niche Gamer, however, we’re also not ok with localization teams adding random things not present in the source material.

Last week, the latest episode of the Prison School anime was aired on FUNimation, the western publisher who licensed the anime.

Prison School takes place in the Hachimitsu Academy, one of the most stringent all-girls academies in Tokyo, who just now began allowing boys to attend. It’s quite hilarious, raunchy, and definitely not safe for work.

Within the latest episode, the following line is said:

“Woah, cut the breaks Arthur Fonzarelli. You got a stick up your ass, or are you one of those dumbass GamerGate creepshows?”

Now compare this line to the original Japanese, translated directly into English:

“You keep talking to me like we’re on equal terms, but I’m a 2nd year. You have to address a superior more politely. Shut… up…”

To be clear, the line was thought up by FUNimation writer Tyson Rinehart, who sarcastically remarked on the negative reaction the line was getting on social media:

“If you think rape threats against women in gaming are acceptable, I’m glad my script pissed you off. #PrisonSchool #itwasjustonelineyounerds”

So what is the reasoning behind this line being randomly shoehorned into Prison School? Rinehart said the following when responding to an inquiring fan:

“I threw it in because I thought it was appropriate to the scene and fit the flaps. I even found it funny, but not my best.”

You can view a recording of the particular line put into the anime, below:

He continued to rail off on fans of the show who complained, despite the majority of the fans pointing towards the direct translation, saying it makes no sense to add in such random lines. While the #GamerGate bit is completely random, the Arthur Fonzarelli joke is lame, and extremely outdated, in my opinion.

To be clear, there’s a fine line between “localization” and “translation,” which many people seem to forget. Regardless, adding a completely unrelated line to the script is disrespectful to the creators of the show.

We promptly contacted FUNimation for a response both on social media and privately, and their only response was an email pointing to this blog post, in which the publisher distances themselves from the writers and actors involved with the English dub:

Last week’s Broadcast Dub episode of Prison School generated significant feedback from anime fans. While the company is not able to answer each person individually, FUNimation does read and review all fan feedback, without exception.  

In creating English dubs over the past 20+ years, FUNimation has always modified each Japanese script to appeal to Western audiences. This ensures that North American audiences can enjoy a high-quality viewing experience regardless of their familiarity with Japanese culture.  

Neither the dialogue in our shows nor the personal statements of our actors or writers reflects the views or opinions of FUNimation. Official statements from FUNimation are only released via company owned channels (i.e., website and social media profiles) or newswire.  

FUNimation will continue to pay close attention to fan feedback on Prison School and will take it into consideration in the future. FUNimation is committed to providing the highest quality entertainment possible.

It’s essentially a cop-out response, with FUNimation taking no responsibility for their consistently awful localizations for various anime shows.

So what does this mean? Nothing really – save the fact that enough of you guys raised a valid point: localization should be as close to the source material as possible, while making intelligent choices to adapt things for westerners.

You’re better off just watching the original Japanese with English subtitles, because it seems like writers looking to make a name for themselves won’t be held responsible by publishers.

Despite this, the entire thing is still not as black and white as many would like it to be – it’s a very subjective thing. What are your thoughts on the entire debacle? Sound off in the comments below!

Brandon Orselli

About

Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer. Also an IT guy.