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Ai Yori Aoshi: English Dub

By Shamus
on Thursday Apr 6, 2006
Filed under:


One of the odd things about this series is the way Kaoru and Aoi act in the English dub. Both of them talk in a very formal manner. Their speaking is slow and even, and they never use contractions. (Their speach is a bit like that of the character Data in Star Trek.) At first I thought this was due to the difficulty of matching the dub to the original mouth movements. However, their delivery seems stiff even when the character speaking isn’t onscreen.

Now I have a new theory: I think they speak this way in an attempt to re-create the very formal speaking style of the characters. I’m betting that due to their traditionalist upbringing, Kaoru and Aoi have strong accents that I could hear if I had Japanese ears.

Another interesting note is that unlike most dubs, they preserved a great many of the honorifics. Even in English Kaoru and Aoi call each other Kaoru-sama and Aoi-chan. However, they call Miyabi “Miss Miyabi”, a translation of Miyabi-san. In turn, Miyabi calls them “Sir Kaoru” and “Lady Aoi” instead of Kaoru-dono and Aoi-sama. I can’t tell why some honorifics were translated and some were preserved. Sempai (sp?) is translated for certain combinations of characters and not for others. At least it’s consistant throughout, though.

For Tina’s character, they simulated the effect of her American accent by having her speak in a southern (Dixie) accent for the dub. The accent is a bit heavy-handed, and the way it’s played it makes her sound a bit unsophisticated, which might be how an American accent would sound to people in upper-class Japan.

Tina also leaves off honorifics entirely. I checked the subtitles and listened as well as I could to the Japanese voices, and I’m pretty sure she does indeed leave off honorifics, at least sometimes. This is odd. I didn’t know you could do that. I thought one of the challenges facing foreigners was that you couldn’t refer to someone without knowing what honorific you needed. Perhaps this is only a problem if you don’t know their name.

Comments (6)

  1. Scott says:

    At least for me when I was over there as an exchange student, I found all the formal stuff I learned in school pretty useless. None of my friends ever seemed to use formal speech or perhaps like that girl I was just oblivious. Anyway once I finally got in the habit of speaking informally I would have trouble switching back when I was talking to a professor or such. But I think I still remembered my sensei, san, chan and kun’s though if that’s what you meant by honorific.

  2. Shamus says:

    Wow. After reading your comment I googled around to see how I was misunderstanding the term “honorifics”. I found this, which turned on a lot of lights for me.

    Yes, I was assuming that honorifics were just the sensei, san, chan, etc. I didn’t realize how huge and complex the subject was.

  3. J Greely says:

    I was a bit annoyed with the honorifics in Ai Yori Aoshi, because it seemed that they gave the Big Secret away to anyone who had two brain cells to rub together. I discussed it on my blog here. I also made screenshots, which was more fun…


  4. Wombat says:

    Tina doesn’t have an English accent in the Japanese version, she has an Osaka accent. It’s normally translated in English dubs as a southern accent because people from Osaka are considered.. ah.. a bit slow.

    Tina’s English is awful, something that is made fun of in the manga.

  5. MikeSSJ says:

    Not using any honorifics when talking to someone usually means that you’re very close with that person. That, or you’re just plain rude >_>

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