Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Episode 01

In a surprise to absolutely no one, Aniplex yet again threw their translation through a blender. Don’t touch it. Please.

This release is an original translation, with checks made against it by our TLC, using closed captions from Japanese television. The typesetting is also of particular note as we were exhaustive in our coverage of the signage in the episode.

We’ve signed up additional Typesetters in light of this so we hope to close the release window down slightly for the following episodes, but I would hope that we’d be excused somewhat after you see the work put into this one.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Episode 01: [Torrent][Magnet]

If you encounter any playback issues with a GJM release, please make sure you are using the most recent version of CCCP, or mpv.
Please note that there may be minor rendering differences between CCCP and mpv.

Good Job! Media


      • Though not a member of GJM, I’m a professional translator, so I’m probably qualified to answer. The answer is that’s how translation works: not everything *can* be fully preserved in the first place, and even less *should* be, when adapting a fictional script from one culture to a completely different one. That’s not even the goal; the goal is, above all, a naturally flowing text that would sound as if it was spoken by actual native users of the target language (and general culture) while preserving as much of the original message as possible, including tone, implied meaning, hopefully the humor, and other aspects that matter. Leaving things untranslated without a good reason is, to put it bluntly, failing at translation—even if they’re well-known expressions. Note that this also includes other parts of the language structure, e.g. word order—something amateur translators love to mangle at every opportunity because they don’t feel confident enough about deviating from the original syntax. This overly zealous desire to preserve as much of the original form as possible often does a disservice to the writing by making it less expressive and elegant than it could have been, hurting the impression for the part of the audience with well-developed taste. I won’t take sides in the argument whether a translator is within their rights to “enhance” the style of the original text in any way (there are many possible factors that could affect such a decision), but at the very least they should take care not to make it worse.

        The importance of Japanese honorifics and name order in particular is very overstated. Unless it is a period piece being translated where the form of the language itself is a prominent subject and a focal point of the narrative, both can be (and usually are, in the world of professional translation) adequately adapted into a more suitable form for the target language. You probably never realized how commonplace such adaptation was because most of the time it’s designed to be completely transparent to you. Let me give you an example. Russians and many other Slavic peoples almost never address another adult by surname or title with a honorific, e.g. “Mr. Putin”/”Mr. President”, both of which would be the way to go in the English-speaking world, but instead use first name and patronymic in the vast majority of cases when they want to respectfully address someone, i.e. “Vladimir Vladimirovich” (without the honorific). There are very few exceptions to this, and other than the usual ones (friends, family, etc.) they aren’t common. But since patronymics are somewhat of a foreign concept in most of the English-speaking countries and there isn’t any meaning to using them other than to express respect, you will only see “Mr. Putin” and the like being used in English media—even when relaying a Russian native’s speech. And unsurprisingly, nobody complains about that! Russians also don’t address people by their profession, e.g. they’d never address their teacher as “Teacher” (again, they’d use the first name and patronymic combo), so when translating from English into Russian you have to pick whatever feels most appropriate for the character and circumstances. Some degree of compromise is always involved.

        • Thanks, much appreciated.
          I also feel that appropriate subtitles should be intelligible by everyone who has not spent years and years watching anime, and has no idea what honorifics are. Although it may not be a problem for most people, you can’t just assume every person interested in anime is a young educated person who knows something about every trendy asian culture/language.
          The concept of *having to* learn japanese culture and expressions before watching something is incredibly stupid, even if to people like us talking here they might sound like the most natural thing, that can be learned by googling a couple minutes.

          • Yes, exactly. The problem with dropping honorifics is that not everyone does it right—not even remotely. E.g. some Commie subs (those edited my herkz, I suppose?) exhibit a very lazy way of doing so, at times making characters sound inappropriate or awkward when addressing others because nobody bothered finding a fitting substitute for the dropped honorifics. In most cases you want to discard the original form completely and go with what would be the most appropriate way for the character to address that person if the conversation happened in common English. E.g. you never want the character to address their superior by their first name or their sister as “Big Sis” because that’s fucking retarded and no-one in their right mind would do that.

            But localization in general is a very broad spectrum, and the precise position a given translation occupies on it is typically determined by the editor. There’s always something going to be lost in translation, and there’s always a degree of pre-existing knowledge of the aspects of the host culture expected from the target audience. If you oversimplify or overlocalize, you can hurt the original text just as badly as when being overly conservative. So e.g. you almost never want to translate sashimi as “raw fish fillet”—you generally want to leave it as “sashimi” because that term is known enough to pass as general knowledge. But what about, say, okonomiyaki? Very few people know what it is, so it would normally warrant a translation, but at the same time it doesn’t have a close enough counterpart in the cuisines familiar to native English speakers and is quite hard to adequately describe in one or two words, so you basically have no choice but to leave it as is and add a footnote. It’s a pretty fine line with food items in particular, and a bit of a nightmare for an editor for find that line if they intend to do their job diligently (there isn’t much pressure in fansubs, but in professional translation this is *really* not something you want to approach carelessly).

    • Since honorifics are the only thing anyone really wants, maybe make an “honorifics only” release. Imagine how much faster releases would be too! You wouldn’t need to mess with all that silly English, not if you just focus on what the audience truly desires: romanized honorifics, larger-than-life, fancily typeset and animated.

  1. Fantastic job, guys. With this, you’ve saved 3 of the 4 shows I wanted to watch this season. Thanks a lot.

  2. There’s an error on two of the signs at 4:54-4:55. That’s 3054-3078 and 3079-3106 (inclusive). You have:
    She talks about how
    are rumors about you two there

    -when the “there” should be at the end of the first line:
    She talks about how there
    are rumors about you two

    • This was reported by one of the staff members post-release also, so thanks for the confirmation.

      It’s being corrected for the batch/BD scripts. Sorry about that.

      When there’s this much TS, sometimes things slip through. My fault as QC for not being thorough enough.

  3. Not watching this but saw on reddit you guys went with “Isn’t that just adorable?” for “お可愛いこと”. I think this reads somewhat too long for one of the most iconic and frequently repeated lines in the series (http://xn--tck9c8a3a.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/00092.png). IMO “How cute…” fits the length and captures the nuance better as well as happens to be what English readers are used to. I read the manga in Japanese btw so not a disgruntled “it’s different than what I’m used to” reply.

    Thanks for the release though, I am sure it is way better than whatever Aniplex has done.

    • We’re aware. This is a conscious decision on our behalf. We make our choices based on what we expect from our releases, not standards set elsewhere by translators and editors we know nothing about.

      There are people releasing edits after we release for those EOPs who are bothered by it, but we consider it an inferior translation/edit so we’ll stand by our option.

      That said, thanks for being reasonable, much unlike a previous commenter who was “kindly letting us know about our error”.

      • I think the reason so many people point this out is because later in the series the character says the same line in French and English and she literally says in English “How cute”. So at some point there will be a moment where the character says in Engrish “how cute” and the subs will read “that’s adorable”

        Personally do not care either way, but yeah, that’s why people are so autistic over this.

        • >So at some point there will be a moment where the character says in Engrish “how cute” and the subs will read “that’s adorable”

          But that is fine. That the author himself would tend towards “how cute” as a translation is possibly due to the fact that that is the most simple and shortest English equivalent which can relatively easily be rendered in kana, should the manga feauture those as a reading aid. This is not true of GJM’s choice or other more eloquent expressions. Further, depending on the author’s grasp on English, it is fair to assume that this simplest of translations was all he was capable of and had his proficiency been greater, perhaps he too would have chosen a wording that better expressed the character’s defining traits. Kaguya is a well-mannered young lady of social standing after all. “How cute” however reeks of sassy brat.

          Also, having a (more or less) mangled or simplified foreign language in the Japanese audio and a more appropriate wording in the subs gets only more normal when that foreign language is not English. E.g. those German parts in some of the Aldnoah Zero songs are awkward as heck if not complete gibberish to any native speaker who can’t understand where which words were intended but mistranslated and where Japanese grammar was imposed onto German words. Actually it happens with English words all of the time too, that grammatically Japanese sentences are built with English vocabulary.

      • Again, sorry about that. I recently discovered this fansub team and really enjoyed the subs for this anime and The Promised Neverland.

        I was half asleep and didn’t really think about proof reading my comment, but I understand that it did have a rude tone. I’ll make sure my reply doesn’t sound as autistic next time.

        Cheers for the Ep again.

        • It’s cool.

          You noticing it already makes you better than a lot of people who just blanket criticize the work we and other fansub groups do, so thanks for owning it. Really.

          We know the change in Kaguya isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, definitely, so that aside, glad you enjoy the work we’ve been doing. Contrary to some beliefs, we work our asses off. :P

          • Yeah, I realized its really hard to get these episodes out as fast as possible, and I respect your team for doing this. Glad we could clear up this understanding.

  4. This was so good! Kaguya’s VA is killing it. Super happy I waited for your release, definitely worth it.

  5. Don’t bother with the people complaining about you not using “how cute” just because they’ve been so familiar with the manga fanlation. You’re doing a great job, FAR WAY BETTER than that ass official sub. I can’t thank you enough especially with how insane the typesetting within a single episode. You guys are cut-, er, adorable!

      • Oh, good. Our line works in French too, then.

        Just because a language dictionary doesn’t include every single synonym for every translation entry, doesn’t make it wrong.

        Just means they don’t include a thesaurus.

        • Fwiw “comme c’est mignon” is much closer to “how cute” than “isn’t that just adorable”

          • Good thing translation is a spectrum.

            If everything was translated to nothing but its closest match in media translation, you’d be reading the most boring manga/LNs/VNs and watching the most boring anime.

          • You’re 100% right, but don’t expect Anime-fansubbers to actually understand that ‘stylising’ their translation with a ‘thesaurus’ is NOT what their audience actually WANTS…

            How Cute.

          • Get over yourself.

            Go watch HorribleSubs if you need a two-word stock translation that badly. All the other TL errors and missing typesetting will be waiting there for you too.

  6. Insane typesetting and timing, thanks so much! I didn’t even bother looking at the ‘official’ subs. Looking forward to the rest of the episodes!

  7. Thank you very much for your work on this series! I feared that I had to watch the offiicial subs, which are quite horrific. I gladly will wait a few days for your subs with the quality you produce.

    And just that you guys know: There are enough people liking your translation choices, I personally prefer you choosing “isn’t that just adorable” to “How cute”, as I think it fits better with the personality of Kaguya and the fear of president of how condescending Kaguya will react if he “looses”.

  8. Thanks for your release!

    I have a stupid question since you always write it in your releaes to use CCCP or mpv, but I’m a newbie when it comes to using fansubs, so I don’t know how to make CCCP work. I’m using VLC player and it always worked with your other releases, but with Kaguya it doesn’t seem to work, so I downloaded CCCP, but I don’t know how to use it. If you could kindly instruct me how to make it work, I’d be really happy since I also want to be able to enjoy your great subs.

    • With CCCP, it should be as simple as running the installer, then using the MPC-HC player it provides to run the codec, utilities, and subtitle render CCCP needs.

      Look for “MPC-HC” on your PC, as that’s the player it uses.

  9. Oh my god. This is amazing.

    You guys are the shining light of the dying english fansub world. This is top-tier work which would have been lauded in the golden age of fansubs back when a group even wrote a JS ASS interpreter to do full-quality streaming of K-On on their website.

    The way you translated the backgrounds at 6:05 was nuts. Utterly spectacular.

  10. Hello! I happened to find the following minor error:

    “All the nutrition goes straight to your chest instead to your brain!” [22:46]

    It should be something like “…instead of your brain!”

    Hope this helped out. =D

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