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mai mai 44

All the Anime’s kickstarter for the English-language release of「マイマイ新子と千年の魔法」(Maimai Shinko to sen-nen no mahō/Mai Mai Miracle, Japan, 2009) has hit its first stretch goal by crossing the US$60,000 barrier. This means that not just subtitles, but a dub – specifically a US dub – will be made for the release.

Interestingly, the dub seems to have divided some of the supporters, with some of those that prefer subtitles expressing unhappiness that their money being used for a dub.

The debate between subs vs. dubs is not new. I’ll confess I’m firmly on the subtitling-side, despite the fact that I (partially) grew up in a dubbing country (often people’s preference comes down to whether dubbing or subbing is predominant in their culture). Despite this, I can’t say I understand this discussion: firstly, I know that there advantages and disadvantages to both dubs and subs, and I don’t believe one is actually truly worse (or better) than the other, but just that we all have preferences.

Secondly, subtitles will be available for those who want them. As for their money going towards a dub – well, this is crowdfunding. Which means group-pooling our money to make something amazing happen. Which means this dub isn’t about you, but about widening the appeal of the film as much as possible and spreading it to more people, including some (like younger children or visually-impaired individuals) for whom a dub will make  the difference between watching Mai Mai Shinko or not.

Some people are also less than pleased about the fact that the dub will be US-made despite the fact that All the Anime is a British company. I’m sure All the Anime have good reasons for this (from what I hear it’s cheaper and will also help with the distribution for the film in North America, where there is, numerically speaking, a much greater potential audience), plus – the dub is still in English! Sure, if I could pick & choose, I would opt for Scottish voices because that’s my accent of preference (with Irish/Kiwi & Aussie all following closely after), but this dub is still going to be in a language which we can understand.

What can I say? I’m finding these debates a bit silly, because, for me, supporting a Kickstarter project isn’t about the rewards. It’s about making something happen that I really want to happen, regardless of whether I get any or no rewards. It means investing in something that I believe in, whether I get anything in return for it or not. I’m not going to a shop to buy a product made-to-personal-preferences after all. In other words, if you don’t believe in what a Kickstarter project is about, it’s simple: don’t support it then. (Note: I don’t have a problem with people who prefer subs – I’m one of them myself, remember –, I just don’t understand those who complain about their money going towards the dubbing.)

Anyhoo, All the Anime also announced two options for the next stretch goal, set at US$75,000: an audio commentary from Jonathan Clements…clements

OR a translated remake of the original Mai Mai Shinko pamphlet:

mai mai pamphlet

Again, supporters seem a bit divided about this choice, some complaining that they don’t know who Clements is (hint: Google is your friend), others that they wouldn’t look at a pamphlet more than once.

Personally, I think either option is fine and I see anything else we might be getting on top of the original rewards as an extra special bonus – you know, like the rainbow sprinkles on top of ice-cream (or something like that).

Bottomline: I’m thrilled this film is getting an English-language release and that’s all matters to me. (And I am saying this as someone who has already seen the film and doesn’t need a release.)

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P.S. Regular readers: I promise I’ll be blogging about something non-anime related soon!