Urusei Yatsura: Remember My Subs

On July 30, 2022, I sat among the enthusiastic crowd on the Otakon Discotek Media panel.The boutique distributor announcements excited people from every corner of the room.However, when the panel continued, Otakon staff began to hastily make gestures in time they remained.On the verge of throwing out of the room, Mike Toole decided that their last surprise would speak for themselves.A dark blue background appeared on the screen, quickly illuminated by the appearance of a neon star.



The fan responds to the announcement of Urusei Yatsura Discotek on Otakon 2022

The panel hall exploded with applause, the anime retro enthusiasts immediately realized that this means that the television series Urusei Yatsura finally returned to the North American home video.I was excited myself, but right after this excitement, tension appeared.Urusei Yatsura has 195 episodes, which translates into the potential mountain of work for Discotek Media and Mediaocd teams, which produces most of their publishers.The sigh of the relief quickly overwhelmed me when Brady Barel hurriedly explained that Robert J. Woodhead from Animeigo made some technical spells to help them, enabling the Discotek team to use the English English subtitles with their well -valued editions of the series.

On the days after the announcement of the issue, editor of the Mediaocd Logan Rebholz subtitles,

He exchanged some tweets with Woodhead

On a few quirks he was dealing with while working on the series.I greatly aroused my interest, soon I discovered that I was learning more and more about the almost 30-year history of the English subtitles Urusei Yatsura.To arrange the star -shaped puzzle of this classic anime, I talked with Robert J. Woodhead, Logan Rebholz and Justin Sevakis.

The accounts of Animeigo and Robert J. Woodhead from Urusei Yatsura began in 1992, when his company purchased a license for the television series and most of his films from Compass.Animeigo gained momentum thanks to the connections they built after their first edition, Metal Skin Panic Madox-01 in 1990-which, surprising, could be an A-KO project.Humorously, Woodhead much later discovered the missing film masters of the A-KO project during the production of the Blu-ray Madox-01 Ultra Edition set, to the great relief of everyone in Discotek Media.

The process of creating subtitles in Animeigo was one of the first developed for use in the anime.Although this was repeated a bit before they started working on Urusei Yatsura, their process seemed generally similar to when co -founder of Woodhead and Animeigo, Roe Adams III, began to play with the idea of creating anime inscriptions while creating Wizardry IV – specifically, playing with the cardVideo Colorspace II, which allowed Macintosh II Woodhead to place graphics on the video.

To get a full technical heart of the process, Woodhead directed me to his article on the subject

“Secret” history of animeeigo

. To hit key points, after a confusion they developed the best way to move the frames to change the inscriptions in a timely manner. From there, they came up with the best colors to display on the screen both in terms of readability and technical goals, which gave rise to multi -colored inscriptions. Having these two basic elements, their last challenge was to combine subtitles to dialogue. Without a standard time code or time measurement system, Animeigo started finding your own solutions. At the beginning they made a tape with the number of frames on the screen that would allow them to interrupt the dialogue while watching it back. From there, they will test synchronization and, if necessary, make the necessary changes manually. Animeigo had many attempts and errors when developing his subtitle system, but over time it evolved into an increasingly efficient tool, because they gained more experience in its use, thanks to which the entire production process was quite routine when they did Urusei Yatsura.

“He was almost the same as any other title.Translator, edit, set time, record a tape-mother in the studio, send to a duplicate, “Woodhead told me.


Archived animeigo linear notes

They show that many translators worked on the series and his films, and more and more people worked on the entire project.Woodhead told me that at the beginning of the project he was only himself, his wife Natsumi Uksi, Adams and a few translators.Woodhead himself says about their approach to the series as a whole:

“Usually the answer is:” Then it seemed a good idea of the lubbon, it entertained us to do it this way. “”

The first edition of Animeigo Urusei Yatsura, which is strange, was not actually the release of animeigo.At the same time, Woodhead negotiated with Compass regarding the series, John O’Donnell of Central Park Media signed a contract with Toho on the rights to Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer.Most likely, realizing that in the niche anime sales industry in North America there were not many people, Animeigo cooperated with O’Donnell and Central Park Media on their release.They translated and wrote to the film for CPM to maintain continuity with their releases of the series.

The release by CPM Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer hit Laserdisc on May 6, 1993 as the first American edition of the series.Animeigo followed this at the end of the year, releasing the first film on October 20, Urusei Yatsura: Only you.Looking at the calendar of the Prime Minister, Animeigo spent 1994, releasing other films while working on the television series, hitting Laserdisc in the same year.The television series was released on VHS shortly after, in June 1995. Woodhead told me that there is not much difference between the production of subtitles for two different formats, because they most likely used the identical tape-mate.

As for various formats, the new millennium brought the arrival of DVD with it.The new format was not a big problem for Animeigo, because Woodhead told me that the limits of this format are very similar to their original titles system.From March 2001 to June 2006, Animeigo released the whole series on DVD, closing its working time on the series.Their license at Urusei Yatsura later expired in September 2011.

Although one of the biggest catalysts of the popularity of Urusei Yatsura, the film Beautiful Dreamer, already had a lot of publications at Central Park Media.During the flourishing of Animeigo DVD editions.Beautiful Dreamer would be pleased with the publication of the 1998 DVD, with the subsequent release of “Collector’s Edition” in 2004. What is surprising, someone involved in the current history of the series worked on the titles for this last publishing house: former Ann Answerman and Mediaocd General Director Justin Sevakis.

“A funny story on this topic: So Brady told one of his assistants to review CPM points and rewrite them all, and they reached my name.Giggling, they simply said “WOW, Justin has been doing it for some time.”

Sevakis kept telling me that when Discotek media licensed Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer, its release in 2018 was a challenge for them to check if the series is gaining importance to justify that the company is doing more.

“We started with movies just because it was easier to deal with them.They were all one -time, we didn’t have to worry about a huge number of episodes or something like that.And they were nice – well, the second film came from another licensor and we managed to get it first.In this way we were able to test the water. ”

These waters treated them so well that more films began to appear, all of which were released in 2022.In the case of these films, Sevakis enlightened me in a process that they usually use to get these inscriptions for these films and their other projects: using previous DVD editions as a starting point.

“There are several applications that were created by, you know, geeks from video forums in 2007, especially for playing DVDs and placing them, you know, probably for piracy.Chichots but these tools are very useful and we are able to do that we have these [programming] scripts that can do OCR [optical recognition of characters] DVD subtitles.This is what they are – these are graphics that have a maximum of three colors and can actually OCR eat them in a text script.Usually with a few letters here and there.Sometimes it mixes large and with small L, because in some fonts they look the same.And then it will simply go through the script and spit out the script of subtitles with a certain time, which does not require much more work.



Example of the screen of the inscriptions program for Urusei Yatsura.The editorial note recommends breaking the script, because the character, this, is drunk.

With this approach, additional work mainly includes violation of lines and changes in latinization to adapt subtitles to modern location standards.In addition, the process is automated and quite fast, although some older DVDs are challenges with which the MediaOCD team must sometimes fight.

This work flow is quite standard for the MediaOCD subtitle editor, Logan Rebholz, who joined the company after the Beautiful Dreamer release.Before joining the company, Rebholz was involved in the Animeigo campaign on Kickstarter, initially he later joined the development of the BUBBLEGUM BUBBLEGUM CRISIS ULTIMATE Edition set.

“I started before I started working for Justin in Mediaocd.I was a volunteer at Robert’s kickstarters, and then he promoted me to work, so I did a few of them.I think Riding Bean was the first in which I was actually a contractor for him, and then we did Gunsmith Cats.

Rebholz told me that he still helps as a volunteer from time to time when he has free time.His knowledge of Animeigo practices was useful when Discotek began to plan the release of the Urusei Yatsura television series in 2020.Entering production, Sevakis hoped that they could potentially use the scripts of the animeigo subtitles, because it will again be 195 episodes for them.work out.Their OCR solution to rip DVD inscriptions was on the table.Rebholz told me that it would be feasible, but do it with some complications.

“If this happened, we could rip subwoofers from the original DVDs.And you know, I did it only as an experiment to test things, one-one thing I can say is the tricks that Robert used at that time to get multi-colored inscriptions, and what is not: very easy to do on Blu-ray, not soEasy to do on a DVD.Which makes pulling them out of the discs much more difficult.That is why I think that it was invaluable that we had these original scenarios, because although yes, we could do it, it would require much more work. ”

Fortunately, they didn’t have to worry about access to Animeigo scripts.As Sevakis told me: “We didn’t even have to ask, he [Woodhead] simply suggested using his scripts.”

Then we talked a bit about Mediaocd cooperation with Animeigo.The company also creates albums for Animeigo, the retail version of Megazone 23 is a special point of pride for Sevakis.Just before the Covid-19 pandemic explosion throughout the United States, Sevakis and Rebholz met Woodhead and Ueki on the anime Los Angeles 2020 to discuss the details a little further.Rebholz told me some details about the meeting, which was also his first personal meeting with Woodhead and Ueki after years of working with them.

“It just so happens that the anime Los Angeles; Justin lives in Los Angeles, so it turned out very well. He left, we met and spent the afternoon, but the most important thing was that we had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Robert. And of course, you know, projects like those, especially something big, like Urusei Yatsura, are planned several years in advance. It was something that took a long time, we talked to him about it, and he said: “You know, hey, I still have all my scripts” and I am in a unique situation that I saw his scripting system, which he has been using since then in principle return in VHS times. So I was familiar with formatting and we use Aegisub in our work, commonly used in Fansubs, but also has many professional applications. I knew the quirks of this and what to expect from his [system], so we had the opportunity to sit with him, talk to him and say “hey, the problem is that we can use your scripts, but they are not compatible with our system” and He says: “I wrote my script, so why will I not write for you something that will convert it and format them to what you use?” ”

Woodhead told me that writing this application for conversion in Python programming was worth afternoons.This application changed its inscriptions in internal format into standard subtitles in SRT format, with which Logan could work on Aegisub.I asked Woodhead if strong working relationships between Mediaocd and Animeigo were a factor of his help, but Woodhead, always a seasoned professional, insisted that he did it kindly.He told me that ultimately the licensor has the right to use transimeal translations and subtitles.

On the Rebholz side, the conversion gave him only a few resulting weirdness, which had to be cleaned here and there.

“Most were quite simple.There were several incorrect tags (tagged errors in the script) – I’m not sure what they were used for in its scripts – which sometimes stuck back in converted scripts, but I use Aegisub for a long time and I have some small improvements for it, and one of theThey allow me to go through and you know, choose what tags I want to remove from it.For example, overwriting colors or fracture of lines, such things.

After quickly cleansing, Rebholz began to break through the scripts of subtitles.Although his goal was to adapt the subtitles to modern standards, he emphasized that they did not want to touch these long -trusted translations.

“In most of our projects, we try not to mess with translations if we don’t have to. Something like this, you know, the fandom has a long history, knowing these specific subwoofers, we do not want to mess with certain things, especially if you know that they can have some cunning, but as long as the translation is accurate, we are usually cool, keeping this kind of things. Robert has always been known for his reference to pop culture. In the first set we published is a ruler, in which one of the characters says “live happily and happily”. Well, when we passed and asked for a few small translation checks here and there, I asked about it and I was told: “Yes, it’s a bit loose translation, but it is not necessarily bad.” So we will leave such things alone, because you know fans again – if it is a long -lasting project or program that has been around for a long time, there is some expectation that people will know some things.

In general, if it was in line with the spirit of the stage, the Mediaocd band was good to continue the translation.Although sometimes they had to repeat it.In the line referring to the forces of the armed forces of the Mendou family, the original word used to describe in Japanese does not have an easy transition to English.Animeigo decided to use “mobile power” while Mediaocd used “tactical power”.No solution was a bad response, because again both teams tried to give the spirit of the ideas being given.

They made a few corrections here and there to reflect the contemporary awareness of Japanese culture.For example, Japanese cuisine has gained such an increase in ubiquity since the last home video in the series that it allowed them to present food in series with their real names instead of previously translated solutions.However, due to consistency, Rebholz told me that there is one food article that they cannot change: Gyudon, also known as “beef bowl”.



Some inscriptions change, but the beef bowl remains.

“In every project, when we get the first installment, we try to match everything, even if it is not necessarily the first part of the series.If this is the first we spent, it gives the tone to what we will do from that moment.So things like beef are often mentioned in the series and we would probably change it to Gyudon, but because it remained with a beef bowl in Beautiful Dreamer – we were not necessarily locked in it, but this is only one of those things done to maintain consistency.We like to try to create a coherent presentation for the viewer, if it is something that we intend to have most of the franchise or the whole franchise.

Another modernization, which Mediaocd strives to, is the lack of translator’s notes: notes on the screen that give an additional context to what is discussed on the screen. The team kept several notes, but Rebholz told me that they often make mistakes, directing them to quality control first. In this way, the Mediaocd team could check if the note was really needed or was just an easy Google search engine. For example, Rebholz is quite sure that most people know what “they” are nowadays, without the need to put notes or translations. Returning to the Mediaocd and Discotek team, he mentioned that Marc Levy, social media manager and quality control specialist at Discotek, has a pretty good idea about what kind of notes their recipients are looking for. One of the notes they preserved explained Rebholz, was a bit of an explanation of what could be a deep reference to newer anime fans, and also reflects modern consciousness.

“Referring to one of the translator’s first notes in the series, Ataru refers to Iscandar from the Space battleship Yamato.In the original note she was called Star Blazers, because it was obviously more known at that time, but now Yamato is certainly easily recognizable, but Iscandar may not be so much, so the note remained in place, but has been improved until reference to Yamato instead of toStar blazers.

Returning to tweets, which Rebholz exchanged with Woodhead, I noticed a strange font reminiscent of the moon used in all dialogues spoken by Lum’s mother.The font is very different from the Greek used in her dialogues in Urusei Yatsura movies.Rebholz illuminated my full context of tweets, which prompted me to talk to him, deeply rooted at the beginning of the System System in Animeigo.




A strange font used in the subtitles we have lum.The animeeigo version shown on the left, the discotek version on the right.

“We got scripts, and the films used Greek – in fact the first film was the one I worked on, which it contained Greek – so we just recreated it and switched with what was there.When I started to make subtitles for the series … I looked at what was happening because the way in the scripts was written was a bit strange.It seemed that there were no spaces or anything in the poems, and I thought: “Why would these poems be written so awkward?”

“So I pulled out a DVD with the right episode and said, I can see what’s going on here.”And then the decision was good, you know what we are doing?Do I play it?Do we just choose a different font?Working for Robert in the past, I thought: “I know he is a guy from Mac and he was a guy from Mac a long time ago, so I wonder if it was the maca font he used.In the end I found the original font, which is still in Mac OS, so I was able to recreate the text he did and we actually added one line, because during the quality check of this episode it was noticed that Lum’s mother had a line that had no inscriptions.

“It was very convenient that Robert replied to my tweeths on this topic, saying:” We just came up with lines and just tried to make it sound like something that fits the stage “because I didn’t have to stick to any scenario when I added it… I could just come up with a dialogue for this particular shot and add the missing inscription.So it is not only faithful to reproduce what he originally did, but now it has been expanded to include something new. ”

In general, both Rebholz and Sevakis told me that the process of working on the television series Urusei Yatsura is quite smooth.Although the series becomes current in matters related to the era in which it was filmed, from time to time, this is not as detailed as in the case of the series of the second season of Kodocha.The mention of this series immediately denied Rebholz’s breath, while Sevakis remembered his nickname for the main character of the series: “Sana-chan, the destroyer explains.”Sevakis continued that this is a difficult title for Mediaocd due to incredibly small and unclear references to Japanese entertainment programs from the 1990s.He breathed a sigh of relief that this was not the case with Urusei Yatsura.

“Thank God Urusei Yatsura is not that current.”

Ironically, Urusei Yatsura is currently very current.The new TV series from David’s production will premiere on October 13 and will be broadcast by Hidive.No one in Mediaocd, Discotek or Sevakis himself saw it when they started working on the “original” television series now.

“We didn’t think about a television program at all, it was just stupid bad luck.It’s funny, how often it happens.This was also the case with Shaman King, where we were to announce the title and “Oh, Japan’s will spend him again”, and we “oh … great?”.But you know, in this case we will take everything we can, because this is a great concert and many younger fans have not even heard of it.So whatever we can do to shed light on it. ”

Talking to Rebholz, you could feel his enthusiasm to lead a series for the new audience, especially when a new series is coming.

“You see it all the time: there is a reboot or sequel and of course everyone wants to see where it began and what the original was.Time again, you know because we started this project so long ago, I don’t think any of us had any idea that the new program is in production or is coming.So time is really great and it is simply cool to be flightngers of the next iteration when we share anime to the audience.

As for a man from the beginning, Woodhead, he told me: “I am glad that more people will enjoy UY.This is a nice program and working on it gave me pleasure. ”

Something that caught my interest in the whole process is the fact that despite the large mergers of corporations, which we hear all the time, anime is a really small industry, especially in the United States.This is an industry in which everyone knows everyone to some extent.People who have been in this area from the beginning of its creation, like Woodhead and people who joined over time, such as Sevakis and Rebholz.During our interview, Sevakis was delighted with our age and age of his team.He told me that this is one of the greatest things in what they do.

“I feel that once you learn to communicate well between old and young, then cool things happen because we can really arrange the elements of the puzzle.”

Coop Bicknell is an occasional writer and co -host podcast dude, you Remember macross?.You can follow him @riderstrike on Twitter.