|Squid Girl DVD Vol.1|
So after much consideration, I found myself in Best Buy yesterday while looking for a specific Haruhi Suzumiya purchase, and noticed the notorious Squid Girl DVD while going through the collected anime for sale.
Now, I've been pretty vocal over the past couple of weeks about how Media Blasters and several subgroups have been treating Ika Musume, and I swore before all that was holy that I would never buy this bastardized atrocity. Though, there is something to be said for spouting absolutes, and actually holding the product in one's hands.
One thing that I noticed upon first examination was the title that Media Blasters had decided for the release. Instead of the Japanese title of simply Shinryaku! Ika Musume, they opted for an exacting translation of the show by going with "Squid Girl". And while that is accurate, it's actually not the whole title. Shinryaku is the word for "Invasion", and when it's translated together with Ika Musume, it should have been translated as "Squid Girl Invasion!"
Also, when I picked up the case to hold the product in my hands, I heard a certain rattle going on the chest cavity of the box. It seemed that not only did the case I hold have both discs loose in the package, but the other two DVDs they had on the shelf, were likewise loose and rattling. This is not a good sign people.
So, after weighing the cost of being a fan, against the cost of sheer insanity brought about by hours and minutes of guilt, I reverted back to my early days of anime fandom and forked out the cost of 21.98 for the first volume of the North American release of Squid Girl.
I already knew that I was going to be in for a world of butthurt over this title, and not because I didn't like the show. On the contrary, I wouldn't have deliberated so intently if it was a show I cared little for. I bought the DVD because I am a fan of Shinryaku! Ika Musume, and though I initially wanted to write the whole North American release off as a lost cause, I knew that I still needed to support the industry as best as I could. Besides, how bad could the dub be? Surely they didn't do all that I had heard to the dub.
I was wrong. It got worse than all that... by a long shot.
Now, normally I am able to wait until I get to my house before I open the plastic and start rummaging through the case. This however was a matter of what the discs looked like after being rattled around inside the package, so there was no hesitation or waiting. Now before I go on, let me explain, that I do not make a habit out of buying defective cases, but I had already heard from others about Media Blaster's piss poor packaging, and I figured it was something that was unavoidable. Several people had already gotten their copies of Squid Girl with floating discs.
So, I opened the package in the car, and saw to my shock and horror that not only were the discs scuffed to hell, but that the case was so flimsy and the spinners so pathetic, it would have been impossible for the discs to stay on them at all. So it was no wonder that during shipping, the discs fell off them, and slid all around the inside of the case.
Well, that wasn't the end of the world I suppose. I have a local Hastings in my town, and I can usually go in there and have them buff out scratches and scuffs for a couple dollars a disc. I probably should have just gotten a replacement, but what would be the point in getting another crappy box with loose discs?
Once I got home I ended up using my own scratch remover on them, and buffing out most of the scratches myself, though I knew that was only going to be a temporary fix. I popped in the discs into my player to see how they performed, and to see what sort of content the double disc first volume contained.
Really, there wasn't all that much that impressed me so far, I might have been slightly jaded by this point, but even if the case had three running commentaries, and six hours of bonus content(which it did not), I'd still be a little miffed. First of all, the dub was probably the worst that I've heard in a long time. I'm not being picky either, since I've suffered through some pretty crappy performances in my time; so for me to say that something is bad, is really saying a lot.
Additionally, the dub used those got-damn puns that I hate so much. I mean one here or there would have been fine, but the incessant way they were strategically inserted into every effing scene made for a highly irritating and un-enjoyable first episode. Combine that with the fact that all the casting was wrong. The voice cast for Ika-chan was way too old to be voicing her, the voices of Chizuru and Eiko should have been reversed, and did I mention that there were idiotic puns all through it?
Far be it from me to ever set down such absolutes, but I am really shocked and perplexed at how any fan of anime can willingly enjoy, or even think that adding words and phrases like "I won't gill you", "Are you squidding me?" "What the squid!" "...my inkvasion." are in any way cute or called for. They are bull-shit, and that is putting it mildly. If you find that sort of encroachment on the original dub entertaining and cute, or even acceptable, then you've been living under some sort of dub-heaven rock of self-delusion, and you have lost all sense of reality with why we even give a damn about decent anime. I seriously have to wonder about your sincerity as a fan at all.
So, getting annoyed with the dub, I switched to the sub track, knowing good and well that it was going to be the same stupid one that Crunchyroll used, and sure enough... it was horrible. I finally switched the subs off and watched a bit of the show completely raw, with no subs or dubs, and almost wanted to cry, because I'd never regretted buying something so much in my time as a fan. I actually regretted that I supported Ika Musume, or Media Blasters.
Now what does that say for the anime industry? What could Media Blasters have done to make the show better?
There were several things that they could have done. They could have taken the time to listen to the fans. They could have made some—but not all—of those changes, and for the love of god, they could have given us better packages. I mean is that too much to ask for?
Ika's name is literally translated in the show, and they call her Squiddie, Squid Girly, and I'm just not turned on by that terrible stuff. In fact, it turns me off, it makes me think that the industry is toying with us, and giving us a load of sub-par crap, just so they can make more sub-par crap, and I of course have let them. I am such a huge fan of Ika Musume, that I let myself get suckered into buying the single worse "release" of the past 5 years! Not to mention that the dub and the sub goes to all that trouble to insert all those terrible puns, but drops the "De Geso" that Ika uses after almost every statement. Why?
Ika Musume is one of the best shows I've seen in five, years, and I actually wish it had never been licensed. If it was going to turn out like this... if it was going to get such a shitty release, and such slacker subs and dubs, then I wish that it had just rotted on the shelf in Japan, and only the ones that really liked it, would have had the better quality fan-subs of it.
Bottom line here, is that I hate the DVD of Squid Girl. I would love to tell you to stay away from it, but that's not for me to do. You make up your own minds. Just please, don't talk to me about it for a while. I'll be reminded enough what great things this show could have been, and what it ended up being.
Media Blasters, you can burn in hell.