An Open Letter to Funimation

Dear Funimation,

I’m concerned.

I’m concerned because it appears that Funimation dubbing staff have been permitted to “run wild,” so-to-speak with regards to the scripts in some of Funimation’s broadcast dubs. The fact that this has happened no less than three times in the past two years is alarming to me.

Back in the fall of 2015, the broadcast dub of Prison School aired with a particularly stand-out line referencing GamerGate. My views on the GamerGate controversy notwithstanding, the line quite frankly had no place in the show and not only made for a reference that will date the show in the future, but was also no doubt a cheap shot at a significant portion of the show’s audience.

When the show released on disc the following year, however, I’d found that the line was changed to something more appropriate, and immediately purchased the show once I found out.

Now I feel like that was the wrong thing to do.

They say once is once is an accident; twice is a coincidence; three times is enemy action.

Combined, the Prison School GamerGate line change in episode 7, the Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid line change in episode 12 (And others throughout the series), and the My First Girlfriend is a Gal line change in episode 7 tell me that, despite significant protest, Funimation is okay with its staff not only making significant changes to the works they’re adapting, but making those changes in ways that promote a particular ideological viewpoint (that the show was not originally promoting) and/or take mean-spirited shots at the fans of those works.

Make no mistake. I’m familiar with the challenges of localization and I’m in no way suggesting Funimation attempt to undertake the herculean task of a 1-to-1 translation. That wouldn’t be feasible or effective for the purpose of creating an entertaining product. I’m also sympathetic to the people who produce anime dubs, as much of the anime community seems to have nothing but contempt for dubs.

What happened with Prison School, Dragon Maid, and Hajimete no Gal, however, isn’t doing the dub market any favors. While I have nothing but respect for localization, dubbing, and ADR staff who do their jobs well and respect their audiences, I can’t say the same for those who use localization of a show they didn’t create as a platform to push their personal viewpoints.

My belief is that when significant changes are made in a translation/localization, it fundamentally robs the customer of the product they paid for. Reason being is when I buy, say, Gunslinger Girl, my intention is to get from the show the same experience the original creators wanted their audience to get, or as close as possible to that. My intention is not to get “Gunslinger Girl – As interpreted by Funimation.”

As a result, I don’t plan on purchasing any more Funimation products until your company addresses its localizations and makes a commitment to doing better. The lack of progress on this issue indicates to me a critical lack of respect for not only the anime fans consuming the works your company brings over, but for the people creating those works, as well.

Make no mistake: I am not one of these people who use these recent dub controversies as an excuse to spew vitriol against dubs and the people who make them on the internet. I am a customer of Funimation and hope to continue being so in the future, I can’t in good conscience continue buying from Funimation as long as there remains a significant possibility that I won’t be getting what I paid for, and as long as it remains unclear whether or not the company respects its audience.

All the Funimation releases I currently own.

I know several others who are like me and have made the same decision.

Please do the right thing.

Sincerely,

Chris Haughton
She’s Lost Control Media – NTR Radio – Shin-Akiba Anime Goods

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