MML Traffic #105 for week 3 - August

By Lawrence Lin

Table Of Contents Mailing List Stats For This Week

We looked at 204 posts by 78 different contributors.


    Heavy week mostly centered around the US site and trailer for "Spirited Away", plus a little extra padding from another bootleg discussion.

1. North American "Spirited Away" Website Up

(18 posts in various threads): Official "Spirited Away" site up, updated

Deborah Goldsmith was the first to note the live site, "There are lots of cool Flash animations. There is only one trailer, the Japanese-language "Kaonashi" trailer (the one with the ending song as BG music). "

Giuseppe Gorgoglione mentioned, "It's very... dark... And almost impossible to read the text (the story and the Miyazaki's bio), written in dark gray on a black background and with a very small font. After the red tint of the Japanese DVD, the dark colors of the American homepage. Is there a curse on Sen?"

Raz Greenberg wrote, "I found the design of the site to be a bit spartan, and the flash animation didn't impress me very much. The informative bits, however, are nice, and the sketches/storyboard images (included in the "Hayao Miyazaki: Writer/Director" section) are cool. I was kind of puzzled as to why they used the Japanese trailer instead of something that will give us a taste of the English dub." The lack of an English trailer would be solved a few days later.

Warren Savage went, well, savage, "The text is so dark, small and hard to read, it discouraged me from reading it (Really!)

Because it's coded in Macromedia Flash, there's no way for me to make the text bigger or to change the text color. Or to copy-paste it to Notepad or Word so I can see the text black against a white background (heaven forbid I should STEAL these words and try to make money from them...)

Of course, there's no Webmaster link, so I can't e-mail the page designer and say, "Hey! Nice looking page overall, but I can't READ anything on it!"

My legally-blind father won't be able to read anything on this website. In fact, the site screams "Visually Impaired Need Not Enter"

In fact, the site feels 'arrogant.'"

Roberto Askins grumbled, "I have seen the cool...but it lacks something. The trailer is the japanese one i have downloaded long time ago..big deal. The Miyazaki bio is good but i could be better. The story plot is not bad either. The multimedia section is not up!. . . Let's see what happen."

2. "Spirited Away" Trailer

(27 posts in various threads): Chihiro Trailer, Getting trailer URLs, Getting trailer URLs (was: updated), How to download the U.S trailer?, SA Trailer Direct Downloads, Spirited Away trailer...

Noah Selsby spotted the English trailer and commented, "I absolutely HATE all the dubs of miyazaki I've seen so far... and yet, this trailer actually looked good! The voices all seemed right. Go check out the trailer and let the talking begin! "

Michael Howe added, "I felt it was pretty well done! Though Haku has one line that just didn't work right. But I still think Daveigh Chase was the right choice for Chihiro. Though it seems like they chose every 'reaction' shot"

At this point the thread started to fill with minor spoilers that the trailer reveled. Chris Meadows couldn't resist and wrote, "The trailer looked excellent. I probably shouldn't have looked, given all the spoilers, but my curiosity got the better of me. I'm guardedly optimistic about the voices, but then, I liked the Mononoke dub, too. Note, though, that it's really too little to tell if it's good overall, and that trailer-makers have a habit of taking voice snippets from one part of a movie and superimposing them over another, so you can't really take for granted that any line was said where you heard it."

A large portion of the thread took on the task of trying to directly download a copy of the trailer. After several days of trial-and-error, Simon Wilkes figured out a set of URLs while Michael Dhanuwidjaja posted another method.

There were several threads on the exact content of the trailer, but as I haven't seen the film yet, I avoided reading any spoiler messages.

3. A Method to Their Madness

(4 posts): Spirited Away SUBBED at El Capitan premiere?

El Otaku lived up to his name with this diatribe, "Is there a petition or anything we could do to pressure American Cinematheque, the El Capitan theatre, or whoever is in charge to project the subtitled version of Spirited Away instead of the dubbed version at the 9/10 premiere which Miyazaki will attend?. . . For many reasons, I believe that it is more appropriate to screen the film at the premiere in its original Japanese dialogue, not excluding:

[1] Miyazaki will be there (need any more be said?), and his scheduled Q&A panel will be much more enlightening if the audience saw the film as it was originally intended to be shown. . .

[3] People are paying good money (particularly for the VIP seats), and it would be a shame to see them disappointed because the dubbed script wasn't as faithful to the original story as it should have been. . .

[4] There is a LARGE Japanese-American community, particularly in Southern California. Many will probably be attending to watch the movie or simply to see Miyazaki."

I replied, "Miyazaki is coming to help promote the English version, not just the film. The fact that Disney is making subbed prints available at all is a concession to the purist/otaku crowd."

Larry Greenfield added, "It's not meant to be an Anime Expo - like event or a film festival. Disney's bringing Miyazaki over not to appease fans, but to help promote the film in the US, which for all intents and purposes is the English dubbed one.

And I give kudos to Disney and the El Cap for having the decency to show a subbed print (for those who want it) as well certain times of the week. Don't get me wrong, I'd much rather see it in the original rather hear it dubbed into English, but I can't argue with why they're ding it this way.

As much as I've hated Disney for doing things such as re-recording the Laputa track, messing (even with permission) with the Kiki track, I've still got to give kudos to them when they do things right (such as the way I feel they handled the R1 MH DVD, and the fact that they're also showing a subbed print at the El Cap for those who want). Yeah, I'd love to see it subbed, but unfortunately it makes perfect sense that it'll be dubbed"

Warren Savage wrote, "If the film is going to have ANY chance of success in North America, the soundtrack has to be in English. I've shown my other Studio Ghibli DVD's to friends, and they would prefer (ThankYouVeryMuch) to see the film in English, even if the dub sounds childish...

The big complaint is, "I have to spend so much time reading the subtitles I don't get a chance to watch the movie."

The youngest children in one friend's family can't read the subtitles fast enough yet. These children loved Totoro and, especially, Kiki's Delivery service (their mother was ready to strangle Jiji the fifth consecutive night the kids watched Kiki.). . .

I'll have a much better chance of getting friends to see Spirited Away if it has an English track. But I'm glad I still may have the opportunity to watch it on the big screen with its original Japanese track."

No replies from El Otaku.

4. Planning the R1 "Spirited Away" DVD

(19 posts): Spirited away R1 DVD thoughts...

Jumping the gun by about three months, Roberto Askins wrote, "does anyone of you are thinking in buying the R1 DVD? I do.

But if i recall my "Princess Mononoke" R1 DVD...yikes! it was disapointing! I mean the audio and video compression was good but the extras were terrible.

So i was thinking:

1.-The SA DVD should had more extras like intreviews whit the production cast not hje dubbing cast (who cares anyway?)
2.-Spanish subtitles for god sake! I can understand english but many people don't!
3.-Not showing on the cover the dubbing cast names! I repeat WHO CARES ABOUT THEM?!"

Robin Casady replied, "If, like Mononoke R1, SA is released on one DVD then I'd rather have a high bitrate image and great audio than a bunch of extras. We can hope that Disney would do a collector's edition with a second disc of extras, but picture quality is much more important to me than frills."

David Mankins added, "I've never understood the attraction of ``extras'' on DVDs. The only extra that ever interested me is the one on the Disney releases of the Ghibli films in Japan --- the complete storyboards, viewable in a form synchronized with the soundtrack. I'll probably get the R2 DVDs of a few of the Ghibli films just for that."

Roberto wrote, "But let's be honest one of the wonderful things from DVD's are that they could include things to add the experience of watching the movie more pleasant!. . . What I am saying is: why not include cool extras?! A trailer and some cool stuff like bios, interviews maybe a short documentary could be great! But if not...well I'll still buy it anyway!"

Tristan Aenslen tossed in, "I'm not saying it costs tons of money to add this stuff in, but if the general fan base is going to buy the DVD anyway without the extras then in reality those extras aren't needed to get people to buy the DVD. I enjoy good extras like those storyboards and such but I care about a great looking movie over anything else. And compared to Japanese DVDs R1 DVDs are pretty cheap."

James Vandenberg gave an insider's view, "I author DVDs and would love to work on a DVD such as Mononoke. It does cost publishers to create DVDs, But, they also make ALOT of money off of DVD, apart from development costs, which usually go from 100,000 - 1 million for _big_ releases (if they are not done in house), the cost of printing a DVD is not relative to what you pay, just like music CDs, the markups are many many times the cost of logistics.

If a company can get away with producing a no frills basic DVD, they will, and then release a special edition, to basically cash in big time as the fans end up buying the movie twice and those who didnt bother with the bare bones version the first time around will be much more likely to buy the SE. . .

Personally I love DVDs with extra content, and I cant see how fans of Ghibli's amazing movies, wouldnt care about having as much information and extras as possible."

Zurui Chibi wrote about the dubbing cast, "well it's a sale argument as any other... we (the fandom) don't care about who, but about how they did the job. But average consumer is prone to be allured by such a bunch of stars (well, at least in the little minds of Miramax marketing)"

Lee Johnson added, "Musicians / producers / screenwriters / cinematographers etc will not sell a movie to Joe Bloggs. Actors and Directors will - Joe Bloggs sees "Gillian Anderson, Billy Bob Thornton, Claire Danes, et al" on a DVD/video package and may actually consider considering renting / buying the DVD/video rather than *completely* ignoring it. I worked in an independent video rental shop for two years and can honestly say that with 99% of the movie viewing people, plot and story and irrelevant. The actors and directors take precedent."

Roberto replied, "In the R1 Princess Mononoke DVD it says whit BIG letters the names of the actors. I am not saying that their job is not important. No. In fact a terrible dubbing is a stab to a great animation. The point is the give them TOO MUCH importance to the actors to such a point like if they were superstars!. . . What about the others? the musician, the producers? They are in second place like most anime here in america (i mean for america the US, Canada, mexico, and rest of latinamerica). And i think is a bit unfair."

Zurio Chibi and Lee looked prophetic when an Average Consumer (Ben Applegate) came out of the woodwork to write, "When Mononoke first came out on DVD it was when I was first beginning to enjoy anime, even to realize its existence. And I saw this DVD at Suncoast. It had a great quote by Ebert and the dub had Billy Bob Thornton, Gillian Anderson, and Minnie Driver in it. Whoa, I thought. Those are some big names.

So I bought it. If BVE had put Hayao Miyazaki's Masterpiece in big huge letters above the title and the actors at the bottom of the cover in a smaller font I probably would've passed it without a thought. Fortunately I didn't and now I've been introduced to this director's fantastic imagination and intimate emotional communication.

You knew who Miyazaki was, but then you were already going to buy Mononoke and it wasn't not going to matter if they put "H.R. Pufnstuf in Princess Mononoke" on the cover. Telling me that some excellent actors, who I (the average mainstream American) recognize, felt that this film deserved their attention convinces me to buy it before I have any idea who Miyazaki is.

The people who design these cases get paid good money for what they do and they are occasionally even good at it. :-)"

5. Pronouncing "Ghibli"

(7 posts): Studio Ghibli pronunciation?

Jonathan asked, "in the trailer for StC on Quicktime, they pronounce it "Jiblee," I had always assumed the h was silent.. did they pronounce it the correct way in the trailer or is it Gib(as in give)lee?"

Robin Casady replied, "Do you want the Arab, Italian, or Japanese pronunciation? :-)

You'll find the answers in the mail list archives. IIRC, the Japanese pronounce it something like "Jibury"."

Dave Jutsum posted, "The correct pronunciation is "gi-buli", (confirmed by the the Ghibli's Ep. 2 trailer ;-)). Still, most people in Japan continue to pronounce it jibuli (which was its katakana for years, hence the joke at the beginning of the latter), so I guess that either way is okay."

He was corrected by Philip Schnell, "actually, the studio's name still is and always has been pronounced ji-bu-ri in Japanese. The two short films Ghiblies and Ghiblies Episode Two deal with the members of an animation studio which is a lightly fictionalized version of Studio (soft g) Ghibli, named Studio (hard g) Ghibli. Thus the retyped kana at the beginning of the preview for that short (and at the beginning of the original Ghiblies several years back)."

Marc Gregory posted a link to a FAQ with an answer.


    David Dettman noticed a "The Cat Returns" review in the Japan Times. Paul Mayer explains why he picks film over DLP. A Q&A with an editor from Viz Comics on the English "Spirited Away" books. Larry Virden spots a competitor to the First Church of LeChuck.


    Next issue in a few days, trying to avoid falling three weeks behind.

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