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Cultural Translation / Anime & Manga

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  • Ranma ½: Probably both the archetypal and ironically least obvious example: In the North American dub produced by Viz Media, all of the classical Japanese poetry quoted by Tatewaki Kuno has been skillfully replaced with near-perfect equivalents from William Shakespeare. This has been done so meticulously that for many years fanon held Kuno to be a devotee of the Bard.
    • Another is referring to Shampoo and Cologne's village as "The Village of Chinese Amazons", which aside from being noted for its 'female warriors' (literal translation) has very few tropes to the usual depiction of Greek Amazons.
    • The name of Ryōga's dog, Shirokuro, refers to the dog's fur colors ("shiro" means white and "kuro" means black). Viz's translation of the manga changed the dog's name to Checkers, which sounds similar to Shirokuro, retains the meaning about fur colors, and also sounds like a dog's name. Viz's subtitles translated the name more literally, as Black'n'White.
  • Mexican dubbing of anime and western cartoons has been very guilty of this, inserting as many references to Mexican culture as they can have, which often results in borderline Gag Dubs; the more (in)famous examples are Pokémon and The Simpsons. The public rarely protests, however, maybe because of the Mexican dominance in the Latin American pop culture since the 1930s until today, via films and soap operas. Some immortal examples of this: at one point during the Saiyans saga in Dragon Ball Z, Yamcha says "We'll turn them into guacamole!"; in the Pokémon dub, James sometimes starts speaking in a heavy accent from either Veracruz, Nuevo León, or the Yucatán peninsula; and in one episode of The Simpsons a reference to Richard Simmons was replaced for a more known (for Latin Americans) Lorenzo Lamas, without replacing the visual representation.
    • Dragon Ball has an extreme example at one point. Emperor Pilaf has finally collected all the Dragon Balls, has summoned Shenron, which will grant him any wish, and is stuck saying "I wish to conquer...", "I wish to conquer..." But then Oolong appears suddenly and makes a wish instead. What did he wish for? In the Mexican dub, he says "I wish to conquer Bulma!" This seems like a great plot twist, until the viewer is left clueless while a pair of panties falls off from the sky, and this is never explained...
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    • Inuyasha also had a Japanese gag replaced with Shippo asking Inuyasha "¿Me entendiste inutil?" (Do you understand me idiot?) and Inuyasha calling him "rata de dos patas" (two-legged rat) in allusion to a song by famous Mexican ranchera singer Paquita la del Barrio.
    • Interestingly, even when suffering from the same Animation Age Ghetto syndrome as the US, Latin American-Spanish dubs in general rarely censor things unless it's too violent or too naughty (and even that is more done by broadcasters), there are cases that the original material made a previous stop in the USA were it was Bowdlerized first and then licensed for Latin America.
    • And the public rarely complains because of the exceedingly high quality of the dub performances, which have often taken mediocre shows and made them stellar through the power of acting alone.
  • Pokémon:
    • Early examples of the Dutch dub introduced the Euro system to the currency world. Mind you this was years before the Guilder disappeared, being late 90s and the Euro only entering official circulation in 2002. This is true for the German dub as well. Arguably prescient, since everyone knew the Euro was coming anyway (prices in future Eurozone countries were listed in both currencies for up to three years before the switch) and maintaining continuity is important if early episodes are ever rerun.
    • Not actually in the dubbing, but whenever the main cast are eating something, in the original Japanese, it's almost always rice balls. In the English 4Kids dub, it's whatever the dub-techs were hungry for that day. In the Hoenn Saga, large sandwiches became the standard. This is Hilarious in Hindsight, as later eras sometimes have both Ash's crew and Team Rocket actually eating sandwiches.
      • Perhaps one of the most (in)famous instances of this was with Brock's... jelly-filled donuts. Which were clearly rice balls. Other dubs, such as the Italian one, used more neutral terms such as "sweets" or "snacks" instead.
      • One of the good things Pokémon USA has done is stop that practice completely. They have even begun calling them rice balls.
      • The episode that introduced Todd Snap in the original dub did properly refer to them as "Rice Balls", however, as it showed Brock making them, umeboshi and all.
      • The Brazilian dub, which is based on the English dub, doubled this trope and changed the donuts into cookies.
    • On the subject of Pokémon, the two recurring Team Rocket members are named "Musashi" and "Kojiro" in the original Japanese, named after two famous samurai. In the English version, their names are "Jessie" and "James", in reference to the American outlaw Jesse James. Likewise, two less-prominent Team Rocket members are given Punny Names based on the above characters: "Kosaburo" (literally "Third Son", as opposed to Kojiro, "Second Son"), and "Yamato" (a WWII-era battleship that served alongside the Musashi). The English dub names them "Butch" and "Cassidy" after another famous American outlaw. Another duo, Buson and Bashō, was named after the famous Japanese poets Yosa Buson and Matsuo Bashō. The Western dubs renamed them Attila and Hun, after, well, Attila the Hun.
      • While the Dub Name Change has become much less common decades after the anime boom in the late 90s, Pokemon still keeps a proud tradition of it across all territories. Because so many characters have Punny Names or Meaningful Names, almost all human characters and the Pokemon themselves receive a new name that mirrors the intention of the original Japanese.
    • In one episode of the 4Kids dub, a character bowing to greet another one was changed to her dropping her contact lens.
  • Battle Royale: The Tokyopop version was adapted for the Western audience by comic book writer Keith Giffen — he was given a straight translated script and altered it as he saw fit. This led to, among other things, lots of American pop culture references
  • Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase: The English dub replaced the closing trailers' horrid Japanese riddles with horrid English riddles. Apparently there's a law of Conservation of Corny involved in the translation process.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho: The River Sanzu was changed to the Western equivalent, the River Styx.
    • Also done for Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx.
    • Again done for Samurai Champloo in the first episode.
    • Similarly, the English translation of Yami no Matsuei changes references to Enma-daioh (the ruler of the underworld in Buddhism) to The King of Hades.
  • Geneon's dub of the Lupin III (Red Jacket) TV series – originally created in 1977 but dubbed in 2003 – replaced dated Japanese pop-culture references with American equivalents. However, many of those references were to modern pop-culture in a show that was clearly set a quarter-century in the past, making them stand out like a sore thumb. It was still pretty funny though. The pop-culture references were toned down significantly after the first season, a.k.a. the episodes that didn't air on U.S. television.
    • Probably the most infamous example is from the episode "The Sleight Before Christmas", where Fujiko name-checks The Simpsons and Jigen references then-current basketball player Shaquille O'Neal.
    • In "Shaky Pisa", the evil Italian scientist creating earthquakes demands a ransom, which in the original he calculates in Italian Lira, but the dub changes to U.S. Dollars.
    • In another episode, Lupin and Jigen break into a NASA laboratory which uses voiced passwords. The original Japanese makes oblique references to The Beatles and Elvis, while the English dub swaps them out with Star Trek: TOS references – arguably more appropriate, as many NASA engineers are known to be Trek fans.
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross: ADV Films' 2005 dub of the 1982 original uses the word "metrosexual" in episode 33. Since the show takes place in the years 2009-2012, though, that one is a bit more understandable.
  • In Slayers, Lina Inverse is known as the "Dragon Spooker", where "spooker" is a contrived acronym: "Dragon Steps Past Out Of Clear Revulsion". In the original, it's "Dra-mata", meaning "dragon mo mata ide tooru" (even a dragon would step over it), a play on words on the Japanese phrase "neko mo mata ide tooru" (even a cat would step over it), which means a nasty person. The acronym was needed because to finish the play on words, a dragon really does step over Lina.
  • Azumanga Daioh, being a series often reliant on Japanese cultural references, features many standout examples:
    • Yukari temporarily switches from Language to Math to P.E. on a whim. Soccer is the initial game of choice. When questioned about her knowledge of the rules, she said, according to the sub, "I'm Nakata," probably referring to Hidetoshi (this is also the case in the Yen Press translation of the manga). In the dub, however, she instead says, "I'm Mia Hamm," an American soccer player. In the ADV translation of the manga, she's Pele. In the French translation of the manga by Kurokawa (possibly the editor relying the most on Cultural Translation in the French manga market), she's Ronaldo (the Brazilian player, not Cristiano Ronaldo).
    • Another example would be Osaka meeting Chiyo's father. She makes a comment on his face. In the sub, she refers to him having a face similar to Yoshiro Mori, a former Japanese Prime Minister (who kinda did look like that). In the dub, she comments that he looks similar to Bill Clinton, a former President of the United States. Given that Mori was also an unpopular PM who was known for having "the heart of a flea and the brain of a shark" (compared to Clinton's popularity and slick-talker reputation at the time), perhaps George W. Bush would have been a more apt comparison had the dub been made in 2009 or later (or even George H. W. Bush in the dub's actual own time, given his similar unpopularity and propensity towards public gaffes).
    • The English dub of the Azumanga Daioh anime translated Osaka's Kansai accent as vaguely Texan (appropriate for many reasons, though ADV being in Houston was probably the deciding factor), but the first run of the manga translates Osaka to be from New York— Yukari invites her to say to the class, "Yo, how you doin'?" The other girls also ask her about meatball sandwiches and Mickey D's instead of McDonald's. The phonetic accent works... less perfectly... but otherwise, eh, fuhgeddaboudit! Later prints of the manga and even later fan translations adopt the anime's vaguely-Texan approach, making the New York accent something of an Early Installment Weirdness.
    • In one strip of the manga, Tomo greets Yomi by saying "Good Morning Musume!" ADV's translation of the manga changed this to another musical reference: "What's the story, morning glory?!" Another similar case of ADV swapping out a reference was changing Tomo's misinterpretation of Bruce Lee as "Blue Three" to thinking Jean-Claude Van Damme's name is "Damn Van".
  • Full Metal Panic!!: Although the actual cultural references are unchanged, in the English dub of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, a passage from Sousuke's Japanese Classics assignment is read in what appears to be Middle English in order to preserve the effect and explain why Sousuke is having so much trouble understanding the text.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency: Joseph Joestar's famous "happy urepi yoropikunee~" line is reliant on Japanese wordplay, particularly one with the term "yoroshiku" ("nice to meet you"). Since wordplay hardly ever translates well between languages, the dub of the 2012 anime adaptation changed it to Joseph pretending that Santana, the stoic individual that the joke is being pulled on, is a model in a photo-shoot.
  • Naruto:
    • The title character uses remarkably impolite forms of address toward most adults outside his closest circle; except for Jiraiya (Ero-sennin, Pervy Sage) most cannot be translated directly. However, this is more than made up for by the somewhat affectionate Tsunade-baachan becoming much ruder when non-idiomatically put into English as "Grandma Tsunade".note 
    • In Part II, when Sai reads a book that suggests that using honorifics on friends is polite but not helpful to becoming closer, he notices that Sakura never uses any with Naruto (when he had previously used "-san" on her and "-kun" on Naruto), and decides to no longer use honorifics on them. The book in the Viz manga advises against using "mister" or "miss" on friends, which Sai had not been doing before.
    • The English dub also has an unusual example of adding a literary reference: Kin Tsuchi fighting Shikamaru in the Chunin exams. Kin, who uses a jutsu based on the sound bells make, explains how they work normally in Japanese. In English, she quotes John Donne: "Ask not for whom the bell tolls..." (Given that Naruto is set in another universe, it must be assumed that ninja-John Donne exists within it.)
  • In Maison Ikkoku episode 73, Godai has locked himself in his room after missing a job interview. Kyōko asks Akemi what he's doing, to which Akemi answers, "Amaterasu-omikami". Viz changed Akemi's reply in the subtitles and the dub script to "He's playing hide-and-seek".
  • In Sailor Moon the famous "odango atama" insult, which translates as "dumpling head", was changed to "meatball head" in the DiC dub because odango style round snack dumplings aren't common in the west, whereas the similar sized meatball is. Both objects are roughly the same shape as Usagi/Serena's famous hair "balls". The Viz redub goes for "bun-head" instead, which fits both as a food-related insult and an apt description of her hair.
    • The Korean dub aired on KBS in 1997 removes all references to Japanese culture because of tensions between the two countries. This meant that all references to Rei's shrine were cut in this version, leading to some episodes that featured the shrine being omitted or combined into other ones. Any spoken references to said shrine were changed so that she instead refered to a cathedral.
  • Samurai Deeper Kyo: In the Norwegian translation of the manga, Benitora's kansai accent was changed to a Bergen accent, with a note explaining this was a common way of rendering this accent in Norwegian translations. While this was hardly true, not having been done anywhere else but here, it worked so perfectly no one complained. In Swedish, he was given a Gothenburg accent, which worked very well.
  • Space Battle Ship Yamato: In Star Blazers, Frothy Mugs of Water aside, there's also a scene where sushi is referred to in the dub as "chocolate cake". Also, many of the references to The Shinsengumi were changed to the story of Jason and the Argonauts.
  • The dub of Tokyo Pig had one of the worst instances of this ever, at the close of the first episode. The lead character's father says of his relationship with the eponymous pig "A boy and a pig. Only in America." In a series that was named Tokyo Pig in the dub version. This was so blatantly stupid that when they Flash Back to the scene in a later episode, they redubbed that line as "Only in Tokyo."
  • The Kindaichi Case Files: A major clue in one story was based on the ability of Japanese computers to switch keyboard inputs between the various Japanese alphabets and Roman (English) letters. The translators altered this clue so that only knowledge of the standard QWERTY keyboard was required.
  • Lucky Star: Patricia Martin uses her lack of Japanese language fluency to unsuccessfully avoid Kagami's criticism (despite speaking near-flawless Japanese up to that point). In the English dub, it wouldn't make much sense to say "I can't understand your language, I speak English!" when they're all speaking English. This was changed to an annoyingly immature "Lalala~ I can't hear you!" Given the situation, though, the dubbers were placed in a difficult dilemma.
  • Soul Eater: In an episode of the Hungarian dub, Kid is chasing after an assassin called the King Fisher. When Patty opens fire on the assassin, she refers to him as "Ho-ho-horgász" (Fi-fi-fisher), the title of an old Hungarian animated series.
  • In Filipino dubs of anime the Japanese Sibling Terminology for familial relations are quite easily translated, with much of the inherent context intact, since Filipino has direct equivalents. "Ate" for "Onee-san," "Kuya" for "Onii-san," and so on. Also like the Japanese language, Filipino allows for the usage of said pronouns to refer to unrelated people.
  • Medabots: Japanese Beetles are said to be irresistibly attracted to fruit, especially watermelons, which is why it's sort of a Running Gag that the beetle-themed main robot Medabee goes crazy for them. Most westerners aren't very familiar with this, so his voice actor plays him as a member of another group stereotypically fond of watermelons...
  • Ouran High School Host Club: These sort of notations appear all over, because much of the humor that isn't Slapstick revolves around wordplay (which would, of course, otherwise go right over the heads of a non-Japanese-speaking audience.)
  • In Domu: A Child's Dream, one child sings the first Super Sentai theme song to himself. This is changed to "Go, go Power Rangers!". The manga was written in the late seventies but not translated until the nineties, so at least the reference had a reasonable equivalent.
  • Thanks to Jim Terry Productions, SF Saiyuki Starzinger, a sci-fi adaptation of the Chinese fairy tale Journey to the West, becomes Space-keeters... or should we say The Three Musketeers... IN SPACE!!!
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: All over the place in the English dub. Noticeably, the dub never changed any of the Japanese text that appears, probably to keep with the surreal feel of the show.
  • You're Under Arrest!: Chapter 67 features Strike Man wearing a red-and-white bobble hat variation of his usual mask and a red-and-white cape rather than his usual ones, calling himself "Santa Claus Man", and claiming that he's not Strike Man. When asked why his mask has Strike Man's "S" emblem on it if he's not Strike Man, he answers that it stands for "Santa". This caused a problem for the French translation of the manga, because what Japanese and Americans call "Santa Claus", the French call "Père Noël"note , which doesn't have an "s". So, the translators changed "Santa Claus Man" to "Super Noël", which is pronounced like "Père Noël" except for the "su" prepended in front.
  • Ojamajo Doremi: When 4Kids made the dub, they left the food in visually... but replaced references to overtly Japanese foods with those which westerners would understand. For example, goodbye takoyaki hello cookies.
    • Episode 7's daifuku was changed to "cupcakes" in the English dub, and, in the Italian version, it was changed to "sweets".
    • The same thing that happened in episode 7 of DoReMi happened in the Italian version of Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GoGo: Okashi No Kuni No Happy Birthday. Nutts' introduction speech had the word "mamedaifuku" changed to "sweets" in the Italian version.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew was changed to Mew Mew Power in the US. Also, Zakuro/Renee's height was changed from 5'9" to 6'1" in the dub. In Japan, a girl over 5'6" is considered huge, but in America it's not as remarkable; a schoolgirl over six feet, however, really is something remarkable.
    • The Korean dub, called Berry Berry Mew Mew, removes the reference to daifuku in the ending theme, possibly because it's a food associated with Japan.
  • Comic Party had this happen in the English dub. Yen becomes Dollars, Kimonos become Prada dresses. Oddly, the yen is shown and it is still called dollars.
  • Futari wa Pretty Cure: The dub names takoyaki something else entirely again — donuts. Maybe that has something to do with 4kids temporarily taking this series. That or they thought some slightly older kids would start making sophomoric jokes about "octopus balls".
    • The English dub of Smile Pretty Cure!, Glitter Force, changed a few Japanese culture references around.
      • At the beginning of "Kelsey Gets A Makeover!", Candy and Emily bow in traditional Japanese style. The dub accompanies this with her saying "And that's how we greet our friends in Jubiland!".
      • Okonomiyaki is called Japanese pizza. However, in "Battle On The Beach", there's an ad-lib where Kelsey calls the food by the original Japanese name and Emily's voice actress notices, by saying "Okonomiyaki? No! Japanese pizza!"
      • "Emily's Unlucky Day" has the girls visit a Japanese expo instead of Kyoto, and some elements are changed, like Kelsey comparing the omikuji to fortune cookies so kids would understand what the girls were looking at and calling Mount Fuji "a high altitude observation tower".
      • In "Chloe Quits", one of the questions asked to the girls by a textbook Buffoon is who the wife of the 4th president of the United States is. The final question is also changed to Chloe being asked to translate the Japanese text on the book Buffoon's cover.
      • One episode has April look at takoyaki and state "I don't know what it is...but it sure looks delicious!"
      • Saban omitted an episode that revolved around Kelsey falling in love with a British transfer student named Brian because of the difficulty with translating the fact that he needed to be taught Japanese to get along with the students better, which doesn't really translate too well into an English dub. The letter she gets from Brian thanking her for being involved in the events of that episode in "The Greatest Treasure" is instead changed to Kelsey recieving fanmail from her favorite volleyball athelete.
  • The infamous 4Kids dub of One Piece has plenty, given its severe Bowdlerization. One early example is a rice ball Zoro/Zolo is fed being changed to a cookie (that he somehow swallowed whole, which made a bit more sense with rice).
  • Digimon Adventure:
    • "DigiBaby Boom" has the scene when T.K. and Patamon read a note in Primary Village about rubbing an egg to make it hatch. It's clearly written in hiragana, but instead of translating it or simply cutting the shot and making the characters read it off-screen, they decided to say it's "digicode". It should be noted that there actually is a Digicode, even though it doesn't look anything like hiragana.
    • "WereGarurumon's Diner" has a flashback showing how Joe got shanghaied into working in Vegiemon and Digitamamon's restaurant, as he couldn't pay for his meal. In the original, Joe's issue was that he only had yen and Vegimon wanted American dollars. In the American dub, as the audience would be used to thinking of dollars as the default money someone was carrying, this was changed to Joe only having "Digidollars" and Vegimon wanting real money.
  • Sailor Moon: Usagi/Serena's "funny squiggles" handwriting refers to the original Running Gag that Usagi never learns proper Kanji writing, even as an adult.
  • Hellsing: Although almost everyone else has (or at least attempts) a British accent, Alucard speaks with a distinctively American tang. Interviews with the translation director revealed he made this decision because of a theory that people can relate to a protagonist better if he sounds like them. Amusingly enough, Crispin Freeman said in an interview that he'd offered to give Alucard a Romanian accent (one of his theatre teachers was a Romanian expat) and was rebuffed. He does use the accent briefly at the beginning of the second episode of Ultimate.
  • Gigantor ran into a problem when it was Americanized — one episode has the cast traveling to an American ranch from their native Japan. The dubbers changed the location to Australia and gave the American characters Australian accents. But the "Australian aborigines" sure didn't look like aborigines.
  • Crayon Shin-chan:
    • Characters in the English Gag Dub seem to know more about American pop culture than they know about Japanese pop culture to an extent that you might question whether the show takes place in a Universe where Japan is part of the United States instead of Asia. Lampshaded at one point:
      Georgie: And that's why Rudy Giuliani should be America's next president.
      Shin: Don't we live in Japan?
    • Spain's dub suffers from that sometimes, like two episodes that call the O-Hanami a "Pic-nic", with no explanation it's supposed to be a holiday. The weirdest part? Other episodes do explain it's a holiday, and even call it by name.
  • Detective Conan underwent Americanization, but this was specifically at the request of creator Gosho Aoyama, who thought foreign fans would better identify with local characters than Japanese ones. The name change to Case Closed, however, was purely a legal issue thanks to DC Comics and Edgar Rice Burroughs's estate being infamously litigious over the name "Conan".† 
    • This actually kept a Dub-Induced Plot Hole from forming in one of the dubbed episodes - Ran Mouri is used as an alibi, and the culprit is surprised when she realises that her father so happens to be Kogoro Mouri. While it may seem like a What an Idiot! moment, this is actually easy to understand — for one, Ran does not resemble her father in any way, and two, Mouri may be a common surname in Japan, westerners won't usually know this, but they do know that Moore is a common name.
    • One case involves tainted lemon tea — the target is told several times "only kids drink this" and "it'll rot your teeth". While canned teas are often quite sugary, they're marketed towards adults - so the tea was changed to "punch", which is known to be sugary and is seen as something that children usually drink.
  • The Bang Zoom! Entertainment dub of K-On! changed the currency from yen to dollars.
  • The Ah! My Goddess TV series English dub likewise changes the currency from Yen to Dollars... at least in dialogue; the visuals are untouched. It also replaces metric measurements with American ones.
    • The dub of the OVA series (recorded years earlier by a different studio), goes out of its way to preserve much of the Japanese terminology, as well as the metric system.
  • Stitch!, a Japanese version of Lilo & Stitch: The Series, follows in the footsteps of Powerpuff Girls Z. Most notably, the original's Hawaiian setting is transplanted over to Okinawa, and Lilo is replaced by a new girl named Yuna. Interestingly, Hawaii's second largest ethnic group is Japanese-Americans and a large portion of those have Okinawan ancestry.
  • Excel Saga:
    • In one episode, Il Palazzo's speech outlining the current strategy for world domination is peppered with random bits of what may or may not be real Italian and other bits which are English spoken with a heavy fake Italian accent; as the trivia tooltips point out, this is because in the original Japanese the speech was interspersed with random English and a bad American accent, and they needed to retain the same feel. By and large, though, the series averts the trope; jokes will be translated more or less as they are, and instead you can turn on the aforementioned tooltip feature which will explain why something which is just an insane non-sequitur in English is actually an elaborate joke in Japanese.
    • Similarly, in the spiritual sequel Puni Puni Poemi, one scene set in a battlefield in an unspecified foreign country had the extras saying names of various foods rather than actual dialogue. The English dub does the same.
  • Doraemon has gotten this a lot, all around the world, both manga and anime.
    • The image at the top of this page is from the Disney XD airing of the 2005 series. The dub, produced in 2014, makes some alterations to the visuals to bring the series into a less-obviously Japanese setting… as well as tone down certain elements that aren't considered child-appropriate by Western standards, such as the show's frequent use of Naked People Are Funny gags. It must be noted that these alterations were made by the original studio, not Disney, so while the purists will complain (as they do regardless), the changes mesh better than, say, Pokémon's bouncing sandwich.
      • Names are changed to diminutives that sound more vaguely Western – Nobita becomes Noby, for example. Kanji signs are overlaid with their English translations (as seen in that screenshot - although unfortunately it means the entire directions of the question are erased, with only the calculations kept).
      • Another case (also the one seen above) shows Nobita's godawful test score. Changing this one is understandable given the differences in Japanese and Western (read: American) grading styles – a checkmark indicates a correct answer in English, but an incorrect one in Japan, so the checks are changes to X's. The "F" was then added just to drive the point home (Japanese tests don't use letter grades).
    • Some of the less, shall we say, scrupulous (read: probably bootleg) translations of Doraemon published in Taiwan had the series set in Taiwan rather than Japan, changing out all of the locations.
    • The official Indonesian translation often contains this (example; UGM stands Gadjah Mada University, in Yogyakarta), and one particular story has a shot of money redrawn into actual Indonesian rupiah and subsequently every mention of currency, but when the series was reprinted with the Japanese cover and a right-to-left format (previously Indonesian Doraemon were all hastily mirrored to fit the left-to-right printing), the series were given new translations and the cultural translations were largely removed, with most untranslatable plot-important Japanese puns and references given footnotes.
  • xxxHOLiC: This trope is referenced in the translation notes for Volume 3 of Del Rey's translation, to assure us that Watanuki did really mistake Yuuko's reference to Neo Human Casshern for one to Star Wars in both languages.
  • The Spanish dubbing studio Luk Internacional is heading into this territory with their Crayon Shin-chan and Kochikame dubs. No, the sexual stuff is intact. However, they sometimes seem to have a 4Kids-level dislike of Japanese culture and like to hide it whenever possible. Two egregious examples: In Crayon Shin-chan, Masao's nickname of "Riceball Head" is changed to "Onion Head", which would normally count as a woolseyism except they even do it when obvious visual references to riceballs are shown. Even worse was an episode of Kochikame about the Hanami festival. Not only they kept referring to it as a "picnic" and nothing more, they also called the cherry blossom trees almond trees, for no reason unless they absolutely needed to hide that little bit of Japanese culture. To be fair, this seems to be depending on the translator, as they can go the opposite route at times too, but when they do this, they do it bad.
  • Saint Seiya: The mystic aura of the original depended heavily on Classical Mythology, but the Italian dub had to rely on higher epicness in all the dialogues and insert The Divine Comedy references because every single Italian is familiar with classical mythology since before grade school. Such references do come into play in the original, just not until the Hades arc, in which Hell is modeled after Dante's version.
  • Please Save My Earth includes a bit where some dinosaurs are leaving Earth in a spaceship, and singing the theme from the anime series Space Battle Ship Yamato. The American translation switched this to... the theme song from Star Blazers which is about the same themes and well-known in the target demographic.
  • Princess Mononoke: According to translator Neil Gaiman, the line "this soup tastes like water" would not be conveyed as a harsh insult if translated literally, so it was changed to "this soup tastes like donkey piss."
  • Sonic X: In an episode of the 4Kids dub, Eggman rambles about giving names to three mechs, and at a certain point he tries with "Larry, Moe and Curly". In the Italian dub, the Three Stooges reference was replaced with one to Italian comedians Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo.
  • FLCL: The English dub had various changes made to pop culture references that didn't translate into English. For example, one episode mentions a convenience store being the only place to get a discontinued Japanese soft drink known as Cherio; this was changed to Crystal Pepsi in the dubbed version. Another notable occurrence is a reference to a Japanese swimsuit magazine known as "Delabe" in the second episode being changed to Hustler.
  • In Cromartie High School when Mechazawa's gang members are imploring him the original has a line with where Kamiyama and Hayashida notes how they are ridiculously dependable on them, in the English...
    Kamiyama and Hayashida: Faggots.
  • Ai Shite Night: The French dub relocated the story in Paris... which caused a little problem in the last episode when Hashizo's mother returned from Paris (at which point they decided to pretend the story had always been set in Tokyo).
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: In the German dub, Kyoko Sakura calls Sayaka Miki a "Gutmensch" which is a German insult for people who pretend to be exceptionally moral people while at the same time annoying everyone with their self righteousness.
  • In Recovery of an MMO Junkie, an in-game event sees the characters trying to get rare items out of a Gashapon machine; the English release instead uses the term "loot boxes", which communicates the idea perfectly.
  • Yo-Kai Watch: The Disney XD English dub has an even stricter version of this than the games. While the games include plenty of Japanese items like rice balls and curry, one episode of the anime changes rice balls to "marshmallows", another changes rice and curry to "rice and beans" and another changes curry bread to a whoopie pie. The English dub also translates or covers up Japanese text, though season 3 (which has a decreased budget) is more loose with this.
  • In Assassination Classroom Chapter 8, when a chemical causes Koro-Sensai's face to become temporarily expressionless, he says a Japanese line literally translated as "Even if you hate me, please don't come to hate assassinations", a Shout-Out to a notorious interview line by AKB48 member Atsuko Maeda. In the Viz English translation, he says "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful", a reference to a famous 1980s American shampoo TV commercial.
  • In the Tamil dub of Osomatsu-kun, Japanese kushiyaki is changed to seedai murukku, despite the two dishes looking nothing alike.
  • Subtitles for Stars Align translate "x-gender" as "non-binary". "X-gender" is a Japanese gender that is a rough equivalent to either agender or non-binary, but it's not identical.
  • Despite keeping in Japanese cuisine and honorifics, the English dub of Chibi Maruko-chan calls a natsumatsuri a "carnival", despite the two only being slighlty similar.


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