Akira is a Japanese manga that was created by Katsuhiro Otomo that was later developed into an animated film in 1988 it depicts a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk Tokyo that is rampant with violence, corruption and Japanese citizens lost looking in all directions for some semblance of future.
Understanding that my views have already been sculped “Researchers do not exist in isolation” (ELLIS, 2004; ) I knew going into viewing Akira that certain aspects of the plot in my mind would be drastically different to others. Recently studying the globalisation of Japan I already had the hidden undertones of the movie replicating post-WW2 japan’s struggle and then massive growth in my mind.
“Consequently, when we conduct and write research, we implicate others in our work.”(ELLIS, 2004; ) a small subtle culture cue that I’ve earnt in my Japanese studies is the difference between Honne 本音 (a person’s true feelings) and tatemae 建前 (the behaviour and opinions one displays in certain circles or public) this is displayed extensively in the film whether it’s how Kaori situate herself amongst here pears and acts with Tetsuo, Kei reactions to Kaneda’s advances or even how the Colonel treats or speaks to Tetsuo. The examples are abundant of how a character may act or say but that’s not what they really want to say or act.
This leads me to express my problems with this viewing of Akira while dubbing makes a movie more palatable for a western audience over subtitles. I have seen this movie already and in its original language which I much prefer. I felt that dubbing it ruins the expressive emotions that the original language has why else would we read Shakespeare in old English otherwise, but I am a studying Japanese. So while the translation may be correct and the editing on an animation may resync the animations to the dialogue. Conversations and the nuance of the script are lost or changed when dubbing or even subbing did you know that the word “you” is hardly used in Japanese. Conversations in Akira sound more like voice actors preforming lines in a studio without the lines recipient there and then the responses to those lines don’t have the same emotional tone or emphasis as they originally would. While Autoethnography is how to “systematically analyze personal experience” (ELLIS, 2004; ) what your trying to understand is another’s culture and when that product of their culture has been changed dramatically to make it easier for you to view is it still expressing the original culture?
Ellis, Carolyn; Adams, Tony E. & Bochner, Arthur P. (2010). Autoethnography: An Overview [40 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12(1), Art. 10, http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1101108.