Language Clashing in Black Lagoon: Don’t be a menace in Roanpur while you duriinku Vod-ka in Tokyo

November 25, 2006 at 6:05 am (Anime)

Black Lagoon 19 brought up some interesting language issues. I’m not sure what language they’re assumed to be speaking in Roanpur, but normally it doesn’t matter because they don’t need to stress that two groups are speaking *different* languages. So they can just have everyone speak Japanese, and I can just read the English subtitles.

But in 19 Hotel Moscow needs to do some work in Japan so they hire Rock to translate, since apparently they don’t actually speak Japanese. They’re pretty consistent with that. The russians don’t seem to understand any Japanese when it matters for them to do so, but they still speak it when nobody else is on scene that needs to not understand them. When they *are* in negotiations Balalaika speaks heavily Japanese-accented English, which Rock translates since apparently he doesn’t understand much Russian.

Revy switches back and forth between Japanese and English. I’m not sure if she actually speaks Japanese or not, but the show seems to indicate that she does, because she has conversations with lots of Japanese people in this episode. I guess the implication is that, even though the voice actors speak Japanese for convenience, the characters in Roanpur are usually speaking English? Or maybe Chinese. I’m just amused by these weird kinds of situations that come into play where a production is produced conveniently in its audience’s native language even though the characters are assumed to be speaking a different one, and then they’re suddenly in a situation where they need to actually differentiate who speaks what, since suddenly they’re in Japan. And all this confusion gets magnified by the fact that I’m watching the show in translation (Shinsen didn’t translate all of Revy’s accented English, but the translator scenes with Rock and Balalaika were disconcerting because they sub’d his Japanese translations of Bala’s English, and I’m trying to resolve those with the English the voice actor for Bala is actually using).

It’s sort of like how English dubs have to figure out how to deal with English classes in anime. I think they usually go for Spanish, as it’s probably the most commonly learned second language for Americans.

I’m also amused that going to Japan has brought out Revy’s tsundere side. Must be something in the air, eh?



  1. Retsgip said,

    I noticed the weird ass language issue as well. Suddenly it occurred to me that maybe they aren’t actually speaking Japanese, but to allow for people to actually watch it, they make them speak it. I’m thinking they’re all speaking english, but I’m not even sure anymore. I was so fucking confused.

  2. Demian said,

    I’m pretty sure Revy doesn’t speak japanese at all. When she switiches to japanese it’s still implied that it’s not japanese. Still, Revy + skirt = hawt!

  3. Mwutaku8 said,

    Its true that these took place but its not that unusual. I acutally waiting to see how they did this in the English version, I perfer the fansubs, But it would be trippy!

  4. Yosho said,

    I think Rebi and Rock both speak Japanese, since we see Rebi speaking with the sword-carrying Yakuza guy. Balalaika speaks English and Russian, so she needs Rock to translate from English. Rebi speaks English to people in Japan just to be an ass.

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