NaPoWriMo, Days 29 & 30: ‘Sub vs. Dub’ and ‘The Fight’

My month-long poetry-writing marathon comes to an end. I gotta say, I did better this year than last year. For one thing, I never fell more than one day behind and I finished on time. I did use the last two prompts, but in my opinion, my last two poems aren’t the strongest ones from this year’s NaPoWriMo. Feel free to disagree with me.

Yesterday’s prompt was to write a poem with five words from a foreign language. I chose Japanese. While it should be obvious, I put the Japanese words in bold. It’s based on a less-than-serious debate among anime fans, but it was fun to write.

Today’s prompt was to take a short poem I like and rewrite it by replacing words and phrases with their opposite. For example, Shakespeare’s sonnet, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” could be changed to “I won’t contrast you with a winter’s night.” I selected “The Fray,” a poem used in the 2011 film, The Grey, which was written by it’s screenwriter/director, Joe Carnahan. I don’t think it turned out too well. I chose it because it was only four lines, which I thought would make it simple. Perhaps I’ll rework it later (as I’ll probably do with all these poems).

Day 29:
Sub vs. Dub
By Nathan Marchand

Do you prefer “Konichiwa” or “Hello”?
The original language or English?
Otakus decry their own tongue
Being put in the mouth of Naruto.
Nai! Too must lost in translation!”
They’re annoyed by people who,
When they hear “Ohayō,” think of a state.
They’d rather read than listen,
Perhaps even missing the action.

But must a character say “watashi wa
Instead of simply saying, “I”?
The eyes should be free to admire
The beauty of the art, the animation,
The hand-drawn work of masters,
And not be distracted by scrolling text.
Watch it as it was intended:
With voices bringing life to drawings,
And bid the elitist otakus, “Sayōnara!”

Day 30:
The Fight
By Nathan Marchand

Once more out of the fight.
Out of the first bad brawl I’ll ever forget.
Live or die on this night.
Live or die on this night.

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  • El Santo

    Wow… That first poem really brought me back to the days when I was a big anime fan. I loved watching animation, so I preferred watching it dubbed. (Plus I really enjoyed some of the English VA’s. Petrea Burchard will always be my preferred Ryoko from Tenchi Muyo.) But yeah, the sub vs. dub debate got super insufferable. I think it died down a little when anime got more mainstream, though.

    • Nathan

      I usually give the dubbing a chance first. Then, if it’s bad or annoying, I switched to Japanese with subtitles. There area few animes I think are better in English, like Cowboy Bebop and Neon Genesis Evangelion.