Fansub Review: [Commie] Lupin the Third (Episode 03)

D-Tier, Fansub Review — By on May 12, 2012 4:01 am

This post was written by Dark_Sage. He is Dark_Sage.

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Shitty Anime Subs.

Release format: MKV (486 MB, 10-bit)

Japanesiness: No honorifics.

Germanesiness: Zu viel.

English style: American English.

Group website:

Encoding details:

8thsin’s translation critique:

Ji-hi’s screenshot comparisons: N/A


Table of Contents

Visual Quality

Script Quality



Visual Quality


Opening. It probably seems a bit unreadable in the screenshots here, but there’s nothing wrong with the OP. They could’ve gotten away with just plain text, but they decided to make the colors match the credits. Cool shit.

Ending. What the shit?




Sage should take notes.

Not liking the split here.

Script Quality


Commie and sage seemed to use the same ending translation. Therefore, the complaints I had with sage’s apply here:

Shit’s too wordy. “After I taught you the hard way that you couldn’t find peace anywhere.”

Same complaints here with Commie’s version as with sage’s: this shit reads terribly. However, Commie wins with the added bonus of not being able to spell “independently” correct.

Way to go, guys.


Main Script.

“It’s a nothing little country.” Now, I know that people say this, but let’s be honest. People don’t really say this.

“It’s an insignificant little country”

I like how you preserve the native German language. The intricacies are too important for us English-speakers to do away with in our filthy language with anything approaching an actual translation. My only complaint is that you missed a bit of English. Can’t have that.

“Everybody come together!” should be changed to “Kommt alle zusammen!”


This isn’t an isolated incident either. This German shit appears in every other line in the episode so I’m only gonna talk about a few chosen screenshots in this review.

“bulldog” is one word. There’s no such thing as a “bull dog”.

For a group that claims so fervently to be American, you use a lot of words that aren’t seen in our country. You’re looking for “tutor”.

“If only my daughter were as dependable…”

This seemed like a better translation than sage’s version. Sage had it as “You said you didn’t want to babysit those three.”

I’m only working off context here, but Commie’s version puts the blame for the chick being away from those kids on the guy. Sage’s puts it on the girl.

In the carnival of stupidity that is fansubbing, Commie is aiming to be the main attraction.

The fuck is Ukiyo-e? You mean “woodblock prints”? Even if you wanted to preserve the integrity of the original Japanese, you wouldn’t fucking capitalize it.

And the fuck is Louvrun? You mean “the Louvre”? You know, the museum that’s kind of a big fucking deal?

This German shit is featured prominently throughout the episode. And yeah, the way Commie handled it actively makes the subs read like shit. Would it be so hard to translate “Freund” into “friend”? Wait, don’t answer that. I know your skill level when Crunchyroll hasn’t done all the work for you.

Really? You’re going to make his catchphrase “I’ve cut another trifling thing.”?

Whatever. They’re your subs, so you can make them bad if you want.

Let’s go into your use of German here since it’s so fucking important to you.

You can’t decide between “Freunde” and “Freund” in this release. You just use them interchangeably. Fun fact: there is a difference between the two words, and you fucked it up. For all your obsession with the word, one would think you could manage to get this right.

Freunde is friends (plural) whereas Freund is friend (singular).

In your wise translation here, you are literally saying “You have a friends.”

“No, I imagine this was part of his plan from the beginning.”

There’s no need to talk about “two parts” when you can get to the essence of the sentence with just this. Also, the “two parts” thing makes it seem like the plan was intended to be sequential, which was likely not the case.

“Goemon assassinates the king -> Goemon dies on the train” would not make sense if it were part of the plan from the get-go. After all, Goemon would likely just jump off the train after he killed the king.

I guess this is correct in a sense, but “I have no obligation to kill you.” just reads better all-around.

“Well, uh, you don’t have a place to belong, do you?”

“Nor do you have any true friends…”


Timing Review

Incoming. When “Timing Critique” is added as a category, you’ll know this part is done.


Watchability: Watchable.

Timing Grade:

Visual grade: B+

Script grade: D (if you reallllly love the German shit, the script is a B-)

Overall grade (timing results not factored in): D+ (if your dick is hard for Hitler’s people, then the overall grade is a B)

Commie is known for its localization tendencies, but I guess that only applies while translating Japanese into English. For some retarded reason, they decided to skip out on translating the German in this episode, and it reads like shit as a result. To summarize,

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Xythar says:

I haven’t watched this show so it isn’t too clear to me, but is the German in the original Japanese script as well?

If so, since the Japanese don’t speak German either, it was probably intended not to be directly understood by the original audience, so it doesn’t really make sense to translate it.

If it was added by Funimation for an English-speaking audience… well, again they wouldn’t have intended their target English-speaking audience to understand it directly, so it wouldn’t really make sense to translate it in the editing process either.

I might be lacking a bit of context here because I’m not familiar with the show, but the idea of a localization is to present a similar experience to viewers of the target language that viewers of the original would have had, right?

By the way, I believe all nouns are capitalized in German (not just proper noun), so capitalizing “Freund” is correct.

Dark_Sage says:

So when there’s English in Japanese anime, we have to retain the intent of the creators and find a way to make it unintelligible? Get your typesetters to work covering up the English text in all the subs you do, please. The original audience wouldn’t get it, so we shouldn’t either.

Xythar says:

fnord likes to translate English into other languages when he edits, like changing “Sankyuu!” to “Danke” or whatever. I don’t usually do it because it tends to cause butthurt, but I agree with the philosophy behind it.

I’m not sure if you’ve played Persona 3, but one of Mitsuru’s character quirks in that is that she said random things in English all the time. For the English version, they had her say random stuff in French instead. I thought it worked pretty well.

Xythar says:

Also to clarify, fnord didn’t edit this. I was just using him as an example.

I don’t know how much the editor for this changes from the original Funimation script, but I doubt it’s very much.

Dark_Sage says:

And IIRC they weren’t working off a Japanese voice track. Localizing a game is different than localizing anime subtitles. It’s perfectly fine to have that philosophy when you’re working with English dubs, but we don’t do that.

You have to adjust your philosophies depending on the medium you’re working with.

Xythar says:

By rights, they shouldn’t really be different. I enjoy dubtitles, even if not everyone does. As another example, there’s a character in Kore wa Zombie blah blah who pointedly inserts random English phrases into his speech like “Good idea” and “Nice place” or whatever. I’ve just been leaving them as-is in the dialogue since I know from past experience that trying to write something like “bueno!” would just lead to untold amounts of bitching, but I can’t help but feel like I’m killing off his character quirk. You’ve said before (like in the comments and articles you’ve written about retaining character accents, quirks, etc in the translated script) that you shouldn’t rely on the viewer listening to the original audio to pick up accents and quirks, so I don’t necessarily see why this should be any different just because the quirks are in English.

The way I understand it as it applies to this episode is: they frequently use the word “friend” in English in the original script, and then later on explain that it’s the same as “nakama”? This seems to me like a pretty reasonable way to handle it. “Freund” to English speakers is similar to “friend” to Japanese speakers, in that it’s foreign-sounding but still pretty obvious as to what it’s referring to, and it means you can have them explain the meaning of the word later without making it seem like they somehow didn’t know the meaning of a basic word in their own language. Seems clever enough to me, and I don’t think I’d have changed it if I were the one editing.

Dark_Sage says:

I never thought I’d see someone argue for dubtitles in fansubs. Well, this’ll be fun.

I’ll continue this with you when I wake up. It’s 4:30 AM here and I don’t see this ending in a few minutes.

Xythar says:

To be honest, I thought you felt much the same way. You wouldn’t argue for various stock Japanese phrases to always be translated in the same way just because that’s what the audience expects from hearing the audio (a complaint that people frequently make about Commie subs), and I figured this was largely an extension of that philosophy.

Obviously, there are technical issues that you need to follow regardless (like having your translations match length of the original audio, though that’s an issue for dubs as well) but for the most part, dubtitles allow the freedom to come up with much more creative, interesting and entertaining scripts than otherwise.

brainchild says:

Dubs have god-tier scripts.

FalseDawn says:

So wait, you localised to German rather than the more standard French, which is always used to sex up a title? “Mon ami” would have worked oh so much better. Either that, or use this page: to find an equivalent English word that’s less well-known. I’d vote for chum, personally.

Or you could make them all sound Soviet by going with “comrade” :D

Xythar says:

I didn’t, Funimation did (and besides, I don’t work on this show). I assumed the show was set in Germany or something and that’s why they used German, but like I said I haven’t actually watched it so they could have some other reason or none at all.

FalseDawn says:

That’s a fairly large assumption if you haven’t watched (I haven’t either so I cannot confirm nor deny), but even if it was set in Germany, they’re speaking English, so that wouldn’t really equate well either (what if a German native goes “huh?” too?).

Anyway, my German is fairly rusty, but don’t nouns not only need to be capitalized, but also require a word like “meine” because unlike English, they have feminine/masculine agreements. I thought that was pretty much required, which would mean that the Funi tl DOESN’T EVEN KNOW GERMAN if that’s the case.

Seems a very strange translation/editing choice…

Xythar says:

OK, I downloaded the episode (and watched a bit of it on Funi’s stream while I was waiting) just to check this. A few things I noticed:

1) The show is seemingly set in Fake Not-Europe, but the kids that are singing the song with that German phrase in it (and going on about “Freund”) are presumably from “Astria”, which I assume is the Fake Not-Europe version of Austria. So German makes sense.

2) She actually does say “Louvrun” in the audio, or something very like it. I assume this is part of the Fake Not-Europe thing.

3) Outside of that one phrase in the childrens’ song that appears twice in the episode (both times pictured above) and a number of occurrences of “Freund”, there is no other German in the script, leaving it disappointingly easy to understand. I was expecting entire sentences of it every second line as promised :(

4) The “a Freunde” error was apparently added by the editor, as Funi got it right. Le sigh.

5) This show actually looks kind of cool and I should probably be watching it. Though if I do I’ll be watching ours (despite LT Finnegan not fitting the show’s art style at all, dammit) because based on what I’ve seen from this episode, Funi’s script is top-tier.

animegio says:

Ugh, I recall the “outrage” on GotWoot’s ‘Fickende mensche’ (or something like that) in Deadman Wonderland.

Alto says:

Yes, every noun has to be capitalized in the german language

newbie says:

hey d_s,

there is a little mistake within your german translation:
“Everybody come together!” is not translated as “Alle kommen zusammen!”, but as “Alle kommt zusammen!”. “Alle kommen zusammen!” is in english “Everybody comes together”, which has a different meaning.

keep up the good work o/

Dark_Sage says:

Damned Google Translate!

Alto says:

Actually I would’ve phrased it “Kommt alle zusammen!” or “Kommt zusammen Leute!” because “Alle kommt zusammen!” sounds kind of weird to me

newbie says:

yeah, you are totally right alto. The finite verb has to be at the beginning of the sentence. Or the subject, but seperated by a comma: “Alle, kommt zusammen.” But d_s, you should go with alto’s version, for better it is better style.

brainchild says:

Your suggestion isn’t much better than the original for the last couple lines you pointed out. I’d say something like “I mean, uh, you don’t really have a place where you belong, huh?”


(Note: I don’t work on shitty shows like Lupin III.)

Dark_Sage says:

Take it up with Wikipedia.

Ukiyo-e (浮世絵 literally “pictures of the floating world”?) (Japanese pronunciation: [ukijo.e] or [ukijoꜜe]) is a genre of Japanese woodblock prints (or woodcuts) and paintings produced between the 17th and the 20th centuries, featuring motifs of landscapes, tales from history, the theatre, and pleasure quarters. It is the main artistic genre of woodblock printing in Japan.

brainchild says:

I’m not sure what I’m taking up with Wikipedia…

Dark_Sage says:

You either took offense to my ukiyo-e translation (hence the link to the fucking definition of the word) or you pasted an irrelevant link. Did I assume wrong?

brainchild says:

Yeah, you did. Why would the editor be obligated to localize something that’s in the dictionary?

You should know that I only accept Wikipedia as a valid source when it conforms to my viewpoints.

Xythar says:

What he’s getting at here is that we don’t usually translate words that can be found in the dictionary. That’s pretty much the litmus test for whether we need to localize something or not.

Dark_Sage says:

That’s a pretty stupid litmus test and it looks like you guys don’t even follow it. Sensei is in the dictionary, you know.

brainchild says:

Yeah, and it has a very specific definition, too!

Xythar says:

Damn you, stop inb4-ing me :(

Dark_Sage says:

So if you were subbing dubtitling an anime with a martial arts instructor, you would leave it untranslated? Pinky swear?

Xythar says:

It would completely depend on the context and the preference of the editor working on the show, but if I personally were faced with your hypothetical situation then sure why not. It worked in The Karate Kid.

Xythar says:

Why is it stupid? It makes plenty of sense to me.

Sensei is in the dictionary only in the sense of “a karate or judo instructor” and we may well leave it alone if it’s used in that sense. It certainly doesn’t mean a schoolteacher to anyone who’s not familiar with Japanese, though, so any uses of “sensei” at school are localized appropriately.

Dark_Sage says:

Just gonna leave this here. I expect to see this reflected in your subs henceforth.

Xythar says:


I’m not kidding, by the way, the editing standards for Commie literally say, and I quote, “—A general rule for Japanese-y words: If you can’t find a word in the dictionary ( or Merriam-Webster), it should be localized or translated.”

Dark_Sage says:

Sounds good. I’ll leave this list here

and I look forward to Commie’s new kawaii subs.

brainchild says:

Good thing I made the rules pretty lenient. Even if the words are the dictionary, the translator/editor can be as arbitrary as he or she wants to be, so long as he or she is consistently arbitrary within the show.

And it’s not like I have a beef with localization vs. transliteration. It’s just Commie policy. All I care about is consistency.

Xythar says:

Are you arguing that English subtitles should not use words that are by definition part of the English language?

I’m not sure I trust Wikipedia’s list there to be 100% accurate (for instance, searching for “kawaii” returns zero results) but I don’t think anyone would argue for localizing words like “kimono”, “bonsai”, “haiku” or “karaoke”.

thecowgoesmoo says:

No, you should go ahead and translate those as well. I suggest you go with “fancy robe”, “artistic dwarf shrub”, “structured prose”, and “sing-a-long activity that drunk white folks think would be fun to do but really just makes them look hilarious”.

Xythar says:

That’s actually not a bad idea. But for now, I need to get back to my Number Arrangement puzzle.

Dark_Sage says:

It’s all well and good to have “if it’s in the dictionary…” be your standard, but I’d expect you to use your brain before following the policy like it’s the word of god.

The logic behind “Worship the dictionary” doesn’t make that much sense. Every subtitle goes with standard, common English when they choose words to use. So while you can use fancy, 13-syllable words if you want to, you make the conscious choice to avoid that verbiage.

You’re never going to use a sentence like “The mikado is eating his bento with the boze.” because as an English speaker you know that’s ridiculous. What you should focus on is that common, standard English. Is it that hard to only use Japanese words in your script that make sense in the context of the show and the audience of your subs? You’re an editor, not a computer.

If you want a litmus test, go with “Would someone with only slight knowledge of Japanese language and culture understand these subs?” Groups adjust this line based on their localization preferences. Some go with “Would someone with 0 knowledge get this?” and some go with “Would someone who lives, breathes, and eats anime get this?” Either way, it’s more sensible than living your life by ever-outdated books.

brainchild says:

The dictionary rule is just the bare minimum.

thecowgoesmoo says:

A governess is not just a tutor; they are/were usually live-in employees that teach not only academic subjects but also arts and manners/propriety. Women hired as Victorian governesses also usually fit a general social profile and background, one that “tutor” does not capture. And while one might think of a governess as a British thing, the word itself is perfectly acceptable as American English. In fact, a quick search for ‘American governess’ brings up quite a few want ads. From those ads it seems a modern governess appears to have a somewhat different job description; nevertheless, the word itself is shown to be in use in the States in a generally similar fashion.

tl;dr: Governess is acceptable American English.

brainchild says:

I would’ve localized it as “And that Mary Poppins bitch, too…”

Dark_Sage says:

And what state are you from that still uses “governess” for “tutor”? Sure as fuck ain’t standard lexicon among the humans I talk to.

Xythar says:

This show isn’t set in the modern day though, right?

(tell me if it is because I actually have no idea and googling has returned nothing useful)

thecowgoesmoo says:

Fujiko sexes up Zenigata — oh yeah, spoiler warning I guess — so whatever time period the previous series is has to match up. I guess it’s… modern-ish? But certainly not set in the past couple of decades.

thecowgoesmoo says:

If you were to re-read the very first sentence, you’d see that I said that a tutor and a governess are not the same thing. Thus, the answer to your question is, “I’m not from any such state, because only an idiot would think the two are the same thing or that they’re interchangeable in any but the crudest circumstances.”

To clarify further, if, say, The Guardian had a piece about lead-based paint used on a particular colour of aluminium-framed prams, The New York Times would refer to a particular color of aluminum-framed strollers, because prams, colour, and aluminium aren’t American English. However, both the Times and Guardian would both talk about a governess in the employ of the House of Saud because the position being discussed is a governess and not simply a tutor.

thecowgoesmoo says:

Holy mother of run on sentences. I really ought to stop commenting on things after 2 AM.

FalseDawn says:

Gotta agree with cow here – governess is standard enough for rich folk. Used rarely these days, but doesn’t mean that it’s not used.

Aladar says:

tl;dr d_s is retarded as always and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.. as usual.

Hells_Finest says:

Trivial fact, but they left genin, chuunin and jounin in the German version of Naruto

Alto says:

Those words are left untranslated because “genin” , “chuunin” and “jounin” are terms that belong to the series’ setting, but I don’t understand why they translated their techniques only partly like:
“kagebunshin no jutsu” –> “Schattendoppelgänger-jutsu”

Dark_Sage says:

I heartily lol’d.

Alto says:

I cried nearly every time they did that, but it’s good to know that I could entertain you with that

Alto says:

btw your Gyarados post is awesome

L-sama says:

I miss the good ol’ times, when reviews and comments were about actual fuck-ups, not fansubbing philosophy disputes…

Guess I won’t agree with anyone here, ’cause I think the viewer should actually listen to the japanese audio (imagine how much bandwidth we’d save without it! why not remove it?! you got subs in there anyway!). It applies equally to stuff like honorifics and catchphrases… Or is the average American citizen (that’s your target audience, right?) not smart enough to do that much?

herkz says:

But that’s no fun.

Marow says:

“2. There is no reason to capitalize “Freunde” just because it’s in German. Don’t fucking capitalize common nouns. Goddamn.”

But shouldn’t it be capitalized because it should be that in proper German?

Hells_Finest says:

You capitalize nouns in the German language, correct.

Marow says:

Seems like my horrible skills in German are still there <3

Dark_Sage says:

My thought process was “If you’re using a word in the construct of an English sentence, it should follow the English rules of capitalization” but I’m not so sure that’s the best choice anymore.

Thanks to all fifteen of you who corrected me on this <3

Dark_Sage says:

Okay, dubtitles vs. subtitles. Fuck, this is gonna be lengthy.

What we’re arguing here is over use of dubtitles instead of subtitles in Japanese anime (and presumably other media that only contain an original audio track and a translated subtitle script). Because dubtitles can’t really be done without a dub, we’re debating whether or not we should create a script that could instantly be used in a dub… Well, that’s how I’m framing the argument in my head, so if I’m missing some intricacies of your position, let me know.

It’s not going to match the audio
Voice actors/actresses are given a blank slate to work with. True, they may attempt to match lip flaps, but they’re able to fill silences with audio and change up dialogue length so long as it does not interfere with the visuals/pacing of the show. A dubtitled script would result in subtitles for silence and 13-syllable Japanese sentences being reduced to 3-syllable English sentences. It won’t fit… at all. And I have no clue how you’d time it either.

Actually, wait. I’m gonna stop it right here. What you’re suggesting is fucking impossible. You can’t time a dubtitle script without having the proper audio to work with. You could time it to the Japanese audio, but then you’d have to tailor your script to said audio and… then you’re not really dubtitling.

So in essence, I’m not clear as to what you’re arguing. At all. Perhaps you could enlighten me so I have an idea as to your thought process.

Xythar says:

I addressed that in the post I made earlier.

“Obviously, there are technical issues that you need to follow regardless (like having your translations match length of the original audio, though that’s an issue for dubs as well) but for the most part, dubtitles allow the freedom to come up with much more creative, interesting and entertaining scripts than otherwise.”

I’m arguing that we shouldn’t need to pay attention to the meaning of what’s actually being said in the original audio when it comes to writing the subtitles.

Dark_Sage says:

If you really believe that we shouldn’t pay attention to the meaning of the original Japanese script, how the fuck do you intend to translate the show? Magic?

Xythar says:

I mean that you shouldn’t feel constrained to translate things a certain way because of specific recognizable terms appearing in the audio. And if an English word appears there, you shouldn’t feel you need to include it in the subtitles verbatim.

Dark_Sage says:

True, it’s not necessary, but if you can work it in there naturally, that’s the best option. Well, unless your audience is primarily deaf, that is. Tossing another language into your subs when the Japanese use English is, however, not the best option. And if you do use another language, it better fucking be Spanish (English is the most commonly taught second language in Japan and Spanish is the most commonly taught second language in the US). If you’re using British English, what to use… Mm, Arabic?

I guess I still don’t understand your argument behind translating English into other languages. And your rabid love of the German language in this show is also a bit confusing. Perhaps you could enlighten me as to why these are best practices for you.

There is no reason to keep the “German” song in German. It doesn’t contribute any value to the subs. So why is it a bad move to translate the song into English so an English-speaking audience could understand it? If your beliefs really are summed up by “We’re allowing the English-speaking audience to be confused like the Japanese are supposed to be.” then I hope you take into account my suggestion of having your typesetters cover up the all non-Japanese text that appears in anime. Hypocrisy is bad form.

herkz says:

I don’t see how anyone’s under any obligation to work them in naturally. If you can find a better translation that doesn’t include the word then you’d actually be obligated to use that.

Besides, you are missing the point entirely. We did not change anything to German–that was all Funimation. The editor just felt no reason to change it to English because it was a well-done and proper localization, which goes back to my previous point.

Xythar says:

Like I mentioned above, I assume the German was because the kids were from Fake Not-Austria, so it makes sense to use German specifically, plot-wise.

I think your estimation of the impact that the German would have on the audience is a little exaggerated. That one sentence in the song is the only place it’s used beyond “Freund”, and I’m pretty sure that whole sentence was basically just added by Funi as way to add a bit of flavour to the line. You’re not missing anything by not knowing precisely what it means.

Beyond that, the only usage of German in the episode is “Freund”, and I feel like that was a pretty clever way for them to deal with the usage of “friend” in English. The whole point is that the kids are using a foreign word that Goemon doesn’t understand immediately (at least, not until the governess explains it to him), so keeping it as “friend” in English when the rest of the script is in English doesn’t really have the same effect IMO. You could perhaps get around it by using some kind of really obscure English word for “friend” in its place, but as far as I can see that’d pretty much just be a more clumsy way to the same end.

FalseDawn says:

Of course, an English-speaking audience wouldn’t be befuddled by the German translation because they can’t understand it because… what I’m getting is that it’s substituting for English. Meaning, they should understand the audio anyway? Or have I missed the point there?

Xythar says:

The only part that’s English in the audio is the word “Friend”. That extra German line in the childrens’ song doesn’t seem to go to much of anything so I think Funi just added it for flavour.

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