Let’s talk about the “changes” Commie made to Free! s2, and whether or not they were worth waiting for.
Explanation, for the uninitiated:
Is it truly a re-encode?
- Different Encode
As in most Japanese shows, characters use honorifics to refer to one another. It tends to be a personal preference as to whether a translation should localize names by removing honorifics (and thus, removing context from characters’ speech) or keeping honorifics in (and thus, decreasing understanding/relatability for those unfamiliar with honorifics). Yes, I’m oversimplifying the situation for the purpose of brevity, but generally that’s what the argument comes down to.
Commie decided to remove all the honorifics from the release (as per their group’s standard practice), but ran into the problem whereby removing the -chan from people’s names, they were removing too much context from the dialogue to be acceptable. So they decided to come up with nicknames for each of the characters, in the most retarded way possible.
When you make a change for the purpose of westernization/americanization, the change is supposed to be natural for that audience. But tell me, when was the last time you heard anyone call someone “Daniel-Daniel”? Never?
Again, Commie shuns anything with an honorific in it, this time by making a direct translation of “onii-chan” into “big brother”.
Unfortunately, Commie never went to grammar school — direct addresses should be capitalized.
Per Grammar Girl, nicknames interchangeable with real ones should be capitalized. If not, you can keep that shit lowercase. In this case, “Onii-chan” is interchangeable with his actual name, Rin, so it should be capitalized regardless of whether you go with onii-chan” or “big brother”. (If she started the line with a “Hey,” then it’d be “Hey, Onii-chan, take that stuff off!” or “Hey, Big Brother, take that stuff off!” for example.)
As for the “onii-chan” -> “big brother” change itself… Again, personal preference.
While it’s true that Seme-whatever Academy will have a lot of new blood, considering the point of the episode is to recap AND build up to the new character, Sousuke… the Crunchyroll translation makes more contextual sense.
Either one could be accepted though, as the Japanese language isn’t particularly known for distinguishing between the singular and plural forms.
This was the other “big” edit in the episode. I’m not really sure why Commie made the change here, since it’s pretty clear that a “charm point” (which is used in English on the show) is a “point of charm”. I guess it was too cutesy for them?
This isn’t necessarily “incorrect”, but it isn’t “correct” either. It just… is.
In Commie’s version, you lose a bit of detail, but it’s less blocky. While you could do the same with the blur tool in any image editor, I think it looks a bit better than the official version.
It’s also worth noting that while Commie’s version only comes in 720p, the official stream and the HorribleSubs re-release are also in 1080p and 480p.
But hey, it’s something, right?
Commie worked on making the signs match the Japanese text more closely, but sometimes it came at the expense of readability. I guess QC is too much to ask for these days.
Time cost (episode 1): 5 hours, 7 minutes.
Worth waiting for?: No.
The vast majority of the changes in this release don’t make the subs better — or worse — they just make them another option for those who prefer/don’t mind localized dialogue. It’s not a release from Satan’s sub shop, but if you want to wait for Commie, I think you’re wasting your time.