Dubs That Never Were: Ursula’s Kiss


Utena =/= witch-octopus.

Although apparently someone at Enoki Films equated the two.

You probably know ‘Ursula’s Kiss’ as ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’, or its original title, ‘Shoujo Kakumei Utena’. A J.C. Staff production, its licensing was handled by Enoki Films, whereas the distribution was done by the now-defunct Central Park Media. Enoki Films is a company geared toward dubbing efforts, and as a result, they marketed SKU in a manner that was ready-made for dubbing; the promotional material contained localized names for all the characters, and seems to have been targeted for a script re-write. Thank goodness CPM had no interest in doing such a thing.

Currently, Enoki Films continues to hold the North American license for SKU, although the CPM releases are out of print. For a few chuckles, you can check out their webpage for the show for shits and giggles. You’ll notice that Utena is not the only one who ends up with an amusing renaming effort, with folks such as “Sonny” (Mikage), “Mitch” (Mitsuru), and “Wanda” (Wakaba) populating the series. You’ll also see that a few folks seem to have undergone personality changes, since Shiori is now “Sally” who has a “personality [that] is moderate and decent type”. Its also pretty easy to figure out that the person who wrote it up wasn’t completely up to snuff with their English language skills, as evidenced by the previous quote.

I’m divided on which rename amuses me the most – Mitsuru as Mitch is hysterical, for instance, since Mitch sounds like an old fisherman or a member of a biker gang, not a ten year old boy. On the other hand, the devilish Akio becomes… Mike. And apparently his character has been split into two, as he is described as such: “He is friendly and easy-going with others. He like to wear black.” …huh? The first part is fairly accurate, but where the hell did the second part come from? But, look guys! Now there ‘Tory’ a.k.a. ‘Goki Otori’! He watches ‘Ursula’ and ‘Angie’ (Anthy) from the shadows… and he might be the ‘Seeker of Armageddon!’ Apparently even English language phrases have to be fixed in this, as I’m guessing this is what ‘End of the World’ is.

As a brief aside, Saionji becomes ‘Kevin Simon’ for some unfathomable reason, as everyone else only gets one name in the Enoki-envisioned dub.

Further down the character list, things get even more dicey, as we’re introduced to ‘Silver Mask’, ‘Pazolini’, and ‘Lady June’. Do these folks have any counterpart in the original? Nooo. I wonder how they planned on including them? Silver Mask apparently is a member of ‘The Seekers of Armageddon’ (wait, I thought Tory was THE Seek of Armageddon – now its a group?!), Pazolini commands the troops that are sent by the Armageddon folks, and Lady June is… ” The evil princess commanding the troop. Cool and merciless.”

But, sadly, we’ll never know what the hell Enoki was planning, since they stole their episode summaries from another website, and only bothered to make naming alterations through episode twelve on the summaries. Whoops, guys, looks like you forgot to edit out that ‘Julie’ (Juri) has a crush on ‘Sally’! (More messing with the storyline – ‘Julie’ secretly pines for ‘Tommy’ [Touga]! No homos in our dub!) I honestly sort of wish someone had written up episode summaries for what Enoki had planned, as I’m sure they would’ve been just as amusing as their character list was.

If you poke around the Enoki website, you’d be forgiven for being shocked that they are actually the licensors for several fairly popular properties over the past few years, such as Slayers, KareKano/His and Her Circumstances (or as Enoki likes to call it, ‘Tales of North Hills High’), and Saiyuki, along with some more “mainstream” former American Saturday morning basic cable mainstays like Flint the Time Detective. The website is fairly low-tech, and is drowning in Engrish. You’d think they could hire better translators given the amount of money they’ve made off of their more high-profile licenses.

Anyway, I encourage you to fully check out the ‘Ursula’s Kiss’ portion of the website if you are an Utena fan, as it contains way more in the way of humorous gems than I shared here (“Tommy stops her and calms her down like her brother. But in his eyes, an ambition glares.”). Or if you’re just itching to write a really, realllly bad Utena fanfic, since this is basically what the whole thing reeks of.

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2 Responses to Dubs That Never Were: Ursula’s Kiss

  1. Beren says:

    I couldn’t help laughing when I read this! I’m against adapting characters’ names in translations, and my!, these translators really messed things up! On another note, it seems that the mexican version of Utena was based on the english translation since the title in spanish is “El anillo mágico de Ursula” (Ursula’s Magic Ring).

  2. cuteordeath says:

    if I may bump an old entry, I believe the thing about “Julie” lusting for “Tommy” is taken from Juri’s character in the manga. In the legit Utena manga, Juri is in love with Touga. :U

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