My wife has maintained a subscription to OtakuUSA since it started, in fact, I think it’s the last physical magazine subscription we have. I page through it occasionally to see if there’s anything interesting out there in the world of anime, although let’s be honest, it only talks about things that are officially released in America and that’s a small subset of things that actually come out in Japan, so I don’t know how much value it really has.
Anyhow, I noticed in the most recent issue that there were a number of conventions announcing almost exclusively American voice actors and American actors of shows that weren’t anime and I started to question whether these were really anime conventions.
To start, the definition of anime is:
a style of Japanese film and television animation, typically aimed at adults as well as children.
So does having anime translated into another language make those voice actors and translators anime talent? I would argue no, any more than having a translator for a book into English makes them a literary talent, or someone who reads a book to make an audio version makes them a literary talent.
It would be like saying Italy was having a Hollywood movie convention, yet only inviting Italian voice actors to appear. Would that really be about Hollywood movies, or about Italian imports?
And how far do you go? Was Robotech anime? It was based on Japanese animation, after all. How about Starblazers? Is Warriors of the Wind anime because it was a bad, and I repeat bad, version of Nausicaa? Certainly, Power Rangers isn’t anime of any kind, it isn’t animated, it doesn’t even draw its stories from Japanese sources, it just “borrows” action sequences from Japanese tokusatsu shows, yet Power Rangers has a significant presence at a lot of these so-called anime conventions.
Sure, I know it’s a lot cheaper to have local talent, certainly cheaper than having to import creators from Japan, plus likely having translators on hand if they don’t speak English, but still, if that’s not what you’re doing, are you really having anime guests at your convention? I just don’t think so.
Never mind me, I’m just being pedantic.