Anime classic Neon Genesis Evangelion is finally on Netflix in high-definition glory. Now you’ll be able to watch your favourite characters get in their robots and spiral into crisis in HD! Fans of the series are even commemorating by sharing their favourite memes on the internet.
Not everything is as good as it sounds, though – fans of the series are unhappy with how the series was adapted, because of some changes in the translations for the series’ subtitles.
Though it may sound like a small issue, seeing as how these subtitles weren’t mistranslated per se, it’s anything but that. After all, the choices of words used in a translation can change the intended meaning of the original sentence, and even the scene that’s taking place, entirely.
How bad is the issue?
Here’s an example of a scene with edited subtitles:
While the subtitles in the first screencap were adapted well by Netflix’s script, there’s a very clear difference in the meaning of the original subtitles for the second one, and the adaptation. “You’re the only one who can help me” versus “You’re the only one for me” is vastly different in meaning, considering how the latter has a definite romantic subtext to it.
It changes the tone of the scene, too. In the original, it comes across as him begging her to stay, in a platonic context that could just be requiring her emotional support and assistance. With Netflix’s script, it seems almost like a break-up scene, in which he’s begging her not to leave their relationship.
Here’s the one that fans are really upset about, though:
Fans of the series have argued that Shinji’s and Kaworu’s relationship is pivotal to Shinji’s development, considering how the pair have canonically kissed in the manga of Neon Genesis Evangelion. However, this significance is removed from Netflix’s script, because.. who says that they’re “worthy of someone’s grace” when someone tells you they love you?
It’s queer erasure, and it’s clear to see why it’s drawing backlash. When translating anything, word choice is the most important in conveying meaning – the script turning out likes this means that it was deliberately phrased this way. It’s understandable that fans of the series are upset about these translations.
Should I still watch Neon Genesis Evangelion?
Of course, if you’re still keen on watching Neon Genesis Evangelion on Netflix, don’t let this issue stop you from enjoying this thought-provoking classic in high quality. Just try to be aware of the intended context and meanings of these scenes. Here’s a thread that explains the context in which the show was created, and completed:
Neon Genesis Evangelion is now streaming on Netflix.