Written by TheBigN
Another example of why I’m a hypocrite:
The introduction of Kate in Sketchbook episode 7 was a nice little change of pace (if you could really call it that with this type of show). Kate’s an interesting character as the very earnest but easily led astray foreigner with a nice curiosity in Japan and all that holds within. Though she’s not really the focal point of the episode, as Natsumi gets her time to shine and we get to know a bit more about her. Given that she’s my favorite character in the series, this is a good thing. So it was obviously a good episode to me, but once again, as anime often has when you watch it enough, something crops up that bugs me.
The problem for me here lies with how Kate speaks her Japanese. When I think about it, it’s probably a part of her character (based on how she writes everything in inaccurate Kanji and all), but when she speaks (good job by Yuuko Gotou, BTW :P), her accurate Japanese sounds very arrhythmic and atonal, and more so than what I usually hear in anime (Serizawa’s imitation of Becky for Pani Poni Dash comes to mind). A heart attack of the Japanese language, if you will. It’s the same thing as Gilbert from Hayate the Combat Butler, but it doesn’t bug me as much in that case since I think it fits with the wacky tone of the show. Does it fit in Sketchbook? I think it does, but I don’t like it regardless.
When I hear it spoken that way , I do wonder if that’s how some people in Japan think foreigners speak English, and probably more than I should. It makes me worry about how things are, makes me feel a little demoralized about making the effort to learn how to speak Japanese well, and makes me feel a little driven to prove someone wrong (which is silly). On the other hand, I enjoy hearing Engrish in anime, as the results can be very entertaining (though it can hurt at the same time; the song sang in the end of Fuuko’s arc of CLANNAD for a recent example). And while I don’t believe that’s how most people from Japan speak English (without any proof to back that belief, BTW), I don’t believe I can really complain about this issue. In that case, it’s just something minor that nags me but has no merit in me whining about it.
So I guess I’m wondering, is that really how things are? Does this sort of thing bug you? Does it really matter all that much? And why aren’t there more foreigners that speak like this (yes I know this isn’t a good contrast; that’s the point)?