How I Learned to Enjoy Subbed Anime

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Recently, thanks to a reviewer named Suede, I got into an obscure, 25-episode anime called Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro. It’s never been translated and released in North America, so because I don’t know a lick of Japanese, I had to watch it via subtitles.

Now, before I get into more, let me start off by saying that any animes I’d seen up to this point were translated. Stuff like Sailor Moon, Pokemon, Digimon, Fullmetal Alchemist, Inuyasha, Hamtaro and Kirby, to name a few. That doesn’t even include the few Studio Ghibli films I’ve seen as well. I’d always found that if an anime wasn’t translated, I immediately had no interest in checking it out. This is 100% in part of my own laziness to have to read subbed animes to understand what’s going on. I felt that, whether translated well or badly, watching subbed animes took too much effort. I suppose it was my own ignorance and intolerance, since anime in general is something I have at best a passing interest in.

Fast forward to about a week ago. An anime reviewer I discovered through a video website called ThatGuyWithTheGlasses covered the aforementioned anime for his 2012 Halloween special. This 13 minute vid sparked my interest due to the context of the anime itself. For the first time in a long time, my interest in the subject matter actually outweighed the fact that it was subbed only.

So, what’s the anime about? I’ll be brief: A demon named Neuro feeds off of mysteries or “puzzles” and has “eaten” all of them in Hell. Not satisfied, he decides to come to Earth (specifically Japan) in order to find the ultimate mystery to satisfy his hunger. Along the way, he drags a 16-year-old high school girl named Yako into becoming his accomplice, masquerading her as a detective so they can search for mysteries by capturing criminals. Each episode, save for a few overarching ones, features a criminal, typically a murderer, who upon being found out goes into a sort of “breakdown mode,” showing their true colors. Neuro then reverts to his birdlike demon form briefly and “eats” the mystery before they’re swept off by the police.

There’s a lot more to the anime, but this is the basic scope. The animation looks great, especially in the visual effects department. The humor is entertaining, most of it derived from Neuro constantly tormenting Yako. The overall story kept me interested from start to finish. After a while, I even found that the Japanese voices fit pretty much perfectly to each character and found it difficult to imagine what they would sound like in English. Overall, it’s a fun, slightly gory anime that, while short, makes for a great watch.

And with that, I feel like my eyes have been reopened to anime in general. I feel more willing to give anime a chance, no matter if it’s dubbed or subbed. MTNN really showed me that an anime doesn’t have to be strictly in your language for you to get enjoyment out of it. Before long, reading the subtitles was just second nature and not a hindrance like I’d expected. To all the anime fans out there, especially subbed fans, I finally get it. I see the appeal and am open to more good stories like this. And while I still don’t consider myself a huge anime fan, I feel all the more appreciative of it.

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