Wednesday, January 21, 2009

OL Nippon eps 4-10

The softsubs for OL Nippon by Haruspex seems to have stopped with ep 4. (damn those streamers!) The show is good enough that I decided to get one of those Engrish subbed HK dvds. I tried watching it raw but couldn't understand a lot of the work related talk. I wish whoever does this DVDs would hire someone with decent English to edit the subtitles. 2-3 years ago the idea of English subtitled dvds was unheard of so at least there's an avenue now for jdoramas that don't get subbed.

The middle portion of OL Nippon centres around the Kanzaki Shimako quadrangle with her boss, opera guy and Chibi-san. I just find this part of the show hilarious. Kanzaki basically wants to bury her head in the sand and pretend nothing is happening. Her boss knows that Kanzaki hardly acknowledges his existence but he's the only one who can stop the engagement. Opera guy has no chemistry and will forever get teased for that song and Chibi-san just wants to argue with Kanzaki all day. Nothing like likable, disfunctional characters trapped with only one way out.

Behold! The evil power of makeup!

Throughout all this, the General Dept has become more receptive to Chan-san and Yan-san. They start to see them not as outsiders taking away their livelihood but members of the same team. Its interesting to see how Chibi-san always talks about Chinese stereotypes but the more the General Dept get to know Chan-san and Yan-san, the more those stereotypes start to break down. They start acting against stereotypes and the Japanese start to see them as people, not just faceless Chinese.

Its interesting that this show is about accepting the impact that economic downturn and globalisation has on the Japanese workforce. Lifetime employment and working for one company no longer exists. Jobs are outsourced overseas to minimise costs. The Japanese response is to do whatever one can and take this as a challenge. They whinged about it in the beginning but they came to realise that the problem was too big. It was inevitable. You could say it was part of the shoganai na attitude. If this were an Australian drama, it would be about how overseas call centres can't speak proper English and are just reading from a list without adequate knowledge.

I still find the fact that the Chinese are portrayed so positively in this show is shocking and its fun actually not needing subtitles to understand some lines. I dare say that the Mandarin spoken by the Japanese cast in this show is far superior to the crappy English that we always find in jdoramas. Every time they have some actor pretending to be talking English, I just cringe. Pathetic pronunciation and stupid lines can never convince that a character is overseas speaking English. You can always see this tense smile on their face as they're wondering whether they sound alright. There's always something unnatural about it.

The only thing missing are laser beams of death shooting from her eyes.

Abe Sadao does a fucking brilliant job of speaking Mandarin. It feels natural. Sometimes words don't sound right but for the most part, he did a good job. The funniest part for me besides the opera singing and imaginary voice overs was when one of the workers scolded him in Mandarin. The pronunciation was perfect. I can't imagine how much the actress practiced those lines to be able to do it so well. Maybe it was the typical Chinese insult about the parents but that scene had me in stitches.

One show that OL Nippon has in common with is Muri na Renai. Both shows feature well developed characters as they struggle with their jobs. Both shows concentrate on the relationships in the beginning and focus and the characters' decisions regarding work at the end. Some people might find the lack of emphasis on relationships at the end off-putting but I don't care. Its more about exploring characters, their motivations and life decisions. I'd recommend anyone pick up the HK subbed DVDs despite the Engrish. Its very worth watching.


Joe1991 said...

I'll give the subs a couple more months, if theres still no sign i'll probably cave and pick up some HK copies :(

dave said...

there's japanese subtitles available for this as well in .srt format. i really enjoyed this series

Akiramike said...

Doubt Haruspex is going to continue since its been a while and then there's the streamers issue.

Adriatic said...

Are the subs compatible to RAWs posted on ?
Any chance to get them somewhere online ?

This seems like a great show, it's a shame I am stuck with no subs after the episode number 3 :(

Rob said...

Would it be possible for you to rip the subs from the DVD? I really would love to finish this drama too but watching RAW is not much fun.
You wouldn't need to retime or do anything, I can do that ^^