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Game Center US Update: Well, by all the standards I'd set for myself my Game Center excursion today was a failure. I got the time wrong and arrived halfway through the showing. There was nobody to ask my weblog-journalism questions except one of the film-festival guys. He said there had been someone from the production company at the premiere last week, and she'd been taking video messages (!) from American fans to send to Shinya Arino. So I missed all the excitement and any opportunity to find out exclusive facts for you, my readers, which in retrospect makes sense--why would someone from the production company stick around for all the showings? I should have hustled.

But, something I didn't expect happened that made up for things going wrong. I speak of Sumana's reaction to the show. When I said earlier that everyone to whom I've explained the the concept reacted positively, I should have said all the men to whom I explained the concept. Sumana just decided to humor me, and not without a certain amount of eye-rolling, in my obsession with this weird Japanese TV show. But she came with me to the showing, mostly because I'm still sick. Two minutes after we arrived she was laughing and loving it. Arino's joie de vivre charms the ladies! I don't think she would have liked the show in Japanese, but the subtitles brought the character to life and she had a lot of fun.

Okay, here's what I know. An episode of Retro Game Master is 30 minutes long, half the length of a Game Center CX show. They cut out the otaku-sociology and game creator interviews and everything but Arino's Challenge. This undoubtedly makes the show more Sumana-friendly, but it would have been nice to see a translation of the whole thing. It also messes with the pacing of the show, as the narrator builds up big cliffhangers which are immediately resolved because there's nothing between challenge segments.

There are subtitles over dialogue, and the Japanese captions and narration are are replaced by English captions and narration. The way the captions are done looks a lot like the localization of Hey! Spring of Trivia from a few years ago, but unlike with H!SoT the English narration is faithful to the tone of the original show. (I've never seen the Japanese Fountain of Trivia, but it really seemed like the American dubbers were being snarky. Here the over-the-top dramatic narration is present in the original.)

These guys are working to get either a US distributor for the translated shows on DVD or to get it shown on US TV. No information was available about the status of these negotiations, but according to random film festival guy, Ray Barnholdt will know when it happens, so take your cues from him.

And I just discovered that most of what I just wrote shows up in this Wired weblog entry from Thursday. Oh well.


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