With the debut of the Yo-Kai Watch anime on Disney XD, fans have been proclaiming the English dub as one of the best ones in years. SnapThirty and KGPrestige from Youtube were fortunate enough to get the chance to interview David H. Steinberg, the head scriptwriter for the much-lauded dub. We’ve summarized the highlights of that interview below:
- The English dub was written with a focus on Western localization (something we talked about at length in our series of localization reviews, the first of which, Yo-kai Watch Season One, Episode One – Yo-kai Are Real!, The Spooky Intersection (English Dub), we published October 5th).
- Jokes, dialogue, and other pieces of information that were culturally hard to translate were renewed to conform with a Western audience; that being said, great strides were made to keep these cultural shifts as minimal as possible.
- David was stressed out but inspired by the success of the Yo-kai franchise – he knew how good the original was, and strove to make the localization every bit as good (and in our opinion, it absolutely showed!)
- The localization team became Yo-kai fanatics themselves as they translated the show.
- The localization team did not rename the Yo-kai, but were rather given names directly by Level-5.
- The main focus of the dub team was to make sure localization was consistent, and made sense given the source material.
- There was some cut material – some jokes were so culturally specific to Japan that they were cut completely and replaced with rewritten jokes or references for Western audiences.
- Though the theme song “Gera Gera Po” makes reference to potatoes in Idaho, the show takes place in an average, non-specific American town, not Springdale, Idaho, as some fans have speculated.
- David’s past work before Yo-kai Watch was on teen comedies.
- The dub team worked very hard to balance appeal by including material that would entice both new fans and long-time established Yo-kai fans.
- David’s favorite characters to write about were ones that required a second look or take on what you first assume about the character. He cites Spenp as an example, a Yo-kai that makes you unnecessarily spend money on products.
- Most of the dialogue and characterization for Komasan was written by David’s wife and writing partner.
- Lip-syncing is the biggest challenge with putting as much dialogue as the episode of Yo-Kai Watch allows for characters.
- David was brought on to the team by Mark Risley (both having worked on projects at Disney), who was both hired by Level-5 and Dentsu to do the anime localization.
- David’s favorite episode is the Blazion episode.
- David’s favorite character is Jibanyan.
David went into a lot more detail of course, but we felt that these were the absolute highlights of the interviews. You can check out either of them below for more information. Thanks David and team for creating such an amazing dub and assembling such a wonderful localization team!
Video interview with @KGPrestige here: