Kern’s note: be nice everyone, it’s Ruka’s first post here and first blog post ever. Ruka is also the resident artist here at TDF. These little icons we use are her creations.
Welcome everyone, this is Ruka. Back in the 1990s on the small island of Puerto Rico, there used to be generation of kids who by all social standards were labeled as weird and a bit on the strange side.
The main reason for this was due to their love and enjoyment of the afternoon and Saturday morning “cartoons”, also known as anime. I’m part of that generation of 90’s kids.
In the early stages of the 2000s, anime became a big part of pop culture. It has woven itself from our TVs to our toys, clothes, and even in the way we socialize. The anime industry has boomed. Yet, as someone who grew up in the 90s away from the mainland, anime was a much harder thing to find.
I was but a small child learning of the world, and all I wanted to do was watch cartoons, especially on Saturday mornings. Even if I had no idea, it was anime at the time, I was enjoying shows like Ranma ½, Samurai X (Rurouni Kenshin), and Slam Dunk. During the weekday after-school programming, Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z (DBZ) became a big part of the rotation too.
But what is so different from all other kids from the mainland you ask? Well, without getting into it so much, as a USA territory, Puerto Rico’s main language is Spanish. And for a good majority of us, we only had local channels, nothing more. Cable was something not many of us could afford. So naturally, the kid’s “cartoon” block was in Spanish.
Okay, but what does any of this has to do with anime you ask? Well, for an English territory whose main language is Spanish, it means a lot. Showing us something that many don’t get to experience in the mainland; anime with Spanish dubs. Nowadays when it comes to anime, most of us more likely than not will always go for the original, but to this day, I am unable to watch Ranma in any other language including its original form. This also holds true to DBZ and Pokémon, but I can manage their English or original form better.
Do I believe the Spanish dubs are worth it? Absolutely! Spanish is one of the most spoken languages ranking 4th worldwide and 2nd in Native-speaking countries in the world. Not only that but in the 90s most anime on television were dubbed by locals. That is the main reason that Spanish dubs became as successful as they did. Think about that for a minute…
The locals themselves took matters into their own hands, making the Spanish dubbing a demand. With this, they made sure that other Spanish-speaking countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela had access to them as well.
Also, one of the biggest achievements this move created was an overall understanding that if the industry could work on dubbing anime into different languages, then it could expand into other nations around the world. In doing so, growing the industry’s reach beyond its original concept. Again, making it accessible for the local television stations in remote areas of the world, as it did for me and many others in the Caribbean. Its movement and progress continues to this day, for as of February 3rd, 2021, Funimation started to add Spanish and Portuguese subs and dubs of their shows in English-speaking territories. This is a big step, especially here in the USA.
At the end of the day, translations of anime and manga play a big role in the industry and in my childhood memories. Without its accessibility and evolution, I would have never found my way to the world of fandom, never would of meet the people that I call friends, and probably would have never written this at all.
This has been Ruka of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest, and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you around! Until then please be sure to check out our other content below.
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