A recent development in the world of Hello! Project and UFP is the use of subtitles on their video's, more notably, their music video's. The first group to introduce this was Morning Musume with the full PV for Brainstorming. Of course Kimi Sae Wah Wah followed suit, as did Tasaki Asahi's new PV for her song Sakura Dokei. The thing is though, is this really necessarily?
I know that fans have wanted subtitles for a while because we like to understand what's going on, and when the video for Brainstorming was uploaded, there was a lot of positive responses from foreign fans of Morning Musume because they could now understand it a little better, even if English was not their mother tongue. However, when I was told by my sister that the music video had subtitles, I was a little less than happy by the news. I have my own reasons for this of course as both a blogger and a fan, and really, I am not overly excited by this sudden development... much like Japanese fans, I think. (read this for a better understanding of what I mean... Takamaruyo, I salute you guys!)
I know I may be a part of a minority, but that is how I feel right now about the subtitles, and I want to write this to get that across.
So first thing first: Why the music video's and not the announcement video's? I don't understand this at all. Currently, only one announcement video has been subbed, and that is the C-ute Budokan and Paris announcement, which I actually greatly appreciated the subs for because I could understand the video more, and it felt more emotional for me as a fan. But when it comes to other announcement video's, I also want to know what everyone is saying, such as the new video on Morning Musume's channel where the girls comment on the 12th generation auditions that are currently going on. Why not sub that? I know that subbing takes time and all, but I would rather see these announcement video's subtitled than the music video's. It is a lot more logical and it will give fans a better understanding of what is going on.
So, why the music video's? In my opinion, music video's do not need lyrics added to them, Japanese or English, because music is there for enjoyment.
I have always believed that music is universal, regardless of the language you speak or whether or not you understand it. I don't need to understand Morning Musume's lyrics to enjoy the song, and even if I wanted to understand the lyrics, I can just find them by myself by typing into google 'Brainstorming English Lyrics' or looking for a video that has the lyrics hard subbed onto them by a fan. I also think that a music video does not need lyrics added to the video because, in a way, it can be a huge distraction, especially if you just want to watch the video and not read anything.
In fact, for me the lyrics added to the video are very off-putting as both a blogger and a fan; I want to watch the video and enjoy the music along with it. I like looking at everything visually and seeing the different panning shots on a clean video without any distractions, which leads me to my next problem with the subtitles...
As a blogger, and one who actually relies pretty heavily on her pic spams to get her emotions across or even my lacking wit, this is a very problematic development; I comment on my screen caps, and that requires a clean slate. How can I now comment on these screen captions if they have subtitles there already, subtitles that we can clearly understand, with something I want to say that I think 'fits' the caption? I can't, because the video, or at least the picture I have taken, is telling me something different, and it won't feel right writing something 'new' there, because I now understand it and know what the scene is telling me, or at least what the scene wants to tell me, and that is very off-putting for me as a blogger and in fact stops me from wanting to screen caption video's with hard subtitles added onto them, which is actually my current dilemma with Tasaki Asahi's PV for Sakura Dokei which I desperately want to review, but the subtitles really put me off because I find that I feel restricted to what I can say about it now because of those subtitles.
As both a fan and a blogger, I find the subtitles a problem more than a blessing. Admittedly I did find it quite nice to understand the video, but that feeling does not last when I want to watch it a second time around because I want to look at it and not be distracted by the hard subtitles or because I want to take a caption and comment on it. Having these subs limits me now in my opinion rather than aid me in any way, and are just a big problem when I look at these video's.
I do think that, whilst these are a problem for me, these are some sort of blessing for other fans who want to understand the video's, but as I said earlier; music is universal, and you do not need to understand the lyrics to enjoy the music or the visuals. I got into these groups and singers because I enjoy what they create, not because I can understand their lyrics.
And whilst I think that UFP are doing something right by moving forward and appealing to their overseas fans, I do think that they are going in the wrong direction with the subtitles; use the subtitles on announcement video's or during concert MC's, not on music video's or during a performance, because it is off-putting and takes away the enjoyment of the video for some of us. And, if subtitles really are needed, then use the subtitle function that youtube provides. It isn't that hard, I assure you.
All in all: Nay to subtitles, but only on music video's. Announcement video's are fine, but when it comes to music and visuals, really, you don't need it.
But that is simply my 2 cents on the matter. What about you? Are you happy with the subtitles, or just as unhappy with them as I am? Let me know.
PING!!! Idolminded Recommended Reading: April 11th, 2013
PING!!! Idolminded Recommended Reading: April 11th, 2013