Agapio Racing Team is quite possibly the only translation company in history that has incited a popular movement
against itself. Unlike several other European countries, Finland doesn't do much dubbing
. The language
is too small for it to be cost-effective, quite unlike the culturally dominant ones, and not that special anyway
. TV shows and movies are only dubbed when the target audience can't be expected to be able to read subtitles
. Unfortunately, this all too often leads to the attitude "Just throw something together, it's for kids anyway." ART takes this line of thought to its logical extreme.
Agapio Racing Team's work is horrible. It's atrocious. It's an insult to all who hear it, from the simply mediocre
moments to the aural equivalents of a rotting buffalo
's diarrhea dump in your ear
. It's found on over a dozen cartoon
s, including Alvin and the Chipmunks
and My Little Pony
, at least one of which retained it on the DVD release. Voice actors**
make eight-year-old kids sound like bored young men reading lines from paper in a monotone
. Either they make no attempt to get the names to sound right ör tey träi it wit exzedziw tseel
. They get the pronunciations of fully unambiguous words wrong. They speak onomatopoeia
s out loud. A character kicks a cow: The cow says
, translated, "kooh." The group's works are, for all intents and purposes, unique
- they have long since passed the point where everything fits together
(or, in this case, falls apart
) beyond reproductibility.
In ART's defense, they appear to leave events coherent if hamfisted. Then again, Shakespeare this ain't
, and pictures might well do most of the work
. To offset that surprising strength, there's the singing.
At best it's on-key
and actually bearable. At worst it'll pin you down, stun you like a rabbit in a taser
factory and leave you reeling, trying to comprehend what kind of alien illogic could have spawned this.
ART's moment of glory
and the beginning of its end
came in 2001, when Digimon
arrived in Finland. It was a rather prominent title and one of the first true anime
to land in the Japaneseness-deprived country, so it gathered some out-of-demographic attention
. Since nothing about this makes sense
anyway, Agapio Racing Team was given the dub and outdid itself. As my then ten-year-old neighbor observed
: "It didn't have a plot. It had things happening after each other." This time around, enough people pointed out to the station that it was punching itself
, and Digimon was handed over to someone competent after only 26 episodes.
fortunately the famed Karaoke
episode found its songs untranslated.
Nowadays Mobile-Tv Inc.***
, formerly known as Agapio Racing Team, formerly known as Nordic Agapio somewhere around the way but nobody cared, appears to be finally silent. It has made no prominent appearances after Digimon and television companies are marginally more careful. ART dubs enjoy minor cult classic
status due to the horrified admiration
of the "so bad it's good" crowd, including some international appeal. The translation and the more subtle nuances may splat into the language barrier
, but it takes no mastery of our bizarre tongue to know that screaming
be done by saying "Aa. Aaa." repeatedly.
Just be warned that this is out of the league of Plan 9 from Outer Space
and well into The Eye of Argon
territory. You can be entertained, but won't shake the feeling that you're seeing something that should never have been made. Prolonged use may cause temporary damage
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