Language in Gundam Unicorn

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Gatx
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Language in Gundam Unicorn

Post by Gatx » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:55 pm

Normally with sci-fi anime I assume, even when they're speaking Japanese, that they're all actually speaking either "English" or whatever language is universally known at the time (think Valkyrie, with Tom Cruise, if you've seen that movie), but in the Japanese track for Gundam Unicorn episode 5, it actually starts out a flight controller guy speaking English.

I'm not sure what to make of it - was it a temporary lapse in the "illusion," showing that they're all in fact speaking English even though we hear it as Japanese, or are they actually speaking multiple languages in the series. A similar thing happened in Macross: DYRL, but with multiple languages at the same time which I assumed was due to them having to accommodate people of various backgrounds living aboard the ship.

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Re: Language in Gundam Unicorn

Post by denbo786 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:06 am

Unicorn in this case is trying to parallel the real world where Air traffic controller use English as the default language to respond in, when in communication with a aircraft's pilot or comm officer.

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Re: Language in Gundam Unicorn

Post by Gatx » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:47 am

denbo786 wrote:Unicorn in this case is trying to parallel the real world where Air traffic controller use English as the default language to respond in, when in communication with a aircraft's pilot or comm officer.
If that's the case, does that mean that everyone else is literally speaking Japanese?

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Re: Language in Gundam Unicorn

Post by Shinigam_Newtype » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:14 am

I don't watch much anime so I won't really generalise, although I do watch Gundam, and I have seen that episode of Unicorn.
I think the general rule is that they're speaking whatever language that is native to the country that the show/game/series takes place in. So if the show takes place in Germany, they're speaking German, this rule holds effect until or unless we see two or more characters conversing with each other, that are from a country foreign to the one that they're currently in, in which case I usually assume they're speaking their native toungue.

One example is MGS3 where Naked Snake(An American) goes to Russia and speaks Russian the entire game. He only speaks 'English' when speaking on his codec to his American or other English speaking comrades. Despite this, the whole games is dubbed in Japanese or English regardless of what language he's supposed to be speaking. Obviously, this was done for the convenience of players.

With Gundam, I usually assume they're speaking English, considering the cast of the show tend to be quite diverse in terms of nationality.

Although, it was particularly weird with the part in that episode of Unicorn, I doubt the characters are speaking Japanese, based on their nationalities.
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Re: Language in Gundam Unicorn

Post by Dendrobium Stamen » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:49 pm

Given that all the written language in Unicorn I'm aware of is in Modern English (go go 80s New Wave!), I'd imagine that all the characters are, regardless of the language track you're watching in, speaking English.

I don't recall there ever being a Firefly-type explanation for language in the Universal Century becoming an Anglo-Japanese hybrid, or any kind of hybrid for that matter, so it's probably safe to assume that any non-English dialogue is purely for the benefit of the viewing audience, as Shinigami pointed out.

Of course, given written examples such as the infamous "IS A CHAR" from Zeta, one could assert that the quality of English has declined in the span of years to the post-OYW era... :roll:
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Re: Language in Gundam Unicorn

Post by Andrew_Graruru » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:01 pm

It seems we're meant to assume English is the official language in UC. English is also used by the Unicorns OS in Episode 1, but I'm mainly basing this on two things:

In the prologue to the first novel there is a line about how Siams country (somewhere in central asia) began being pressured to accept more English speaking teachers into the country after joining the Federation. Its been a while since I read it, but there seemed to be a lot of suggestions that these countries were being hegemonized by US influence upon joining the Federation.

In the commentary track for the first episode of Unicorn Fukui states that when watching other UC shows he had always assumed they were speaking English in the show.
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Re: Language in Gundam Unicorn

Post by Arsarcana » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:30 am

Evangelion has another example of 'air traffic English' although in that show it's made pretty obvious that everyone else (except maybe Seele) is speaking Japanese due to the setting. It's even a minor plot point in one episode. Ditto for Rebuild, when Mari speaks English it's precisely so the Japanese-speaking Shinji won't understand what she's saying.

As Shinigam_Newtype said, if it's not explicitly stated to be otherwise it's a safe bet that anything the audience hears is for their benefit alone and what the characters are actually speaking is whatever language would be most appropriate to the setting.

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Re: Language in Gundam Unicorn

Post by Kuruni » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:20 am

It's Engrish. Evident by Kai's famous writing in Z.
Andrew_Graruru wrote:In the prologue to the first novel there is a line about how Siams country (somewhere in central asia) began being pressured to accept more English speaking teachers into the country after joining the Federation.
Siam is actually old name of Thailand, and it's in Southeast Asia. While that might be error, it's true that people here have very ZOINKS English skill. That might be referrence to upcoming real world event.
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