It’s Not All About Us: Westernization in media has to stop



The many examples of westernization in foreign media. Did the United States needlessly get too involved?

Lee Krebs, Opinion Writer

When looking at entertainment from other countries, it’s easy to tell when a script is changed. However, this change is often useless, incorrect to the source and downright harmful to the source’s image. This westernization is deemed important, but is absolutely unnecessary.

In numerous shows and games, characters’ names will be changed to make them more “American”. For example, the show Smile Precure! had its name changed to Glitter Force, and many of the characters’ names were also changed, along with the main character, Miyuki Hoshizora, being renamed to Emily, with no last name. Some people say this is so that kids watching the show in America can pronounce the names more easily and relate to their favorite characters, but sometimes this name game can make the company trip over its own feet. In Fire Emblem: Fates, the character Leon was renamed Leo for no understandable reason. There was no problem until the next edition in the series, Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia, where a different character named Leo was renamed Leon in the localized version, causing confusion among fans.

In some cases, the changes in the script betray the images being shown on screen previously. A notorious example of this is in the Pokemon anime, where one of the main characters, Brock, holds up a rice ball, but addresses it as a jelly doughnut. This became a joke amongst fans and resurfaced as a meme online, years after the episode’s original airing.

In addition, there are always times when these changes can destroy someone’s views on the media. In Fire Emblem: Fates, a character named Soleil had marriage options for both male and female players, but in the localized version the female option was cut. The male option was heavily changed, causing outrage amongst fans due to the context making it seem as though the male player was drugging Soleil. In Sailor Moon, the characters Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus are in a same-sex relationship. Most kids growing up with the show didn’t know this, though, as the English dub had opted to make them cousins rather than lovers.

The primary reasons for these changes come down to helping the younger audience, but some of the changes made shouldn’t have been made. It’s important to learn about other cultures and same-sex relationships. As for the names, if a child can pronounce Copernicus or Shakespeare, they can pronounce Miyuki.