Because everyone knows the english dubs of most animes are... at best, a little weird. Some implied yaoi and maybe some yaoi in later chapters, but nothing at all graphic.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Shaman King characters.
Thanks to Jill (who is calling herself dao lian this week) for betaing and her encylopediac knowledge of shaman king. It also means if there are any mistakes, you'll know who to blame.
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For once, it was quiet on the Shaman King set. It was too early for any shooting to be done, and nearly everyone was still asleep. They had finished shooting Yoh and Faust's big fight scene for episode 16 the night before. A man in black tiptoed up to the noticeboard, and stuck a piece of paper on top of all the takeaway menus and sample promo shots. He froze when he heard a noise, then ran away. He didn't want to be around when they found out.
'Yoh! YOH!' Manta ran into Yoh's trailer with a scrap of paper, and shoved it in Yoh's face. Yoh, attempting to breathe around the sudden blockage to his mouth and nostrils, woke up.
'Wha… Manta, where's the fire?' Manta held out the piece of paper.
ENGLISH DUB SHOOTING
ALL CHARACTERS PLEASE REPORT TO DIRECTOR'S OFFICE FOR NEGOTIATION OF CONTRACT
Yoh's heart sank.
'No… Oh no… They can't do this to us! C- Can they?'
Manta looked like he was about to cry. 'I asked the head office, and they said it's true, and Ren's been in a meeting for ages,'
'There must be something we can do! We can… strike, or something,' Yoh looked around for a pen. 'They must have realised by now they can't trick us! We know what happened to Naruto!'
'It's okay for you, you signed up to that anime characters union thing,' said Manta, scowling.
'Only because Gramps made me. Guess the old guy was right about something after all!' Yoh's bad mood had evaporated. Surely they couldn't screw him over too badly.
'When do you have to go?' Yoh asked, and instantly regretted it. Manta's face crumpled.
'After Horo, who's after Ren,' Manta sobbed.
'In more ways than one,' said Yoh, in a desperate effort to cheer Manta up. 'Imagine what would happen if the American directors heard about that,'
Manta smiled shakily. 'Ren should be out of the meeting now,'
'So let's go find out how it went,'
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Ren walked into the director's office, scowling. 'You're shooting a dubbed version,'
'We are,' said the director, his smile wilting a little under Ren's glare. 'Look, I know how you feel about English versions. But it's a big market, and you'll be paid double,'
'I just hope you're not planning to disgrace the proud name of the Tao family,' growled Ren, his eyes narrowing even further.
'Well… we're not changing the Tao family name…' said the director carefully.
'What's the catch?'
'We've been speaking to the producers in America, and they don't think the kids will be able to identify with a character called Ren. However, there's a very very very similar name to yours in English. You'll barely even notice the difference,'
'What is this… name?'
Ren closed his eyes, and very slowly counted to ten. He needed the money from this job, and he couldn't afford to screw it up. Anyway, he thought, what's in a name? He could be Lian. He could be Ren. Why not Lenny? It would be a test of character. At least they hadn't changed the Tao.
'All right. What else?'
The director was surprised at this sudden stroke of luck. Ren wasn't trying to kill him, and he'd thought the name change was going to be the trickiest thing to negotiate.
'The accent. You need one which American kiddies will associate with upper class, nobility. Sooo… We thought maybe something like this,' The director clicked a button on the tape recorder on his desk.
It was the silliest voice Ren had ever heard. No-one would take him seriously if he spoke like that! He had to resist the urge again to throttle the director.
'This… is how the upper class speak in America?'
'Yes. Well, in England, where this anime will also be shown,' The director's smile was back full force.
'I agree. Is this it?' Ren scribbled his signature over the piece of paper in front of him. If he really had any choice, he'd refuse, but there weren't many jobs around for ex anime characters.
'Pretty much. There might be a few minor changes,'
'What kind of minor changes?' asked Ren suspiciously, leafing through the contract he just signed.
'Oh, just bits and pieces… Minor family differences… You know the kind of thing…' The director waved a hand in the air.
'My father will kill you for this…' muttered Ren, scanning the last pages.
'Yeah, that's another thing. The American director thinks En seems a bit too… abrasive to be your father. He'll be your uncle,'
Ren didn't answer. The director was halfway through removing the baseball bat from under his desk when Ren nodded stiffly. 'Whatever you decide. Can I go now?'
'There is one thing that's not in the contract…'
'The hair. The phallic connotation is obvious, and it's a bit… well… pointy. Would you be able to cut the spike off?'
Horo, who would, if you asked, tell you there was no way he was listening through the keyhole, heard some strange banging noises, then the director's voice.
'Owwww… Fine, keep the hair,'
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Horo leaned against the tree outside the director's office. He'd been trying to eavesdrop, but the only thing he'd heard clearly was some bashing noises. He'd sprung away from the keyhole, and had retreated to the safety of the tree. Ren's meeting was already five minutes over schedule, and he couldn't be much longer.
As if on cue, the door flew open and Ren stormed out. Even Horo knew better than to ask him how it went.
That simple word sent chills down Horo's spine. He walked into the office holding his board in front of him like a shield.
'Horo! Nice to see you!'
For once Horo couldn't think of anything to say. The director was smiling at him like his teeth hurt.
'So, we're here to negotiate a contract for an English version of Shaman King,' The director shuffled some important looking pieces of paper in front of him, and pulled a thick pile of stapled sheets out. 'Here's your contract, if you'd like to sign…' He gave Horo a pen and looked at him expectantly.
'Don't we have to, you know, talk about it and stuff?' Horo asked, puzzled.
'Well, considering the circumstances, we decided to… you can read it through if you'd like!'
Horo stared at the contract for a second like the director had handed him a stick of lit dynamite instead of a legal document.
'You're- You're gonna change my name, aren't you,' he said in a small voice.
'It's a possiblilty, but-'
'You're gonna make me talk funny, and change my clothes, and- and-'
'We have no intention-'
'YOU CAN'T DO THIS TO ME!' Horo screamed.
'Mr Usui, would you please calm down!'
The director took advantage of the temporary quiet.
'We have no intention of changing your clothes or making you 'talk funny'. You will have a nickname, but your original name will stay unchanged,'
'Oh,' Horo stared at his fingers. 'Is that all?'
'Well, there is the small matter of your spirit,'
'What about her?' asked Horo.
'We have also decided to change its name to Corey,'
'Isn't that a guy's name?'
Kororo squeaked again, indignantly. Before Horo could stop her (not that he was going to try too hard anyway) she flew straight into the director's face. The director let out a satisfyingly girly scream.
'What just happened?'
'I don't think Kororo likes that idea much,' said Horo, fighting to keep a straight face. The director's eye was beginning to swell up, and was a bright shade of red.
'Right. Well, I'm afraid it can't be helped. Unless there are any more issues…'
'It's ok,' said Horo, and hastily signed the contract. He stood up and almost ran out, suddenly desperate to be out of the office. It wasn't until he was outside, and Manta had already gone in looking like someone who was ascending a scaffold, he realised he didn't know what his dub name was even going to be.
How bad could it be anyway? It was nearly lunchtime, so he wandered over to the massive tent where the canteen was. He'd ask Ren, or Yoh. Surely one of them would have found out by now.
He pushed open the flap. For some reason, a lot of the regular characters were standing there, grinning at him. Ren, Yoh, Anna, Ryu… even Pirika. He was about to open his mouth to say hi, when he was nearly blown backwards by them all shouting.
'TREY RACER, HERE HE COMES, WITH YOUR LUNCH!'