Ringu Dreamworks (US) DVD Release

M Arnold ma_iku
Tue Mar 11 19:44:37 EST 2003

My 2 cents:

Regarding the Romanization of the original film's Japanese title for
research, databases, libraries or even more casual use, Ringu is obviously
correct, and I agree with Aaron's comments about preserving the closest
approximation to the original Japanese without misleading 'corrections.'
I've certainly been frustrated and confused by changes like these when
searching for Japanese films before.  In fact, when it comes down to it, I
don't fully trust romaji either--you can't tell from a properly Romanized
title if the original title is (or which parts of the title are) kanji,
katakana, hiragana, or something else, and these are often essential details
when trying to track down a Japanese film.

However, the title on the film's U.S. DVD release seems to be a slightly
different issue, as the priority there arguably isn't to retain the true
original title or use correct romanization. The Verbinski remake is "The
Ring," but the title on the U.S. release of the Nakata's film is spelled
"Ringu."  For me, this is a bit jarring. Taking a brief look over other
recent English language market releases of Japanese films that have
English/Katakana titles, "Odishon" is generally rendered as Audition,
"Batoru rowaiyaru" is Battle Royale, "Deddo oa araibu" is Dead or Alive, and
so on.  So why was the Ringu title Romanized but not translated?  That's
the question I'm left with. The only other Japanese film titles I can think
of that are left in Romanized form for English-language release are ones
with Japanese words only (Uzumaki, K(w)aidan, Onibaba, etc).

Of course Ringu in romaji looks so close to Ring that most English speakers
will figure it out, but that might be a part of what I find so weird.  I
think for your average American who casually picks this up at the local
Blockbuster, it probably appears to be an English word miswritten with a
"funny-sounding" Asian accent--"Rin-goo"--instead of an accurate romaji
rendition of a Japanese word.

Michael Arnold

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