Friday, 20 January 2017

The Dutch Donkey Kong Country dub, or On Voice Acting

For the longest time I have been obsessed with voice actors and their work. As my boyfriend shares the passion, perhaps even more than I do, the passion has been re-ignited. He focuses on the English ones, I on the Dutch ones. Of course, the Donkey Kong Country show, being an object of a very long obsession for me, is a main object of research.

Voices can make or break a movie. Notable are the various versions of Disney films - as far as I know, Disney films sound great in any language. Dutch dubs are a lot better than most people give them credit for. Even if there are obvious budget cuts in certain placed (Cartoon Network kind of seems to cheap out, not translating or even dubbing songs, changing actors out every few episodes, randomly changing character names after a season, etc... though that might just be a certain few shows.) The acting itself, however, is usually of high quality, or at least good quality.

Donkey Kong Country in Dutch is a mixed bag. Sometimes it's good, other times it's bad. But the voice actors definitely put in a good amount of effort. But since the VHS tapes are very, ridiculously hard to get ahold of... it's hard to determine it fully. I will be talking about some characters whose English and Dutch voices are both known to me.

Above; all the Dutch-released Donkey Kong Country TV show material I have thus managed to find. This picture is gonna be used in internet memes... I just feel it.

The ones that stand out are Donkey Kong (Bart Bosch) and King K. Rool/Koning Wreed (Jan Nonhof). These two actors appear quite regularly in animation, especially in the late 90's and early 00's. (The former is also a singer - which isn't too weird when you consider Donkey Kong sings a lot) and the latter had roles in a lot of cartoons I watched in my youth. But more on him later! Join me after the jump to learn more of this vaguely interesting subject...

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Piñatas; a dedicated essay on sentient paper animals

Bejungled will go through a major revamp soon. The header and background, and possibly the colours, will change. On top of that, I'll be adding ads for some extra moolah. It'll be worth it! As I'm officially a game art student now, it means my posts will improve too. Now, on to the article...

Having been playing and watching all material available of Viva Piñata recently, I thought it would be interesting to elaborate on the sentient piñatas that inhabit Rare's extended universe. This article spans both the cartoon and the games.

1. Anatomy

Piñatas, by definition, are hollow forms of paper-maché, dusted with crepe paper, usually in an attractive shape. They are a popular party game, notoriously in the Americas.
The piñatas in Viva Piñata seem something unique altogether. All species are similar to earth species of animals in some kind of manner, fictional or otherwise, but follow the standard piñata model closely. They have nubby limbs, and only rarely do they possess digits. Yet, they can sort of curve their "hands" so they can hold stuff or make sassy gestures. (In one episode of the cartoon, Langston miraculously grew a single thumb to give a thumbs-up... I'm not sure what that was all about.) Their limbs are stretchy to make up for the short length.
As implied by some episodes of the cartoon, and by sick piñatas in the game after ingesting a certain weed, they possess inner workings of some sort. They sneeze, bleed, and defecate candy.
In one episode of the cartoon where the cast is shrunk to go inside Hudson Horstachio's body, it is shown first-hand how ingested fruit turns into candy as soon as it reaches the stomach. It can be argued that ingested food has effect on the candy's flavour.

For whatever reason, they're waterproof. All species can withstand the rain just fine in both media and there are some (semi-)aquatic piñatas. It's unclear what this is all about.

They can lose limbs, heads, and whatnot and not experience any negative effects, still having full control of all parts. However, some parts of their body still have a mind of their own and might cause all sorts of ruckus, as one does. (Hudson's body, for one, is stubborn and fond of baking. Fergy's gravitates towards thistles and away from Piñata Central.)
In the game, every piñata has a Life Candy within them. The description for any and all of it is beyond amusing. ("Sorry if you already knew this, but piñatas have candy in them.") If a piñata is smacked within the garden or preyed upon, they burst and leave candy, including their life candy, which is only eaten by predators of the species that had it. I initially figured the life candy substituted the brain and the heart, and went along with playing with their location in the actual piñata, sort of playing with a Steven Universe-inspired idea that it hints at their personality and contains their life essence. However, piñatas in the show are depicted with actual brains much like humans, but this might be exaggerated for comedic effect. Hearts are never depicted, so life candy might still be canon to the show. I personally think fatalities during parties can occur but is mostly prevented for the life candy is hidden very well within the papery body.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Five characters who did nothing wrong

Some characters in Rare's games and the extended media aren't exactly bad guys, but they do get punished severely for something they can't help... or didn't even do. I decided to focus on some of those poor saps in this particular issue.

5. Roysten the goldfish

We owe a lot to Roysten. His fishy self merely appearing somewhere manages to make works take place in the same universe, and his rhythmic knocking against his bowl is music to my ears. But he performs a thankless job and always ends up on the barbeque.

In Banjo-Tooie, you graciously save him from death by suffocation by dropping him off in Spiral Mountain's moat. He even teaches you how to swim faster and gives you extra air to make swimming easier. But in the end? He just ends up on Bottles' plate, burned, alongside his chips. Yeesh.

Oh yes it is.

4. Eddie the Mean Ol' Yeti

I mean, c'mon. He's obviously just a guy who has anger issues and likes his peace and quiet. Even when he keeps everyone awake by banging against the walls, he's not doing it to bother anyone. He's just being cranky.

In one episode while trying to woo Candy Clone by singing a song, sublime in its simplicity, about how he likes snow and ice and wishes to fornicate with the robotic ape lady. But in the same song, he reveals he isn't even old, nor is he really that mean.
This is proven that he only gets mad when some apes from the jungle come to steal the barrel that rained down on him. Even when they propose to trade, he burns his hand on a match. Eventually he gets pumelled by a bunch of Kritters as well.

Even worse is when you consider that in a world without Donkey Kong as shown in the subtly-titled It's a Wonderful Life, he's a friendly Guardian Angel Yeti. This means that somehow, DK made him how he is. It's not explained, but the implications are concerning.

I feel the same way when I see that old Fox Kids logo. Nostalgia is a powerful thing.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

5 wonderful, little hidden details you probably didn't notice

There's a lot of stuff hidden in these games, but some of them aren't as regularly pointed out as others. Yeah, we all know Conker started out kid-friendly and that Stop 'n' Swop isn't as real as we hoped it would be. But there's some other stuff I noticed that make these games a little more than just games...

5. David "Bon Jovi" Wise

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is a wonderful game, and the soundtrack only makes it even better. David Wise's work goes from atmospheric to melodic to hardrock. Yes.
One such music pieces, entitled Punch Bowl, plays at the final battle of the second-to-last world. The polar bear boss is a threatening guy, but that's only because DK made him drop his popsicle.
The music sounds like something from Bon Jovi, might I add. David Wise has a tendency to subtly reference existing songs, and it's pretty rad, but this is the first time it's another band I really like from the get-go. The polar bear's name is Bashmaster the Unbreakable, and it just so happens that Bon Jovi has a song entitled Unbreakable.

Coincidence? Probably. But the last time we had a polar bear in the extended Rareniverse, he was named Boggy.

"Kids crying? Nah, I'm gonna sled. Priorities, man."

4. Kazooie! Meinem Schwester ist Verschwunden!

Banjo-Kazooie is notorious in having bad translations. The humour is so incredibly British, that any attempts to translate it to anything else fall flat. Since I'm almost trilingual, I can afford to play the games in English, Dutch, and German. Which would be kinda rad, if not for the decrease in quality...
In the German translation of Banjo-Kazooie, the jokes are mostly absent. Instead of the all-famous "How's your nuts, bark breath?", Kazooie says the much less suggestive "Warm, oder?" as in, it's warm. Yeah.

The German comics, however, did everything right. Kazooie totally says there that the house reminds her of the house in Psycho. And she makes a really good point, 'cause it does.

And let's not even mention the Dutch version of Banjo-Kazooie Nuts & Bolts. Let's skip over the fact that the translator had little to no knowledge of Banjo lore and that Kazooie is a pleemeeuw ("toilet gull") rather than a breegull, but Jolly Roger/Jolly Dodger, our favourite flamboyant frog, is referred to as Piet Piraat. Which translates to Pete the Pirate, but we already have a completely unrelated character with that name, courtesy of Studio 100 from Belgium. ...Oops.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

E3 2014 Rareniverse coverage

Not much happening this year. Donkey Kong appears as a cool new figure for Nintendo's new Amiibo feature, and Diddy will undoubtedly follow. New playable characters in Super Smash Bros. are Palutena, Pac-Man and every Mii imaginable. Once again, K. Rool has been snubbed, but I'm afraid there'll be no way to predict if he really is not in the game until it actually releases. At least there's the Kremlings. Schrale troost.

Don't worry, K. Rool. I'm not in Smash Bros. either.


And of course, best of all -- Conker's back.

Definitely the highlight of Microsoft's otherwise pretty dull conference, the game's called Project Spark, where you basically create your own worlds, levels, games -- and he's a playable character. It's not a Bad Fur Day 2 (thank LOG!) but he's a DLC, and he looks amazing. The rest of the game, even without him, looks like a lot of fun as well. He sounds like Conker as well.
Sources are being vague, but right now it's not sure if Chris Seavor voiced him or not. Additionally, some sources thought for a moment that it was my dear boyfriend Bryant instead, and it honestly wouldn't have surprised me. Bry does a pretty damn accurate Conker impression. We were both in a Skype call, watching Microsoft's conference and not having much faith in it, together with another friend of ours when he came on screen. The reactions, all of our reactions, it was amazing. I wish I had recorded it.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Tropical Freeze; where DK is relevant again

WARNING; this WILL contain spoilers! Tread carefully!

So last Monday I went out to buy a Wii U. Earlier, on Saturday, I had purchased Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, my most anticipated game of this year.

A reason I love Tropical Freeze is because it fits in perfectly with other DKC games. Returns did too, but it fell flat on some points. And even then, Returns was amazing. We all thought it couldn't get better than Returns. Except, guess what? It did get better than Returns. Who would'a thought that?

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Why I love Conker's Bad Fur Day

(I was gonna do this as a video, narrating it, as a subtle jab to another video I don't even deem worthy of watching -- but my dumb deep Dutch vocal chords don't allow me to do anything without sounding like a complete moron. Boo hiss.)

Conker's Bad Fur Day was my most favourite thing three years ago. The game was so dear to me because it was made by Rare - I'm betting that if Rare had no involvement, I never would've picked up the game in the first place.

Truth to be told, violent and/or questionable things couldn't interest me less at the time. I got into some anime about dogs killing each other... because it was about dogs. Similarly, I got into Conker because he wasn't some buff, muscular, middle-aged guy, but instead, a cute little squirrel.

Well, really, that's the catch; he looks cute and fuzzy, but in reality, he's got a severe drinking problem and ends up depressed.