I’ve been a huge fan of Legos ever since I was a child, and fortunately my son has grown quite found of these great building blocks as well.
But it was some surprise when I saw him watching a Lego “Ninjago” cartoon in Japanese. One of the reasons is like “Ninjago” isn’t exactly accurate with respect to Japanese culture; it rehashes things through a lens of a generic concept of what a “Ninja” is, with mistakes like saying “Spinjitsu” instead of “Spinjutsu“.
The biggest surprise, however, is the quality of the Japanese voice acting. Though I can’t claim to be unbiased and would have to be completely bilingual to give an accurate judgement, my overall feel is the the Japanese voice acting is the same, if not better quality than the English voice acting. If you are used to watching alot of Japanese then you might notice some interesting similarities, like how some characters seem to sound strangely like Yakuza bosses. But that’s part of the fun.
To be honest, I haven’t watched too much Ninjago in either English or Japanese, so I can’t comment on the story, but the visuals at least look nice enough to make this an enjoyable way to practice Japanese listening. As with much anime dialogue, the character’s enunciate much clearer than real life, so it’s pretty easy to figure out what is being said. Of course, the dark side of this is that you’ll end up hearing alot of expressions that are not necessarily used in daily life, but that is the tradeoff when watching fantasy in any language.
If nothing else, just check out one of the Japanese-dubbed Ninjago videos on Youtube, as there seem to be a great many of them. They are easy to find by searching for “ニンジャゴー” on Youtube. Here’s one example:
While I have seen a little bit of negative feedback related to one of these videos, in general these videos seem to have a large number of views, which I guess isn’t such a surprise since Lego has been popular in Japan for some time now. And just because something isn’t authentic doesn’t mean it isn’t fun.
Long live a combination of two great things: Legos and Japanese!
I happen to really enjoy this particular series, and I wasn’t even aware it had been translated for Japanese audiences. I might have to make an effort to watch this again in a different language. The storyline is decent up until the most recent installments where they ninjas are in some kind of “futuristic” society or whatever. There’s always a lot of quick humor that doesn’t make you want to scream, and it’s usually perfectly timed to continue a scene or move the plot along. This show in itself it a masterpiece and really cements my love for all things Lego. Great products and amazing media to help market their products. This is a company who knows what they’re doing.
Thanks very much for the comment and information on this series! I’ll have to check it out some more when I get time. Good to know there are more Lego/Japanese fans out there!
Agree with locksleyu!
Could you possibly list more search terms to find Japanese children’s programs on You Tube (either animation or variety shows/real life), please? I found the Lego channel, which has Friends in Japanese (as well as Ninjago). Would love to find Lego Chima in Japanese as well though.
Thank you so much!
Yay! Have found Chima. ( :
Any other recommendations would be most welcome. ( :
Thanks for the comments. Sorry for the delay in responding, but glad you found Chima (:
I’m not sure exactly what kind of children’s videos in Japanese you are looking for, but some I have watched/read are: アンパンマン and しまじろう。You can try searching for their videos on YouTube. I wrote a few articles about the second of those, and you can see one such article here:
I also found this interesting page which shows rankings of Japanese shows. You can look at the #2 section which includes educational shows (教育）
If you still can’t find what you are looking for, give me more specifics and I can try to help more.