In what has sadly become an increasingly growing trend for the anime production company, Aniplex has once again altered dialogue during their localization of an anime series, this time injecting terms with strong socio-political associations into the subtitles of Bokutachi wa Benkyō ga Dekinai (ENG: We Never Learn).

While the episode was produced and released several months ago, the changes were only recently brought to attention by anime Youtuber Apocalypse Industries on May 13th, with Apocalypse Industries exclaiming that “this is not okay!”

The three examples presented by Apocalypse Industries were further outlined by anime news outlet Sankaku Complex, who compared the subtitles against the series’ original Japanese voice track.

In the first scene, Nariyuki is attempting to put Asumi at ease, encouraging her to not worry about her words after she almost calls his family poor.

In Funimation’s subtitles, Nariyuki instead asks Asumi to not “be so P.C. [Politically Correct] about it.”

Aniplex Inserts Terms “Woke”, “Virtue Signaling”, and “Politically Correct” Into Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai Localization

In the original, there were no references to the term ‘politically correct,’ with Nariyuki simply waving off Asumi’s accidental embarrassment.

The second example sees Nariyuki attempt to compliment Furuhashi by telling her that “small ones [a double joke referencing both her breasts and her physical size) are cute!”, only to be met with Furuhashi yelling at him to “quit with the virtue signaling.”

Aniplex Inserts Terms “Woke”, “Virtue Signaling”, and “Politically Correct” Into Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai Localization

According to the original Japanese voice track, Furuhashi uses the word “otamegokashi,” or “self-aggrandizement under pretense of aiding another,” in her exclamation. While conceptually similar to ‘virtue signaling,’ the latter carries politically charged connotations within Western discourse.

Finally, in a moment which sees the shy and socially awkward Ogata mustering up the courage to present her newfound confidence to Nariyuki, she declares her transformative self to be “Woke Gambler Ogata.”

Aniplex Inserts Terms “Woke”, “Virtue Signaling”, and “Politically Correct” Into Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai Localization

The original Japanese dialogue reveals that Ogata in fact refers to herself as “kakusei shoubushi Ogata.” Kakusei is used to refer to an “awakening” in power. While ‘woke’ stems from the same etymological origin as ‘awakening,’ it is yet another term that currently carries a drastically different meaning in Western contexts.

YouTuber Hero Hei commented on the changes saying, “Apparently you have someone working on your subtitles who is trying to steer you down the wrong direction.”

He adds, “It’s unfortunate that Aniplex apparently has some translators that like to abuse their power and not just that, but abuse the trust that’s placed to them. Trust from the Japanese companies because they are working with these other companies, these licensing companies because they want it to be done properly I assume.”

Hero Hei continues, “They are getting taken advantage of. The fans are getting taken advantage of. Even Aniplex is getting taken advantage of.”

As of writing, no one related to the production of the Aniplex localization of Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai has publicly commented on the backlash.

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  • About The Author

    Spencer Baculi
    Associate Editor

    Spencer is the Associate Editor for Bounding Into Comics. An unabashed and life-long anime fan, comic book reader, and avid video game player, Spencer believes in supporting every claim with evidence and that Wally West is the best Flash of all time. He can be found on Twitter @kabutoridermav.

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