Sunday, April 24, 2016

Gajetto Keibu! The Japanese Dub of Inspector Gadget

"Does anyone have any Japanese-dubbed clips from Inspector Gadget?" You may be surpriced, but talking with and observing fellow Gadget fans online over the years, I've seen this request pop up more than a little often. I find it a bit strange just how strong the interest is, considering that Inspector Gadget was not produced in Japanese language like DiC's earlier series Ulysses 31 and The Mysterious Cities of Gold. But this obviously holds a special fascination for many fans... so today, I'm gonna share the one and only Japanese-dubbed clip I've ever been able to hunt down. Click play to hear Penny and Gadget discuss ladder safety in Japanese...

As you might notice, this is the safety tip from the season 2 episode "Gadget and Old Lace". The original English version can be seen here. Notably, it's followed by a version of the season 2 outro where all written credits have been omitted (!). Makes you wonder – was it really that controversial to show English-language credits for a cartoon on Japanese television? Or did the broadcaster intend to translate the credits, but didn't get around to it? Or both? (Then again, both the outro song and Dr Claw's spoken line is in English, so it's still extremely obvious that this is not a Japanese series.)

Funny thing, by the way: in the comments to one of my old YouTube videos, I actually said almost four years ago to OriginalAkivara that the existence of a Japanese dub "would be news to me". I had apparently completely forgotten about this little clip, which I later rediscovered in my file collection. The clip was originally uploaded to YouTube around six to seven years ago by the user ohitea5963, under the title "ガジェット警部 エンディング" (literally translated: "Inspector Gadget ED"). It has also been up since September 28, 2009 on I first assumed this was the source for ohitea5963's YouTube upload, but since the video description there says "YouTube import", it appears the opposite is the case.

And here's another funny thing. Remember how – before Season 2 was released to DVD – the only place for most of us non-US Gadget fans to watch the second-season episodes was an old torrent with a mixture of TV and VHS rips? Well, a few of the VHS-ripped Season 2 episodes in that torrent were missing their safety tips – and that included "Gadget and Old Lace". So when I first found this Japanese clip on YouTube way back in '09, I had to check a French DVD rip of "Old Lace" on Dailymotion to confirm that this was indeed the safety tip for that particular episode. All I knew was that the scene was nowhere to be found in the English-language AVIs floating around.

Consider that for a moment. During that brief period in time, the safety tip from the Inspector Gadget episode "Gadget and Old Lace" was MORE easily available to watch in Japanese language than in English. Doesn't get much more absurd than that.

So why exactly is the Japanese dub interesting? Again, I'm not really sure. The Japanese dub has nothing to do with the original production of the Inspector Gadget series. Gadget was an outsourced production, with the characters' lipsync animated to the pre-recorded, English-language voices. Furthermore, from what little I've been able to find out, the show was only dubbed to Japanese many years after the actual production took place. I hate to use Wikipedia as a source, but the Japanese Wiki page for Inspector Gadget – "ガジェット警部", a.k.a. "Gajetto Keibu", as the series is apparently titled in Japanese – is one of the few sources of info I've been able to find at all. So here's what it has to say on the broadcast in Japan:


In English, with the "help" of Google Translate:

In satellite animation theater of frame of the NHK satellite second television in Japan, broadcast the first 26 episodes between August 15 and September 14, 1990. From April 7, 1994 to March 21, 1996, all 65 episodes are broadcast, and in addition, also the rest of the story the number of re-broadcast from. 

BOY, is that grammar awful. I'd VERY much appreciate a better translation here, if any of my readers knows Japanese. But the point should be clear: Provided that the Japanese Wikipedia is correct, Inspector Gadget did not air in Japan before 1990. (Additionally, if you use Google Translate on this 2006 forum thread, you'll see Japanese commenters wax nostalgically about the time when Gadget aired on the NHK channel.)

Wikipedia also lists the following Japanese voice actors. Perhaps these are the voices we hear for Gadget and Penny in the above video:

Inspector Gadget: Tesshō Genda (玄田哲章)
Penny: Yumi Takada (高田由美)
Chief Quimby: Masato Tsujimura (辻村真人)
Dr Claw: One-Ozeki (小関一)

ANYWAY. Considering Inspector Gadget's close production links to Japan – and the many anime connections to be found in its animation – I guess I can understand, to an extent, the longings of some fans to watch the show in Japanese. Many Inspector Gadget episodes FEEL so much like anime visually that I can sorta relate to the desire to also hear the characters speak with Japanese voices. Sorta. If this is your cup of tea, I sincerely hope you enjoyed it!

I'll end with a li'l snapshot from Maroin Eluasti and Nordine Zemrak's DiC history book, "Les séries de notre enfance": a sales brochure used to market the series in Japan. A small caption in the book reads, "Plaquette pour la vente de la série aux chaînes japonaises", which means, "Brochure for the sale of the series to Japanese TV". So perhaps this was used to sell "Gajetto Keibu" to the NHK satellite channel...?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

TAAFI 2016 Session: DHX on "The Evolution of Inspector Gadget" (Sunday, April 24)

The Canadian animation festival TAAFI  – short for Toronto Animation Arts Festival International – is taking place this weekend in Toronto. In its schedule for Sunday, April 24, a rather interesting-sounding feature is listed among the "Studio Sessions". Can you find it? Have a look at this snapshot from the PDF schedule:

Maybe a closeup is in order...

There we go!

"DHX: The Evolution of Inspector Gadget" will be held in a session room at the George Brown College at 1:30 pm tomorrow, the Sunday that is April 24. Unlike many other events in the TAAFI festival's schedule, this session doesn't have its own presentation on the web site – but it's not very diffcult to guess what it will be about: the changes DHX brought to Inspector Gadget in the process of making their new and updated reboot television show. Maybe some video footage of this will pop on the web later.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Boomerang Turkey Premieres the Inspector Gadget Reboot on Saturday, April 23 at 11 AM

It's been a while, but tomorrow, a new country will join the list of global broadcasters for DHX's Inspector Gadget series. Why? Because Boomerang EMEA expands into Turkey tomorrow. Here's Turner's official press release about it:

Boomerang to launch in Turkey 
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 
Popular kids’ entertainment channel becomes first to launch on the country’s National Children’s Day – 23rd April 
Boomerang now available in 60 countries, over 55 million homes across EMEA 
[London & Istanbul, Wednesday 13th April 2016]: Having won the hearts of children with Cartoon Network in Turkey, Turner is now preparing to launch its second flagship kids’ channel, Boomerang across the country. What’s more, Boomerang will become the first channel in Turkey’s history to launch on National Children’s Day (23rd April) – marking the perfect celebration for the brand, which plays host to fun and funny, timeless animation that the whole family can enjoy.
Available on D-Smart and Tivibu platforms from Friday 23rd April, Boomerang will offer viewers the latest episodes of classic, globally-loved animations such as The Tom & Jerry Show, Scooby-Doo, Looney Tunes, Inspector Gadget, Mr Bean, Garfield and more; broadcast in HD.
Patricia Hidalgo, SVP, Chief Content & Creative Officer, Kids, Turner EMEA & International Kids Strategy said: “The timing of this launch is significant as we continue to invest in new, original content for Boomerang and further develop the brand as our second flagship kids’ channel across the region. Turkey is a big priority market for Turner and we feel confident that, with its strong portfolio of classic animation and loveable characters, Boomerang will offer a fun, light-hearted entertainment experience for families to enjoy together.” 
This latest launch sees Boomerang’s EMEA presence grow to 60 countries, 15 languages and over 55 million homes across the region.

It took a bit of effort to find a TV guide for Boomerang Turkey's launch tomorrow, but I finally came across one at the official site of D-Smart, the satellite television provider for the new channel (after learning from Posta Gazetesi that Boomerang is channel 122 in D-Smart's package). So scroll down to 122 in the TV channel guide, select "Yarın" (meaning tomorrow) as the day; and you'll see the following...

(Red circle emphasis by me.)

As we can see, "Müfettiş Gadget" will premiere in Turkey tomorrow at 11AM in the morning. And here's the information that pops up when you press the specific broadcast:

Translation: "Saturday April 23" / "Duration: 25 minutes"

And now we know!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cool Fan Animation: Go Go Gadget Neck

Hey, check out this great fan animation of Gadget by ShinyStrawberry over on DeviantArt!

"Gadget animation" by ShinyStrawberry (Feb 22, 2016)

Off-model, obviously – and the start especially could use some more inbetweens – but I love the lively, spontaneous feeling of this. Very nice timing and bounce to the Gadget neck animation in particular. I wouldn't mind seeing more fan animation in this vein.

The style on Gadget reminds me a little bit of the specific visual design seen in Season One episodes of the original show which were animation-directed by Shingo Araki. (I once misidentified Araki as likely to have worked on an episode like "The Japanese Connection", but have since learned otherwise, thanks in part to the "Les séries de notre enfance" book.) Here are a couple of episode stills showing off Araki's distinctive style:

From "Did You Myth Me?"

From "The Coo-Coo-Clock Caper"

Saturday, April 9, 2016

DHX Has Started Promoting the Upcoming Season Two of their New Inspector Gadget Series

Second Season To Consist of 26 Half-Hour Episodes

I'm late with reporting this, but during April 4-7 this past week, DHX was busy promoting the upcoming Season 2 of their Inspector Gadget series (along with other in-the-making DHX shows) at the MIPTV media market in Cannes, France. DHX issued a press release announcing this last week, on March 30, and if you click that link, you might notice something funny: the press release describes Teletoon's order for Gadget Season 2 as a "new commission".

But wait! We have already known about Season 2 being in production since July 2015, when executive story editor/co-head writer Josh Saltzman revealed it on his LinkedIn profile. And we know that the voice recording started in October of 2015, when actors Ivan Sherry and Lyon Smith announced this on their Twitter feeds. In other words: in reality, Teletoon's order for the second season was made almost a year ago, if not earlier.

You know, if I have learned one thing from reporting news and production developments about DHX's (once Cookie Jar's) Inspector Gadget reboot over the past four years, it is this: production and distribution deals are very often made long before the producers or distributors issue their own, full-fledged announcements about them.

Why is this? I can only guess, but I imagine it has to do with the producers/distributors preferring things to be absolutely set in stone – i.e. being 100% certain that the deals and productions they are promoting are actually happening – before making these wide-spread, public announcements. In this specific case, I doubt anybody thought the second season of Gadget wouldn't happen once voice recording started last October; but it still makes sense when looking at the wider pattern. (Remember how news of the Inspector Gadget reboot originally leaked out in January of 2012, through a Mobile Games Forum panel with Ray Sharma of XMG Studios? It took a full year and a half after that for the official press releases from Teletoon and DHX to emerge; and even then, it was described as a "new commission".)

Gadget voice actor Ivan Sherry seems to humorously comment on this in a recent Tweet and Facebook post linking to the press release, stating, "It's officially official!"

Which is exactly it. The second season has already been official for the past nine months. So now, it's officially official! Good to have that in black and white, ain't it?

Here's the full, relevant excerpt of DHX's press release:

Original DHX content Chuck’s Choice, Space Ranger Roger and Inspector Gadget season two will be featured product at MIPTV
Halifax, NS, 30 March 2016 – DHX Media ("DHX" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: DHXM; TSX: DHX.A, DHX.B), a global leader in kids and family entertainment content, is heading to this year’s MIPTV, the world’s biggest TV and digital content market, with new commissions for three series: Chuck’s Choice has been commissioned by YTV in Canada, and has already been licensed to Turner Broadcasting France; Space Ranger Roger is commissioned by Family Jr.; and season two of Inspector Gadget has been commissioned by TELETOON, in Canada. All three series are being produced at DHX Studios. 
Josh Scherba, SVP Distribution at DHX Media, said: “We have a very strong slate for MIPTV with these new commissions underscoring our reputation for producing standout original content for kids and families. Driven by notable creative talents, with Kervin Faria creating and Rob Boutilier directing Chuck’s Choice, and Jeff Rosen behind Space Ranger Roger, our newest two shows have fantastic pedigrees. Along with the iconic Inspector Gadget, now going into a second season after significant global demand, we are looking forward to debuting these shows to the international market at MIPTV.” 
Taking place April 4-7, 2016, in Cannes, France, MIPTV gathers the world’s most successful distributors, buyers and producers to strike distribution and co-production deals. Please visit the DHX Media team at stand R7.A11, in the Riviera hall of the Palais des Festivals, to learn more about Chuck’s Choice, Space Ranger Roger, Inspector Gadget and other great DHX shows. 
About Inspector Gadget 
3D animation series, Inspector Gadget from the DHX studio in Halifax, returns for Season 2 (26 x 30’). 
The new Inspector Gadget is back – again! The stakes are higher than ever in season two for Inspector Gadget, his niece Penny and their trusty dog, Brain. Will they be able to defeat Dr. Claw and his nephew Talon? Or will the MAD villains finally be victorious? Both sides are more determined than ever to come out on top…even if Inspector Gadget still hasn’t got a clue.

Of course, this release also contains bit of info that we DIDN'T know on beforehand – namely that Season 2, like the first, will have 26 half-hour episodes. And not least, it told potentially interested buyers or investors that they could check out Season 2 of Gadget at MIPTV, which was likely the number one reason for mentioning it in the press release to begin with.

On an unrelated note: Browsing through Ivan Sherry's official "actor" page on Facebook (which I only discovered a few days ago), I couldn't help but smile as I realized that Sherry is actually a reader of my site, and has been linking to and quoting from it several times over the past year. Thanks, Ivan!

Fingers crossed!
Posted by Ivan Sherry - Actor on 29. mai 2015

Season 2 is coming! Read all about it here . . .
Posted by Ivan Sherry - Actor on 21. juli 2015

Finally, here's the latest production update directly from Ivan himself: Season 2 was still recording as of four days ago.

Breakfast at SuperSonics yesterday before recording Inspector Gadget. Taaaaaastyyyyyyyyy.
Posted by Ivan Sherry - Actor on 6. april 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

"Inspecteur Gadget, Saison 1, Vol. 1" on iTunes France in 1080p HD

In what is unquestionably the best-quality release of the reboot series in France so far, French iTunes users can now purchase the first half of Season One in full HD. I'm not sure exactly when this iTunes package was published, but I believe I first came across it last week. The episodes on iTunes France are split into 11-minute segments, rather than the original half-hour format they were produced in, which is why the first package consists of 26 separate chapters:

As we can see, this covers episodes 1-13 going by the original production format. Note too that this release comes courtesy of public broadcaster France Télévisions, and as such the release date listed is August 29, 2015, the date the series premiered on France 3; despite the fact that it was broadcast on Boomerang France half a year prior.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Video Interview: Inspector Gadget's Voice Actor Ivan Sherry Chats with Dr Stevil

Here's something which should be fun if you like Gadget's new voice actor: the first video interview I've seen with Ivan Sherry talking about his role, and about the reboot as a whole. Among the things we hear:

  • The series is doing really well across the world (which, of course, is also indicated by Season 2 being in production).
  • Sherry was originally brought in to audition for Dr Claw and Quimby, but pushed to try out as Gadget.
  • Sherry's view on why Inspector Gadget, as a character, continues to resonate with audiences.

The interview was conducted this weekend at the Canadian pop culture expo Hero Fest Lindsay, which Sherry attended as a guest (you may recall he also talked about Gadget during last spring's Hero Fest Kingston) – and for the record, the rather strange interviewer here is "Dr Stevil" of the Chatting With Stevil YouTube show; a character who's an obvious nod/tribute to Dr Evil from Austin Powers. If you know as little about this guy as I did upon finding this video, here's a quick presentation.