September 28th, 2007, I posted my commentary for Janggeum’s Dream, episode one. Some time after I finished the series, I watched the second season via MBC’s web site. It lacked English subtitles, so that made it much more difficult to follow. Still, I kept up my commentaries, with May 26, 2008 seeing my commentary on episode 27.
Back in 2010, the DVDs for season two were released. Seeing that they had English subtitles, I bought them up right away, although I’ve only recently re-watched the first season as a precursor to watching the second.
Before starting with this season, I previewed the DVD menu and opening and ending themes. The first season DVDs had a different opening and ending theme from what was seen on television (with the opening theme taking the song from the last episode of the season). The second season DVDs makes use of the same opening and ending as seen on television.
The first thing I took notice of is that the second season DVD menus (pictured right) include English subtitles for the menu options. For the first season DVD menus (pictured left), I had to remember that the menu buttons meant “Play All”, “Scene Selection”, “Subtitles”, “Bonus Artworks”, in that order, as their labels were only in Korean.
Unfortunately, the second season DVDs don’t include any bonus materials. I liked that the first season had two DVDs dedicated to bonus video material, but since those lacked subtitles, I was unable to get much out of them.
The first season DVDs (left) have Korean, English, and Japanese subtitles. The second season DVDs (right) only have Korean and English subtitles.
This leaves me wondering about the Japanese dubbed release of the first season in Japan. When a series is dubbed into English and released in the US, it usually includes the original language track and English subtitles. Did the Japanese release have the Korean audio track and Japanese subtitles? And why was Japanese left off of this season’s release? Was it because they figured the second season would be dubbed into Japanese? I don’t know if it has been.
The first season DVDs (top) subtitles are clear to read, but lack a professional feel to how the letters look. Although mostly understandable, the English subtitles are mediocre, with issues. This provided dialogue such as in an early epsiode, where the king follows up a boar hunt by visiting a relative’s wedding. The head of the house says, upon the king’s visit, “Thank you very much of being here..” After the king’s stomach makes a sound, the embarrassed king remarks about himself, “You forgot feeling hungry because of the hunting after a long time. Ha ha..” Naturally, the king means something more along the lines of, “I was hunting for so long, I forgot all about my hunger.”
The second season DVDs (bottom) have a more professional feel to how the letters look (although I think the readability is slightly lower compared to the first season’s). From viewing the opening and ending theme songs, and skipping around the first episode a tiny bit, I could see the transations are high quality. For this reason, they certainly hired someone to give a serious translation.
Because my episode commentaries for season two were based on trying to figure out what’s going on, my plan is to write up commentaries as I watch through season two with English subtitles. It’s been a while since I’ve done per-episode commentaries, so hopefully I can keep up with it! One thing I look forward to is seeing the episode titles and comparing with them with my own translations.
Also, this time around, I plan to strictly follow the subtitle spelling for character names. With season one, I started out with the subtitle spellings, such as Choi. After episode seven, I started using different spellings, such as now using Choe. But the DVD box for season two uses Choi, so it’s back to that. (I don’t recall what the live action series used.)
What caught me off guard, however, is that Han’s name on the DVD box is written as “Hyeon”. The live action certainly used “Han”, as did the first season of the cartoon. This will certainly be one for me to get used to if that’s what the subtitles of season two use.