Back in the 紅白機 days I was a huge Mega Man fan, the early games were some of my favourite on the console. I never had a chance to see the cartoon from the early 90s, though. This is possibly because the cartoon never saw a UK release, even now a search of Amazon.co.uk yields only US imports. So I was happy to find the season one DVD box set on sale for $49NT ($2~) while in 日本橋, a gaming/computing store here in Kaohsiung.
Before buying I first turned the DVD case over to check the back for those elusive words『國語發音』* and luckily they were there.
If you’re familiar at all with the Taiwanese market you’ll know that Mandarin dubs are actually quite rare, with the Taiwanese preferring original dubs and subtitles. And who can blame them? But that doesn’t help Mandarin learners like myself, which makes seeing those four characters on the back all the more rewarding. It’s probably because this cartoon is aimed at a younger audience that a dub was provided.
The box set is actually pretty poor. A giant case for 2 DVDs, with no insert and absolutely no extra features. I’m surprised this wasn’t a VCD as the video quality isn’t great, either. Each disc features 13 episodes in 4:3 aspect ratio with black bars on the side. An episode is around 23 minutes long, with an option of English or Chinese soundtrack, and both of them featuring burned in Chinese subtitles.
The Chinese 洛克人 logo on the episode intro sequence title card features two lightning bolts – one in the character 洛 and the other through the middle of 克. For some this custom typography is not used anywhere else on the packaging, which is a shame.
When I watched the Chinese dub of the first episode I switched back and forth between Chinese and English at some points to check what the translation was like. I’m quite sure this is a Taiwanese dub, but some of the word usage seems more mainland Chinese. Overall, it all seemed fine, though there were some places that were funny.
In one scene, for instance, when Mega Man arrives to save Kennedy Airport, Protoman/Blues shouts “Mega Man, the blue bomber”. In the Chinese translation, however, he says 「洛克人，你這個藍色混蛋」 which is more like “Megaman, you blue bastard”.
Translations aside, there was also another part that stood out given the recent attention that’s been drawn to the depiction of women in games and cartoons. While Mega Man is leaving to save the airport, Roll, his robotic sister, runs to join him. To which Mega Man replies 我去辦事才不會帶什麼女機器人一起去 (我去办事才不会带什么女机器人一起去 Wǒ qù bànshì cái bù huì dài shénme nǚ jīqìrén yīqǐ qù) “When I got to work I never take a female robot with me”.
I was also interested to hear the word 甭 used, which I can’t remember hearing very often elsewhere. 甭 as you can probably see, is the characters 不 and 用 combined, and while 不用（bú yòng） is phrase by itself meaning ‘don’t need’, 甭 (béng) achieves this with one character. Mega man says 你甭想 (Nǐ béng xiǎng) “don’t think like that” in response to Roll’s reasoning that she can protect him in battle.
While the Mega Man series is aimed at younger viewers, its based on robotics and technology so there’s still opportunities to learn more advanced vocabulary that might not be seen in other cartoons for this age group. For instance, in the first episode Mega Man is able to lie to the evil Dr. Wily to escape, which is later explained by the 人類情緒 (rénlèi qíngxù) “human emotion” part of his programming. This makes it a good choice for beginner to intermediate learners.
The good news is that after buying the DVDs I found that the Mandarin dubs are actually available on Youtube. Here’s the first episode. See if you can find any interesting vocabulary or translations in this and the later episodes.
The DVD is also available on Books.com.tw with international shipping available.
* 國語配音（Guóyǔ pèiyīn） Means “Mandarin Dub”. 國語 is the name given to Mandarin in Taiwan, and means “National Language”.