So I seriously have been getting LOTS of questions and demands on my Hakuouki SSL first impressions post, which brought everybody to the same question in the end: Where can I watch Hakuouki SSL dorama ? GIVES US LINKS PURESU!; this mostly after the first episode on bilibili.com got deleted, so I decided to reply to everybody with an official Let’s talk post, also trying to explain why is this drama so “unreachable” for the western audience.
Hakuouki SSL is a drama that I don’t think anybody besides a fan of the actual Hakuouki anime/game would actually attempt to English sub for us; Why? Because it’s so niche by default, which brings us to FACT 2.
Sad to admit, Japanese dramas aren’t THAT popular and, as I said before, they’re turning towards a pretty niche audience most of the time. What is niche? A product relating to or aimed at a small specialized group or market; which means that the product will rarely be enjoyed by a person outside this specialized group or market. There are of course exceptions to this. In Hakuouki SSL case the directed market would be the reverse harem/otome game lovers. You could argue and ask “But Neko, there are reverse harem animes out there too and they got subbed! And I can name Korean reverse harem dramas as well, which got subbed and were very adored! “. About the first thing, anime and dramas stand on different levels of popularity when it comes to the western fans. Some anime, if not most, don’t have a problem because even if niche, the fans will still prefer the anime to a drama and I’ll get to explain why later. As for some Korean reverse harem dramas, yes, they exist. You’re Beautiful is an example, but differently from Japanese otome game adaptations, they tend to make it incredibly funny instead of incredibly corny, so it can appeal to more people; at least for the comedy. Even if more guys fall in love with the main girl, there’s still that one main guy that is obviously canon and the others don’t really jump on her with every occasion as in a kind of hunting contest; or if they do, it’s always moderately.
You might not be aware of it, but the fanbase of most doramas is rather limited. Though they are produced by Japanese people, the amount of Japanese into J-dramas is (actually) rather small, and the Western fans even more. This results in the industry being unable to finacially sustain a high budget project, and I seriously think they don’t really want to risk that either. Low budget means mediocre props, mediocre effects, mediocre camera equipment, shorter episodes, shorter series (Japanese dramas usually are inbetween 6 and 12 episodes, sometimes even shorter, if they’re not investigation genre). Warning: low budget doesn’t necessarily mean bad script, bad actors, bad director, but they just have to make due with what they get.
The acting of Japanese actors has raised many eyebrows. If you’re used to another country’s dramas or western TV shows in general, Japanese actors might look “forced” to you. I personally believe it’s not a matter of bad acting, but a matter of mentality. Lots of Japanese dramas tend to want to immitate anime characters and we all know that anime would look awkward in real life, as live action would look weird in an anime (Aku no Hana I’m looking at you). And even if they’re not trying to immitate anime, they either look rigid or tend to overreact and are obviously hyperactive, mostly when it comes to comedy; but that’s part of the Japanese humor. There’s no way around it, you either like it or you dislike it or just don’t care about it. Personally, I don’t even find it worth debating or discussing about the quality of their acting. I do not find it unbearable, but I do not really care about acting either unless it’s simply horrible which is a rare case. (You can see how my limit bar for that is set very high wich makes me more prone to like doramas from this point of view.)
Many J-dramas are just adaptations of already existing manga and/or already existing anime. It’s what anime/manga fans refer to as “live action“. Through my experience with anime/manga dorama adaptations, the times when anime fans actually praised them were, and still continue, being rare. The Death Note movies might have been considered a success, but the Death Note drama, not that much. Most people watched the Death Note drama because it was simply Death Note; at least from my experience with the community, the fans of the original anime/manga were left with a bittersweet taste in their mouth. Similarly, the recent Attack on Titan live action received mixed reviews from the western community, while Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo dorama was labeled as corny and overreacted by the same audience, at least compared to the anime. (A similar situation happens inbetween anime adapted after mangas, with most people claiming that the manga is always better, but that topic will be for another time,I’m only mentioning it so you can have a more relatable example.)
You can find and watch the Hakuouki SSL episodes here:
(Edit: Links have been updated as of 12/11/2015)
(Please let me know if any of the links have issues and also please note that these are RAWs. For the reasons I stated above, the chances for this to get translares are small.)
No need to thank me! I don’t usually share links and stuff, but in this case I want more of you to be able to watch it. Even though I don’t usually like doing summaries, I can do that too, so you can read my summaries and understand what is going on in the show at the same time even without subs. So wait for it in the following posts.
HOWEVER, don’t ask me to start my own fansub one-man team or even a team in general. That is a responsability that takes lots of time and lots of work and patience that I seriously do not have ! XD Been there, tried that, done that and I’m over with that lifestyle! XD Because, yes, fansubbing and scanlating is a lifestyle.
Please enjoy! And see you next time!