ttestagr wrote:Nigger Chicks
"Cripple Girls" would be a much better analogy.
This is going to be rambling and I'm not really sure what the point is that I'm trying to make.
From what I've been able to piece together so far, "nigger" really does seem more comparable in terms of the kind of reaction that's drawn, if not the degree (there's a sense in which the degree can never sanely be compared, simply because the culture is different). It's not a profanity; it's a slur. The implication is "this person is an undesirable member of society". The closest cultural analogy we have in the west is the whole slavery thing, really. Just the fact that it's taken this long for the word "nigger" to come up in discussion here (I'd been thinking about the parallel for some time, for what it's worth) says something.
There's something different about offensive language between friends or in a casual context (although it still isn't really okay) and using it in the title of a serious work offered to the public, no matter what kind of offensive language it is. Context matters. Even when it comes to something as simple as a "yo mama" joke, there are those who will react viscerally and even violently; and those who are absolutely gobsmacked that the first group of people exist. That said, the title was handed down, along with the original sketches, from a Japanese artist. I think that's a more important thing to focus on than "herp derp Japan has tentacle rape incest hentai coming out its ears" (when that, too, is a niche market).
I get the impression that RAITA was going for shock value here; what little else I've seen of the circle's work suggests that they... like to push a few boundaries, pretty firmly. Which in a sense is perfectly fine; this is after all about artwork, and artists aren't doing their job if they aren't occasionally forcing people to question their perceptions, to come face-to-face with what they find most offensive. It's like how Holocaust museums in Germany don't glorify in the slightest, but instead force a full understanding of the regret.
The language barrier definitely provides insulation. Would an English market accept an OELVN with an English title that was comparably offensive? Probably not. Would the Japanese market accept Rapelay if it were titled with an idiomatic Japanese translation that captured what Western observers find so offensive about it? Probably not. But on the other hand, as an English fan of KS, my understanding of the title hasn't diminished or spoiled the experience. The fact that "katawa" is written in kana rather than kanji on the logo is almost a sort of in-joke. Many self-labelled "otaku" are fully aware of what the word really means in Japanese - and of the shift in meaning for words like "hentai" or "ecchi" or even "anime". And that's fine. Words change when they are borrowed. Now in English we even discuss "ero scenes", using a concept that has been lent and then borrowed back. It doesn't change the original meaning of the word "erotic" for us. I can only imagine that it's the same for the Japanese.
I like the idea of the Japanese translation being titled in English. I don't know if it would really carry the same impact, but then my perception is coloured by the fact that I speak English and not Japanese.