The Netflix-NeonGenesis Evangelion case – Moral Right of Author and limits to dialogues adaptation

The apparently marginal case of the removal from Netflix Italia of the poor adaptation of NeonGenesis Evangelion’s dialogue,s poses, in reality, a serious problem of moral Right of Author: that of the mutilation of the creative work.

Fact: Netflix commissions the rewriting of the dialogues of the Italian version of a very famous Japanese animation series: NeonGenesis Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン). The dialogist – this is the professional figure who carries out this task – delivered such a poor result – in the audience’s perception – that Netflix decided to suspend the publication of the series waiting to repair the damage.

Whether the choice  to make the Italian dialogues as faithful as possible to the Japanese text is a case of incompetence or – as the dialogist involved says – a precise cultural and artistic choice, this does not change the outcome: the result does not respect the original work and has caused economic damage (at least to Netflix).

Let’s come to the point: could such a case be included among the hypotheses of mutilation of the creative work and therefore of violation of moral Right of Author?

I think so because, despite the fact that translation and adaptation are certainly creative acts and require a certain degree of flexibility, if the result is such as to make the work useless, this is reflected negatively on the owner of the rights. It is therefore likely that the future new version of NeonGenesis Evangelion will be much more usable – and respectful of the author’s original intentions.

I would have liked this care to have been applied at the time of the Great Mazinger (グレートマジンガー), Grendizer (UFOロボ グレンダイザー) and Steel Jeeg (鋼鉄ジーグ ): the cartoons were beautiful, but the dubbing was of such a poor quality that ruined the enjoyment of the spectators.

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