"The Moomins" is a series of books for children made in the 1940s and onward by a Finnish-Swedish female.

In 1990, they released a successful animated TV series called "Moomin" based closely on these characters and the setting, with the production taking place in Japan, giving it a very special "anime"-ish style. The original author closely oversaw this production, unlike past (semi-unlicensed) attempts.

The "Swedish" dub of this series, which I grew up with, is actually in "Finnish-Swedish". That is, it's the Swedish dialect/variation spoken in the Swedish parts of Finland. (Sweden and Finland used to be the same country in the past.) They use a lot of distinct words, phrases, etc., which would not be used in Sweden by Swedes, but are unique to Finnish-Swedish people.

The Moomins live right by the coast, which coincidentally is where most (or nearly all) Finnish-Swedish people live in Finland.

So, given these facts and the author herself being Finnish-Swedish, I find it very strange that the dub to English (and apparently other languages) don't even seem to attempt to preserve this at all. Instead, the English voice actors use very distinct British accents, which sounds utterly absurd to me.

A huge part of the charm of this series is the fact that they speak the way they do. The English dub doesn't sound like they had any understanding at all about the setting or context of these creatures, but simply just pretend as if they are English-speaking hippos in an entirely fictional location.

This series is apparently far more popular than I ever knew before, and that makes me especially sad that all these kids didn't at least get a hint that they are from Finland. It's like having a show about Mexico where the family speaks perfect English instead of at least having a Mexican/Spanish accent. It just seems wrong!

What could explain that they didn't try to have the characters speak in a manner which resembles the original voices? I'm not talking about using bad English; just that it seems like they didn't even listen to the Finnish/Finnish-Swedish original voices before dubbing it.

I guess one might argue that Japanese is the "original" language since it was technically produced in Japan, but as far as I understand it, Japanese was just one of 100 different languages it was dubbed to.

I should probably stop looking up dubs of cartoons from my childhood. It always just depresses me to hear how butchered they sound in English or any other language...

  • Something to consider is whether children would even have recognized an accent as being Finnish/Swedish. Maybe it is just my personal bias but as a German I wouldn't even know what such an accent would sound like. Another reason could be the lack of relevance to the plot. From what I remember watching it as child the series is set in the fictional Moominvalley. Does it matter that this place is supposed to be located in Finland? As a final point the usage of specific words in the Swedish dub may simply originate in the availability of the source material in that language. – Turamarth Sep 26 '20 at 21:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.