The Japanese DVDs of Red Dwarf – of which all eight series have already been released – represent perhaps the most drastically-altered versions of the series out there. The Japanese episodes have large amounts of dialogues and scenes cut out, and should an unwary soul download episodes off the internet, they may find themselves unfortunately having snagged the Japanese episodes. Not that I’d advocate illegal filesharing, of course (ahem ahem), but if you find DVD-rips of any series later than IV (and, post-November, V) online, chances are they’ll be the Japanese versions.
Having downloaded the Japanese version of Series VI a little while ago (I won’t say how, for obvious reasons, but it rhymes with Writ Warrant) because my girlfriend and I wanted to watch Legion, I was startled to see just how butchered the episodes were. Some of the very best lines and scenes find themselves consigned to the editing bin. I don’t know for sure why the episodes have been cut, but one explanation seems to be that, as all the episodes are around 24-25 minutes long in their cut versions, it’s due to fitting into a time slot. This would certainly explain some of the haphazard chopping, as there seems to be no other logic to what gets cut and what stays, aside from instances where non-plot-advancing jokes are cut so that all the plot can be got in (this isn’t always the case, though, and as you’ll see, some startling plot holes pop up due to the editing). The quality of the editing is also extremely variable. On occasion, the cuts are very sloppy, and easy to spot, most notably because you hear skips in the audience laughter track. Such occurences might be familiar to those who’ve seen the episodes censored on UK Gold, for example. However, in some cases, the edits are actually pretty well done, and had you not seen the original you’d be hard-pressed to notice some of them.
Anyway, the focus of this article is for me to, in incredibly geeky fashion, go through the Japanese episodes and document exactly what’s been cut from each one. If you really care that much, if you’re really that level of Red Dwarf geek, then prepare to be entertained. For the moment, I’ll only be investigating Series VI. But as I get my hands on more and more of the Japanese versions, expect to see analysis of all those series too. The times listed are mm:ss, relative to the beginning of the Japanese episode, not the original. Many thanks to Total Red Dwarf, without whose episode transcripts I wouldn’t have been able to undertake this thankless task.
First and foremost, I’ll deal with the opening and closing credits, as these are consistent with each episode. The opening credits are a combination of the dreaded Remastered credits and footage of the actors that the Japanese editors have chosen to include. So we begin with Lister painting the ship to the strains of the old music, a pull-out to a big red pencil, and the beginning of that shot of Starbug knocking the rock down the hole. After that, however, we cut to the Japanese footage, which begins with a shot of the (pencil) Dwarf flying in space, and then Blue Midget going walkies (but without the subsequent shot of the crew inside). We then cut to the cast footage, individual shots of each character with what I presume is the actor’s name in Japanese (I don’t speak it, so I don’t know) underneath. The first three are all from The End : Lister’s is the shot of him waving on the way out of stasis, Rimmer is the bit where Lister passes his arm through him, and Cat is his spinning arrival into the Examination Room. Kryten then gets a clip from Polymorph, where Lister is examining his groinal attachment. These clips are strange, as they’re a bit longer (lasting three or four seconds each) and slower-paced than we’re accustomed to from the title sequences of British and American series. After this, though, we return to the Remastered credits, for the swooping shot around the drive room and a big pencil blasting off into the distance, followed by an explosion coming out of a rock and the Red Dwarf logo.
The closing credits, meanwhile, are very short, only getting as far as the first “Fun, fun, fun, in the sun, sun sun” before a rather muggy edit to the closing riff. Two shots of the Remastered ship in space (including one very pretty one with lots of moons and nebulae and stuff) are accompanied by (animated) headshots in circular bubbles and Japanese (and English) names for Charles, Barrie and John-Jules (all of which are taken from Series I), before Hattie and Robert – and some, but not all, of the crew, including Rob and Doug twice – get just their names. We then get the very last bit of the opening credits again, from the light speed blast onwards. You can see the Japanese credits, of course, on the version of The End that featured way back on the Series I DVD…
Episode 1 – Psirens
nb – the script I was working from for this episode is the shooting script, as published in Primordial Soup, not a transcript of the broadcast episode. As I didn’t have the episode to hand for reference, I can’t be sure that stuff that was missing from the script wasn’t just cut from the proper versions. Hopefully everything I’ve listed here is correct, however.
This episode is quite indicative of the cuts that will occur later in the series. Lots of cuts – including entire scenes – in the early part of the episode which appear to be making way for the advancement of the plot in the third act, not to mention some inexplicable chopping of individual lines…
03.05 – Ah, our first cut of the series, and it’s a biggie. After Lister wakes up, and wonders who he is, we’re treated to precisely *none* of Kryten’s gap-filling, losing everything up until “Is there something good you can tell me about myself?”, a line made rather baffling by the fact that all he’s been told by Kryten is his name.
05.00 – Skipping the stuff about Lister and his guitar, we go straight from Kryten’s “You seem to be on your way to full recall” to his “Suggest we begin the debriefing.”
06.10 – Our first evidence that the Japanese editors don’t like Space Corps Directive gags. After Kryten mentions recovering Holly, we jump straight to “You know how unstable those belts are”. On paper, this cut could make sense. Unfortunately, it appears odd onscreen because of the sudden change in Rimmer’s mood and delivery.
06.42 – Inexplicably, “It’s better to live one hour as a tiger than a whole lifetime as a worm” is left in, but “Whoever heard of a wormskin rug?” (one of my favourite ever RD lines) is cut out. why keep the setup of a gag but not its punchline? They could have ended the scene with “we’re people pate” and it would have made a lot more sense. Sheesh.
07.28 – Rimmer’s line about a Jammy Dodger in hot coffee is cut out, with just “Will you tell me what he’s doing?” left in.
08.20 – Rimmer controlling the visual (“Enhance” etc.) is chopped down to just “There, got it. Some kind of ship”
08.30 – Lister’s line about lambs to the kebab shop is gone, with just a hint of the tail end of audience laughter to show it was ever there.
12.55 – The entirety of the Captain Tau/Kochanski illusion is removed, as is the Cat warning of the giant, flaming meteorite. So what happens is Lister says “Incoming message, here they go again”, heads towards the monitor, and suddenly there’s a meteorite heading for the ship and they’re all running for the cockpit. How strange.
14.55 – The reference to making Starbug out of the same material as cute little dolls is cut, going straight from the ZX81 line to Rimmer’s “How long before we can take off again?”
15.35 – The line about Lister making a special hole in his pocket for Pete Tranter’s sister is removed in a quite good edit.
18.20 – Another Space Corps directive cleanly cut. This appears, however, to be the last noticeable cut of the episode, although as I’ve said above, I can’t be 100% sure.
Episode 2 – Legion
Legion is one of the most painfully-edited episodes. Painful not because of volume (the amount of running time cut is pretty much equal with all of them, and in Legion’s case there are fewer cuts but they’re longer) because most of what gets lost is among the greatest dialogue and jokes the series has ever seen. Including one rather famous line. Read on…
02.30 – First cut of the episode, and it’s an entire scene. Losing the great peanut/mint imperial scene between Cat and Lister, we cut straight from Kryten’s “Et voila!” to Lister stepping down from the cockpit saying “Hi, honey, I’m home.”
03.00 – One of the more seamless edits, and if you didn’t know the dialogue was missing, you wouldn’t spot it at all. We go straight from Kryten apologising for the carrot to Rimmer asking “How’s supper, Listy?”. That is, we lose the “Have You Got A Good Memory” quiz bit. But without a copy of the episode to refer to, I can’t even spot the join, as Lister picks up his space weevil.
03.25 – Yet more classic dialogue lost. Skipping over all the “blue alert” talk (an ominous foreshadowing of what’s to come), we go straight from Kryten telling Cat there’s nothing on long-range (even losing the punchline of that gag!) to “Wait! I’ve got something – I’m punching it up.”
03.40 – And sure enough, there it is. One of the most famous lines in Red Dwarf history – the light bulb gag – is gone, as is Lister’s “Albanian State Washing Machine Company” line. The jump is from Kryten’s “technology way in advance” line (another punchline chopped off!) to Lister’s “15,000 Geegooks and closing”.
03.55 – In Japan, Kryten doesn’t offer to get into the reverse thrust tubes, thus losing out on a fantastic double whammy of punchlines from Rimmer (“Stop your blathering…”) and Lister (“I’m not doing me own smegging ironing…”).
04.00 – No reference to broadcasting on all known frequencies, but thankfully Rimmer’s message of surrender remains intact.
06.00 – After a blissful couple of minutes without a cut, we lose Kryten’s references to Heidegger, Davro, Holder and Quayle. The later line about Heidegger and Quayle, though, is kept in.
09.25 – An understandable cut, removing reference to the earlier-removed light bulb gag. We go from Rimmer saying “He’d get us back to Earth in weeks” to Lister’s “This Johnny won’t come with us”.
13.45 – Once again, a speech is chopped down. This time, Rimmer doesn’t discuss the thirty-one individuals, going straight from “we feel we have” to “We feel that you, like us”, in a quite good edit. Unfortunately, the scene-closing line “Thirty-two”, which is bafflingly kept in, is thus rendered completely nonsensical. Indeed, halfway through, this is thankfully the last cut, which isn’t bad going.
Episode 3 – Gunmen of the Apocalypse
Some of the cuts in this episode – if you take into consideration the need to get the running time down – actually do make sense. But this is made up for by the ridiculous nature of others. You have to wonder, in some cases, why they didn’t leave a scene intact, or chop the whole thing, rather than leaving the odd line here and there which simply don’t make sense alone (the Bear Strangler McGee bit and the scene immediately prior to the posse entering the game are the most obvious examples of this)…
2.20 – The scene after Kryten’s entrance, in which we return to the game and Lister explains what’s going on to that woman out of Spatz, is completely chopped – we instead cut straight to the “Select Character” bit.
03.30 – The bit starting “I can’t resist her” is cut, jumping straight from “I’m programmed to be trash” to “Sir, you have to turn off the AR console”.
04.40 – It’s unsurprising, I suppose, that part of this scene gets chopped (if you’re having to cut stuff anyway, the more risque gags are probably the most likely candidates), but we go straight from “You’re like a dog that’s missing its master’s leg” to “What’s all the hullabaloo?”
07.10 – A Space Corps Directive gag completely chopped out. Rimmer gets as far as surrendering before we cut to the simulant saying “Primitive!”
10.00 – The stuff about getting out in a big flat piece, and the escape pod, is all gone. After Lister says “Weaker and weaker”, follows Cat’s “We’re getting something”, and the dream on the screen.
12.40 – Another of those cuts that just doesn’t make sense. After Lister says that Kryten’s life signs are barely registering, we go straight to Cat saying “Twice in one lifetime?” There is no explanation as to why he suddenly says this (his celebratory tone is bizarre coming straight after Lister’s pessimistic comment), as his entire idea is cut. D’oh. I feel for people watching this without prior knowledge of what’s really meant to happen, I really do.
14.50 – It seems Lola can understand Spanish, as she serves the whisky at Cat’s request without the need for Lister to interpret. A rare case of “well, if they had to cut something, this one makes sense”.
15.30 – Bear Strangler McGee’s first line is cut, leading to Rimmer asking “what were the choices again?” despite not having been offered any.
15.40 – And Bear Strangler’s *other* line is cut! What, is he not in Japanese Equity or something? Rimmer’s insult, therefore, while still funny, loses the joke that comes from “That pays for the hat, what about the insult?”
16.05 – We do get Kryten handing over his valuables, but we don’t get told that it contains his guns and his mule, Dignity. Instead it goes straight to “Mr. Sad Git or what?”
18.45 – Strangely, we’re faded in halfway through a scene, following Cat shooting the sign onto Kryten’s head. Presumably the reference to getting the guns back is removed because we haven’t been told they’ve been given away, but we also lose the coffee bit and Kryten’s attempt to regurtitate the explanation (“I’m some kind of robot”). The scene begins, therefore, with “This is it Kryten, the answer’s in these guns somehow”…
23.55 – With the Japanese credits, we lose the Wild West version of the theme, obviously. That said, the regular music is edited in rather well over the YEEEEEHAAAAAA!!!! before the other music has a chance to come in…
Episode 4 – Emohawk : Polymorph II
Probably the biggest example of a few lengthy scenes – rather than lots of little lines – being cut in the first half, and then a second half that’s pretty much intact.
01.57 – An early cut, and a really good bit dropped out, too. After Rimmer declares the record scrambling time of 1 hour 17 minutes and 39 seconds, we lose everything for a good couple of minutes, namely Rimmer’s fantastic speech about haircuts. We resume again with (predictably enough) functional rather than funny dialogue, Cat saying “Check your screens”.
02.18 – And yet another Space Corps directive goes, the chicken and rabbi one this time.
03.20 – It’s not a cut, but I thought I’d just remark that the line about the SCEEV’s voice unit making about as much sense as a Japanese VCR instruction manual actually stays in.
03.51 – After Kryten remarks that the penalty is execution, his explanation about frontier law and his remark that they’re “guilty as the man behind the grassy knoll” are both cut out.
04.20 – The line about the Eastbourne zimmer-rame relay team is cut, somewhat understandably (either because Eastbourne is an obscure reference for the Japanese, or because it’s a similar sort of joke to the Albanian State Washing Machine Company one from Legion that’s also cut)
07.07 – After the ship goes through the exploding asteroid, we lose the next discussion in the cockpit (about attempting to land on the moon) and just cut straight to the next model shot, of Starbug crashing into the lake. After this, the beginning of the next scene (i.e. “Not even Mister Lister’s guitar survived intact”) is chopped off, up until Lister walks in.
07.58 – The entire scene at the shore of the lake, featuring the arrow and Kryten explaining about the Kinitawowi, is completely cut – instead we go straight to the crew’s arrival at the village.
11.09 – After Lister says “play the real waltz”, more dialogue is cut (Lister’s attempts to say he’s not going through with it) until Kryten speaks (“Sir, they are a proud people”), making it look like he’s interrupted Lister before he’s had a chance to even say what he was going to.
13.40 – Unsurprisingly, the English subtitles that translate the Kinitawowi are replaced with Japanese ones. But after the above cut, the remaining 13 minutes of the episode are intact (presumably as so much was cut earlier on). Impressive!
Episode 5 – Rimmerworld
The style of cutting, as you can see, is becoming quite a formula by now, and once again a lot of stuff in the first half of the episode is cut, but a good amount of the third act remains intact. Thankfully, though, there aren’t any real cases of a line being cut in such a way that the subsequent one appears to make no sense. This episode also features a couple of instances of Japanese subtitles, which I’ve duly noted.
01.30 – Doesn’t take them long with this one, does it? After Kryten accuses Rimmer of cheating, we miss his admission and his statement that it’s “what makes me what I am”, jumping straight to Kryten’s “Oh, the results”.
01.40 – And another. The lines about next of kin and heart attacks are gone. Simply “Problem?” followed by “Are you of the school…?”
02.05 – An understandable cut, given the circumstances, as the roundabout bit of dialogue here is cut, skipping straight from the first “Absolutely peachy” to “Kryten, I want to know, that’s why I asked for a medical”.
02.36 – Rimmer’s threat to Kryten (involving a “buttock sandwich”) is lopped straight out.
03.00 – Yet another cut, in what is quite a butchered scene. Kryten’s “As a result” speech is cut short before he gets to telling Rimmer to start on a program of relaxation (but after he’s mentioned his T count being higher than a hippy on the third day of an open air festival). Rimmer’s next line is then skipped, and Kryten goes on with “Here’s what I suggest”.
03.55 – In a direct parallel of the “wormskin rug” cut in Psirens the old Cat saying (“If you’re gonna eat tuna, expect bones”) is left in, but the old human saying (“If you’re gonna talk garbage, expect pain”) is dopped. As is Lister saying they’ll take their chances, and Rimmer’s speech about returning to the simulant ship being “the metaphorical equivalent of flopping your wedding tackle into a lion’s mouth and flicking his love spuds with a wet towel”. We pick up again with Lister talking about the refrigeration unit.
04.05 – And Kryten’s line about space nettle soup, plus Cat’s follow-up, are both dropped.
04.20 – Yet another actual joke is cut, as as well as cutting Kryten’s line halfway we miss Rimmer’s line about perpetual agony and Lister’s guitar, going straight to Lister asking what’s for dinner.
04.34 – And another Space Corps gag (the women’s gym one, this time) goes by the wayside. In fact, I don’t think there’s a single one left in this series. The scene begins with Kryten saying to Lister, “Sir, we have enough thistles and weeds…”
04.44 – Rimmer’s line about Kryten never being wrong is chopped to get rid of the reference to the shape of his head.
05.25 – Rimmer’s summation of their options (all three culminating in them being, in fact, finished) is cut, as is Kryten requesting next go with the worry balls.
06.35 – A quick cut, dropping Lister wondering why the crew are looking at him like a nostril hair in a Spanish omelette.
06.40 – And another, this time we don’t get Rimmer wondering what they’re to do (most likely whisper “charge”) if they encounter a simulant.
09.05 – Conveniently, a Japanese caption translates the ESCAPE POD sign.
09.37 – Similarly with “POD LAUNCHED”. I must say I don’t recall such a thing occuring in any of the other episodes in this series.
14.10 – A great scene, so far untouched by cuts, is meddled with when Cat’s “There’s an old Cat saying… but you don’t want to hear it right now”. Lister’s next line is also cut (leading to a possible continuity error if you’re left wondering how the hard light drive will function for 600 years), resuming with Kryten’s “As the pod was looted from a seeding ship…”
14.30 – Rimmer only gets as far as “it took me five terms to make a tent peg” before this line is then chopped.
16.36 – Apparently the Japanese don’t like incest jokes. Hence the only bit from Rimmer’s diary that is cut is the reference to taking his cloned “sister” as a lover and not telling her.
18.40 – The “Rimmer” guard’s line about finding the crew in the woods is chopped out.
22.10 – Kryten’s speech about mutations in the gene pool, inbreeding and an insult to European royalty of the last two hundred years is dropped clean out. And it’s the last cut of the episode. Phew.
Episode 6 – Out Of Time
We get a lot cut from the early part of this episode, leaving us with a first act that doesn’t make a lot of sense, and some great comedy gone. Thankfully, this seems to be in the name of preserving the episode’s closing scene completely intact. Which is something.
01.20 – The beginning of the episode sees perhaps the most baffling chop of the entire series. The whole morale officer bit is cut, but what makes it stranger is that, after dropping off at “tempers are strained”, the line that picks it up again is “I don’t know about you”, with Rimmer going on to mention a “morale meeting” that never actually happened. Anyone watching this who hadn’t seen the original would be left wondering what the fuck had just happened, frankly.
01.50 – And another massive cut. We go straight from “our hopeless futile predicament is beginning to get to him” to the “autopilot alert”, losing a good minute or two of the others discussing Rimmer in the interim. Get the feeling the editors want to skip comedy dialogue in favour of getting to the meat of the plot as quickly as possible?
02.55 – A fairly smooth edit, cutting out Rimmer’s line about Lister’s “mission” being “to rid the universe of chicken vindaloo”.
08.05 – Kryten’s toadying apology to Lister is cut – the scene following “I’ve got gussets to scrub” instead begins with Lister’s “Starbug is small…”
09.50 – Another very strange cut, plot-wise. We go from Lister saying “Let’s get out of here”, to the craft emerging from the unreality pockets. All reference to, and execution of, Kryten’s deep sleep plan is removed, leaving the audience baffled as to why the ship carried on when Lister said “Let’s get out of here”, and how they actually managed to navigate them.
10.40 – Rimmer’s getting the short end of the stick in this episode, and for no reason whatsoever his line about selecting a neutral time period is completely cut – instead Lister responds to Kryten’s “Choose any year” with “Let’s go to some place nice and safe and dull…”
10.50 – And again, a Rimmer line – telling Kryten to load the year 1421 – is unceremoniously chopped.
11.30 – Yet *another* Rimmer line chopped, when he asks if they’re still three million years from Earth. This unnecessary cut leads to yet another messy skip in the audience laughter.
11.50 – Rimmer loses the second half of his speech, after getting as far as “what exactly was the point of that little exercise?” This renders Kryten’s response – “For the moment, yes” – completely nonsensical.
18.10 – After Rimmer’s “Oooohhhh dear!”, we lose Cat’s “Is he fat?” and Rimmer’s “Far from it. He’s lost a bit of weight, actually!”, picking up again with Lister’s “What do I do to end up like that?”
19.35 – Another quick cut, going straight from “If you don’t count the Hitlers” to “You’re good friends with the Hitlers?”. Yes, it’s another Rimmer line gone.
21.05 – Future Rimmer loses part of a line, too, only getting as far as “You’ll change your mind when you’ve thought it through” before Lister shoots the wall above him. Thankfully, the entirety of the closing scene is left intact…
So there you have it. In some cases it’s losing classic lines, in others whole scenes fall by the wayside, and in a few cases the plot of the episode is completely buggered around with, making it quite clear that something just happened but you missed it. Yep, watching the Japanese DVDs is a strange experience – I just feel sorry for those who watch them and think that’s all they’re supposed to be getting! Stay tuned for Series V, whenever I can get around to it.