Sentai's on-screen notes really annoy me. What do you guys think?

How do you feel about Sentai's on-screen notes in their releases?

  • I like them

    Votes: 14 56.0%
  • I don't like them

    Votes: 4 16.0%
  • I feel neither one way or another about them

    Votes: 7 28.0%
  • I'd rather they found somewhere else to put them

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Comic Book Guy
Okay - I've just finished my first late night anime marathon in a LONG while, and I've spotted something on the discs I watched tonight that I think bears a bit of discussion. Please note: as this is a subject that speaks directly to what seems to have become one distributor's practice, that's why I posted it in this particular sub forum.

Basically, it boils down to this: Sentai Filmworks have been including on-screen notes in their releases for some time now, and it ROYALLY aggravates me.

Now, I appreciate that these notes often provide specific information which is intended to enhance viewers' appreciation and enjoyment of show. But I personally find them very obtrusive. Whenever text appears on-screen, I can't help but end up paying attention to that over anything else. Most recently, this was a mild irritation as I was watching Humanity Has Declined. Tonight, I started on Nobunaga the Fool, and found it to bee one of the most egregious offenders I've yet seen in this regard. Seriously - in the space of the first two episodes, on screen notes appear on screen to state things that REALLY do not need to be clarified in such a jarring manner. And, let's face it, whatever the information might be, in whatever show this is happening in, there's a time and a place for such things. And that time and place certainly should not be 'on screen, in the middle of the story.'

It wouldn't be so bad if there was an option to turn this extraneous notes off. But scouring my Blu Ray menus, it's just not possible. And this, for me, is ruining certain releases. (If anyone knows how to switch these things off, PLEASE do share!)

I do appreciate the extr insight these notes offer. But I'd be much happier if those notes were included in much the same way as Discotek Media provide liner notes on ther Lupin III releases - which is to say, as actual liner notes, tucked away where they needn't intrude on the story.

I'm going to make this particular point something I beat the drum about in future Youtube videos. I also intend to raise the issue directly with Sentai, and anywhere online where I discuss anime with folks. Not because I want to be 'that guy' who whines about the thing he doesn't like, but becaause I very strongly feel this is a company practice that is ill advised.

But before I do, I'd like to know what other AUKN-ers - and maybe even industry insiders - think about the practice of including on-screen notes. I'm hoping I can learn something about why they're included, and possibly why anyone thought it was a good idea in the first place.


I think the poll is missing an option. While I don't "don't like them", I wouldn't really say I like them.

To be honest, I can't say on-screen notes have bother me too much. Sure, sometimes they are trivial or cause too much text being on the screen at once, forcing me to pause/rewind, but unless Sentai increased the amount significantly in their newer releases, I don't have a problem with them.

As for having the notes separately sounds nice, but by having them at the intended time in the subtitle track, means I can read them at the relevant moment, which is espacially useful if the note actually helps explain the current sentence. Having them in a booklet or somewhere else on the BD, would only mean I would skim them (long) after watching the show.

Though I would welcome the option to disable this subtitle track, but that would probably increase the QC time for little gain.


State Alchemist
While I don’t have enough Sentai releases to really comment or cast a vote, this feature sounds like the successor to AD Vid-Notes (which would make sense considering Sentai is what rose Phoenix like and debt free from the ashes of ADV) which I’m certain you could choose to turn on or off. Seems like a real step backwards if a feature from the DVD era is more user friendly than its Blu-ray era equivalent.


Karamatsu Boy
They don’t bother me but do you have any specific examples? Maybe the ones I’m thinking of are less annoying than the ones which have been bothering you; I don’t recall anything amiss with Nobunaga The Fool. I wonder whether they originated with the Sentai disc subs or came from the streaming versions; it would be an interesting comparison in some cases.

I tend to snoop at liner notes in advance and spoil things unless they are actually printed. I miss inserts.



Stand User
They're included in some of the Sentai releases streaming on HIDIVE, but I don't think that's a bad thing. Anime is one of few mediums that prove to be very educational (Japanese culture being so different to others), and yes they do help in some instances. For example, there was an episode of Chaika where it explained the meaning of plot-point by saying whatever word it was included the kanji character for something else (highlighting what it means from the character's perspective). Bad example and there're others but I'm pretty sure they can be disabled on HIDIVE along with subtitles etc, but they're included in the second subtitle track which includes sign posts etc (another throwback to ADV which actually stuck).
I don't always want them to popup but even if they couldn't be disabled I don't think it's enough of a distraction to warrant complaining about (which would surprise anyone who actually knows how much I like complaining) and half the time its only on for about a second and if you was that interested you'd have to pause it to read it all (well less autistic people would at least). I wouldn't say I like them but I do like the idea (educational yay) but I don't think they're obtrusive enough to say I don't like them.
Can we not have an option for "Am I bovvered???"
They're useful, especially for newcomers to anime. The frame length text translations in the Monogatari franchise are more annoying.
I don't think they'll be there much longer.

It's all a function of money. Once upon a time, ADV used to put booklets in their releases, and you'd get interviews and glossaries and all sorts of goodies to go with a show, and on-screen translation notes were minimal. That changed to a slip of paper with just the printed translation notes, as that was cheaper than printing a whole booklet.

The translation notes then left print, and went to a separate page in the extra features to flick through. Then it turned out to be cheaper to just put them in the subtitle stream, which is where they are now. Of course an abundance of subtitles causes issues with flashing and corrupted text, so you have to spend a little more money on authoring discs. When Sentai realise it's cheaper to author discs with dialogue and text translations only, and put the translation notes on a website, putting a link on the case, they'll start doing that.


I've seen them pop-up a few times when watching Hi-Dive and they've been appreciated by me. I've not watched anything historical though, so they may get more intense in that situation, but I couldn't say/


I like liner notes so I'm totally for them but they should include two English subtitle tracks so if you don't want them you shouldn't have to deal with them. At least when watching a dub you should be able to turn them off.


Comic Book Guy
Thanks for the replies, everybody. This is useful.

As you'll see, I've added a new option to the poll. If that more accurately describes how anybody feels about these on-screen notes, then PLEASE do change your vote to reflect that. Any information I can glean about how fans feel about this is something I can take into consideration when commenting on it elsewhere. (Although, just to be crystal clear, this is me, so I WILL be beating the big drum marked 'stop doing this please, Sentai.' Everyone's input here is useful in making sure I can bring some balance to that, though.)

They don’t bother me but do you have any specific examples? Maybe the ones I’m thinking of are less annoying than the ones which have been bothering you; I don’t recall anything amiss with Nobunaga The Fool.
It's pretty much every Sentai on-disc release I've got my hands on in the last two or three years. I recall it was an issue that ruined Samurai Jam for me. That release sometimes sees the screen COVERED in text to the point that it's an unwatchable mess.

I first noticed these way back on Sentai's Majestic Prince DVDs, where I think it was possible to remove them by means of fiddling with subtitle / language options via the player remote. However, there was no option on the menu to do that. And Blu Ray releases are having none of it.

On Nobunaga the Fool, the issue has irritated me because, as I explained up top, those notes are obtrusive, frequent enough (so far) to be annoying, and they state stuff that really does NOT need to be flashed up on screen in some instances. I'd like to just be able to kick back and watch the show without those kinds of distractions. It sticks out like a sore thumb to me because it feels like a feature that's been included just to be impressive and cool. And to me, it really isn't. That information is interesting, sure, but I don't want to be forced to read it. Even if I ignore the notes, they're a big enough nuisance to detract from the show.


Comic Book Guy
Aaaand, that's torn it. Nobunaga the Fool just got kicked to the back-burner over this.

Episode 4 featured THE most pointless and annoying instance of this problem so far. During the engagement party scene near the end of the episode, Nobunaga's bride to be says "It's time to bis the bride!"

An on-screen note appears saying: NOTE: In French, 'bis' means 'to kiss.'

Then, IMMEDIATELY after the note appears, the charater says "bis means Kiss in French!"



Karamatsu Boy
I just went to watch the Crunchyroll version of Nobunaga The Fool (I have the BDs... somewhere) and couldn't find that part at all; there's an exchange about kissing during the party but it didn't have any intrusiveness. Now I'm really curious. Will have to dig out my discs later.



Comic Book Guy
Also, it really winds you up so I find it funny now :p
This is entirely acceptable reasoning.

Probably because it's on screen for a few seconds, can easily be ignored and is, on the whole, pretty trivial.
This part, not so much. Most definitely, we're talking about a matter of personal preference and tolerance. For me, having any text visible on screen at all kind of defeats the point of the dub.


Captain Karen
AUKN Staff
You asked why no one but you seemed to be bothered and I gave you reasons why, and I honestly don't think anything I said was wrong. I've never seen them as a hinderence, only ever adding to my understanding of a show. Stuff like Gintama I might have never have understood half the reference humour without the annotations, and it helps you to get gags you'd otherwise miss. You say having any text on screen defeats the point of a dub, but these notes aren't aimed exclusively at dub watchers, and you also seem to imply that dub watchers wouldn't want to benefit from the added context notes can provide.


Comic Book Guy
You asked why no one but you seemed to be bothered and I gave you reasons why, and I honestly don't think anything I said was wrong.
Oh, don't misunderstand me here, Lemon. You've not said anything wrong at all. And your perspective is really useful!

My take on this stuff is, yes, I personally find it VERY irritating, because that spit second the notes appear for on screen s enough for me to break the flow of whatever I'm watching. It bothers me enough that I want to communicate how I feel about it to whoever might be in a position to actually DO something with the input.

But rather than be the guy who shakes his fist and says 'WAAA! You guys do this thing I don't like, and I want to to stop!' I'd rather take in what I can of other people's experiences and opinions. It doesn't change my personal feeling about the issue, or the fact that, lets face it, there are MUCH bigger problems in the world. But if it helps me to think up a better solution to suggest - or several, then it's all useful.

This whole thread comes from a place of me really wanting to see anime releases be the very best that they can be. Which I'd hope is a sentiment we all share as fans (we all complain very quickly and easily when we feel an on disc release isn't up to snuff, after all.)