It’s time for more misadventures in the land of cinematic localization as the movie Virgin Mountain gets promoted in Japan.

This darling of film festivals worldwide from writer/director Dagur Kári was originally called Fúsi in its native Iceland, but was renamed Virgin Mountain possibly due to a widespread fear of accent aigus.

First, here is the English version of the poster for Virgin Mountain:


It’s fairly simple, but the title, tagline and image give a pretty good sense of the film as a subtle and bittersweet portrayal of a middle-aged virgin that’s humorous at times without going over the top.

Meanwhile, in Japan the film was retitled yet again to Suki ni Narazu ni Irarenai (Can’t Help Falling in Love). Here’s the poster for this version, which as we can see has all the subtlety of a rusty chainsaw and may or may not have been made by the person who did the original doge meme.

Tagline 1: “In a corner of Iceland, a big kind-hearted man finds love.”
Tagline 2: “Sent from the country of ice, a sad and moving love story”
Tagline 3: “Fúsi, if there were more people like you, the world would be a happier place…”
Scrawling in Japanese: “43 years old, fatso. Otaku. Virgin.”

You might want to take a moment to rest your eyes before continuing… Here’s a picture of a smirking otter to help you relax.

Okay, let’s resume.

Apparently someone in distribution felt the need to add two more taglines for further clarification and then just go ahead and scribble all over the poster, negative space be damned. On the other hand, although a little cliché, the Japanese title is admittedly better.

Now before you go thinking we’re just picking on the Japanese aesthetic, bear in mind that Japanese people by and large are also confused by these frequent alterations in foreign movies whether by strange artistic choices, odd taglines, or titles.

Here’s what people in Japan had to say about Virgin Mountain’s Japanese poster.

“I like the Japanese title. That poster though…”

“Is this really the Japanese poster or is this some kind of knock off? Do we need all that graffiti?”

“The movie is originally called Fúsi. Why do they use the English title on it?”

“I kind of thought it’s cute and eye-catching.”

Hey Japan, this is a movie.”

“I guess they wanted to make it idiot-proof.”

“It makes me not want to see the movie.”

“I think it’s okay and probably I wouldn’t want to see a movie just based on an old guy’s face.”

“The Japanese poster seems more targeted towards women. Notice how the words “love” and “romance” are used and highlighted.”

The final comment raises a valid point as we can sometimes see movies with uncharacteristic promotions such as Avengers: The Age of Ultron with the tagline: “Know love — Sacrifice for all of humanity.” Clearly these are moves to attract certain female viewers to films they may overlook by reputation alone.

In this case, it’s a forgivable sin, since Virgin Mountain is a very nice movie and ought to be seen by as wide an audience as possible.

All I know is, localizing posters for Japan seems like a lucrative business that’s well within my wheelhouse. Time to make some yen!

Image: Amazon (Edited by RocketNews24)

Image: Amazon (Edited by RocketNews24)

Image: Amazon (Edited by RocketNews24)

Source: Hachima Kiko (Japanese)
Virgin Mountain English Poster: Twitter/@Cledisan
Virgin Mountain Japanese Poster: