STEAMBOY TO BE EDITED?Originally posted here, with minor edits.
I've seen a rumour1 reported several places on the Internet, though not from any sources I know well enough to completely trust, that Sony will cut 20 minutes from the domestic theatrical release of Steamboy. If true, I believe this would be the most significant editing of a theatrical anime film for domestic release, excluding, perhaps, the franchise films (re: Pokémon and Digimon), since the days of Warriors of the Wind nearly 20 years ago (which was done by Roger Corman's New World Pictures, damnit, not Disney! Why do so many people think Disney did it?). The lack of outrage expressed over this on anime boards is remarkable... maybe most of the complainers just haven't heard yet?
Someone on the ANN board who I think is Japanese linked me to this Japanese blog about Steamboy which seems to confirm it, though my Japanese reading skills are very limited, but I don't know if that's an official site or just a fan site. And that page seems to be from August, so, even if it's Katsuhiro Otomo himself writing it based on what Sony was telling him about the English dub back then, it's very dated information that I didn't see reported anywhere in English when it was "fresh".
One one hand, according to many of the reviews I've read about the film, the pacing of the normal narrative arc is very distorted so that the "climax" goes on almost for an hour of continual destruction and chaos, to the point where what would be very cool and exciting in smaller bites gets to be just plodding overkill after a while, so it could just be that the movie needed to be significantly trimmed when it was still being put together. I have the Dawn of the Dead boxset, with three different cuts of the film, and I was excited that the Original Cut had 20 minutes more material than the theatrical cut, thinking it would be 20 minutes of kewlness, but when I saw it, the 20 minutes were mostly just slightly extended versions of scenes, mostly very unimportant stuff, and everything worth watching was in the North American theatrical cut, which is *much* tighter and better-paced and the cut that Romero actually prefers.
But on the other hand, of the few non-franchise anime films that have actually made it to North American theatres over the past decade or so, I don't think any of them were edited from the Japanese theatrical cut, at least in terms of animation. (I don't count audio edits, like having a character say they're drinking cocoa when they are, in fact, drinking coffee. That sort of minor discrepancy doesn't bother me in the slightest.) So, if the rumour is true, and I'm not saying it is, I wouldn't like the precedent.
1 In Canada, "rumor" is spelt with an extra "U", like it is in English in most of the rest of the world.