Rewatching Azumanga Daioh again this week, partly for kicks, partly to study it some more. This time, though, I'm watching it in English. The previous two times I watched it in Japanese with the subtitles. The first time there wasn't an option, since it was a fan-subtitled version of the episode in Japanese, and the second time, well, I was used to watching it in Japanese*.
One of the things I wanted to see was how the English voice actors would handle the characters interacting with foreigners. See, the girls are high school students in Japan, and one of their classes is English, so there are a few occasions where they meet someone they have to try and speak English to, because that person doesn't speak Japanese. And because they've been speaking Japanese so smoothly up until then, they struggle to find the right words in English feels believable. But if the characters are already speaking English easily, you can't have them meet someone else who speaks English and have them suddenly not know how to say something.
The answer was to change the language the foreigners speak, which I suppose is obvious. Interestingly, they seem to use a little of all sorts of European languages. When Kagura sees a guy struggling to carry his heavy luggage, she tries to communicate with comments like "Helpo with your luggage-o", and I know she switched to German at one point because I heard her say "helfen".
The other thing they did was change Yukari from strictly an English teacher to a 'language expert'. It's kind of funny, because part of me thinks they could have just flipped it, and had the "foreigners" speak Japanese, and the English voice actors could appear to struggle with that, mirroring the Japanese voice actors "difficulties" with English. But I guess the problem would be that even though the characters would be speaking English, we'd know they were Japanese and fluent in Japanese, so the idea they couldn't speak that, even though we hadn't heard them do so throughout the series, wouldn't wash. Thus, they have to struggle with Spanish or Italian.
The other thing I found interesting is that Osaka, in the English version, has a distinct Texas accent, which sounds very different from all the other characters. It makes me wonder how different an Osakan accent is from a Tokyo one, since I couldn't tell a distinct difference when watching the Japanese version. Also, it amuses me that they decided to equate Osaka with Texas. I guess it makes sense, as the students describe Osakans as being brash, loud, enjoying spicy food, and not shy about breaking rules (with the joke being "Osaka" is none of those things).
* Typically, whatever version I watch first, that's what I prefer to stick with. So Japanese for Excel Saga and Scryed, English for stuff like Trigun.