• English dubs-the good, the bad and the ugly
  • English dubs-the good, the bad and the ugly

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  1. #1
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    English dubs-the good, the bad and the ugly

    So the dub vs. sub debate has been going on for a long time. Arguments break out, friendships were ended over it and I'm sure a few people have died over it but I figured we should have a thread that discuss this further.

    My history with dubs was when I got into anime a long time ago. Most VHS shops only had the dub version. For a good chunk of my childhood, I would choose the english dub since it was what I was used to. Eventually, with anime becoming more readily available online, I started watching anime with subtitles and now it's gotten to the point where it's my default choice since then. I get why most people prefer to watch anime is subs. They want to watch the show the way the creators intend it which means hearing the voices in the original japanese language so they want to go with subs as a result. Sometimes with english dubs, especially the ones from the 80s and 90s, had so-so acting at best or it's just cringe worthy. I rewatched Lost Universe a year or two back since I haven't seen it in a long ass time and I watched it in the english language and...it was bad. Like holy crap, the acting for the lead female especially was grating. Some performances were OK but the rest was just bleh. I want to post the clip but sadly, youtube only seems to have the full episodes online so I don't know how Mantis would feel about me posting a whole episode. Just look it up on youtube and hear it for yourself. Some english dubs also have a habit of changing the dialouge to give that ends up giving the scene a different context from the original japanese script. Funimation has a habit of doing this, especially in recent years. Just look at what they did with Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid.

    With that said, I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with english dubs. Some people don't like reading and watching at the same time. I also think the quality of english dubs have gone up in recent years. I'll even say there are english dubs that are superior to the original japanese dub and what better to demonstrate this than Outlaw Star! Specifically Gene Starwind. Bob Bucholz's old-school sounding voice fits Gene's rouge personality much better than the japanese actor who I felt sounded a little boyish. The only one that I would say I like a little better in the japanese dub is Aisha, though I still think Lenore Zan is a great fit for the role.

    You know who doesn't get enough love when it comes to english dubbing? The studios in canada. They don't seem to do much anime dubbing nowadays but the ones they do are of good quality. A great example of this is Black Lagoon.



    I mean, holy damn Revy's actress. Her acting isn't the typical melodramatic hysterics you hear in a lot of english dubs. There's a rawness to her performance that you're almost taken aback by it. It's that intense. That reminds me, I really need to give that show another watch.

    But yeah, I thought it would be cool to give our thoughts on the subject or even post clips that we think are good and bad. Anywho, you guys argue about this while I go with the superior way of watching anime...having the japanese actors speak english!


  2. #2
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    I've never really understood the hate for dubs.
    Sure, there are some utterly terrible dubs, like what Runnington shows on his channel.

    But these came out back in the 90s when anime was nowhere near as popular or mainstream as it is now.
    But, over time, English studios have taken VO talent more seriously, and a lot of legendary English VAs like Steve Blum, Johnny Yong Bosch, Luci Christian, Wendee Lee, and Crispin Feeman.
    I haven't really found any dubs lately that I feel are bad.
    I get that subs are closest to how the creator intended for a show to be heard, but I dont see that as a reason to hate dubs.
    Dubs are the reason anime is as widespread as it is now.
    I never really understood the hate dubs get. They're not in Japanese, sure, but it made anime far more accessible to people who dont want to read subtitles.
    I just find the whole argument stupid and pointless.
    Hell, there are some really good dubs. I can't say if they're better than the originals, considering I have no way to judge how good a Japanese voice is, or how well the lines are delivered, but I absolutely love the dub of the Haruhi Suzumiya series.
    It's one of the best dubs out there, and the film, Disappearance of Haruhi Suzimiya is one of the best anime I've ever seen, and one of the best films I've ever seen, period. And its mostly due to Crispin Freeman's portrayal of Kyon.
    So, to me, the sub v dub as argument is pointless. But it is entertaining to see people who vehemently hate dubs. Lol

    .

  3. #3
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    In this ongoing debate I tend to notice that the issue isn't the subs or the dubs, but the sub zealots and their vitriolic attitudes. Never have I seen a dub watcher (okay, maybe a couple of times in my life) have the same severe attitude problems that sub watchers do regularly demonstrate. Sub preference is something I can respect, but likewise I expect them to respond to my preference in kind.

    This ties in with my opinions about manga translations. "Oh no, the publishers added SFX that destroyed the original vision!" Meanwhile a scanlator might be translating the very same manga and maybe it's a little amateurish. A team of industry professional voice actors might pour their hearts and souls into an anime dub and in return receive a proverbial slap in the face from whiny, ungrateful children. Meanwhile a group of weeaboos produce a fan dub that makes your ears want to commit aural harakiri.

    What do these scenarios have in common? The professionals who more often than not do a good job will be shunned by many, for no real reason. Often it's just outrage mobs and general bandwagoning. Yet when the fan dubbers and the scanlators do a shoddy job they get a free pass because they weren't paid for their time. I don't go around lambasting bad fan dubs, but they should be placed under the same scrutiny as professional dubs as well as subbed anime. Because MUH JAPPYNEES many anime fans seem to believe that bad Japanese audio doesn't exist. It did, it does, and it always will. I'd say its prevalence compared to dubs is largely open to interpretation because it's ultimately a matter of preference.

    Like pseudohippie said, it's often not as easy for us to understand and fairly judge the original Japanese audio. But we can flip that on its head and reverse it. I don't think many sub watchers understand (and maybe are even intentionally blind to) when the original audio might be quite jarring.

    I enjoy the maturity I often find in English dubs. Maybe that's something I can't detect in Japanese audio, but many adult women in the Japanese audio sound like little girls. Not all the time but it happens a lot in my experience. I think that in some bad dubs a voice actress might try to imitate a stereotypical anime girl voice. I prefer it natural but I won't deny that I actually enjoy the goofy voices in some '80s anime cheese. It's like how endearing Ryo Hazuki's (Shenmue) silly dub voice can be.
    Gene: "Have faith in me guys, enjoy the ride—you're in good hands. I can handle this. I can do it!"
    Jim: "How do you know?"
    Gene: "I don't!"
    Jim: "I knew it."
    Gene: "That's okay. There's a first time for everything!"

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  4. #4
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    Screw bandwagons, and screw what other people think about how you choose to enjoy media. sure they might think your taste is trash....and?

    My dub to sub split is like 10/90, so I guess you could say that I'm on the "original Japanese" side of things, but I just enjoy anime more that way with the original inflection & nuances to the performance. There are plenty of times where the English dub cast mixes things up and winds up with a better or more impactful performance too. In the end I don't care how other people choose to watch their anime, as long as they leave me alone as well. I do lean towards the English dubs of shows I grew up with, because that's how I remember them sounding but I probably haven't watched an English dub of anything released post-2002. That's not to say none are good, but for many years I was at the cutting edge of anime releases and English dubs come out months to years later (or never) so I've consumed hundreds more series in Japanese than English for that reason alone.

    The following series are better in English and I can't watch them any other way:
    Bleach
    InuYasha
    Speed Racer
    Gundam Wing
    Outlaw Star
    Death Note
    Trigun
    the Persona video games
    Tenchi Muyo
    Ghost stories
    and even that other Outlaw Star-like show

    I'm sure there are plenty of other bangers, but these are the formative ones for me that I just can't listen to in anything BUT English. I've watched basically everything else in Japanese. To each their own. I don't even bother with the debate or comment sections full of 12 year olds arguing, why does anyone care?
    "Out of the ground, raze all greenery with flame! Fire2!"
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemekis View Post
    Tenchi Muyo
    I whole heartedly agree with this except for Ayeka's voice. Christ, that was shrill especially that laugh. Everyone else was ace though, especially Ryoko. I also like Sherry Lynn's voice for Kiyone. I don't know why Wendee Lee took over the role starting with Tenchi in Tokyo (She's great in that role too mind you) but I felt that Sherry did a better job of capturing her exasperated nature much better.

  6. #6
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    Ah, Ghost Stories.
    Good times.
    Gooood times.
    I wonder if anyone actually prefers the sub version.

    .

  7. #7
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    I very rarely will watch a sub over a dub. I just prefer to hear the series in English. I have always been this way. I have watched subbed series just because I didn't want to wait for the dubbed version and honestly, most of the time I prefer dubbed over subbed. The voices for a lot of characters sound too childish in Japanese. Maybe that is just me though.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by KorinKitty View Post
    The voices for a lot of characters sound too childish in Japanese. Maybe that is just me though.
    Nah, that goes for me too, although this usually applies to female characters. While there is a generic "anime girl" stereotypical dub voice you'll sometimes encounter which can be a bit grating, a lot of Japanese voice actresses sound like little girls to me. But I suppose the Japanese simply have a different interpretation. In my experience Japanese-voiced male characters more often sound their age, like with Dr. Kenzo Tenma from one of my favourite series, Monster. I loved watching that show subbed, but at the time there wasn't a dub.

    Eventually it was broadcast on SyFy dubbed, and having been loyal to the sub for years and admittedly in a weebish way I was very critical of the dub. Years later, I'd formed a new opinion and now find it more enjoyable than the original audio. Hell, I'd only watched a few clips of SyFy's broadcast and nonchalantly wrote it off as crap. At least I've known—to some extent—what it's like to be an irrational sub zealot.
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  9. #9
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    A lot of the more cutsey voice you describe is usually in more light hearted or (For lack of a better term) girly anime. In more straight faced fair you don't get that as much. I don't mind it personally and a few of them I find endearing depending on the performer though I can see how it can grate on some people. It's funny because a lot of the japanese voice types I like aren't usually the high pitch types. Like Ami Koshimizu's voice for Ryuko from Kill la Kill. I always liked that lower pitched voice that she had which I think sounds nice. Rie Takahashi is also really good, and has good range going from softer characters like Emelia to Spunkier characters like Megumin from Konosuba.

    And to play devil's advocate in regards to the die hard sub jihadists, the reason you don't hear often from die hard dub nazis is mostly because dubs are kind of niche within the anime fandom so you're naturally not gonna get as many dub supporters flaming the sub fans as often as you would the other way around. I think you get more of that these days with what Funimation has done over the past few years so you'll a number of good english dub actors getting lumped into that crowd which is unfair.

    You know what english dub actor I miss the most? Troy Baker. I know that's a weird thing to say since he's in almost every western video game on the market practically but back when he was just doing dubs for anime, he was really damn good at it. I remember when I first looked him up after hearing his performance in Bioshock Infinite and was shocked to find that this is the same guy who did Abel Nightroad in Trinity Blood! It's a shame he moved on from the anime dub game though considering how crap anime dub pay is, I can't say that I blame him. Still, everyone goes on about Joel this and Booker Dewitt that but no one ever brings up his true greatest role.



    With all of that said, I still stand by my assertion that the best way to watch anime is to have the japanese actors speak english.



    (Yes, I did that as an excuse to post more funny engrish vids. Sue me)

  10. #10
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    I should really give subbed anime way more credit. They always nail English voice acting.

    Gene: "Have faith in me guys, enjoy the ride—you're in good hands. I can handle this. I can do it!"
    Jim: "How do you know?"
    Gene: "I don't!"
    Jim: "I knew it."
    Gene: "That's okay. There's a first time for everything!"

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