Dub vs Sub?:The Age Old Dilemma

I sometimes stalk the ANN forums just to get into the minds of the average American anime fan.And during one of my adventures I stumble across the topic of Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan being licensed discussion.Then, the topic of dubs vs subs caught my attention in the thread.I’ll quote some of the posts anonymously.

“This may come as a shock to you but some of us do prefer English dubbed anime because, for various reasons, we don’t like watching anime in Japanese while reading sub-titles. It doesn’t have much to do with whether a series will be on TV or not, it has to do with maximizing the possible number of fans who can enjoy the series.

Maybe you sub fans should try to remember that while you will almost NEVER have to worry about whether there will or will not be a Japanese track with a sub, unless the show is a kids series, we dub fans are constantly having our hopes crushed as of late. Please, think of your fellow fans every now and then.

And if this gets an English dub I am so buying it.”

I admit I used to despise dub fans to the very core.USED TO.Because I have seen a few dubs during my younger days which were less than pleasant memories.I think the one that made me into such a bloodthirsty monster for the souls of these “heretics” I used to label as was my utter hate for the FMA dub.It was the breaking point because I was a crazy devoted fan back then. CRAZY!!

But now I see them as well,different from me.For me,IMO,a devoted fan would want to enjoy anime in its purest possible form.So we try to get stuff as close to the original.Now I barely feel like I’m reading subs when I watch fansubs.Since,I can understand half the dialog without subs and its become second nature.And while I have found some good dubs none surpassed the original.As good?Maybe.Better?Unlikely.

I asked a dub watch why he does he do these blasphemous things?Answer:I’m lazy to read subs.

For me, thats the worst possible reason anybody can say and I see it time and again with people defending themselves with these excuses whether implicitly or explicitly implied.But as I had stressed,I now respect their decision and try my best not to interact with them when on the subject.They can be ruthless when it comes to flaming.

I see my preference for subs as a sign of my devotion to the series.And getting closer to the authors and characters inner minds.

“i would have liked to get maria watches over us, kashimashi girl meets girl and emma… but seeing as they all got sub only release… i haven’t wanted to get them at all…

for some of us out there… when a series we like or want to see, gets released on DVD… sub only… we feel cheated… it’s like a slap in the face from the company licencing it, fundimentally saying “we don’t care what you want…”…

and when other anime fans pipe up with things like “i hope this doesn’t get a dub” it is even more of a slap in the face, and it’s almost hurtful… i understand you want to get it on DVD as soon as possible… but, haven’t you already seen it fansubbed?(and don’t lie)… surely you can wait a little while longer so that all of your fellow anime fans can be catered for… i want it on DVD as well, as quickly as possible… but not at the cost of it being released properly and fairly…

i have nothing but praise for the likes of ADV, Funimation and Bandai Visual (and geneon before they died), who, despite how much it costs, how long it takes, or how difficult it is, are sticking to their guns and not letting their standards slip… catering to all anime fans by releasing their series with A quality dubs… even the ‘bad dubs’ are better than no dub…

and before the onslaught of retaliation and flames regarding this post are posted, please stop and think of your fellow anime fans out there… we’re not asking for much, only for your patience, support and understanding…”

Here we have the bad dubs are better than no dubs argument<– I sense some implicit implication that greats subs are not even in the equation.Again I wouldn’t have such a negative view on dub fans if they weren’t so obsessive with dubs.I myself would prefer a good dub to a bad sub any day.But again some of these people aren’t willing to take gamble on these things.

As for the rest,the releasing of dvd’s with dubs and all instead of subs only is understandable.But then again.Sub fans should also have the right to purchase dvd’s with subs only.Why do I have to pay money to people I don’t want to hear?As if some random guy can easily replace Jun Fukuyama’s Zero voice?Again its the case of dub fans being too overprotective of their own needs.

Anyway I guess thats enough blabbling,I just wanted to get these thoughts out of my head so I can have some peace of mind.

Note:No offense to the post writers intended.The posts were just examples of the  normal response  a dub fan would give when asked  on the issue.


33 Responses to “Dub vs Sub?:The Age Old Dilemma”

  1. 1 Jobrill
    June 11, 2008 at 7:54 am

    I’ll be honest. I cannot stand most dubs.

    When I hear someone speak in an acting role, whether it be real or animated, I want to hear emotion. I want to hear passion. I want to hear them dropping completely into their character and conveying the gravity, comedy, sadness, happiness, or other applicable emotions of the scene by their tone, timbre, volume, and etc.

    American VAs, for the most part, do not do that. Most of them seem to use the same, stilted, unnatural voice for every role that almost never actually fits the character. They do not seem to have studied the inflection or tone of the original Japanese Seiyuu or the personality of the character they are playing, or the overall feel of the scene and anime they are acting it. It feels very phoned in. I cannot stand that.

    That is why I generally watch subs. Because I want to hear the passion. Hearing a person full invested in their character delivering lines with the correct tone makes and breaks characters for me. The perfect example is Lelouche’s Japanese Seiyuu vs. His English VA. The Japanese Seiyuu absolutely MAKES the character. He knows when to make Lelouche sound like the mild, friendly Oniisama or Ashford Academy student, or when to make him sound like the regal, arrogant Zero. The English VA’s voice in comparison is weak, all over the map, and makes Lelouche sound more like a brat than the Revolutionary (and possibly Megalomaniacal) Overlord he is.

    Now, I don’t begrudge Dub fans their likes. When a dub is good, I have no problem watching an anime that way. But given the choice, I will choose Japanese Voice track, English subtitles almost every time simply because of how rare good english dubs actually ARE. The only real exception I can think of to that trend is Cowboy Bebop — and for that one, apparently the American Director made sure the English VAs studied the characters, the scenes, and how the Japanese VAs played the characters as well, from what I understand. So no wonder.

    • 2 BeMore
      July 7, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      In fairness, it’s not that English speaking/American voice actors don’t know how to emote or are naturally stiff. It’s that GOOD English voice actors are usually hard to find for a dubbing role because they either are already tied up in multiple productions or could make more money elsewhere as they are already in high demand.

      Phil LaMaar. Tara Strong. Olivia Olson. Kevin Conroy. Mark Hamill. Tom Kenny. James Earl Jones. Ron Pearlman. Steve Blum.

      These are all men and women that have made me laugh, brought me to tears, sent a shiver down my spine or sent my mind reeling. On the rare occasion that one of them IS involved in an anime dub (see-Steve Blum), it tends to stand head and shoulders above the rest. But like I said, it seems like more oft than not, good dubbers are hard to find.

      That said, I do agree with you one thing in particular that you said-Japanese or English, it all comes down to the voice acting for me. I understand why the author of this article prefers watching in Japanese, the whole idea of “getting as close to the artist’s vision as possible”. But here’s the thing-for me to enjoy any series, I have to be truly immersed in it. I have to lose myself in it and be able to enjoy the characters, the story, the humor, action and drama.

      Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, pulls me out of that quicker than bad voice acting, regardless of the language. I simply cannot enjoy a story if I want to punch a character every time they open their mouth because they have a gratingly annoying voice (if that is not the intent), the acting is poor and/or the voice just doesn’t seem to suit the character.

      That’s why I make it a point to watch an episode in both the dub and sub whenever I start a new series. Most times, I wind up going with the sub because they Japanese anime companies tend to have more/better actors and actresses at their disposal, but every once and a while a dub will come along that really surprises me. Controversial example-I know not everyone likes the English dubs of Rurouni Kenshin, but I absolutely fell in love with the English voice actor the first time I heard him, and couldn’t go back to watching the Japanese version after that, even if there were some actors for the secondary characters in English that could be a little grating. Same thing with Shishio (although I might be a bit biased, as previously mentioned, Steve Blum is a favorite of mine).

      I suppose at the end of the day it all comes down to preference, and it’s a matter of how an individual enjoys watching the story most. It just gets on my nerves when someone on either side of the debate INSISTS on flaming those that watch differently than they do, simply because I find both subs and dubs either enjoyable or intolerable depending on the voice acting.

  2. June 11, 2008 at 8:18 am

    I think some applause is in order for Jobril*claps* lol

    Good point there on Cowboy Bebop,it was the anime that I felt the dubbing was as professional as the original.It was downright classy.It might have even been better than the original.

    But, I think you’re being too hard on the English VA for Lelouch with your analogy.Its not reasonable to compare a GOD to a mere mortal lol.

  3. June 11, 2008 at 9:29 am

    I don’t like dubbed at all.


  4. July 8, 2008 at 3:32 am

    aha You have a good point. And YES no one can replace Jun Fukuyama’s voice acting as Zero! If a dub fan can tell me that, then I will never watch another fansub as long as i live. btw judging by the english dub trailers, the dub on code geass is second rate and the Lelouch voice actor is no where near as good as Jun Fukuyama! His maniacle laugh is cannot be reproduced!

  5. 6 someone
    October 20, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    i liked spikes voice better in the english version than the japanese one. So dub cant be all bad

  6. December 9, 2008 at 3:38 am

    We need more guys like Steven Blum (Spike Spiegel, Roger Smith, Vincent, Mugen, the list goes on and on)out there, he brings magic to any project that hires him on. I’m definitely the kinda guy who favors subs over dubs, but I’m always willing to embrace anything that really puts a good effort in quality. Or if it has Blum in it.

  7. 8 Walkerofskies
    March 11, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    I am a bigtime sub-fan. All too often I listen to dubbed after dubbed episode of Naruto or One Piece and I feel like vomiting. Now I will say this much there are American VAs who bring emotion to the table. (Blum as many have said). There is also Richard Ian Cox (voice for Inuyasha,and Ranma Saotome in Ranma 1/2 (note this is after episode 65 about. and anything before that was pitiful).

    I also liked the American Dub for Rurouni Kenshin (though the dialog didn’t make sense at times). But in short, yes, the majority of dubs are unacceptable when you compare them to their original.

  8. 9 SpiritDragonSD
    April 28, 2009 at 12:07 am

    One Piece and the entire Yugioh franchise (original, GX, and 5D’s)

    Two wonderfully produced works of art turned into utter garbage when a bunch of “know-it-alls” thought it would be a great idea to edit out all the mature content, replace the background orchestra music with monotonic guitar, insert a bunch of “trash talk” even when the characters are being polite with one another in the original version, and getting rid of the high quality openings and endings since rap and hip-hop can “connect” better with tiny children.

    Taking all this into consideration, I’m still surprised why these “Dub-Dummies” constantly ask me why I am vehemently against the “westernization” of an asian product despite the fact that I’ve told them my valid and logical reasons.

    I don’t hate Dub-Dummies because they are too lazy to read the words at the bottom of the screen. I hate them because they refuse to realize that they were ripped off by their “beloved” licensing company. It’s like being yelled at by your own sister because you had pointed out that her boyfriend is an abusive and useless piece of dirt.

    Before I get any more emotional, I’ll just say that people who watched the subbed Yugioh series are more polite, honorable, and have a better understanding of the intricate card rulings than the ones who watched the dubbed version. Ex:

    “It’s my turn. Draw!” (Original version)

    “I’m so wonderful. You can learn a lot from me.” (Arrogant jerk version)

    That example speaks for itself, folks. I’m done with my rant. Thanks to all who listened!

  9. 10 konfrombleach
    August 20, 2009 at 2:14 am

    well am a dub fan and a sub fan and i think they both good if you just don’t watch the other one like if you watch sub don’t watch dub or if you watch dub don’t watch sub (unless you have to)if that happens then we will not be needing this forum do we?

  10. 11 Sittin'onDubs
    August 24, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    I came into this expecting the elitist sub-only oinking that I’ve become accustomed to in these discussions and was pleasantly surprised to see very little. Before I get into this, let me say that I do like subs and most people who prefer them. If you like subs, that’s your opinion and you’re most certainly entitled to it. Even if I was under the delusion that I should change your mind about that, I wouldn’t presume to. It isn’t the love of subs that the below manifesto is against. Its the arrogant, elitist, self-proclaimed true fans who see one or two low quality dubs and become completely closed-minded about them as a whole. The stubbornness of people who condemn an entire industry’s work based on their worst products.

    All I can really say to anyone specifically is that if all you know about dubbed anime is the stuff they edit for children and you’re that against dubbing in general, your argument can only have limited validity. That’s similar to someone who became racist because they were mugged by a person of a different skin color, or hating women because their ex-girlfriend cheated on them. One person doesn’t represent their race, sex or anything else. Dubs are like any other performance. Some are great, most are average and a few are awful. Would you judge all movies based on “Step-Brothers”? Does Akira Yamaoka belong in the same class as maroon 5 because they both make music? No. Just because you’ve seen the Forest Gump (the character, not the movie) of dubs doesn’t mean they’re all sitting on benches offering chocolates and quaint folksy sayings made up by hollywood hacks that fit nicely on t-shirts. Good anime is not on western TV before nightfall and hasn’t been since Outlaw Star was on Toonami.

    Are subs better? Generally. But it isn’t better simply by virtue of being the original version. Someone said being too lazy to read subs is a bad reason to like dubs. Well, just not being in it’s original language seems like a pretty flimsy reason to hate them. Speaking of which, not all people who like dubs cite not wanting to read as the reason. Some of us enjoy an alternate take on the characters. Some are doing other things and Japanese they don’t understand doesn’t make for good background noise. A few of us are studying the actors like a good fighter checks out their opponent’s past fights so we can know the rules of the game and how to beat them at it one day. Its like a cover of a song. It may not be as good as the original, it may be better. Either way, its a new idea applied to something you like, which to me makes it interesting. These sub fanatics strike me as the kind of people who go to a concert and get mad when someone changes up a solo from the album version. They don’t register it as better or worse, only different. Some say changed, way too many say violated, raped or butchered. Try judging dubs not against the Japanese version, but on it’s own merits. Instead of “is English actor _____ better than seiyuu ____”, how about just “is English actor ____ good”? An actor’s job is to draw the audience into the story and it’s world. If the audience refuses to take the journey, the actor can’t do their job and they seem to be bad at it. Suspend your disbelief, as well as your expectations that an anime be done a certain way. Actors, even those who dub anime, are artists and every once in a while they might put a little of their own thought into their work. They make their own interpretation of the character. Imagine that.

    And I assure you, ADV, Funimation and the rest are not out to screw over “true fans”. I’m positive they are trying to put out quality work and are not in business just to mess with you sub-only people. It isn’t a big prank, you are not on Candid Camera, they are not out to get you using poor dubbing. If you really won’t accept that good dubs exist and you must blame something, it should lay squarely on the flaps. Flaps are the movements of an onscreen character’s mouth and, having done some voice work, I can tell you from experience they’re a pain. They restrict the actors and writers more than you might think and that most dubs are as well written and acted as they are shows great creativity and skill. Imagine having to convey a thought from Japanese to English. A literal translation, cleaned up for grammar, turns out to be longer in English. Lets call it fifteen syllables in Eigo-ga and seven in Japanese. Well, the character’s mouth is only going to move seven times. So you can either let the dialogue continue after the mouth has stopped and have it look like a Godzilla movie or trim down the sentence. Writers almost always opt for the latter. So, now you have to make a 15 syllable thought fit into seven syllables, keeping it in character, accurate to what was said originally and fit with all other sentences that are related to it. If someone contradicts it later, whoops! You just angered a lot of people and your reputation as a writer just suffered immensely.

    The only right answer to subs vs. dubs is preferring one but always giving the other a chance to impress you. Otherwise you end up hating all dubs because Pokemon wasn’t done like you would have liked or you’ll waste your life viciously berating 90% of the anime fans on the internet for their unwavering hatred of English and losing your mind.

    One last thought, I promise. A lot of these sub-loyalists say dubs destroy the manga-ka’s vision. To their credit, nobody here said that, but a lot do. How many animes do that before being imported by these awful, awful dubbing studios? They change endings, leave out important characters or pull new ones out their ass, change how things happen, change existing characters’ appearance, personality or something else. Making endings, I can overlook since most of them have 26 episodes to work with and hundreds of chapters of material and counting. But if you’re that worried about the original vision of the story, anime itself alters it almost always in my experience, dubbing just takes it a step further.

    • August 24, 2009 at 8:11 pm

      You have a point that they are restrictions placed on english voice actors when they are in their roles,and perhaps these restriction force us to be bias in our judgment of “talent”.And the script writer are also forced to conform.

      But perhaps I never actually defined what “good” or “bad” voice acting was.”Good” would mean that the voice actor totally blends in with the character to the point you don’t notice that he or she is acting.”Bad” would mean the opposite – I realize he’s acting and I proceed pick at every single little flaw he makes.Hence, the bad image I have of dubbed anime.

      Maybe I should provide an example.Funimation’s dub of Ouran High School Host Club.I pondered long and hard whether to get it and I thought it was great that they put it up on youtube so I can see if I’m getting my money’s worth.I watched both subbed and dubbed versions.I was greeted by some terrible amateurish singing in the opening credits for the dub version.The original had it done by a professional.I know it’s just one anecdote but the impression can’t be a good one, especially for a good series like that.I wonder “What was Funi thinking?”.Are they on drugs?There was no need for that,I felt.Yet,to satisfy dub fans they did it anyway.I’m not saying its right or wrong to do so but Funi expects me to dish out extra money to PAY these folk I don’t want to listen to which hurts my ears.That seems like a waste of money to me.So, I opted not to buy it.

      And now I’ll talk about things I actually bought.I have Chobits and Vandread,sub & dub dvds from Geneon.I’ve listened to both and I liked them both alot.No problems whatsoever.High quality stuff and it says alot since I can pretty much get most of what they’re saying in Japanese now.

      For me, I can watch a number of anime raw without much problems (unless they use much more complicated vocabulary) so I only need subs at most.Yet, I listen to dubs sometimes because I think its good.As a customer, one should have a right to choose.And bundling bad dubs into dvds is just eliminating all my rights in the matter.

    • 13 Harrison Reed
      October 17, 2009 at 5:15 am

      “The stubbornness of people who condemn an entire industry’s work based on their worst products.”

      I didn’t know the industrial chum industry had any good products! I’ll have to look into it now, bro! Thanks!

  11. 14 Jason
    September 19, 2009 at 4:16 am

    I love anime, and I prefer dubs over subs. Unlike the rabid, mentally deficient “purists”, I can appreciate the subbed version of a particular show; I might even prefer a subbed version depending on how the dub sounded. The reason that I do this is because I don’t have my head shoved so far up my ass that I’m rendered unable to objectively critique and appreciate subbed work.

    The whole debate comes from subtards who merely delude themselves into believing that they are getting the “authentic” Japanese experience (rofl!), or that because they saw one poorly dubbed work that all dubs suck. It is irritating, and it hurts the entire industry more than anything.

    I’m not too lazy to read, but I would much rather hear the voices because I don’t care to follow the words at the bottom of the screen which aren’t necessarily going to do a better job explaining the story or expressing dialogue by default.

    • September 19, 2009 at 5:35 am

      “The whole debate comes from subtards who merely delude themselves into believing that they are getting the “authentic” Japanese experience (rofl!)”

      I’m can’t remember any specific shows where to compare both dubs and subs but you can usually judge a dub or sub when you play both of them at once and make comparisons.As I’ve mentioned before in my previous reply to the nice gentleman above you,the english version has to conform to the lip movements.So there are going to be times when the dub is not as “correct” as it should be because they have no choice in the matter.I also realize that subs are never perfect.I have disagreements all the time with the choice of words etc with subs because what I learnt from my books and studies doesn’t match what the subtitles are saying.Nevertheless,while they both have their flaws, it is important to note that the handicap given to dubs is slightly bigger than subtitled versions.Hence, it is generally true that subs have more “correct” meaning assuming the translation is competent.

      I do agree with the “authentic” japanese experience claim though.You can’t have the “authentic” experience if you don’t know the language and culture.It is unbearably hard to translate a japanese pun into something funny in english without a few tweaks.

  12. 16 Harrison Reed
    October 17, 2009 at 5:02 am

    Here is my take on this subject. Is Anime seen as art: Yes or No? If yes, then I want to see the “english version” of the Statue of David. Wait, I can’t? How about the Mona Lisa? No? The point here is that someone or some groups created something, and once it’s finished, it is art. Shakespeare wrote “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. He meant that what matters is what something actually is, not whether you understand it or not. By ripping the audio track out of a completed project and replacing it with something else, the art ceases to be. Anime isn’t something created in america, or voiced in english (except for those hilarious scenes in BECK). The artwork is drawn to match the japanese language, and in many cases is drawn AFTER the seiyuu has been recorded. This is why we get such awkward sentences in english dubs, trying to match the lips. This is why more often than not the voice actors in the USA can’t match the range of emotion in the japanese version.

    The obvious counterarguement is that subs superimposed over the images ruin the art as well. To answer, I’ll use another art arguement, which is worse?: Putting a new frame around the painting of Mona Lisa (subtitles), or cutting the profile of the Woman out of the painting, throwing the rest of the painting away, and then sticking her onto a New York City skyline poster (Dubbing)?

    • 17 Harrison Reed
      October 17, 2009 at 5:09 am

      or for that matter, which is worse: putting the statue of david onto a pedestal so that people can see it better (subbing), or cutting his nuts off and castrating him, then leaving a leaf instead (dubbing)

  13. 18 Rising-San
    October 23, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Well, I understand the argument that art is free, and that new outtakes on previous works are all valid… But if you see western dubbing of jap art as that i guess you are missing the point. Most of it comes to me as a rather shallow task of profiting over someone else’s product, by making it sound less foreign, less complex to the masses, and overall, less tasteful. Another in-the-shelf commercial formula for the kids. An artistic perspective? Consisting purely of cheesy, artificial, “we’re all so stylish” voiceovers, and even bits of censorship all over the place? C’mon get serious… They just dumb down the target market, in disregard for the artistic side of a product that isn’t their own at all. If so, perhaps they should focus on making their own lesser animes, instead of offending the original art form and hipocritically defend themselves as “pleasing their fans”. Oh wait, but that requires work, not to mention regarding art as more than a business. I’m not bashing you people, although i find it strange that in the xxi century people, age of information, some still find it distractful to read as they watch. But then I also understand that, unlike in Portugal, there are many countries where you simply are used to TV in your own language. Here the tradition is subbing everything that comes from abroad. TV, movies, etc. And believe me, when you’re used to hearing stuff in their original form, something dubbed immediately strikes you as odd and out-of-place. So what can I say… just recommend hardcore dub fans to give subs a second, and a third try, and if you are minimally literate you will soon forget that you are reading – and perhaps finally realize how much better the anime really is. ps: how is it possible that someone speaks of certain dub fans as “purists”? you can not be a purist regarding something so impure as dubbed art. 😛

  14. 19 Andie
    October 24, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    I totally agree with the first person to comment. I’ve only really compared Bleach subs with the English dubs, but ughh… I can’t stand watching the dubs because the actors all sound so phony. I think Japanese voice actors are a lot better at sounding sincerely emotional, whether they’re happy/raging/flabbergasted, etc. plus when you’re so used to hearing one voice for a character for so long, it sounds totally wrong when you hear someone else trying to imitate the original actor’s voice (for instance, Kenpachi’s voice actor in the dub sounds like he’s trying way too hard to sound macho and gruff, whereas the original one makes it sound natural).

  15. 20 Shruiken
    October 27, 2009 at 1:08 am

    Same for me too, although comparing bleach subs vs dubs id say to start with they were ok, with Ichigo’s, Rukia’s and Byakuya’s dubs being pretty good, however in the newer arcs the arrancers voices just do not much to the characters, an example being Ulquiorra, he sounded realy good with his Japanese voice, being calmly menacing, whilst his dub has actually managed to give the impression that hes a soft-spoken pedophile. Although another comparison to dub vs sub would be with DBZ, the dubbed voices of that suited the characters well, but when i heard it in subbed, the voices sounded cringe worthy, particularly Vegeta’s. So for this I would say both can be just as good as each other as long as it is done well and by good voice actors.

  16. 21 Ritti
    December 31, 2009 at 5:42 am

    I feel like overall, you get more immersed in anything you watch when all you have to do is listen and watch, not read.
    For that reason, I prefer dubs.
    But I always do my research. I avoid bad dubs at all cost.
    In general, I prefer a good dub to a good sub. Of course, I prefer a good sub to a bad dub.
    It all depends on the quality of the subbing or dubbing.

  17. 22 flabalah
    June 27, 2010 at 3:20 am

    What I don’t like about dub-haters is that most of them hate dubs JUST because of the voices, simply BECAUSE it’s a dub, or because other people say they’re bad and want to fit in with the crowd. Sub haters are no better, and both sides are illogical much of the time.

    In my opinion, I don’t care either way. If I happen to walk into a dubbed episode after watching a bunch of subtitles, so be it. If I begin watching the dubbed version first and find subbed versions, I’ll watch it just the same. Frankly I don’t think it really matters if the dub is good or bad, because the Japanese version could be just the same. What sounds good to us in the Japanese version might sound like crap to the native listeners and vice versa. Purists make Japanese TV sound godly in their whining and squealing about Western TV, when it’s actually no different. In general, TV is mediocre. With mediocre acting and flat personalities from the average civilian. But when a professional joins the cast, the ratings immediately sky-rocket and suddenly the show is praised to be the best thing in the world. And then overseas debates like this begin to happen.

    Back on topic..

    Voices are a terrible reason to hate dubs. I mean, I watch the Naruto dub despite the fact that I don’t like some of the voices. Naruto’s is downright horrible, and some of them just think they sound good because they’re pronouncing the Japanese words with the correct accent. But Viz actually does try and keep true to the Japanese version (and just because there’s no swearing and blood doesn’t mean it’s automatically a bad dub) and that’s good enough for me. Currently I switch back and fourth between the Escaflowne dub and sub simply for which ever one is available at the time. I started watching the sub first, and liked it. When I first heard the dub, I admit I didn’t like it but I sucked it up and watched it anyway. It didn’t take long to get used to the dub, even though Merle’s voice was annoying (but was actually well-acted) and Hitomi exaggerated a little too much. The children voices were simply amazing (even though they kept using the same one for multiple characters), and the majority of the cast did very well. A few episodes later and it gained plenty of nostalgic value that I couldn’t find in the more engaging Japanese version. So they both have their ups and downs, some actors are better than others, but they both are good versions and enjoy them both equally. If I don’t like a voice, I simply acknowledge that it’s not too great, they could have done better, and move on. I don’t like to judge an entire show simply based on voices without noting the quality of the acting itself, the plot, humor, drama, etc. Not buying the DVD simply because of those “bad voices” is a poor excuse not to. This is a DVD we’re talking about–/you can simply choose and switch the language you want./ There are multiple languages on one disc, and if you ask me, it’s a great deal. Back in the VHS days there was only enough room on the tape for one language. If you wanted more versions of the same movie, you would have had to spend the money on a completely seperate tape that costs the same. With DVDs, you could spend 20 dollars on one (without getting into how many episodes per disc crap) and have 3-4 languages to choose from. THAT’S not something to whine about. It’s something to be happy about.

    I would like to continue, but since this is turning into a rant and because I have to get off right now, I’ll stop right here. I managed to get most of it off my chest, though, so..


  18. August 11, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    As someone who enjoys anime and reviews it, I have chosen to review it for English speaking audiences, why? Because all the sub elitist are going to say the same thing, “Anime is the greateset, the subs are awesome, and all dubs suck.” Your average person isn’t going to walk into Best Buy, and pick up an anime title if you write reviews basically stating that over and over again. The elitist mentality of the fanbase doesn’t make any outsider want to become anime fans. I write reviews for people who’ve never seen them. I want new people to read my review, hear that the English version is good, and then either go to Hulu and watch it, or an offieical YouTube page and watch it.

    I always encourage people to buy things because anime is gteat but nobody buys it because either they don’t know where to get it inexpensive, or they mooch, or they never bought it before and are starting to get into it. If a dub is good, I’ll say so, if a dub is bad I’ll say so, but sub fans treating dub fans like we’re not “true” fans, is unfair. I’ve bought series I never would have bought because I saw the dub, not the sub, and wanted to own it.

  19. 24 alex
    August 20, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    im a dub watcher for the most part (unless only sub is out, that i gladly change, it doesnt bother me)

    What we need are unedited dubs, we don’t want any blood removed, less language, less sexy people, just bump the rating up one, so the real anime fans can get their anime as good as subbed.

    if we had unedited dubs, the president of 4kids shot in the head, dub would be as good a sub.

  20. 25 Zechs Marquise
    August 25, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Just going to say a few words in defence of sub loyalists like myself, we aren’t ELITISTTs nor do we think we’re any better than people who prefer dubs. Its just that lots of us started out as dub lovers (come on that’s how we all got into anime), and slowly as we ventured into the sub domain, yes reading subs and keeping up with the action was a challenge but we managed to find a certain spark along with elements that English is simply incapable of conveying, every language has its own innuendos that cannot be translated, this was what spurred me to begin learning Japanese and as I did so I stopped having to read every single subtitle and as long as nothing extremely complex is being said I can survive without them Dragonball Z is a great example of a show for which I no longer need subs. If a show is based on dialogue alone there is absolutely no point in listening to the dub, it’s simply not the same for example lucky star azumanga daioh and k-on! are shows that I would deem inappropriate to be dubbed (even though they have been) and yes when we hear people saying “oh i’m watching ____ dubbed” when it falls into the category I just mentioned we tend to laugh a little bit because for us watching them dubbed is like banging our heads into a brick wall. Believe it or not some dubs are actually better than their sub counterparts in these rare and rather enjoyable cases the dub team has often put a lot of effort into the show examples that come to mind are, The Hellsing OVAs or Black Lagoon.

    So to cut a long story short 99% of the time subs help preserve the originality and the atmosphere of a show, I find that the original voice actors and the eloquence of Japanese are violated my MOST (not all). Now since all of us sub lovers started out as dub loyalists we see people who like dubs to be inexperienced fans and it’s true most dub watchers haven’t seen half as many shows as we have, a lot of the time they stick to mainstream shows like naruto and bleach, titles that don’t even begin to scrape the surface of what anime is about.

    I hope you’ve found this insightful

  21. 26 Zechs Marquise
    August 25, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Should’ve really proofread my post, ah well too late now, sorry guys! *OCD facepalm*

  22. 27 zimie
    November 27, 2010 at 2:06 am

    I’m more of a dub person. My reason, is because if I want to read, I rather read the comic. I do understand that it will loose it meaning while being translated, but I’m WATCHING anime, not READING anime. If I want to “read” an anime, just give me the script. Also, when I watch anime, I like to watch for details such as how a character moves. I also look for background detail such as books or desk. So for me, if I have to read, then I miss out on the detail of the show. On a side-note, before I need glasses, and when I would go to an anime meetup (and they only watch subbed version because they really, REALLY hate dubs….), no matter where I would sit, I would not be able to see the subs that were on the screen. So that means, for that entire show, I wouldn’t be able to understand them, since I’m not fluent in Japanese.

    However, if I get the anime on DVD, and if I have already watch it, then occasional, I’ll watch it as a sub (hell I watch a show with dub AND sub on).

    I hope this makes sense. I’m pretty tired, and my mind tends to wonder off, so .. yeah.

  23. 28 Kurokon
    November 28, 2010 at 5:25 am

    being a VA is hard to do.in english va they just give you some background info and then tell you to dub it till the director like it.(i think it the director) not only that but you can’t really add your own style in the va if i not a ova so that the reason why some people think va don’t put any effort in it. in fact some va use to be sub lover just like you…
    now about me 😛
    am a dub person because i find va like a art i watched many different kinds of anime that most are not even mainstream and am always out to watch anime that not many people watch or many people like.i also like sub when their is no dub.though i tend to fall asleep because all the voice sound the same.but i still love sub as much as i love dub!

    hope this make you look at anime in a different angle

  24. 29 Aleks
    August 15, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Some of you are absolute twats. The whole reason i have come to HATE dubs is because of the quality of them. High pitched whiny little American/English/Whatever bitch don’t float my boat. Sure, i liked the Chobits and Death Note dubs. Why? because there were quite a number of quality voice actors. I really don’t get how some of these “Voice Actors” get in the industry, do they just pull any random idiot off the street? I would love it more if the woman in voice acting would stop trying to act like this “Cute” character by using a high pitched squeal, but rather just have a casual voice. “Where is this high pitched voice?”, well look at Love Hina, BLEH! A southern bell, a whiny indian type? omfg. It really made me wonder if the production house even reviewed the voices.

    Call me a Purist or whatever you dub lover call a sub lover, but if you truly enjoy crappy quality dubs, be my guest. Although, put this in your head. The crappy Dubs, to me, shows no respect for the creators of the anime. Truly it seems really disrespectful to put a lousy piece of crap dub on someone else’s artwork. Would you like it if you created a masterpiece then someone spat on it? just think about that first, if the industry makes better quality dubs, i might decide to switch to English every now and then.

  25. 30 Frank D.
    December 14, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I agree that everyone should have an option. Dual-audio is the way of the future. But you also have to choose your anime; you can’t just go watching everything in subs or everything in dubs. Outlaw Star, for example, has great English VA, but why? Yeah the direction was outstanding, but it’s also more of a western theme than, say, K-ON!.

    Stuff like K-ON!, Haruhi, hell even Bleach always sounds awkward in English because of how Japanese they are. They’re all in Japan, they’re living the lives of Japanese people, and in the case of bleach with some Japanese mythology thrown in there.

    Then you have the quality English voice actors. Take Troy Baker (Yuri from Tales of Vesperia, Greed from FMA:Brotherhood, Kanji Tatsumi from Persona 4), that guy does a great job with his roles. Yuri was supposed to be a badass in every sense of the word, a vigilante. Baker sold the character as being one. Greed is a guy who wants everything, including control of his own life. Baker sells that character, too. Kanji is a high school teenager struggling with a society that isn’t accepting of who he is, and you can feel that in his English voicework. Every role I’ve seen him in, he completely owned it. Even Snow from Final Fantasy XIII. I dislike the character, but not due to the voice acting. It’s due to the fact that almost none of the FFXIII characters are likeable.

    There are good voice actors and there are bad ones, and personally if I can focus on the action without the voices raping my ears, I’m all for dubbing. If there was a market for it in Montreal, I’d totally try to be a voice actor.

  26. 31 leosergo
    June 7, 2012 at 5:51 am

    I think dubs really depend on the way the VAs can convey their emotions effectively. Subs i feel the same, but also the way the subtitles are translated for a more “raw” feeling. Dubs and subs both have downfalls so neither superior or equal.

  27. 32 NyNy
    January 19, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Nice article regarding this!

    By the way, would you be interested in reading and commenting your opinion on whether you believe subbed vs dubbed animes is better? http://nynyonlinex.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/dub-vs-sub/

  28. August 21, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    We stumbled over here from a different web page and thought I might as well check things out.
    I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to exploring your web page again.

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