The great anime divide

The great anime divide

I read an awesome article this weekend, after watching a video on the cheezburger network about subs vs dubs, And I just see so much aggression one way or the other it kind of bothers me. Such a small thing causes such aggressive opinionation and widespread division among anime’s many enthusiasts.

There are many reasons for each side’s arguments, and in the article you will find through clicking this image lays them out wonderfully, and i am so glad to see others who aren’t so adamant about the topic.

The reason I write this article however is to voice my own opinion about the controversy, and my opinion is that I DO have a SLIGHT preference.

I prefer GOOD dubs. What constitues a GOOD dub you might ask? well, this is another one of those weird things that I created, and i implore someone else to try it as well, much like my process of “blind anime selection” which is where you do a google image search for “anime” and whatever you’re in the mood for and once you find an image you think looks cool, you find what anime it’s from and watch it, NO research, NO synopsis reading. Just pick and watch.

so what do i Constitute as a “GOOD dub”
well MY criteria and they may be different from what you look for, but it’s my list so pipe down and keep reading.

The first step is to watch the first two episode in both subs and dubs. I usually watch in subs first and dubs for the second episode. but be sure to leave the subtitles on when you switch to dubs.
After I’ve watched both i can usually tell pretty quickly what i want to watch.

Lord aoshi’s good dub Criteria:

1. First and Foremost do the English voice actors do a sufficient job presenting the mood of the characters as they were written.

Recently the English voice acting industry has been improving in bounds to present quality finished works, and the English actors strive to do the best they can for what they love. I must admit though that this can sometimes be a positive, because often the english actors know the full plot straight through the ending by the time thier studios gets licensed to Voice over the project. This can actually allow the actor to do a BETTER job than the original actor, because they already know the exact path of developement their character is going to take.

2. Are there any voices that KILL it for you.

This often happens, and we’ve all witnessed it. Nothing can break the illusion of a great anime faster than an AWFUL voice. This doesn’t just apply to the English actors either. right here i am going to list a few that broke the illusion for me

Dub Voices that made me switch.

-Black Butler- Meyrin- This shrill, almost gargling voice cut right through me and i practically cringed whenever she was on screen. and could have easily made me switch soundtracks, if not for the magnificent dialogues between Sebastian ( J. Micheal Tatum) and Ciel (Brina Palencia)

-Initial D- several here, but primarily Itsuki Takeuchi, and Natsuki Mogi, who are both pretty abrasive to the ear.

I’m about to spit on hollowed ground here, but i can’t leave out the times where JAPANESE voice actors led me to want to switch as well.

-Full Metal Panic- Issa- her delivery doesn’t match the emotion of the subtitles at all, she sounds helpless, and that’s not what her character is about, Issa is supposed to be strong internally, and that’s what her lines say, but the original actor sounded way too high pitched and ditsy to be the xommander of the most advanced submarine combat device in the world.

-Hellsing- Alucard and Alexander Anderson, This is just another case of mismatch for me. Both Alucard and Anderson in the original have voices that just don’t…. how do i say this… fully express their awesome presence. These are two locked rivals, essentially the two most bad-ass characters in the entire series, and they don’t really express the foreboding and competition that Crispin freeman does when he is reading with Steven Brand.

3. Are the lines changed in a significant way.

-This is why you need to leave the subtitles on when testing the waters with the DUB. Be gentle here, sometimes alot is lost in translation, or the writers actually write to match lip flap to make the audience feel less detached. ( remember speed racer?) So the thing you’re really listening for here is CONTEXT. Does what the Actor is saying conflict enough with what you are reading on the screen to CHANGE your perception?

– two solid examples of Bad dubs are Initial D, and “The World God Only Knows” Especially Initial D which wins the Award for most WTF WERE THEY THINKING Dub job i’ve ever seen. They refer to the cars differently, they say three to four times as many words as appear on the screen in subtitles, and they STILL manage to leave some things out, and WORST of all it changes the feel of the entire work from super technical very skilled drivers, to slang talking, back street bullshit. Comparatively World God Only Knows simply creates a few minor errors that affect the image of some of the characters.

4. Simply which do you prefer for what you’ve just seen.

– if you’re anything like me you will feel somewhat attached to the characters after 46 minutes of listening to them and your decision will already be made up on your own. Usually if the first two episodes don’t throw up any red flags i usually watch in dubs, especially if funimation is involved because they usually seem to do a pretty good job respecting the source material.

I enjoyed writing this a great deal and think i am going to create another post of just my Sub/ Dub preferences

so thanks for reading, and i want to hear from you in the comments if you’ve ever watched something and thought my god, this _UB is AWFUL, the _UB version is VASTLY superior.

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2 thoughts on “The great anime divide

  1. I prefer subtitles when watching anime. It feels weird to watch when they are dubbed because there is no coordination between what is being said and the way character is speaking. Whichever way you prefer, a lot what is being said will get lost in translation. I’d rather hear the original in Japanese. The voice actors are usually perfect for the character that are given.

    • Yes i had a very hard time coming up with animes where the original voices were bad, especially compared to how bad some dubs can be. a lot though, can also be lost if you don’t understand inflection in the japanese tongue while reading along. Another thing that was brought to my attention is someone mentioned Hetalia Axis powers, and how they prefer the dubs because the accents are much better and funnier to them when heard in the english tongue.

      on subtext, it has become standard now during licensing that the original creator will review the Dub creation and sometimes demand changes when they miss things, or something isn’t said the way they meant it precisely. I think dubs are getting MUCH better now that The western market is becoming more significant to the original creators of the shows, and actually drawing their attention. I recently watched Sword Art Online in both subs and dubs (several times because i was showing everyone that would listen it multiple times) and they’ve done a fantastic job on the dubs, most likely because the creators were so hands on with the dubbing process. Hopefully that becomes the new standard and quality continues to increase as it has in past years.

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