I emerge from my eternal slumber today to finally bring all of you something that you’ve been waiting for, or at least wondering about, since my first ever post: an anime editorial. More of my opinions on anime, as that’s what I was brought on board to do, rather than anime reviews. So today (last night, actually) I decided to present to all of you my standpoint on one of the oldest anime arguments ever: Which is better, dubbed anime or subbed anime?
In our lovely community where your opinions stand on this argument can very well form a standing credibility for yourself depending on what section you find yourself in. Are you a dub purest who will only watch something is it’s been re-voiced by English voice actors? Are you a sub purest who believes that the Japanese voice actors always sound better and therefore wont waste your time on the clearly inferior dubs? Or, are you a terrible abomination forged from the combination of the two? For some reason or another your opinions on whether you like understanding the words coming out of the characters mouths or not is something big to a large portion of the community.
Granted, why this is such a big deal is because of the differing qualities in voice acting and how well they match their respective characters. However, what if I told you that I used to prefer dubs over subs and still think that there are some dubs continue to out-do the subs in every right? To me, as a reviewer and as an avid member of the anime community, dubs are a part of the show; a part that is unavoidable and a part that I will always like to experience if given the option to. I have seen every Key anime so far dubbed and if an anime has a dub to offer I will more than likely try to watch at last one episode of it and then decide whether I want to watch the show subbed or the dubbed based off of what I heard from both episodes.
So, yes, I’m one of the abominations. It should come as no surprise that the portion of the community that values their anime in Japanese with subtitles higher than anime in English dubbed by a licensing company is gigantic. So much so that it’s hard to find someone who would value the English voices higher in some regards, as I do. Many people I’ve talked to in the past even watched Space Dandy in Japanese by default and never gave the English version a chance; this was off putting to me because the English dub destroyed the Japanese version in quality and this is something I’ll gladly defend to my grave.
A question I’d like to ask is why have people become so trained to despise the English voice casts? I’ve found English dubs in shows like ToraDora and Baccano! to be much better even after watching both in Japanese, and when asking others for what they thought of the dub they either dismiss it with simply saying the dub is bad or by saying that they never watched the dub because they strait up don’t watch dubs. This, to me, is quite ridiculous. Every last person reading this post speaks English, yet a majority of you would never think twice about marathoning a show in Japanese when it has an English dub.
Why wouldn’t you watch a show in a language that you understand? Yes, sometimes the English voice cast is terrible, take Chrome Shelled Regios or Sword Art Online for example, but there are plenty of shows like Baka to Test, Soul Eater, Fate/Zero, Yumekui Merry, and much much much more that have amazing dubs, and a few of the aforementioned even have English dubs that out preform the Japanese dub.
It seems as if the community as a near whole has been hard-wired to despise English whenever watching something foreign. Sure, the Japanese casts of Fate/Zero and Yumekui Merry out-do the English voices in terms of sound and fitting the character they apply to (I mean just compare Mistletienn’s voices in Episode 12 of Yumekui Merry between Japanese and English, even I can’t deny she sounds better in Japanese) but in a show that takes place in America, with every character being American, and the show having a superior English voice cast, why would it make any sense to watch the show in Japanese? Who would watch a show written and recorded in English before translated and recorded in Japanese in the latter language? It would make no sense to the outside world so why would we do it? Just because the original is better or because dubs always suck? Before ending this editorial I’d like to say that I watched a fandub of the Black Rock Shooter OVA and liked it better than the Japanese voices for the OVA.
I hope I got you to think about your preferences and how you defend them a bit with this. Feel free to follow my Twitter if you’d like to keep up with what I’m wasting my time with when I’m not doing my part for this blog, and I’ll see you all when I return for another Anime Editorial!