Anime: English dub vs English sub

Anime: English dub vs English sub

This topic sounds pretty popular among anime fans on Youtube--let's talk about it, shall we?

Chapter 1

Dub vs Sub

/ “English dub sucks!” /

/ “Eww, English dub!” /

/ “Dub sounds like crap!” /

/ “Wow, you watch the dub?!” /

/ “I hate dub!” /

My god, I don’t need to see this in every anime vid! I know I can’t force people (especially a majority) to change their opinions but it’s something to talk about.

Fans think it’s so obvious why English dub sucks, mainly because they think the voice actors do a sh__y job. For that reason, they prefer the English sub (Japanese dub) over the English dub, as if the Japanese really do a better job at voice acting. But how do you compare and contrast, if you don’t even understand the spoken language without subtitles? Chances are, if Japanese viewers were to watch the show in Japanese, they might feel the same way we do about English dub: corny, unfitting, and/or terrible voice acting. But so what? They still watch it!

I’ll be honest, if I had to pick, I’d elect to watch the English dub over the sub. But before I discuss why I like it better, let’s talk about why I think it’s just okay the way it is.

No one has ever told me exactly how the English dub sounds crappy and unfitting. Truth be told, I think the English voice actors express the character’s emotions and tones pretty accurately. If the show does sound a bit corny, cheesy, overly dramatic, and/or just weird, it’s simply because it’s a cartoon--let alone an anime, which is famous for over-exaggerating everything! But that shouldn’t be enough to keep you from enjoying the show! I really don’t expect much for an anime (or any cartoon for that matter) voice acting--that said, some English voices actually surpass my expectations.

But now, getting to my reason for liking the dub better--I just like watching everything in a language I can understand perfectly. No, it’s not because I’m “unable to read the sub”, it’s just that it feels more natural to watch and listen without reading off the bottom of the screen. Moreover, watching the English dub and the English sub is like two distinct experiences for me. I watch the sub because they’re more up to date, but I also watch the dub because I’m curious as to how everyone sounds like in English. Why should I be curious? Simple.

Take Naruto for example. When I was first exposed to this anime, it was on Cartoon Network (so obviously in English). Right away, that became the Naruto that I know, almost as if English dub was naturally the way it’s supposed to be (even if it really isn’t). But later on, when I started watching some English sub on Youtube (of episodes that were much later than those of the English dub), it just didn’t feel the same. Even though it was obvious that I was still watching the same anime, somewhere in the back of my mind, I was still worried that it was some alternate series and I may not be watching the right thing. Questions that arise in my head include, “Are they really characters from Naruto?” and “Those guys are going to be on Naruto (English, Cartoon Network, yadda yadda)?”

There are moments when I actually find the English dub to be better than Japanese dub and time when I feel the Japanese dub may be screwing up in comparison to English. One of these examples is Toshiro Hitsugaya from Bleach. I like his English voice better than his Japanese voice, because the latter just sounds a bit too kiddish for me. I don’t care if Toshiro is physically a small kid, I’m just biased against kiddish voices. The same goes for the sudden change in voice acting (Japanese) for young Kakashi, Guy, and Obito in recent Naruto Shippuden episodes--who’s idea was it to change their voices from masculine to feminine/child-like?! What, they think it’s kawaii?! As if! We already had enough of that crap with Naruto Uzumaki. Even Itachi, who was only 6 then, sounded more masculine (slightly lower pitched) voice than what the 3 I just mentioned sounded like. That is what I call unfitting! And if (and only if) the English dub gets to this arc in Naruto Shippuden and does NOT switch to a more child-like voice, then the English dub has beaten the Japanese dub to this one.

An overall impression I get from Japanese dub is this: When the atmosphere is serious, everyone just sounds so monotone, especially the male characters, who almost all seem to sound the same. Stuff like this keep me trapped in a mental fog. In a more light-hearted atmosphere, we get guys who are overtly nervous and girls who are just all over the place. This scenario is just plain annoying. When I watch it all in English dub, maybe they’ll still keep both atmospheres, but as long as I can hear it in a language that I know, I can at least enjoy a sense of clarity, instead of listening to people talking monotonously or ecstatically in a foreign language (ignore the subtitles, I’m only talking about the hearing).

It’s pretty clear that most people would rather listen to something in a different language than English that sounds “crappy.” I, on the other hand, am just more comfortable hearing everything in a language that I know.

But of course, I’d be lying if I said that I find the English dub to be better than Japanese overall. When it comes to songs sang in an anime (such as “Song of a Road” sang by Mirajane Strauss in Fairy Tail) I would prefer the Japanese. And then there was a promotional video for Guilty Gear X where the characters were voiced in English--this one, I’ll admit was terrible and could have been a lot better.

Otherwise, I don’t have a problem with English dub. So for all of you anti-dub fanatics out there, quit b___ing about the dub, especially on a English dub video. The very fact that you are even watching it in the first place means that you can at least tolerate it.

And a message for the readers here on Quibblo: If anyone decides to say anything similar to the 5 sample quotes listed in the top (without justification), I will delete it.


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