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Old 2009-08-12, 08:01   Link #1
monir
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Monogatari Series Voice Actor Appreciation & Discussion

The purpose of this thread is to discuss, critique and idolize the Voice Actor cast of Bakemonogatari. Please remember that the discussion should center on their performances as professional voice actors and not on the show content (which can be discussed in the various Episode threads). Please remember this simple rule when critiquing a VA's performance or reading another forum member's critique:
  • Don't take it personally.
    In other words, you’re free to disagree with another person’s opinion, but don’t flame them if they offer a well written and well thought out analysis that differs from your own opinion. Keep it civil.

  • Voice Actors are human.
    Yes, it’s true. They’re human. Therefore, don’t just indiscriminately rip them and their work apart as if they’re inorganic objects. You don’t have to praise them non-stop, but be thoughtful in your criticism.
This thread might duplicate some discussion in the Episode threads, but it can also serve to demystify various VA roles, disseminate VA information (VA Bios, VA photos, etc) and provide cast information of various types as well as discussion about performances.
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Old 2009-08-13, 01:04   Link #2
Kaoru Chujo
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To get this thread started, I'll post a link to my blog post about Saitou Chiwa's amazing performance as Senjougahara.

She seems to me to have reached a new level of excellence, although perhaps the unusual character and the stylized direction make it possible to riff away without having to be natural.

But she isn't the only point of excellence. Kamiya Hiroshi is his usual outstanding self. And Katou Emiri just gets better and better. Sawashiro Miyuki didn't have that many lines as Kanbaru in ep6, but she was excellent, too. To say nothing of how well Horie Yui's sweet tones are working as Hanekawa.
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Old 2009-08-13, 01:12   Link #3
mandarb916
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Originally Posted by Kaoru Chujo View Post
But she isn't the only point of excellence. Kamiya Hiroshi is his usual outstanding self. And Katou Emiri just gets better and better. Sawashiro Miyuki didn't have that many lines as Kanbaru in ep6, but she was excellent, too. To say nothing of how well Horie Yui's sweet tones are working as Hanekawa.
Kamiya and Saitou have been great and Atogatari ep1 gave some nice insight into the voicing process of this series.

In all honesty, while you're right about Sawashiro not having many lines, I have to admit I wasn't too terribly impressed which was a bit of a disappointment for me. Her roles as Shinku in Rozen Maiden and Tsugumi in Kannagi snagged me in the first few lines of dialogue. I tried to like her in ep6, but I just couldn't. Knowing how talented she is, though, I'm hoping they're able to make good use of her talent.

In terms of sheer talent, though, I think for the female side of things, Saitou and Sawashiro are easily in the top 5 in Japan.
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Old 2009-08-13, 11:59   Link #4
Kaoru Chujo
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@mandarb916 -- Thanks for mentioning Atogatari. Hadn't checked it out yet.

And thanks for mentioning Sawashiro Miyuki's Tsugumi in Kannagi. I thought that was a great performance, but I haven't seen a lot of people talk about it.

I was never a fan of Rozen Maiden, and I couldn't actually get into Shinku. I wasn't paying as much attention to seiyuu then, either. As for Kanbaru, I loved the hint of fresh teenage feel in the voice, but thought she was acting slightly false. Since I expect Kanbaru and the bloody monster to be one and the same, that seemed perfect to me. It's a bit like her Cal in Phantom. I expect Cal to end up as an enemy of the hero, so I think it is appropriate that her tone of voice always makes me a bit uneasy.

You may have seen it, but I did a big blog post on Miyukicchi last fall.

As for top five, before this show I would never in a million years have included Chiwa. I loved her as Hazuki and Becky, but in part lost track of and in part was not struck by her performances in more recent years. And those earlier two were "just" comic performances, rather than real acting.

Top five? I find recently that I have a lot of trouble picking five top seiyuus, since I like too many, and there are too many ways of being great. What is a seiyuu's job? To not sound artificial? To have a voice that suits the character? To have a voice that makes a strong impression? To have a voice you like listening to?

I come down on having a voice that brings a character alive. That can include all those things, but requires something that makes you feel the character is real in some way, and also makes an impression on you. That "snags" you, as you say.

The names I consider when I think of a short list of the "best" are people like Paku Romi, Kuwashima Houko, Kawasumi Ayako, Kobayashi Sanae, Yajima Akiko, Sawashiro Miyuki, Yukino Satsuki, Takahashi Rieko, Koshimizu Ami, Sanpei Yuuko. Now Hirohashi Ryou may be joining that group, for me. They all have something of the actress about them, although they are also very professional voices. But once I really think about it, the list becomes immensely long, so I have temporarily given up on establishing a "best" list, until I know and understand more.

Lots of voices do wonderfully well in certain comic roles, or have a tone that is great to listen to and makes a strong impression, but I respect the dramatic roles more. I love hearing distinctive voices like Sasaki Nozomi or Toyosaki Aki, but they are far from the "best." I love Hirano Aya, too, but her great roles -- Haruhi, Layla, Mei, Konata -- are outnumbered by undistinguished ones, and she is concentrating on singing these days. I hope she can give us something interesting in this show.

I have a big beef with the preferences of many 2channel otaku, since I think they prefer professional voices over actual acting. All the people I mentioned first are both skilled "announcer" seiyuu, and strong actresses. It's a matter of skill versus talent, in my opinion.

The voice I most like listening to is Hayami Saori's. She is just learning her trade, but she is already fairly skilled and a decent actress within a certain range, but the sound of her voice is just such a pleasure to hear.

There are a number of young seiyuu who are rapidly rising in my estimation: Hayamin, Endou Aya, Takagaki Ayahi, Tomatsu Haruka, Itou Kanae. And I am coming to realize that Katou Emiri has talent, too.

Sorry to blather on. You hit the switch, lol.
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Old 2009-08-13, 12:41   Link #5
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Sincerely Sawashiro Miyuki's Suruga sounded more like Shugo Chara's Yoru (Ikuto's Shugo Chara for who's ever followed that show) than any roles mentioned here. Yoru is a male, and Suruga's voice was a bit masculine, which is not unusual for female sport stars in anime.

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Originally Posted by Kaoru Chujo View Post
I loved her as Hazuki and Becky, but in part lost track of and in part was not struck by her performances in more recent years.
Same here, Chiwa Saito had been mostly forgotten since the times of Tsukuyomi. Perhaps she didn't have enough astounding roles, or better, not enough of such rules in my anime picks. Now, with Senjougahara, she certainly can aim to the best year performance, although I won't put her in a top ranking just for one, even if wonderful role.

In some other post, you said that Chiwa Saitou's Senjougahara and Koshimizu Ami's Horo are among the top perfomance of the year. I wouldn't forget Hanamura Satomi's rendering of Mirai in TM8.0 , that sure is a complicated role.

Quote:
Top five? I find recently that I have a lot of trouble picking five top seiyuus, since I like too many, and there are too many ways of being great. What is a seiyuu's job? To not sound artificial? To have a voice that suits the character? To have a voice that makes a strong impression? To have a voice you like listening to?
I also have troubles when it comes to rank the seiyuus, and one of my major qualms is to dissect them between novices/seminovices (ie voices who appeared in the last two years) and veterans. So usually trying to rank them is just mess, and strongly depending on how many roles they've had in the last period. But generally speaking, and only considering the "veterans", my favs would be Nakahara Mai, Kitamura Eri, Kugimiya Rie, Shizuka Itou, Kuwashima Houko, Hirohashi Ryou, Horie Yui and Ueda Kana. I'm sure I'm forgetting at least a couple of them.

Quote:
I love hearing distinctive voices like Sasaki Nozomi or Toyosaki Aki, but they are far from the "best."
Other voices of that kind (distinctive, like one in a million) would be Nazuka Kaori's, Noto Mamiko's, or Sakai Kanako's. By the way, while we're currently oversaturated by Toyosaki Aki, there's an almost total lack of Sasaki Nozomi. Her magnificent protagonist role in Bokura ga Ita didn't bring her any other major roles, and it's been 3 years since then. It quite saddens me.


Quote:
The voice I most like listening to is Hayami Saori's. She is just learning her trade, but she is already fairly skilled and a decent actress within a certain range, but the sound of her voice is just such a pleasure to hear.
My current favourite voice is Tomatsu Haruka's, who's grown so much in just one year. Spunky, fresh, versatile.
Hayami Saori has a great potential, but still lacks a very distinctive trait, imho. It's one of those young seiyuus whose voice I don't always recognize at first (despite I'm following her since her Kou-chan role in Wagaya no Oinari-sama).

Quote:
There are a number of young seiyuu who are rapidly rising in my estimation: Hayamin, Endou Aya, Takagaki Ayahi, Tomatsu Haruka, Itou Kanae. And I am coming to realize that Katou Emiri has talent, too.
It's been two years I've been following Itou Kanae's via Shugo Chara, and finally she's taken other protagonist' roles (Taishou Yakyuu Musume, Sora no Manimani), which is paying off. Tomatsu Haruka aside, she's probably my favourite young voice, especially for the whispering ability. Her whispered voice is one of the best I've ever heard.
To that list I'd add Kotobuki Minako (she was Tsumugi in K-On!, but also Dobashi in Hatsukoi Limited and currently is Kanon in Umi Monogatari, I love her serious low tone which can be switched to high as proved in K-On. She's got potential. She's part of the group "Sphere" along with Tomatsu, Toyosaki and Takagaki). Also adding Fukuhara Kaori, wonderful in Saki as Koromo. I wish Katou Emiri had more roles, as well.

Hanazawa Kana instead, is not growing like I expected her to do. She was quite disappointing in Kannagi as Zange, she gives me the impression of not being good in "mean/mischievous" roles. Like she can only be a cheerful moeblob. Plus, she doesn't star too often as a protagonist.

Anyway, we'll be seeing her in Bakemonogatari from ep.9, as next girl after Suruga.

Sorry about lenght, but KC's post had a lot of interesting points (as always).
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Old 2009-08-13, 13:31   Link #6
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I think Senjougahara VA has done a masterfully job. I can't get enough hearing her "Araragi-kun" Her voice is so wonderful.
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Old 2009-08-13, 13:51   Link #7
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Originally Posted by Pellissier View Post
Sincerely Sawashiro Miyuki's Suruga sounded more like Shugo Chara's Yoru (Ikuto's Shugo Chara for who's ever followed that show) than any roles mentioned here. Yoru is a male, and Suruga's voice was a bit masculine, which is not unusual for female sport stars in anime.
Funny really, because Sawashiro's Yoru voice reminds me quite a bit of the one she's using for Canaan in Canaan, just with added softness to her voice.

Kamiya Hiroshi is one of my favorite male seiyuu's. I especially love his approach to inner thought dialogues, which i find to be one of his strongest points. I'm sure anyone who's watched Natsume Yuujinchou would agree with me. He's showing what he can do yet again in this show, impressing me all the more with each episode.
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Old 2009-08-13, 15:52   Link #8
Kaoru Chujo
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@Shiroth -- Yes, Kamiya is terrific. And even better since his motorcycle accident, which took place just before the last episode of Honey & Clover. He was out of commission for months, but has come back stronger.

@Pellissier -- Sasaki Nozomi hasn't had a leading role, but I think she is making a living. She is one of the six stars in Jewelpet, which is a 52-week show. And we hear her again in Princess Lover, as one of Seika's followers. With her ability to do squeaky animal roles, she has a future, lol. But I really took her seriously as the romantic heroine in Bokura ga Ita. I think it might be a problem for her that she has exactly the same name (she spells it differently) as a major gravure idol.

I've always liked Hanazawa Kana's moe voice. Maybe that's all she has, but it's enough for me. Mushi-uta, for example, wasn't a great show, but her voice there was heaven. And she's using a not-so-moe variant of it as Sharon in Pandora Hearts.

Hayami Saori has a very distinctive voice for me, but then I listen eagerly for it every time. To me, her voice is the most purely "beautiful" of all, as a seiyuu, and even more so as a singer. Her voice in Sora no Manima ni is quite different from any of her previous roles, as an ojousama sempai rather than a magic girl or a hesitant college student in love, but still it has that same lovely timbre and movement.

I'm afraid Kotobuki Minako doesn't do much for me. I thought she was just awful in the early eps of Umi Monogatari, which is all I watched. Her voice seemed flat and colorless. It was only suitable when she was angry, for me. But since you mention her, I'll pay more attention.

There is an enjoyable episode around of a show called Run Run Lan ([2009-07-24] Run Run LAN! [Sphere-スフィア- (寿 美菜子.高垣彩陽.戸松 遥.豊崎愛生)]) that interviews all the members of Sphere.

Yes, Fukuhara Kaori helps make Koromo a fascinating character. And yes, Hanamura Satomi is really doing something as Mirai.
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Old 2009-08-15, 08:51   Link #9
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Maybe I haven't watched quite that much anime as I had no idea who the voice actress for the Senjougahara character was until I checked ANN. I remember the sound of Chiwa Saitou's voice from Aria as Aika but it's very different (probably sounded more normal in Aria) than the tone she uses for Senjougahara.
And I definitely agree that she's done quite an amazing portrayal of a very awkward character (disturbing even).

I could recognise Hiroshi Kamiya's voice, and very easily identify Yui Horie's voice for their respective characters. While their voices seem to fit the characters they're portraying, either I haven't heard enough of their roles, or their vocal repertoire doesn't seem to be quite as diverse as other voice actors.

But then, most voice actors, like screen actors, typically get cast because of a certain role (or in this case sound) that they are best at portraying. Kind of like Brad Pitt is a Hollwood hottie and usually plays very specific roles.
Or in the case of voice actors, Rie Kugimiya and Takehito Koyasu also tend to play very specific roles.

But yes, so far, I'm rather impressed with the vocals for this series. Though maybe they could have cast someone with a deeper voice to play Araragi, perhaps like Tomokazu Sugita. I love the cynicism in his tone. It would probably suit the Araragi character better.

And maybe I'm an exception but I still find "cute" voices somewhat grating...
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Old 2009-08-15, 15:39   Link #10
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Or in the case of voice actors, Rie Kugimiya and Takehito Koyasu also tend to play very specific roles.
Koyasu still has more roles than any other voice actor to date, though.

You're right in that he's typecast, but he still has more roles than anyone else.

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Originally Posted by Da~Mike View Post
But yes, so far, I'm rather impressed with the vocals for this series. Though maybe they could have cast someone with a deeper voice to play Araragi, perhaps like Tomokazu Sugita. I love the cynicism in his tone. It would probably suit the Araragi character better.
The problem with casting Sugita is that you'd never be able to avoid the comparisons to Kyon, in a role like this.

Kamiya fits this role absurdly well, anyway. He sounds so crazy when he yells.
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Old 2009-08-16, 04:49   Link #11
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Koyasu still has more roles than any other voice actor to date, though.

You're right in that he's typecast, but he still has more roles than anyone else.

The problem with casting Sugita is that you'd never be able to avoid the comparisons to Kyon, in a role like this.

Kamiya fits this role absurdly well, anyway. He sounds so crazy when he yells.
Very true. There's been scant any anime that I've watched where I haven't heard Koyasu's voice! I suppose it's his luck that he was gifted with a suave bass voice compared to large number of other Japanese VAs.

And yes, I agree about the inevitable Kyon comparison is Sugita was cast as Araragi but I suppose that might be partly due to the similarity between the lead male characters from the different light novels.
Well, except that Araragi is more of the Good Samaritan character than Kyon would ever be.
And now that I think about it, Sugita might sound rather unconvincing as a Good Samaritan character, whilst Kamiya has portrayed characters similar to Araragi convincingly in the past (I think of Takemoto in Honey and Clover).

Now I'm looking forward to what surprises (if any) the remaining voice actors might bring us, and how Aya Hirano is going to play her debilitated vampire role.
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Old 2009-08-16, 04:53   Link #12
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And now that I think about it, Sugita might sound rather unconvincing as a Good Samaritan character, whilst Kamiya has portrayed characters similar to Araragi convincingly in the past (I think of Takemoto in Honey and Clover).
The funny thing about Araragi is that he is in no way whatsoever a good person, but is a very good Samaritan.

Kamiya does this very, very well.

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Now I'm looking forward to what surprises (if any) the remaining voice actors might bring us, and how Aya Hirano is going to play her debilitated vampire role.
Exactly like Konata Izumi, if the Drama CD is anything to go by.
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Old 2009-08-16, 05:13   Link #13
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Exactly like Konata Izumi, if the Drama CD is anything to go by.
Hirano's character is not going to sound anything like that when we first see her, she's never voiced an antagonist before so should be interesting
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Old 2009-08-16, 05:16   Link #14
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The funny thing about Araragi is that he is in no way whatsoever a good person, but is a very good Samaritan.

Kamiya does this very, very well.

Exactly like Konata Izumi, if the Drama CD is anything to go by.
Based on the 6 episodes that's been released so far, I definitely agree.

And wait... exactly like Konata from Lucky Star?...
Oh boy... I guess we'll just be listening to Aya Hirano speak then... which isn't a bad thing really but I hope it sounds right, since I haven't read the light novels or listened to any drama cds.
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Old 2009-08-16, 06:01   Link #15
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Kamiya Hiroshi is his usual outstanding self.
I'm just glad we still get to enjoy his excellent work
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Old 2009-08-16, 15:16   Link #16
Kaisos Erranon
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Hirano's character is not going to sound anything like that when we first see her, she's never voiced an antagonist before so should be interesting
As much as I'm sure everyone would like to forget it, Hirano voiced an antagonist in Dragonaut: The Resonance.

I'm sure she'll be using a similar voice for Adult Shinobu/Kiss-shot Arceola-orion Heart-under-blade.

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And wait... exactly like Konata from Lucky Star?...
More childish-sounding, but yeah, Konata.
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Old 2009-08-17, 11:51   Link #17
Kaoru Chujo
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Or in the case of voice actors, Rie Kugimiya and Takehito Koyasu also tend to play very specific roles.

But yes, so far, I'm rather impressed with the vocals for this series. Though maybe they could have cast someone with a deeper voice to play Araragi, perhaps like Tomokazu Sugita. I love the cynicism in his tone. It would probably suit the Araragi character better.

And maybe I'm an exception but I still find "cute" voices somewhat grating...
1. Koyasu may be my favorite male voice, based almost entirely on his role in Saiunkoku, where he is incredibly hot, as well as incredibly smart and sneaky. I think he has enough different type-cast types that he can have so many roles. But he almost always seems to be at least a bit of a villain.

2. I guess the main reason why we have Kamiya here is that he is Shinbou's guy: Zetsubou-sensei, a role in PaniPoni, Kouhei in MoonPhase.

3. I don't even think you are in the minority. At least, I have often read people complaining about excessively cutesy Japanese women's voices. I remember feeling the odd one out when I liked voices such as Shimizu Ai's as Karen in Please Twins.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaiso Erranon
Exactly like Konata Izumi, if the Drama CD is anything to go by.
I've listened to part of the drama CD, and I wouldn't say "exactly." Same general direction, with the burbly slurring, but with significant differences, it seemed to me. And yes, I'm trying to forget Dragonaut (easy for me, since I only watched a few episodes). I'm hoping Aya forgets it, too, since I didn't think Garnet was that great a voice (I even prefer her Jewelpet Garnet, lol).

I think Aya has so far given us several different kinds of voice: the sharp energy of Haruhi; the soft emotional intensity of Layla and Mei (my favorite); the fairly straight voice of Sanae in Sumomomo; Konata's amazing burble; and its gentler version (crossed with Haruhi a bit) in Zettai Karen Children; the airy kind of voice she uses in Akasaka, White Album, and Hyakko. As well as the artificial hardness of Dragonaut's Garnet. I would hate to see her use that one for the adult version of her character here. I'd like to see it connected with the character's younger Konata-esque voice.
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characters/seiyuus: | Mahouka Koukou | Glasslip | Tokyo Ghoul | Sailor Moon Crystal | Locodol | Ao Haru Ride | Hanayamata | Aldnoah.Zero | Nozaki-kun | Magimoji Rurumo | Zankyou no Terror | Tokyo ESP | Rokujouma no Shinryakusha | Love Stage!! | Jinsei | Rail Wars | Blade Dance | Himegoto

Last edited by Kaoru Chujo; 2009-08-17 at 12:09.
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Old 2009-08-17, 17:38   Link #18
Zetsubo
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So ... Is this Anime even English bub possible ?

I mean is there any English tallent that can pull it off ?

Especially Se-n-jo-u-ga-ha-ra-sa-ma ?

and Ha-ne-ka-wa Goushujin sama ?
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Old 2009-08-17, 18:45   Link #19
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Wouldn't there be way too many Japanese related jokes and all that Kanji stuff for it to be dubbed?
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Old 2009-08-17, 18:47   Link #20
Kaisos Erranon
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Join Date: Nov 2007
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Age: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miyuki-ism View Post
Wouldn't there be way too many Japanese related jokes and all that Kanji stuff for it to be dubbed?
They dubbed Lucky Star, and I believe they're trying to dub SZS.

Bakemonogatari is probably a bit more accessible than either of those, even with all the Kanji wordplay, so it should turn out better.

I'd prefer to see the light novels licensed, though.
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