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View Poll Results: English dubs or Japanese with subtitles?
Sub-snob. I don't listen to dubs. Period. They give me a headache. 74 32.46%
There are a few good dubs out there, but I really prefer subs. 93 40.79%
Subs, though I enjoy boh. 24 10.53%
I like them both about the same. 13 5.70%
Dubs, but I enjoy Japanese with subtitles too. 14 6.14%
Subs are watchable, but I prefer to stick the with dubs whenever possible. 9 3.95%
I like to listen to shows in a language I can understand. I can't stand subtitles. Dubs all the way. 1 0.44%
Voters: 228. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2006-04-22, 11:09   Link #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Dubs or subs?

Which do you prefer?

I probably haven't made this apparent on this forum yet since I haven't hung out here much (what can I say? my computer doesn't like p2p connections and most of the active discussion here seems to be on anime that hasn't been officially released in the States yet... its probably going to be another week until Shuffle is done downloading at this rate), but I'm a big fan of dubs. Thankfully, the anime community seems to have become a bit more accepting of dubs over the past two years or so, but there's still a few that refuse to accept dubs as anything but stinking piles of ****.

Some of the old time subbies seem to still be judging anime dubs based off of their experiences with those annoying almost effortless dubs that they heard in the 90s and before, and some of the new comers to the anime community seem to have taken their word for it. But the way that things were done in the 90s isn't the way that things are usually done now. After the American anime boom in the early 00s, the quality of English dubs went up with the demand for them. Studios got more funding and started putting work into their scripts and the VAs started caring, and it showed. If you haven't already done so, go watch Berserk's, Fullmetal Alchemist's, Yu Yu Hakusho's, and Ghost in the Shell SAC's dubs. A few of those blow the original soundtracks out of the water. (especially Berserk)

The nitpickers can be downright ridiculous. "OMMFG! His laugh sounds different! This dub sucks!" "W...T...F?! Why doesn't that 14-year-old sound like he's 12 anymore?! Why does he sound like a teenager?! I can't stand the acting in this dub!" Of course the dub voices are going to sound different than the Japanese voices, they're different people speaking different languages that come from different base languages! And of course the voice is going to change the character... I've seen a few manga characters turned anime that seemed completely different once they got their Japanese voice. (Sasuke comes to mind... he always struck me as calmer in the manga) That doesn't necessarily make it a bad match and it certainly doesn't make the acting bad. If anything, modern English-speaking VAs seem to over-exagerate their speaking less than their Japanese counterparts. You know those sweet sounding voice actresses that you hear a lot of times with the cuter anime girls that can almost turn you on with their voice alone? I've visited Japan, and I live in an area with a pretty large Asian population (most Japanese and Korean), and I've NEVER heard a voice like that in real life. I'm pretty sure that they play with their voices to make them that way. And I've never heard the complete flip outs that you hear so often from Japanese VAs either. (English tracks do something similar, but they at least sound less exagerated than the Japanese tracks) So if anything, the American VAs sometimes seem like more realistic portrayals of the characters than their Japanese counterparts. (the caucasian voices to go with the caucasian looks doesn't hurt either)

I know that its not an easy thing to do, but when you watch a dub, try to judge it by itself if you can, or at least try to make a conscious distinction between "different" and "bad" when you start to find yourself picking it apart in your head.

Sure there are some really bad modern dubs (Crest/Banner of the Stars, Love Hina) and a few a bad character matches in a few good dubs (Shizuru from My-Hime is the only one that comes to mind at moment... she looks like a British accent), but for the most part, it seems like most modern dubbing studios put a lot of effort into their work. I can think of a few other points to make concerning the scripts, but I think that I've made a long enough post here.
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Old 2006-04-22, 11:13   Link #2
FUNimation's Gen Fukunaga
Join Date: Nov 2003
Very subjective thing, the problem is that I can't have one dead set preference because as it's known, different studios, different source material, different writers, different directors, different budgets, different markets, difference circumstances. While you think the dub for Berserk blows the sub out of the water, I think they're about equal with each other.

But I think this sort of subject has been beaten to death already. Everyone pretty much knows what they prefer, even if they do decide to state it as fact.
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Old 2006-04-22, 11:19   Link #3
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There are some really excellent dubs around. There are some dubs that completely and totally do justice to the original material, and which work perfectly. That won't ever change the fact that I get more out of watching anime in Japanese. There are also a few dubs that I personally think stink to high heaven. I won't name them, though, because that's just inciting controversy.
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Old 2006-04-22, 13:32   Link #4
Join Date: Dec 2005
I think the only dub I liked was Neon Genesis Evangelion, and that was purely because of Asuka. A lot of the feel and personality of the anime gets lost in translation and voice work. We grow accustomed to these Japanese character archetypes and having english speakers try to imitate them or just get it wrong completely annoys people like me. It makes me wonder if the english voice actors even watch the Japanese versions to maybe get a feel for the character they are voicing.
Just some old fart passing by in the wind.
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Old 2006-04-22, 14:23   Link #5
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The problem with translation - in general - is that some things in Japanese are very hard to express in another languages, because there might be no equivalent. Of course, this is only a problem if you know about them. But, if you know about them, you are probably missing something if there is no Japanese voice.

But, perhaps I'm one of only few who pay attention to the usage of pronouns, politeness levels, and such things...
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Old 2006-04-22, 14:29   Link #6
Join Date: Dec 2003
Age: 36
All I would say is that, when approaching a dub, I always see it as an "alternate take" on the characters. Sometimes I feel it works, and sometimes I feel the original worked better. Both represent a director's opinion on how the characters should sound. On the whole, although I tend to watch more subs than dubs (mostly because dubs don't exist yet for a lot of my favourite shows), I'd have to honestly say that I can like them about the same, depending on the show. I've watched a lot of R1 dubs, a lot of subs (both fan and official), and a lot of R2 Japanese dubs with no subtitles at all. At the end of the day, if it manages to suspend disbelief and not distract/attract attention to itself, then I consider it a success. Forum debates always tend to polarize but, to me, reality isn't so "black and white". It's not about "dub" or "sub", it's simply about enjoying and getting engrossed in the show. As usual, that's simply my opinion.
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Old 2006-04-22, 14:42   Link #7
Aria Company
Join Date: Nov 2003
The wording of that first option makes this poll sound a bit biased... Plus, asking it on a fansub forum will likely taint the results.

Anyway, I have seen one dub that I thought was as good as the original japanese, that being GitS:SAC.

I believe it's due to the differences in how the dialog is recorded, all the voice actors in a scene gathered together, as opposed to doing the dialog one voice actor at a time. After all, if the voice actor doesn't know how others react, it makes for an inconsistant scene unless they're all very good. I doubt a rookie american voice actor could do as good a job as Yahagi Sayuri has done with Karin.
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Old 2007-09-22, 09:45   Link #8
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Age: 25
dubbed or subbed

some people have a thing were they are against anime online (watching anime on the web). and there are those who go over and say its just a easier way to watch your favorite series instead of waiting 3 years to have it come out in dubbed, for me me it depends on the dubbed if it is good then i watch it like that but is it sucks (not saying any names ) then i switch and go to subbed some times its easier and for me i have no job and noway to earn money (minor) so i can't spend on anime box sets for the dubbed thing
oh well for me im going for subbed !♥!♥!

Last edited by TwilightSuki_chan; 2007-09-22 at 09:50. Reason: spelling mistakes
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Old 2007-09-22, 12:47   Link #9
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Join Date: Oct 2006
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Hmm.. how about "Raw"? I'd pick that one if it was there.
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Old 2007-09-22, 12:55   Link #10
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I would like to say that I generally prefer dub(especially because I don't like reading when I choose to watch something) but like most people, I'll take subs over a bad dub any day. Some dubs are really good and there are lot that aren't so good and just downright terrible. It's tough to be set in one direction.

And Kyomi makes a good point about raws---I'll watch it in the raw if I feel up to it. My Japanese isn't as strong as it could be but sometimes if I'm up to it I'll conquer something raw.

Last edited by LionsMane; 2007-09-22 at 15:57. Reason: spelling mistake
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Old 2007-09-22, 13:07   Link #11
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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I watch exclusively subbed anime, even when I have the DVD with an English dub available. I can't stand dubs, even if they are good (few are, but I'll admit there are some) I don't feel they can ever portray the characters as well as the original voice actors.
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Old 2007-09-22, 17:09   Link #12
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Depends on the series
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Old 2007-09-22, 18:42   Link #13
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Australia
There are a very select few dubs I can tolerate, but I'll always watch subs over dubs. I own quite a few hundred DVDs, and haven't watched any of them dubbed except when it acts silly and doesn't default to Japanese (which I have all my players set to do, but sometimes it doesn't, and I have to scramble around in a panic to change it as soon as I hear crappy American voices).

The only things I've seen that I think do any remote justice to the original are Ghibli films, but even then, the original is still superior.

On the other hand, a lot of DVD subtitles are quite terrible. I strongly dislike DVD subtitle formatting, definitely prefer the 'fansub format' with kara, various styling and the likes. Not to mention stuff (particularly older things) are just bad translations. Timing can often be quite shonky, too. Of course it wasn't as much of an issue to me before I started fansubbing, but knowing what to look for in bad subs has made a lot of DVD subs quite frustrating to watch. =p

So yeah, out of the many, many series and movies I've watched (easily over a thousand these days I think) I can only think of a bare handful of examples where I've been able to tolerate the dub. Of course, I'm not American, so the American dubbing is often overly obnoxious. I've talked to a lot of American friends and they don't suffer quite the same problem since the accents aren't as noticeable to them. But talking to other Australians and some Euro friends, they understand my plight quite well.

Especially, as a key example, Tenchi Muyo! -- The dubs on that are absolutely horrendous. Tenchi, as most people around here should know as it's a classic series, is like a 15 year old kid. His original Japanese voice is quite reasonable. His American voice sounds a hellova lot like Ray Romano (Of Everybody Loves Raymond fame) which is quite terrifying on a teenager. I understand there's going to be changes re-dubbing, but it should at least try to remain somewhat loyal to the age bracket.

As I said, Ghibli movies have done really well. But then they go through Disney and have a lot of very talented, highly skilled voice actors at their disposal. Most general dubbing studios don't seem to at all.

So yeah, I'll stick to subs unless I have absolutely no other choice.
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Old 2007-09-22, 23:28   Link #14
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Join Date: May 2007
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Originally Posted by Asai View Post
Of course, I'm not American, so the American dubbing is often overly obnoxious. I've talked to a lot of American friends and they don't suffer quite the same problem since the accents aren't as noticeable to them.
Now there was something I never even thought of. It's still painful for me to watch subs even though they share my accent. I wonder what the opinion on dubs would be if 90% of the voice actors had a Brit-cockney accent...

I'm definitely a snob. I like my Japanese Anime to stay Japanese and do so as much as possible. Not so much because Japanese is foreign to me, but because anything else would be incomplete.

In fact, I hate myself for not putting more effort into learning the language so that I can start watching raws exclusively. Part of the point of my enjoyment of Anime stems from my interest of Japanese pop culture. To watch such programming without all of it's cultural integrity intact is an incomplete experience at best.
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Old 2007-09-23, 07:23   Link #15
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Join Date: Nov 2006
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I happened to catch an episode of Blood+ on [adult swim] the other night, and the voice actor for Lewis made me cringe. Lewis is an African American ex-special-ops-soldier who fought in Vietnam, but in the dub he sounds British or maybe Caribbean-British! Even when they had an American character, they chose not to voice him with an American accent?
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Old 2007-09-23, 08:26   Link #16
Join Date: Nov 2004
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The only time I ever watch dubbed versions of any type of foreign film is cheesy old 60s kung-fu flicks, where it adds to the general fun of the whole experience

Otherwise, I prefer to have the original dialogue, even if it's in a language I can't understand a single word of. I just like to be able to hear the flow of dialogue, something that is very hard to pull off in a dub. For instance, the Gerard Depardieu Cyrano de Bergerac would have sounded sunstantially different in English. (Although they did a pretty good job in conveying the poetry of the language in the subtitles, you can only tell that because you have the original speech to compare it to.)

This isn't a dig at the voice actors, I'm sure there are some very good ones out there in the general run of movies and there may well be some in anime these days. It's more a question of style and how hard it can be to really carry it over into a second language.
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Old 2007-09-23, 09:02   Link #17
There there, Maggie-chan
Join Date: Sep 2007
I am in the 'there are some good ones, but usually sub" crowd. Sometimes if the dub is good, its nice not having to read at a distance. (doesnt help my eyes are poor).

Gungrave, Blood+, Hellsing, Samurai Champloo, Outlaw Star, were all pretty good dubs imo.

I coulda shot myself watching Please Teacher tho everytime he said Ma'am, and most old anime dubs make me want to weep. Some of them are in the middle, so i side with the subs, like Black Lagoon. Some of the cast is great, but Revy is no where near as sexy/tough. I guess it just depends.

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Old 2007-09-23, 09:15   Link #18
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Always subbed. Dubs just ruin it it for me. Gives a whole new feel to it. I think it's probably because anime has seemed a bit.... I dunno, mysterious to me. Dubbed anime just takes feeling away.
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Old 2007-09-23, 09:26   Link #19
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As I have said in other thread, dubs makes my videos easier to share with family/friends, who likes everything English voiced. No matter how great it is (Princess Mononoke, Infinite Ryvius, Hoshi no Koe being examples), they won't touch it unless they can hear it in English.

I myself prefer subs though, since the level of the average American VA is nowhere near the level of the average Japanese seiyuu. But a lot are watchable dubs, and some are really excellent (steamboy comes to mind).

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Old 2007-09-23, 17:23   Link #20
Hotaru Suzume
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I prefer things in their original language regardless of what's better or not, so I vote the first option.
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