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Please don't touch that
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26 / M
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Posted 4/1/07
As I think things over, I realized that a lot of beautiful anime get so fucked up after getting licensed. Being someone who actually supports the dubbing of anime, this depresses me. I wish some people who license anime would have the anime in mind and keep it out of their hands if they know they will kill it.

Viz for example licensed Death Note not too long ago. The first thing that came to my mind was Saikano. As great a job I think Melissa Hutchinson did a good job, I still feel that they killed it. Some things just weren't meant to be touched when dubbing it. Like, when Chise called Shuji "Shu-chan." It actually played a role in the story if you listen carefully.

Luckily, 4kids pretty much turns crap into shit so I don't really bother, but most of the time I really wish that ADV were the only ones in the business. I am praying that Bandai doesn't fuck up The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. In other news, Beck comes out this year and this is one of those anime that I think is impossible to dub. Can't wait to see what they do.
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25 / M / Toronto, CA
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Posted 4/1/07
Actually, there was an English trailer for SHnY on the ASOS brigade website. However at the time i'm typing it, the site seems to be screwy at the moment. Needless to say, I agree that dubbing kills anime, especially 4Kids, they just suck. However there are moments where the dubs are good.

http://asosbrigade.com/
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M / Macross City
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Posted 4/1/07
That's why I watch it in subs. Licensed or not. As long as they don't edit that too.
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26 / M
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Posted 4/1/07
I'm not saying dubbing kills anime. I love dubs. I support them, but some companies are just in it for the money and give some crap dub with some half assed cast.

Here is a little thing I read that I would like to share about dubs.

A bit of a change of pace this month: Rather than a review, I'll be using this column to express an opinion I need to get off my chest.

This is, in my opinion, a "golden age" of anime dubbing, or at least as close as we are ever likely to get to one. The bigger anime gets in the U.S., the more seriously dub creators take their work, and the better the dubs get. Whereas anime dubbing used to be the realm of directors and actors who didn't understand, much less care, about anime, these days dubs are crafted by highly skilled professionals who specialize in the artform. Many dub directors and actors make a sizable portion (in a few rare cases, all) of their living from doing anime.

And they've been rewarded with increased popularity. For proof, just attend Anime Central, probably the nation's premiere convention for American voice-acting guests. Actresses such as Wendee Lee (Faye Valentine, Cowboy Bebop) and Melissa Williamson (Nuriko, Fushigi Yûgi) have packed panel rooms with throngs of enthusiastic fans, most of whom wanted autographs. When Brad Swaile (Quatre, Gundam Wing) appeared at his panel last year, the shrieking of his female fans was so loud it drowned out the panel next door.

But despite that, dubbing still gets little respect among many, if not most "hard-core" fans. I should know — many of my friends are in this group, and they tend to be dumbfounded when they learn that I prefer dubs. How can any anime fan be as involved as Ryan is, they wonder, and not prefer subtitles? Dubs are considered a lesser way of viewing anime. It's for casual fans, lazy fans, fans who can't be bothered to read subs, fans that don't really care about anime.

It's not true. And quite frankly, I'm sick of hearing it.

I'd like to go through some of the arguments put forth for dubs' obvious inferiority. They'll be familiar to you. If you're a dub-hater, you've likely made these arguments yourself, and if you like dubs, your fellow fans throw them in your face at least several times a year.

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Subtitles are superior to dubs, because the translation is more accurate.

I'm starting with this argument, because it's the only one which holds even a drop of water. It's true — the compromises needed to adapt a translated script for dubbing are greater than those needed for subtitling. However, you're fooling yourself if you think subtitling doesn't involve any compromises at all. A good subtitle script adapts the dialogue into subtitles that can be easily read in the time available. Occasionally, this can mean tightening things up a bit, shortening a sentence so that it fits on one screen. And let's face it; some lines simply don't translate well, period. Subtitles don't change that.

Admittedly, it's rare, but a good dub can provide a better interpretation of the script than the sub. Take, for example, Aeka from Tenchi Muyo. Her character's nobility and formality are expressed by having her speak in an outlandishly formal dialect of Japanese. Unless you speak Japanese, this nuance will be lost on you, and there's no elegant way of expressing it in a subtitle. In the English dub, however, Jennifer Darling solves the problem with her delivery, giving Aeka a "noble" accent.

So yes, subtitles provide a superior translation to dubs. But the gap isn't as big as some would make it.

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I only watch subtitles because I want the same original experience the Japanese viewers received.

Well, I hate to break it to you, but you're not getting it. Unless you speak Japanese and can watch the anime raw, you can never have the same experience as the Japanese viewers. The amazing truth is that watching a good dub brings you much closer to the original experience than a subtitle.

Don't buy it? Then answer this: Do you really think the director intended his work to be viewed with yellow letters pasted over it? Given that anime is a visual artform, it's amazing to me that dub-haters can watch anime obscured by subtitles and think they're receiving a superior experience. Subtitles obscure the artwork, and they take your eyes away from where the director intended for you to look. Unless you have amazing peripheral vision, you have to flick your eyes to the bottom of the screen every few seconds to read the next title. This is most certainly not the "original experience".

Subtitles are annoying. If you don't believe me, try watching a DVD of an American movie with the Spanish or French subtitles turned on. (Assuming you speak neither of those languages.) See how long you last before you reach for the remote. As anime fans, we have merely gotten used to them, so much so that we think of them as "not really there". The most striking illustration of this occurred when ADV released the first DVD of Evangelion, in which they used digital text overlays to translate signs. This was a brilliant solution. The Japanese text, and only the Japanese text, was removed and replaced by English. The hard-core fans howled with rage! How dare they alter the precious artwork! So for subsequent DVDs, ADV went back to the traditional method of placing the sign translation next to the sign, which obscures just as much artwork, if not more. But this quieted the fans, because those translations "aren't really there".

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Subtitles are superior because you get to hear the original voices.

I love this argument, because then I can ask the fan if he prefers to watch Tenchi Muyo In Love in English. After all, the English voices were recorded first. Then I get to watch the fun as he backtracks, usually by redefining "original". But whatever. I could care less about "original" voices. I'd rather hear the "best" voices, or rather, the voices that give me the most enjoyable overall experience.

I think the problem here is that some people equate animation dubs with live-action dubs. In the latter, hearing the original voices is very important, since those voices belong to the human actors you see on the screen. In contrast, animation cels have no voice of their own. (As has been said, "All animation is dubbed.") So saying one vocal track is superior to another simply because it was recorded first is a spurious argument.

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The Japanese voice acting is always better than the English voice acting.

Ha. No, seriously. Ha.

Once upon a time, you could say this and know it to be true, not because you knew anything about the Japanese acting, but because the English dub acting was so absolutely amateurishly awful. These days, it's rare for a dub to not be at least passable, and several studios consistently produce very good dubs. So to continue to make this argument, you have to be able to describe just how good the Japanese acting is.

That's where the argument breaks down. If you don't speak Japanese, you cannot determine with any degree of accuracy whether the acting is any good. And please, spare me the hooie about how you can just tell by how well the actors emote. Any actor can emote. Emoting is one part of acting. There's timing, enunciation, and all kinds of nuances that go into delivering a good line, all of which is lost on you if you don't speak the language. Scott Frazier tells a funny story about how he learned one of his favorite anime (Dirty Pair) was horribly acted, once he became fluent in Japanese.

The sad truth of the matter is that most Japanese anime voice acting is of average quality. This is not to impugn the Japanese; it's merely Sturgeon's Law at work. For every Akira Kamiya and Megumi Hayashibara, there are scores of actors giving uninspired, cookie-cutter performances.

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I don't want to sound like I'm putting down subtitled anime. There are several anime titles I'm in the middle of watching subtitled right now, because I don't care for the dub. (That's the wonderful thing about being open-minded: there's always a back-up plan.) A friend of mine who is vehemently sub-only says he watches subtitled anime for cultural reasons. Anime is a Japanese artform, he argues, so it only makes sense to watch it in Japanese. I can buy that argument, if such cultural issues are important to you. Personally, such issues just get in the way of my enjoyment of the anime, which is, after all, the point of being an anime fan, at least in my case.

Whatever your preference, more power to you. Just remember this: You're no less a "true" anime fan if you choose to watch anime in your own language. Hold your heads up high, dub fans. And keep packing those panel rooms at Anime Central.
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25 / M / Toronto, CA
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Posted 4/1/07
Wow, that took a while... thats a nice quote.

This is, in my opinion, a "golden age" of anime dubbing,
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Okay, Yes I agree with the fact that we are entering an age that has never been seen in its like before. However, like most networks, they are trying to cash in on this. It isn't so often that you'd find a good dub.

Subtitles are superior to dubs, because the translation is more accurate.
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As mentioned above, it depends really. However we should bear in mind that subbers aren't professionals at this, they are usually people who have the knowledge and time to do the translation.

I only watch subtitles because I want the same original experience the Japanese viewers received.
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Albeit, I am one of those people and I used to think that way until one of my friends pointed this out to me. To counter this, I began taking Japanese classes.

Subtitles are superior because you get to hear the original voices.
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Once again it depends, usually people who watched English first then the Japanese version say that the one they watched first is better and vise-versa. I care to a certain extent of which language I prefer to watch my anime in, but in the end it doesn't matter.

The Japanese voice acting is always better than the English voice acting.
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Eh what can I say, I can't comment on this as of yet. However I usually find that seiyū's have more emotion in their acting than most english voice actors.

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All in all, my view on dubs havn't changed. I still feel the same way as I did before, but you do put up a good argument.
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34 / M / 中国
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Posted 4/1/07
Hmm how old is that blog post? I don't think shrieking Gundam Wing fangirls have been around for a long time (although I do remember when you couldn't swing a dead cat at a convention and not hit one). That and all the Tenchi Muyo references - I suspect a lot of users here don't even know what that series is.

Aside from that, I prefer subs but that doesn't mean I can't recognize a good dub when I hear it. I think the Hellsing dubs are far superior to the original japanese language versions, as well as the liberties they took with the script. There are a few series I don't mind in english, and a small handfull I prefer, but overall I much prefer subs.

American dubbing has improved by leaps and bounds in the last several years, but most of the time it's like nails on a chalkboard to me. Main characters are usually tolerable, but side characters are more often than not horrid. The japanese have developed voice acting into an artform. Most celebrities don't take voice acting seriously unless Disney is attatched to the name, and while many american anime voice actors are good, most can't compare to their japanese counterparts. Things are improving though. Look how far video game voice acting has come. Anime is getting there, but has a while to go still. If you don't beleive me, compare the language tracks in any very emotional scene. I think american voice actors are too reserved and reluctant to show emotion in the sound booth. They try, but more often than not, it still sounds sounds half assed to me.

Usually any show that explicitly takes place in Japan I can't stand in english, especially if they give characters southern accents to account for their rural accents. If it is a series that takes place in a fictional place outside of Japan, I can watch it in english, but I seldom do. If it takes place in somewhere like England, then I will usually go out of my way to at least check out the dub.
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29 / F / Berkeley, CA
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Posted 4/1/07
dubs aren't bad but they usually fall short of my expectations. the only dub that i've been satisfied with at all is fruits basket. even after comparing with the japanese audio, the dubbing was done really well and i highly enjoyed the voices.

however, when i try other dubs i'm usually disappointed. once i compare the japanese and english voice actors, the english ones seem dull and lack any emotion or life to them. the voice seem forced and not as natural as compared to the japanese.

sometimes, i think my expectations may be a little too high for dubs. i give them a chance but i'm usually not happy so i stick with subs.

and yes, 4kids screw everything up. they really shouldn't be allowed to license things.
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21 / F / SDF-1
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Posted 4/1/07
American censorship sucks balls. I consider "Robotech" the wrost sin Americans censors has done to mankind. Lame censorship + lame dubbing = gayness. Land of the free indeed.
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Posted 4/1/07

n0odle wrote:

American censorship sucks balls. I consider "Robotech" the wrost sin Americans censors has done to mankind. Lame censorship + lame dubbing = gayness. Land of the free indeed.


i thought sailor moon was horribly butchered. my favorite anime turned into the most childish anime possible. sailor moon is considered kiddyish because the american marketed it that way and targeted little kids...
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26 / M
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Posted 4/1/07
The biggest difference in how people view dubs and subs is how many people actually seen anime dubbed that wasn't mainstream. How many genres have people seen. I can sympathize with an american voice actor trying to act emotional for most shounens. If I were reading it I would be " Are you fucking serious! My character is acting up for this shit. Seriously, you gotta be shitting me!" Sieyuu's half the time sound maudlin to me. With a mic in your fucking face there is no reason to over act.
My biggest question though is what are you trying to say about the subtitles.Yes, they aren't professionals. That doesn't change the fact that they have to compromise certain lines in a translation just to make sense. There are even professional subbers and they still have to compromise certain things to make sense.

No one can say that Cowboy Bebop had a bad dub and I thought it was in no way inferior to the original cast. When an english speaking person watches an anime, no one ever thinks "OMG the voice acting was soo good." They have been reading for the past half hour that they don't give a FUCK about what they just heard. Its kinda like doing your homework while listening to music. Try listening to one anime in Chinese first, then English, then Japanese. Tell me who did it better. I'll tell you right now. It was the one who studied acting for years while practicing theater rather than being some random guy who knows another guy or someone who got in off of open auditions. The difference between whether a dub and sub is better depends on the anime and it is stereotyping to think otherwise. Don't look at dubbed; look at voice actors and voice recording studio. Disregard anything by 4kids and Viz and you have some balance between Dub and Sub.

Now please stay on topic.
What are some anime that was screwed up. This is not an overall debate between subs and dubs, but which dubs were actually butchered. Anything old is a given. I mean recent things.
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Posted 4/1/07
Bottom line, anime was made in japan, for japanese, using the japanese language. Thus, the humor, the inflections of tone, all come across in the voices of the seiyu's, and english is a much different language than japanese. So even if the english voice actor's are good, they most likely will put their own take or spin on what emotion is being conveyed, and not necessarily what fits best with what the creators intended.
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32 / M / Australia
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Posted 4/2/07

cbisram wrote:

Bottom line, anime was made in japan, for japanese, using the japanese language. Thus, the humor, the inflections of tone, all come across in the voices of the seiyu's, and english is a much different language than japanese. So even if the english voice actor's are good, they most likely will put their own take or spin on what emotion is being conveyed, and not necessarily what fits best with what the creators intended.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anime

Wikipedia states that anime typically refers to japanese animation in the western world but in japan it refers to any animation. Quite interesting.

I absolutely hate the dubbing done on naruto. Cant stand it but in shows like dbz, evangelion and cowboy bebop, the voices in my opinion were so much better than the japanese ones. It all depends on the show really.

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29 / F / Berkeley, CA
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Posted 4/2/07

elestial wrote:

I absolutely hate the dubbing done on naruto. Cant stand it but in shows like dbz, evangelion and cowboy bebop, the voices in my opinion were so much better than the japanese ones. It all depends on the show really.



was evangelion that great? to be honest, i couldn't stand the voices. usually, i'm unbiased until i hear the japanese voices but even without that, the dub for evangelion really annoyed me. everyone sounded so off.

i do agree that cowboy bebop was done rather well though.
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43 / M / London
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Posted 4/2/07
I was a dub only fan until I discovered this site and now I'll happily watch anime with subtitles. As has already been mentioned the one thing that does bug me about dubs currently is the way they are butchered and censored so they can be shown on tv for schoolkids.
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M / Macross City
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Posted 4/2/07
Personally, I never was too concerned how bad the dubbing was. What my main concern is how much they change things before they license them(Yes. Robotech will be the symbol of localization disasters from now on. How dare they change the entire story.). Just because it's dubbed doesn't mean they necessarily censored it right?
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