Last week, we counted down the most awesomely bad anime. This week, we're keeping the garbage-train chugging along with the most awesomely terrible dubs!
Obviously, there are lots of bad dubs out there; but there are only a shining few that actually elevate the anime they’re attached to. Some just add another layer of chuckles, but others actually turn a heaping mess of a show into something totally watchable...
HONORABLE MENTION == DRAGON BALL Z (sometimes)
I actually don’t mind most of the main cast of this show, and happen to prefer the Ocean Group to the FUNimation crew (you can’t top the original "OVER 9000!"). That said, while the Funi dub occasionally gets on my nerves, and their insistence on changing the score to the movies is pretty frustrating, on the whole, it’s competent.
And then, there are moments like this one...
Suddenly, I’m very much aware of just HOW MUCH DBZ there is, and how many recording sessions there must have been, and how rushed some of it needed to be.
Insane moments like this almost make the endless sea of filler tolerable. Almost.
NUMBER THREE == DANGAIOH
DANGAIOH is actually the first subtitled anime I ever saw. I have fond memories of this show, and it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I heard this masterpiece of horrific voice acting. I thought of DANGAIOH as a serviceable giant robot OVA that had some OK ideas and nice designs. Nothing too write home about.
Well... thank you dub cast, because I now actually own all of this heaping pile and love it for all the wrong reasons.
This dub shines mostly because the cast seems to be barely trying, or completely disinterested, or quite possibly just reading the script for the first time. The delivery of certain lines is completely unbelievable, and certain characters seem to be voiced as a joke. One enormous robot in particular sounds like a particularly bored nerd, and his emotionless, nasal delivery actually had me laughing out loud.
This is a pretty meh OVA on the whole, but if you can sit through the entire dub without cracking a smile or two… well, I’m a sugar frosted donut…..with cream.
NUMBER TWO == CYBER CITY OEDO 808
It should be clear by now that I am a huge fan of Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s work, and this little cyberpunk OVA is actually one of the finest (and least rape-y) examples of his work. It’s a fun, ensemble cast, of rough prisoners-turned-bounty-hunters. Each OVA is a stand-alone story, focusing on a different member of the rag-tag team. They also get more and more far-fetched as they progress, ending with a story about space-vampires that is somehow still totally awesome and not even that stupid.
And then there’s the dub…
As I've mentioned briefly before, Manga Video in the 90's was really going nuts with their dubs in the most awesomely bad way. The practice of “fifteening” - - that is, adding profanity to the dub script to make a show seem as “not for kids” as possible - - is in full hilarious effect in CYBER CITY. DANGAIOH suffers from this, as well, but CYBER CITY easily wins the award for most F-bombs per sentence. It is complete and utter madness, so much so that it actually adds another level of enjoyment to the show, if you can stomach the insanity.
There’s tons of great/horrendous stuff in there, but the obvious standout is this exchange between Sengoku and Benten about vampires. Sengoku’s sudden and hilariously overdone New York accent and Benton’s "witty" response is the kind of dubbing that drops your jaw, my friends!
NUMBER ONE == GARZEY’S WING
Lets get this straight right off the bat - - GARZEY’S WING is an awful pile of animated garbage, no matter what language you watch it in.
It’s derivative, boring, poorly-animated dreck. But thanks to the brilliantly-incompetent performances from some of anime’s absolute worst voice acting talent, GARZEY’S WING is a modern classic. These clumsy turds have actually elevated this junk from a steaming pile to an endlessly-watchable disaster.
I know all of you probably have some dub in mind as the worst you’ve ever heard, and I’m sure they’re bad…but whatever they are, they can’t touch GARZEY. Most of the cast just sounds annoyed with each other, possibly because of the script they’re working with, or possibly because reading is hard for them.
But the blame can’t be placed entirely on the acting talent. This script is… a mystery.
There are lines that really and truly sound like they’re being played for laughs. For example, ALL OF THEM. I’m not sure if the translators got bored, or hated the show so much they felt the need to punish it, or maybe, just maybe, they saw an opportunity to save GARZEY’S WING—to make it more than it ever was.
Whether by incompetence or brilliant subversion, GARZEY’S WING has become a thing of legend. God bless you, Central Park Media.
So there you have it, the three best of the worst in dubbing. There’s a whole world of terrible dubs out there so feel free to post your own lists in the comments section below.
Alex Eckman-Lawn is an illustrator and comic artists from Philadelphia. Check out his site - -alexeckmanlawn.com - - rumble with his Tumblr - -dudenukem.tumblr.com - - and hit up his Twitter: @alexeckmanlawn