Anime Vice News

DRAGON BALL :: Should You Watch Dub or Sub?

Episode #11. Retro review. He's bringing THAT question up again?

Y’know, it gives me such a belly laugh, hearing Goku’s squeaking war cries when he’s smashing all the parts of Pilaf’s death trap apart with his staff, but… I can’t help but think I’d be laughing harder if this were dub.

Yep. I’m going to crack that can of worms open again, because DRAGON BALL’s an especially illustrative argument point in the sub vs. dub debate.

For one, I really think FUNimation’s best dubbing era was in the mid to late 90’s, when they took a lot more creative liberties with the material. There was this wonderful, added entertainment layer, where the voice actors would be goofing on the material at the same time they were staying on message. And to that end, comedy simply works better when you’re hearing it in your language. There isn’t two-second delay the screws up the timing a little when you’re reading the subtitles.

And Saffron Henderson does such a stellar job as Goku. I could listen to her read the phone book in Goku’s voice and still be amused.She brings us to another discussion point, actually…

When FUNi skipped ahead to DBZ, they shrewdly let Saffron go on, playing Gohan, while they recast Goku. The son sounds just like the father. A no brainer, right?

Well, by some strange logic, Goku’s Japanese voice actress has always been the same woman. As in, the same voice for 30 years, no matter how old the character gets. It already sounds off when you watch DBZ subbed, and this big muscle man still talks like a little boy. It sounds even more off BATTLE OF GODS because the woman’s in her 70’s, right now, and can’t really pull off the little boy voice anymore, so Goku ends up sounding like a cackling witch more often than not.

Anyway, everybody’s got an opinion. We’ve established that many of you lunatics prefer DRAGON BALL CLASSIC over DBZ. Do any of you… actually prefer the sub or the dub?

Watch "The Dragon Balls are Stolen!" and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode.

Lurkeroon July 9, 2014 at 2:38 p.m.

I have always enjoyed the DBZ English dub over the Japanese voice acting. I don't care how many "purists' claim that a Toriyama intended for an adult man to sound like an adolescent female, it does not sound right and there is no actual story reason for Goku to be that way (along with all other male characters voiced by females).

Dragonball was a little more tolerable because I expect a little boy to have a young voice, and there weren't as many characters voiced that way.

BloodSprinkleson July 9, 2014 at 3:38 p.m.

I thought Stephanie Naodolny played Kid Goku and Kid Goihan though? Did it change at some point, or what?

Mutant_Godon July 10, 2014 at 9:21 a.m.

I'm a dub man

takashichea moderator on July 10, 2014 at 11:25 a.m.

@BloodSprinkles said:

I thought Stephanie Naodolny played Kid Goku and Kid Goihan though? Did it change at some point, or what?

That was the FUNimation dub.

I think Tom mixed her with Saffron Henderson, the Ocean dub voice actress.

sickVisionz moderator on July 10, 2014 at 4:33 p.m.

If there was some super way to get a super hybrid mix I'd love to have selectable language on a per character basis. I would pretty much watch it in Japanese but with English Goku and Vegeta.

siamKAIon July 11, 2014 at 4:19 a.m.

DB and DBZ dub version is the best to watch. Sub versions are kinda creepy. I don't like the sub voices.

SycoMantis91on July 27, 2014 at 9:59 p.m.

I can watch either with anime, but I say the dub. Not solely due to nostalgia, most voices in the Japanese cast are just weird, over the top, and worst of all, don't fit their characters.

Dig Deeper into Dragon Ball

Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball franchise is about the adventures of Goku and his friends from his early childhood to his death and beyond. It begins with a young Saiyan boy named Goku after falling of a cliff and losing his memory, and leads on to an adventure of a lifetime!

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