Anime Vice News

Sub Vs. Dub -- THE VICE PIT

Sam and Tom contemplate the contentious claims of seiyuu dominance in dubbed versus subbed anime - - and try out some voice acting of their own.

Previous Vice Pit sessions on...

  • KIDS ON THE SLOPE
  • YU YU HAKUSHO
  • Comic Con / Anime Expo 2012
  • CAT PLANET CUTIES
  • Toonami / FUJIKO MINE
  • DRAGON AGE
  • Submit questions and topics for a future Vice Pit session here.

    Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

    Sam Weller is a writer and actor who's scribed for shows like FIRST EDITION, GEEK THERAPY, and most recently BATGIRL: SPOILED. He also really likes anime. To know what is going to happen next, follow@cravesam

    Daniel_Newton moderator on July 27, 2012 at 6:53 p.m.

    I'll just leave this here. Just wait until you hear Tien's voice, that voice is extra special. And for those unfamiliar, yes, this is a real dub that aired on television in the UK.

    AgentJon July 27, 2012 at 7:16 p.m.

    The best dub is still Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad.

    Whats_out_the_bagon July 27, 2012 at 10 p.m.

    What about BLACK LAGOON,Ghost Stories, and Hetalia: Axis Powers.

    The dubs are way better then the sub version.

    The Stegmanon July 27, 2012 at 10:02 p.m.
    Honestly, dubbed, I don't really wanna read and watch at the same time unless I have to.
    ShadowKnight508 moderator on July 27, 2012 at 11:24 p.m.

    Call me old-fashioned, but I still prefer watching the Subbed version of any anime series I enjoy. Not sure why, but most of the Dubbed voices for the characters I like are downright terrible and don't seem to "match" the character.

    sickVisionz moderator on July 28, 2012 at 12:38 a.m.

    My issues aren't with translations, it's about the quality of voice acting.

    You mentioned Tatami Galaxy but the pace of that dialog is so insane that I don't think Japanese people could pick it up. I tried to speed read and pause for all of it but eventually just gave up because I thought it was supposed to be overwhelming.

    @ShadowKnight508 said:

    Not sure why, but most of the Dubbed voices for the characters I like are downright terrible and don't seem to "match" the character.

    These are reasons why I always go for sub over dub. Most dubs peak out at good enough, which isn't actually good enough for me.

    Plus, I watch tons of foreign movies and have for years so I never got into the whole ughh, anything not in English must be terrible and unwatchable thing.

    metalsnakezeroon July 28, 2012 at 4:43 a.m.

    It is very subjective on what you like. Both Dubs and Subs have gotten better with being faithful or at least closer to the meaning of each line. Same goes to getting the right voice talent. For me it doesn't matter what form I like, I just want them to be close to being right in translation and feel.

    And Tom, you should watch other studio's dubs because you're just getting your judgment on dubs from just Funimation. Bangzoom, Sentai, and a few others have been pushing out some good dubs as well.

    sotyfan16on July 28, 2012 at 4:56 a.m.

    Personally, I have been disappointed in FUNi's work the past year. The company is doing what Sentai Filmworks/Section23 is doing (putting out dubs of new shows 12-18 months after airing in Japan) and while it can do so, I don't feel as much care was taken as when it took a bit longer to produce.

    On a slight tangent, it was back in 2009 (around the time I visited FUNi HQ) that I wanted anime to be released a year after airing and thought it would be a big improvement on streamlining quality content to fans outside Japan. I have since learned to take the good with the bad but it is very upsetting when a company licenses a show and then forsakes it for more popular series.

    So for me, Sentai has been doing the best dubs the last year or so.

    Oh, Tom, do remember that Viz Media put out Death Note.

    Now, I enjoy both sub and dub. Sometimes I like the sub better and other times I like the dub better. Given all the new series that come out, I watch about the same amount of dub and sub and it works great for me to buy a boxset and watch the dub since I already saw the sub.

    While I do notice differences in the wording from sub and dub I usually don't have a problem unless I don't react the same way with both versions.

    @Daniel_Newton:

    That sounded awful.

    @Whats_out_the_bag:

    Black Lagoon is still the best dub I've seen/heard. I hope they get the same VAs for Roberta's Blood Trail.

    FoxxFireArt moderator is online on July 28, 2012 at 5:05 a.m.

    I don't see the point of doing English dubs is you aren't going to try and stay as close to the original content as possible. It makes even less sense when you aren't even playing to the mood of the scenes. If you are just goofing around on an English dub, all you're doing is a parody.

    The problem comes in when people think that parody is the original story. That's pretty much what happened to DETECTIVE CONAN. The white-washed version of the cast was transferred into the manga, and now we will never get the manga series in the US with the real cast names. Fans of the series are pretty much screwed becasue someone thought it would be better for the whole cast to be Europeans.

    The Japanese version of CODE GEASS had a great cast. Several of the actors even won awards for their performances in that series. I really like much of Johnny Yong Bosch's work, but he was wrong for Lelouch. Greg Ayres also does great work in most things, but his voice as Ganta in DEADMAN WONDERLAND is kind of grating. Though, most people who try and follow Romi Park tend to struggle.

    FUNimation has been doing some of the best dub work out there. Their work on EVANGELION and even SUMMER WARS is great. I like their work even more than the original Japanese voices on those series.

    GAINAX productions are a mixed bag. FLCL really worked as a dub partly becasue of how face paced the dialog can be. However, I just couldn't take the English dub of GURREN LAGANN. For me, the actors just lacked the same level of passion. The English Kamina, performed by Kyle Hebert, just lacked the same level of energy and passion.

    The HOTD dub was bad, becasue they weren't just changing character personalities and renamed the dog for some bloody reason. They were changing the meaning of entire scenes. I really hope that Sentai Filmworks doesn't do the same thing to PERSONA 4, but it will at least have subtitles.

    I would use the example of NARUTO the anime. The first episode everyone sounded so irritating and over the top, but as the series went. I think they really improved. They had time to get to know the characters and motivations. You see that a lot in English dub work. They start off awkward, but eventually fit into the character. In contrast, the Japanese cast are in character from episode one.

    I actually look forward to hearing Nolan North's work as Tobi/Madara Uchiha.

    Lurkeroon July 28, 2012 at 8:57 a.m.

    Because I do not consume as much anime as the average fanatic, I haven't had the chance to come across bad dubs on my own. I enjoyed most of the popular shows on the cartoon blocks like Toonami, Fox Box/4kids TV, Kids WB, and Adult Swim. Those shows are usually quality.

    When it comes to subs vs dubs I don't really mind either. The only thing I don't appreciate is when dubs remove cultural references. I would much rather see/hear a cultural reference with a footnote than have it removed completely. Do not call rice balls cookies...that is uncool.

    One reason why I think dubs do not bother me as much is because I like to read subtitles no matter what language I am hearing. For some reason I like reading what I am hearing.

    I mostly avoid arguments with people over debatable dub performances. There are people that insist things like "Naruto and Luffy sound annoying in English." To me they sound annoying in both languages so I think the dub is spot on. There is also a certain degree of separation that people fail to acknowledge when comparing Japanese and English. Lots of people don't even know what is being said in Japanese, but they will complain about what is being said in English because it "sounds stupid". This is especially the case with Japanese developed fighting games. Sometimes what is being said is the same thing, but since the complainer doesn't know Japanese it doesn't bother them as much as the English.

    Hypeathonon July 28, 2012 at 9:50 a.m.

    If I went to a retail store, saw a copy of a Japanese animated title released on DVD or Blu-ray, decided to buy this, and requested someone I know, be it my parents, siblings, other relatives or friends who aren't really big anime fans, to sit down and watch this Japanese animated show on DVD with me, I would want to know their opinion of the dub for a change.

    There is no point anymore in hearing the opinion of a dub from someone who both has already seen the show in Japanese first and already set an opinion on who should be casted as what or what someone should say in english or how someone should compare to their Japanese counterpart. There's no point in hearing from hardcore anime fans who have those thoughts in mind, especially when almost every anime fan I see in either Youtube, Crunchyroll, Animesuki, MAL, or ANN is like this. Oh sure, some aren't. But there are so many others like this and I've heard them all one too many times. I'd rather hear from the audience that a dub of anime specifically is aimed for. There was something relevant mentioned about dub on the That Anime Show podcast hosted by J. Michael Tatum and Terri Doty a few times on a few episodes, specifically with Josh Grelle on his 2nd or 3rd appearance as a special guest. Josh Grelle said that according to Chris Ayres, the job of people creating a dub are suppose to be caretakers. This means that they are responsible for keeping the original spirit of a show as it was in Japanese, the essence (NOT every little pun, gag, reference, or other trivial details that are not suppose to be the main reason but just minor reasons why one would get into a Japanese animated story), while making the it relatable enough to the American audience they're targetting that could get into this show if they haven't already.

    That's the point of an adaptation and I want to know how the people that haven't seen a show and wouldn't get it or be alienated as is in Japanese think of a show if they watched it in english.

    sotyfan16on July 29, 2012 at 6:11 a.m.

    @Hypeathon:

    There are many series I have seen and own that I first watched the dub and have only, and sometimes will only, watch the dub because I enjoy it as such.

    I didn't start analyzing dubs and the difference between them and their sub counterparts until I started my Dunce Cap reviews and writing Guides for the site. But I try be logical and point out the good and bad. Just my opinions though so those who read or listen to what I say must decide for themselves.

    Nightwolfon July 29, 2012 at 3:47 p.m.

    I like dub better than sub, only if there done right.

    macgetmalledon Aug. 2, 2012 at 4:08 a.m.

    I like a good dub, but sometimes a bad dub can kill it for me. I also like a subtitled track on something that is very japanese, shows that take place in toyko or in the japanese country side. It all depends on what i'm watching at the time. I feel closer to a subtitled track because of how close you have to pay attention, but I feel a dub track is a more enjoyable experience.

    redbird3rdboywonderon Aug. 16, 2012 at 10:20 p.m.

    @Hypeathon said:

    @Hypeathon said:

    If I went to a retail store, saw a copy of a Japanese animated title released on DVD or Blu-ray, decided to buy this, and requested someone I know, be it my parents, siblings, other relatives or friends who aren't really big anime fans, to sit down and watch this Japanese animated show on DVD with me, I would want to know their opinion of the dub for a change.

    There is no point anymore in hearing the opinion of a dub from someone who both has already seen the show in Japanese first and already set an opinion on who should be casted as what or what someone should say in english or how someone should compare to their Japanese counterpart. There's no point in hearing from hardcore anime fans who have those thoughts in mind, especially when almost every anime fan I see in either Youtube, Crunchyroll, Animesuki, MAL, or ANN is like this. Oh sure, some aren't. But there are so many others like this and I've heard them all one too many times. I'd rather hear from the audience that a dub of anime specifically is aimed for. There was something relevant mentioned about dub on the That Anime Show podcast hosted by J. Michael Tatum and Terri Doty a few times on a few episodes, specifically with Josh Grelle on his 2nd or 3rd appearance as a special guest. Josh Grelle said that according to Chris Ayres, the job of people creating a dub are suppose to be caretakers. This means that they are responsible for keeping the original spirit of a show as it was in Japanese, the essence (NOT every little pun, gag, reference, or other trivial details that are not suppose to be the main reason but just minor reasons why one would get into a Japanese animated story), while making the it relatable enough to the American audience they're targetting that could get into this show if they haven't already.

    That's the point of an adaptation and I want to know how the people that haven't seen a show and wouldn't get it or be alienated as is in Japanese think of a show if they watched it in english.

    I

    i fully support this post

    TopHaZZardon Aug. 22, 2012 at 10:45 p.m.

    Dub Vs Sub always comes up in fighting games. I think the best way of handling it in that situation is by letting the player pick voices on individual characters. Ryu is great in Japanese bu havinig a Japanese Vo trying to imitate a British accent for Cammy is pretty jarring.

    takashichea moderator is online on Sept. 11, 2012 at 11:03 a.m.

    I don't have my headphones with me at the school library. I'll comment again.

    I like most Viz Media and Funimation dubs.

    • Bleach, Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist, DBZ, Deadman Wonderland (everyone except Ganta), Abenobashi, Casshern Sins
    • Bad dubs: D. Gray Man, Fairy Tail (Hong Kong version)

    (I can't remember anymore bad ones, but I mentally block them)

    For me, I don't care about the dub or sub as long the voice matches the character.

    Examples for Sub is better than Dub

    • Both Romi Paku and Vic Mignogna did a fantastic job for Edward Elric. Romi Paku did a better job for Ganta's voice than Greg.
    • The Japanese VA did a good job for Allen Walker, but his dub voice sounds like a dorky teenager.

    Examples for Dub is better than Sub

    • The English VA for Jing is better than his Japanese VA because the English VA's voice fitted the personality better.
    • Sean Schemmel is better than Goku's Japanese VA because it's more manlier. (Not to be sexist) I grew up watching Dragon Ball Z on Toonami. When I finally tried the sub version two years ago, I was pretty shocked that Goku's voice was girly. It didn't fit him.

    Censorship-wise, it doesn't matter because I'll be adding to the wiki pages since it's always interesting to write about it. I watched Detective Conan in English after Gia's little tweet piqued my curiosity. It was terrible but interesting.

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