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Top 3 Awful Anime Dubs

Grit your teeth and get your ear plugs ready cause this week we're taking on the three most amazingly bad dubs of all time!

Previous Lists... Top 2D Fighting Games *** Top Soundtracks *** Top Miyazaki Movies *** Top Forgotten Fighting Games ***Top Manliest Men *** Top Ninjas *** Top Mecha *** Most Awful Anime

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.

Here’s proof:

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

Kuro_Sanon March 25, 2013 at 5:31 p.m.

Latin American dubbing also have some horrible horrible dubs, like Rurouni Kenshin, the second Dubbing of Evangelion in which Asuka mysterious turns from German to Russian by her accent. Naruto's dubbing have some really annoying parts like dattebayo being changed for "De veras!" instead of the even more annoying "Believe it" from the USA dubbing. I hate both equally. DBZ dubbing is overestimated for nostalgic factor, yet is kind of goofy some times with the mexican slang used so indiscriminately. Most of the others are really good, even with some creative liberties, like the Saint Seiya (my favorite dub by far as the hammiest lines in japanese were done as hammy in Spanish) one changing some of the attacks and up until today the fans fight between Pegassus Ryu Sei Ken or Meteoros de Pegaso (Not to mention the voice actor that voices Seiya is extremely popular and voiced other big characters in the latin-american fandom like Rick Hunter from Robotech and Koji "Motherflipplin'" Kabuto in Mazinger Z)

Naruto using De veras a fucking lot...

Kino88on March 25, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.

and none of those voice actors were ever heard from again.....

FoxxFireArt moderator on March 25, 2013 at 7:31 p.m.

Yeah, FUNimation does frustrate me at times with their insistence on redubbing title and ending themes.

I'm surprised to see the dub of HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD wasn't on this list. That was one of the worst I've heard in a long time. It wasn't the fault of the cast. I blame the script writer. They changed the entire meaning of scenes and character personalities. They also cursed to a ridiculous degree. Cursing is fine, but you can go overboard. You only get one use of the word "douchebag" for an entire series. Three times in one episode is too much.

@Kuro_San:

I still appreciate what VIZ was trying to do with "Believe It", but they missed the point. They just needed to fill in that extra animation time of Naruto talking. Even they recognized what they did and stopped.

kennysomewhereon March 25, 2013 at 9:42 p.m.

someone can't count

sidenote: i prefer the funimation dub to the ocean dub, plus, BRUCE FAULCONER MUSIC

SuperTienchaon March 25, 2013 at 11:44 p.m.

Ocean Dub of DBZ is an abomination. They cut out 14 episodes worth of material which a lot of that stuff cut out happens to be my favorite parts of Z.

Kuro_Sanon March 26, 2013 at 1:36 p.m.

@kennysomewhere said:

someone can't count

sidenote: i prefer the funimation dub to the ocean dub, plus, BRUCE FAULCONER MUSIC

Sorry but the American music is awful for DBZ. The Japanese ost is way better

JiCion March 26, 2013 at 1:46 p.m.

4Kids? Hello?

GokaiRedon March 26, 2013 at 3 p.m.

@JiCi: Seconded

>:(

AlexEL staff on March 26, 2013 at 3:44 p.m.

@kennysomewhere

Did any of you guys read past the first paragraph? This is a list of dubs so bad that they're good, not dubs so bad that i want to shoot myself. Also DBZ is a FOOTNOTE in both this article and the pantheon of bad dubs. There's so much more out there!

JiCion March 26, 2013 at 3:48 p.m.

@GokaiRed: Ok, well, ironically enough, their non-anime shows were dubbed decently, like TMNT, Chaotix, Funky Cops, GI Joe Sigma Six. Their only anime that managed to remain true to the source was Pokémon. The music was the same as the game and JPN version, the names were the same as the games and the script didn't change that much between versions.

One Piece, Shaman King, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Sonic X, Kirby and F-Zero, however, all got screwed. The last three in their Japan versions all used music from the games, all 3 being video game anime adaptations. But, unlike Pokémon, they decided to not pay the price for the original score. What a joke...

Finally, I'm maybe beating a dead horse here, but I really hate 4Kids for causing the change of the ENTIRE Sonic cast in games like Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic 06, Sonic Rush, Sonic Rush Adventure, Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Riders, Sonic Riders Zero Gravity and even Super Smash Bros Brawl. Sega was doing just fine with the latest cast from Heroes, but tragedy struck when Deem Bristow, Eggman's actor, passed away. Mike Pollock was doing a great job as Eggman for Sonic X, so much that he's now the remaining 4Kids actors for the series. In fact, I didn't hate the 4Kids actors for Sonic X, because I hated the fact that they CHANGED them instead of commissioning Sega to get the previous actors, which lead to Sega asking for the 4Kids actors... or 4Kids asking Sega to use their actors for future games... or 4Kids demanding to Sega that if they want Pollock as the new voice for Eggman, they had to get the entire cast and now just one actor (The jury is still up on this one.)

4Kids had great actors and actresses, many of which are now part of better studios, like Sam Riegal, Micheal Sinternicklaas and Megan Hollinghead, but their adaptation for a younger audience and shoddy decisions just resulted in bad dubbing... and I would bet my hat on the fact that it,s becasue of them that the anime industry is struggling; they just gave a really bad image to the genre.

kennysomewhereon March 26, 2013 at 4:33 p.m.

@AlexEL said:

@kennysomewhere

Did any of you guys read past the first paragraph? This is a list of dubs so bad that they're good, not dubs so bad that i want to shoot myself. Also DBZ is a FOOTNOTE in both this article and the pantheon of bad dubs. There's so much more out there!

I don't think dbz is so bad it's good, i just think it's good

AlexEL staff on March 26, 2013 at 5:19 p.m.

@kennysomewhere: i love dbz. i wrote an article about it. i'm talking about the DUB. read the words, man! and watch that video.

kennysomewhereon March 26, 2013 at 6:12 p.m.

Sidenote: I listened to the video and while I think it's a better composition, I don't feel like it fits well with dbz, or at least how I saw dbz. The japanese music doesn't have the same macho epicness to it that the original funimation dub had. I know the show was originally meant for kids, but it seemed more like 300 for people my age ( at least the American dub did anyway)

Top8caton March 28, 2013 at 10:48 p.m.

@Kuro_San:

I respectfully disagree, but that is just me.

CaptainC83on Nov. 22, 2014 at 12:39 a.m.

a dishonerable mention must go to the 2004 Astro Boy dub. "LETS ROCKET!!"

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