I was glad to see such detailed and insightful responses to my question regarding the whole shojo/shonen divide yesterday. Rolling down that same hill, I’d like to find out where all you lunatics, all you seasoned Otakus, in the Anime Vice community stand in the dub/sub divide. It might seem obvious, but I once again have to step back and notice this since there’s actual slang relating to this area of the viewing experience. Specific slang. And I know a lot of fans have very strong opinions on the subject - - several of my friends have adamantly insisted that I watch everything subbed, since the dubbed versions are woeful compromises.
Me, myself, I don’t have as strong opinion about this, even less than I have for live action movies. I think that might have to do with the fact that a lot of times, it’s easier to convincingly synch an English language track to match the animation, because animators rarely render mouths to encompass the full range of motion included in speaking. In live action, it’s harder to fake. You can see if an actor’s lips are pursed when they should be flashing teeth, when an actress should be making an “R” sound and not an “A” sound. A lot of times, when I’ve been watching pilots for my column, I’ll even forget whether I’m watching a show dubbed or subbed unless I actually get conscious about it.
I was thinking along these lines after the response and questions I’ve been getting regarding my viewing of EVANGELION, since there are apparently different versions with radically different elements. Honestly, I just popped the DVD into my player and the dubbed track was the first one to play, so I went with that. I’ve gotten so attached to the American voice actors that it’d really be too hard to go back, at this point. More to the point, I’ve been enjoying the series so much, so far, I really can’t imagine there’s anything my viewing experience could be missing.
Then again, this might all just come down to individual execution. A number of you have said that EVA got a very good dub job and that Gainax was very hands on regarding the translation. I can imagine that might not be the case when you get a looping company that doesn’t care too much for the property to begin, busting it out in a slapdash fashion.
I did watch AKIRA and PRINCESS MONONOKE dubbed first and being really enchanted by those versions. It might have been weird for some people to hear a Japanese steam maid talking like Jade Pinkett or a monk talking like Billy Bob Thortnon, but it didn’t bug me that much. I forget the circumstances, but I did end up watching the subbed versions of both of those eventually and I don’t recall there really being much significant that was “lost in translation.” Then again, maybe I’m a philistine.
So I’m curious to see where you all stand on this. Is it really that much of a compromised experience to watch the dub? Or is it requisite that all anime must be watched subbed? Enlighten me!