Funimation has put out some pretty impressive dubs over the last few years. I was particularly impressed with Baccano!
and Big Windup
. Unfortunately, there are the horrid dubs. Black Butler is not one of them. It isn't good though, it just isn't horrible. Brina Palencia was actually wretched as Ciel. Not only did she sound like she was trying to hard to make a 'boyish' voice, she couldn't do the British accent for her life. The voice was forced to be so deep, it was wretched. Palencia lacked emotion, and perhaps, acting talent. I'm not familiar with her other works as a voice actor so I may be acting a bit harsh on this one. But still, it was pretty bad. She only sounded convincing when she was yelling, even still it sounded pretty nasty. Other than Palencia's epic fail at voice acting, the rest wasn't bad. It was, for the most part, singularly Ciel's voice that made me wince with agony. Everyone else nailed the British accent, and other voices.
Despite Palncia's fail, I did laugh at this part.
Now, I can't say I was pleased with J. Michael Tatum's rendition of Sebastian either, but it wasn't because he lacked talent. In fact, I thought that if he was acting any character other than Sebastian I would have loved him. He nailed the accent, and the butler voice, yet that's not what his roll called for. Sebastian is a demon
butler, and what are demon butlers? Damn sexy. In the original Kuroshitsuji, Daisuke Ono had a very sexy, young, dark and manly voice. Which perfectly set up Sebastian's character. Tatum's voice possessed too much of a 'Alfred' feel too it. I actually felt like he would have made an excellent 60-year-old-lacking-in-sex-appeal butler. But that wasn't the character he was doing. Sebastian (and Ciel, although it's creepy to think that way) is a total tool. A tool for yaoi crazed fangirls to pair off with every character because y'know what? Sebastian is damn sexy and can get with anybody he wants. I didn't get that from Tatum. The voice was very important, and it wasn't done right. Yes, it was good, and nailed the 'butler' feel, but not the 'demon butler'. Although I must say, he did have a very good chuckle.
On to The Undertaker. I'm going to keep this simple. He sounded like a pirate. The Undertaker's voice in the Japanese version sent chills down my spine, in a good way, but I couldn't take him seriously in the English dub. John Swasey had a lot of talent, emotion, and nailed the British accent, but like Sebastain, it just wasn't right. Too much like a pirate, and not enough like The Undertaker.
Despite all the bad I've mentioned, I must say I was more than impressed with Daniel Fredrick's performance as Grell. He was perfect as the useless butler, but that's not what
Yeah... um this is a dude...
surprised me the most. When Grell transformed into... y'know.... the real Grell, there was just the slightest change in his voice. Fredrick hasn't done much anime voice acting (only making an appearance in the first Dragon Ball Movie out side of his roll as Grell) but he is actually quite talented. He was able to voice a very off character just by adding a certain tone to the voice. I mean, you have to really get the voice right if you're playing a crazed reaper with a chainsaw and a hankering to dress as the opposite sex, you've got to have a good voice. Although I prefer the Japanese voice of Grell, Fredrick was fantastic.
As for the other character that made a brief appearance, or are too mediocre to complain or praise, they played their part. They weren't outstanding, nor were they disgusting. Just perfect for the roll they played. Though I did particularly like Bardroy's voice, done by Ian Sinclair. Sinclair's voice and accent was superb, with just the right tone to play the gruff cook. I actually have a special place in my heart for Sinclair, as I do most voice actors in Baccano! (as it is my favourite dub). Sinclair did a fantastic job, as he did with most of his other rolls, namely Dallas from Baccano!, Romano from Hetalia, and Toraji Ishida from Bamboo Blade. I digress, it was nice to see talent in the minor rolls. Although, maybe they could share their talent with Palencia.
Overall though, I can say that bad dubs leave a bad name for anime. Sure Black Butler's dub wasn't horrible, but it sure as hell wasn't good. When the main character's voice sucks, and most of the voices didn't quite fit, you know that the dub will leave a bad name. Most of the voices (save Ciel's) would have done in a live action, American (or British) performance. Now, these are just my opinions, but you can beg to differ. The series is fantastic, yet crazy and all (save one) voice didn't tap into that craziness. Some just flat out sucked *coughCielcough*. I'm just saying this bad dub is pretty... well.... bad.
And my rant is complete. If you want to argue, feel free, like wise if you want to agree. Also, if you just want to say something remotely related to this, or sh*tty dubs, feel free. :)