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A general look as to why Dub can be Superior to Sub


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Yep, I just said it. Dubbed anime can be better than subbed anime, and the basic reason for this, is that Japanese voice acting, has literally never changed. If you find an episode of Gigantor, the anime that is recognized as the anime ever created, in Japanese, and compare it to anime that was released just this week, you'll find that the voices sound exactly the same, and that the way the act is almost completely unchanged. Meanwhile dubbed anime in just about every language it can be dubbed, accept maybe in languages where they take longer to say what needs to be said, and can barely get through it in the allotted time as a result, has changed. Watching Gigantor for example in English, it sounds just like any acting of the time, which arguably isn't very good acting as is.

 

English voice acting in anime took a serious dive once the 80's rolled around, almost as if the clear distinction of anime versus cartoons, made it less important as a genre. But, once the Ocean dub of DBZ came and went, and the actors we know and love even today who played the rolls of characters like Goku and Vegeta came to be what made them famous, and other actors like Steve Blum and Yuri Lowenthal came around, who have a main voice they use, but can vary in it, or who have just the one voice, but such a variety of emotions they can convey with it, acting in anime, improved, and it's continued to do so.

 

In Japan, some voice actors have gotten through the cracks, so far as to play main characters in fact, such as Natsu's VA in Fairy Tail, or Maka in Soul Eater, and it works well for them, but for the most part, they have remained unchanged. While I'm not in any regard saying that it's problematic to like hearing the same lines, voiced the same way, and with the same voices over and over again, I don't want to knock anybody's preferences, I do think if the argument of subs versus dubs is going to continue, this is worth while angle to look at it from. Sure, if you only look at the most popular anime, the voice acting even in English can be exactly the same actors, but since there are so many anime that don't become the most popular ever, the variation can be found in voice acting. It cannot however, be found in Japanese, because no matter how big or small the anime is, voice acting always sounds the same, Japan has a history of prioritizing tradition over all else, and it does have an effect on anime. 

 

Those are my thoughts on anime voice acting subs versus dubs anyways. What do you all think, and what are some examples you can think of where what I laid out here can backfire? FMA is a good example of multiple things I said not being constantly true. For example, Ed and Al have unique voices in Japanese, but those voices aren't very good, meanwhile in English, their voices were also unique for their time, both times an FMA show was dubbed, making it arguably superior in English, twice. And of course, there are some anime where it really doesn't make much difference at all, such as My Hero Academia, because the voice acting quality is pretty much equal on both sides. I wanna know what the general consensus is here on this topic. 

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I disagree that voice acting sounds the same in japanese. I can somewhat attribute you saying that because usually the same VAs get cast for a few anime at a time. I think most Jap VAs put more effort into their acting and a lot more expressive than English VAs. Like in FMA whenever they have to do a yell or a roar in english it just sounds so lame, but in japanese you can feel the energy the VA put into that particular take. I find that anime is rather always trying to be the counterculture, always breaking the mold and not trying to be cemented in anything that could be called tradition. The great majority of the anime industry is somewhat shamed by japanese main stream, and its only a few sectors of japan that have embraced anime as a regular entertainment medium. People forget that japan IRL is not like japan in anime, and that usually being into anime beyond a certain age is considered no bueno. Things have been better in this last decade, but its not like there is a cadre of anime perfectionists that are like ANIME MUST BE MADE THIS WAY TRUE NIHON STYLE. Also for me a lot of anime can potentially be lost in translation. Some word puns that have to do with the way things are pronounced are completely lost and often have to be replaced with english puns that make little to no sense and take away from the cleverness or dorkiness of the character or situation that was mean originally. For me the biggest time a dub messed up is when in scenes where everyone is supposed to be quiet in the early dubs of DBZ, they filled it with random conversations, or made characters say things that were more wholesome to make the good guys not seem bloodthirsty.

I have yet to find one single dub that really captures all the things Jap VAs put into their characters. I do not think it is impossible for it to happen, but i have yet to see it.

For comparison here is the FMA brotherhood in Jap

Here it is in english

 

A lot of the impact of the scene is lost, because the VAs dont showcase the same level of emotion.

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I generally prefer a dub where I can find it. For me having to read subtitles incurs a sort of disconnect between what is being said and the tone it's being said in (perhaps thanks to putting more focus on the act of reading and trying to absorb the visual at the same time.) This is also me speaking as a habitual multitasker who is nearly unable to simple sit down and watch something- I need to be folding laundry or getting something productive accomplished.

But, speaking to the broader debate, when the question is subjective in nature it's important to remember we're not going to come to an objective answer. To that end, I'm not concerned too much about how others choose to consume their anime. If you like subs, watch subs! If you like dubs, watch dubs!

 

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20 hours ago, EvaUnit69 said:

I disagree that voice acting sounds the same in japanese. I can somewhat attribute you saying that because usually the same VAs get cast for a few anime at a time. I think most Jap VAs put more effort into their acting and a lot more expressive than English VAs. Like in FMA whenever they have to do a yell or a roar in english it just sounds so lame, but in japanese you can feel the energy the VA put into that particular take. I find that anime is rather always trying to be the counterculture, always breaking the mold and not trying to be cemented in anything that could be called tradition. The great majority of the anime industry is somewhat shamed by japanese main stream, and its only a few sectors of japan that have embraced anime as a regular entertainment medium. People forget that japan IRL is not like japan in anime, and that usually being into anime beyond a certain age is considered no bueno. Things have been better in this last decade, but its not like there is a cadre of anime perfectionists that are like ANIME MUST BE MADE THIS WAY TRUE NIHON STYLE. Also for me a lot of anime can potentially be lost in translation. Some word puns that have to do with the way things are pronounced are completely lost and often have to be replaced with english puns that make little to no sense and take away from the cleverness or dorkiness of the character or situation that was mean originally. For me the biggest time a dub messed up is when in scenes where everyone is supposed to be quiet in the early dubs of DBZ, they filled it with random conversations, or made characters say things that were more wholesome to make the good guys not seem bloodthirsty.

I have yet to find one single dub that really captures all the things Jap VAs put into their characters. I do not think it is impossible for it to happen, but i have yet to see it.

For comparison here is the FMA brotherhood in Jap

Here it is in english

 

A lot of the impact of the scene is lost, because the VAs dont showcase the same level of emotion.

I don't think you read everything that I said, or misunderstood it. I said that VA work from Gigantor, the first ever anime, sounds exactly like voice acting of today. Gigantor I believe is from 1963, if not the late 1950's. Most, if not all of the actors from that show are either dead or retired, but actors of today still sound the same as they did. Also, if you want to talk about screams with emotions, I dare you to find someone who can out scream better than this: 

 

 

Also, if you're only defense of my criticism has to do with screams, that's not really good enough. Even if you think the screams are better, that's only one small aspect of the entire show of FMA, and that's only one example. There are literally thousands of others. What I'm trying to say, is that your argument is pretty weak.  

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Dub 💯

There's too much reading and focusing what the characters are saying with Sub. Personally I'm in opposition to have to look at the subtitles. There's a lot of disconnect and detachment that comes along with Sub. I'm an English speaker, so this comes into effect. While I'm not completely against Sub, as I have watch a few episodes in Sub. Dub is my go to preference. 

 

As far as voice acting; slipping through the cracks? I'm not oppose to how it sounds. I can barely notice when the characters bypass the cracks. Is it just me? Maybe? 🤷‍♂️

They sound the same to me. 

I'm with @EvaUnit69 on this one as far as voice actings sounding the same. 👍

 

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@RepentantSky

I am using the example of the screaming to show case how much more involved the VAs are in Jap compared to English. If you look at the SSJ3 transformation in Jap you can hear the strain the VA is putting on her voice versus the english that just sounds like AAAAAAAAA.

My point is that the way a character feels changes based on who voices them, and being a japanese medium a lot of the intentions behind a character are lost when you try to translate things that only make sense in japanese. One such example is sentence enders in Ruruoni Kenshin. He uses the de gozaru ending when he is not in manslayer mode to show he is humble and quite aloof. This is a cultural trade mark of the way japanese is spoken, to which we have no equivalent in english. The translations struggle to showcase this side on Kenshin. This extends to characters who end their words in nyaa to sound cute. It makes sense in japanese because the sound of the word is very close to the nyaa sound. But you cant really do the same with meow in a lot of english words.

I personally thinking that voice acting in general has improved over the years, and I would need to see an example of which anime sounds exactly like a 50s anime cus I cannot find one that sounds anything alike. Even cross generational anime like Gundam can be used for comparison on how different voice acting sounds like in the present.
I watched a few episodes of the original saint seiya, and compared it to the Hades OVA which was released something like 15 years after the original, and you can see a clear shift in how VAs approached the anime the second time around.

I do not mind having to read subs, that is how i watched anime since i can remember. I come from a spanish speaking country, so a lot of the anime we got had subs since there was no team to do spanish subs so i get i am really used to it

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