Monday, September 7, 2009

Welcome to the Anime Dub Reviews site!

This entry marks the beginning of a new website; one which is Anime-related.  It's also about dubs.

Yes, you read that right.  This is a dub-site.

"But why?" you ask.  "It is a crime to ever watch Anime in dubbed English, the actors all suck, the translations are terrible, it is a betrayal to the artists, yadda yadda yadda."

You've heard all that stuff before, especially online.  Some of these insults may be targeted toward your particular favorite dubs of Anime (and I know I have A LOT of dubs that I like).

Well, even as someone who has watched some Anime in Japanese, I have this to say:

The idea that all dubbing is bad and that Anime should only be watched subbed is a completely false argument altogether.

First of all, not all dubs are bad.  Yes, there are some dubs, like 4Kids dubs which edit things for content and basically alter the whole Anime.  Those kind of dubs are very rare today.  Most of them are decent-to-great, especially today's dubbing.

Secondly, to say that the Japanese voice actors are "superiority personified" and that English voice actors are all talentless hacks is a false argument.  I don't speak a word of Japanese.  Even though I don't have anything against these actors--I respect what they do and appreciate them--I am the sort of person who would rather watch my Anime in English.  Why?  Because it's a language that I can understand, and it helps me to connect with the characters.  While there are dubs of varying quality, none that I have seen has once compelled me to be a purist.

Third, the argument that subtitles are always better.  Just like dub scripts are translations, so too are the subtitles.  But just like some dub scripts can leave out certain things, so too can the subtitles.  That's not taking into consideration that reading superimposed text over a beautifully animated feature (anything by Studio Ghibli, for instance) can also get in the way of appreciating the visuals.

But here's another argument for dubbing Anime.  Unlike live-action films, where an actor is clearly associated with the voice he has, animation is simply a drawing of a character.  As such, there is a bit more flexibility with how the character can be voiced.  Also, most Anime (with few exceptions) are not synchronized up to Japanese mouth movements, so the lip flap issue is only marginally distracting.

That said, there are lots of excellent dubs that are often unfairly dismissed as "horrible" or "worst dubs ever", which may lead you to feel as though you should avoid them.  The dubs are also often compared to the Japanese voice acting.

You will not find any of that here on this website.  While I will make notes on whether the translation is faithful or not, the overall idea of evaluating dubs is in their fluency.  Is the script smooth and natural?  Are the voice actors entertaining (even appropriate for their characters)?  Does the overall product convey the story to you in a way that you don't have to watch the subtitles?

That's what these reviews here are going to be all about.  So if you're a dub fan who often feels ostracized and threatened by all these "DUB SUXXORS" people and even about liking the dubs you enjoy, then this is the website for you.


  1. First of all I have nothing against dubing(unless its poorly translated and acted) ,but there is a way to watch Ghibli Films in Japanese without subtitles. Either watch it subbed or dubbed first and then watch it raw, and pay attention to the Japanese words and then think of the meaning of words not the English equivalent with practice you'll be able to emotionally connect with the characters emotions(external and internal) without subtitles obscuring the artwork, you may even learn a little Japanese along the way.

  2. While that may be a valid way to watch it in Japanese, the truth is I really don't have that much time or interest in doing so. I already HAD seen four of these Ghibli movies in Japanese (LAPUTA, HOWL, NAUSICAA, and PORCO), but while I liked them then, I ultimately prefer them in English, simply because I think they're all well done.

  3. I wasn't sudjesting to you in particular as I know you'd prefer to watch it in English. I'm just opening some options for who ever reads this.

  4. have you seen's take on Anime Dubbing? I think its enough to get naysayers to come to terms.