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Home - Webmaster's opinion on Subs versus Dubs

Subbed Vs. Dubbed

I know there is a lot of arguement over which is better, subs or dubs. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I respect that. I know that both have their advantages and disadvantages, and I will list some, which are mostly of my own opinion. I'll start with dubs, since more people are familiar with them.


the good: already in English or whatever the viewer's native language is, may be simplified, a good way to get into anime, dubs get more publicity

the bad: sometimes lower-quality voice-acting, stupid dialogue, too much is edited out, storylines distorted, names changed, generally marketed towards young children, at least in the U.S.

English dubs are a good way for a person to be introduced to anime, even if they just want to enjoy the different animation styles and techinques. Dubs do have some drawbacks as well. Ideas and meanings may be lost in translation from Japanese to English. Sometimes, the editors over-simplify things because they want it to appeal to younger kids. I'm sorry, but most of the anime I know of were intended to be shown to a preteen audience or older. Put it this way, I looked at the age rating on the dubs of the 3 Sailormoon movies; they were for ages 3 and up so I'm guessing they were heavily edited! Explain to your 3-year-olds what is going on during the transformation sequences when they are seeing Sailormoon and the other senshi when they are briefly nude. Also, in the dub of Outlaw Star, when Melfina is serving as the ship's navigation system, she has a black body suit digitally painted on which originally wasn't there. It's the same with the girls from several different series when they bathe or go to hot springs. I don't bathe with my clothes on and neither do they. There's also the issue of Japanese culture and the fact that not everybody understands it. One such thing is the issue of name suffixes. We don't have those in America and so we need an explanation to know what they are and why they are used. Some dubs leave them out altogether, but I have seen some, such as Azumanga Daioh which include the suffixes and give an explanation as to what they are. Sometimes, the English voice-actors don't seem to fit their characters very well. There have even been times where there is more profanity in the dub than in the original. There are times when they will express too much or too little emotion, which can ruin a scene. The most recent voice-actor for Frieza in Dragonball Z, sometimes made him seem apathetic when he should have been taunting somebody or when he should have been angry. You may be thinking, "If you don't like it, then do it yourself!" In reality, I would love to try some voice-acting.


the good: find out what was really being said, original voice-actors (seiyuu) and original music, see all the action, no stupid dialogue unless it was originally there

the bad: subtitles are distracting from the action, you may not understand the cultural references, reading all the dialogue, more expensive and harder to find

Personally, I prefer subbed anime over the dubs, if I have access to the subs. The subtitled versions may be rated 13 and up, but that is because the Japanese people are more liberal with issues such as nudity and homosexuality than the United States. From what I have researched, I have found that the Japanese view teenage homosexuality as a normal part of adolescence and experimentation, trying to find one's true identity and place in life. It is perfectly normal for a homosexual teenager to marry and have children in a heterosexual relationship because that means they have "grown up" and have outgrown their immature fantasies and accepted responsible adult lives. I'll admit, I'm 31 and I don't like seeing nudity or homosexuality on TV, but anime doesn't bother me as much because it generally doesn't go into details on the anatomy and I know its not real. There are so many interesting things you can learn when you have the original voice-actors and a fairly accurate translation of the dialogue. Quite often, jokes are unable to be translated accurately and retain their effectiveness or meanings. Anyone who has worked with more than one language understands this. As for myself, I have taken French classes, so I have seen examples of this firsthand. If you haven't seen any of the original Japanese versions of different anime series and movies, would you have known that in Dragonball/Z/GT, that Goku, Gohan, and Goten were voiced by a woman? In Sailormoon, you will find that Luna is a teenager, just like everyone else. You will also see that the senshi are NOT Valley Girls (i.e. "As if!!"). Sometimes the subs are funnier. In the Sailormoon R movie, the girls were wondering about Mamoru and the mysterious Fiore, and if they had some kind of a relationship. Ami mumbled that Mamoru seemed popular with men. She didn't realize that the other girls heard her. Minako calls her a pervert, which embarrasses Ami. In the dub, she was embarrassed over homework or schoolwork, or something that was unrelated. In many series and movies, you will find perverted men, young and old alike, who like alcohol and women. Case in point, in InuYasha, Miroku, the lecherous monk is always asking beautiful young women if they will bear his children; in Azumanga Daioh Kimura-sensei is always trying to stare at the girls while they are in their swimsuits or in the pool during swimming classes and when asked why he wanted to become a teacher, there was no hesitation when he stated that it was because he liked looking at high school girls. Cross-dressing is still considered a bit risque in America, while in Japan it is either for self-expression or comedic effects. In I, My, Me! Strawberry Eggs!, Hibiki reluctantly has to cross-dress in order to get a job at a local school, since they won't hire male teachers; a young female student begins to question her sexual orientation after she develops a crush on Hibiki-sensei since she doesn't know he is a cross-dressing man who has no evil intentions. In Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru, Mizuho, a long-haired bishonen (pretty boy) is awkwardly required to cross-dress and attend a private all-girls school to fulfill his grandfather's dying wish. Mizuho has to adjust his mannerisms, speech, and especially his clothing in order to give the illusion that he is a girl, which makes for some awkward situations especially when he needs to use the restroom or when he is supposed to wear a swimsuit! Along the lines of that, in many series and movies, girls and women may have little or sometimes nothing to cover their breasts or genitals for short or long periods of time. Sometimes this bodily exposure is exaggerated for the men's enjoyment, which is what we call "fan service." In several different anime, there is cursing, which can become excessive at times. I don't know about you, but I personally don't enjoy hearing or reading profanity.