As anime fans, we’ve always known the sub vs dub argument, right? I mean, it’s nearly impossible to avoid it. On every corner of the internet, there is always going to be some argument about how some people prefer the purity of sub anime (which doesn’t make any sense, considering that the subtitles are modified from the original Japanese version to fit our culture) or they don’t want to read what they are watching (which is another dumb argument, because you can get used to watching subtitles pretty quickly after a while). So, pushing those dumb arguments to the side, what if we got the reverse of this? What if we had the ability and opportunity to watch something that was originally in English in Japanese? At this moment, there is only one show/thing that everybody can watch both versions of. It’s RWBY. Recently, Japan has been dubbing the show themselves and you can watch it on Crunchyroll. This is a once in a life time opportunity that doesn’t happen very often. That’s the only thing that can turn this sub vs dub argument upside down.
I know that the Japanese dub a lot of western animated features, but I always wonder if there are purists out there who prefer our western media the way it was originally performed then the version that is made for easy consumption in their country. Do they think that there is some meaning lost from the translation? Is there a group that prefers their dubs and don’t want to read subtitles? Is there a reverse to all of this? Does anyone have any sort of link that may provide some insight on this? I know that there is a funny cartoon made about a Japanese person enjoying Sponge Bob in it’s original language, but I really want to know more about this too. If you know anything, please share some knowledge. I ask this, because there are some feelings that I have toward the RWBY Japanese dub that make me think of all of this.
By watching RWBY, I understand that these voice actors aren’t the best. Especially in the first season where all the line reads were terrible. They have all greatly improved now, but I still feel that Ruby’s voice actress is still a little far behind the rest of the cast on a quality level. That being said, I prefer this cast to the Japanese cast. Maybe that is because I am attached to these voices after watching four volumes of the show, but those voices just fit better to me. I’m not saying that the Japanese cast is bad at all. From what I’ve heard, everyone does a great job, but the seiyuus just feel like they are playing to their character types rather than the characters themselves. There is just nothing that makes them stand out to make me want to get invested in them more. I realize that I am completely biased on this, but every opinions has bias in it.
I never completely understood the subs vs dubs argument. Maybe that’s me, because I’ve had a weird point of view on things. I’ve started watching anime dubbed, because that’s the way it was when it aired on toonami. Yes, I know that a lot of the dubs that are produced don’t hold up right now, Gundam Wing and G Gundam are good examples here, but it’s nostalgia. When watching an older show that isn’t airing anymore, I will definitely choose the dub first if it’s available. I watched Wolf’s Rain, Scrapped Princess, and Your Lie in April dubbed. I decided that I wouldn’t watch broadcast dubs, because I’ve tried them and they are too sloppy for my taste. I would rather watch the finished product later on, so I’m watching the subbed version now. No, I don’t usually watch the dubbed version later. Once I have heard a voice that I like, that actor’s/actress’ voice is that character to me and it’s hard for me to pick another one.
Even if I watch dubs first, that doesn’t mean that I would stick with it through thick and thin. A dub needs to be at least okay for me to stick with it. If it’s full of over ridden dialogue or terrible and flat acting, I will immediately drop it. Since the dub is in my native tongue, I know whether or not it’s bad or not. This makes me think of another question though. How can a lot of people assume that the acting on the Japanese side is better? While emotions are an international thing and can go through to anyone, the Japanese language has so much more subtleties to it than English. It is also a lot more precise, because the slightest change of a syllable can change the meaning of what is being said. Unless one has studied Japanese at least a little bit, these are many things that the average anime fan won’t pick up on. The language barrier is real.
The only major difference between subs and dubs is how fast media can be consumed. In this current climate, subs are going to win because they can be out as fast as an hour after the anime airs in Japan. Dubs can now be aired three weeks after the subbed version appears, so speed has improved there too. A fan no longer has to wait a year or two for a dub release these days. In final thoughts, just watch what you want. Don’t let anyone tell you how you watch anime is wrong, how you receive the media mentally is about the same, because it needs to be filtered in some way for our consumption anyway. The purist form of anime comes from understanding Japanese in totality, which means studying it for years. Anime can be great or it can be trash, but how you watch it isn’t going to change this matter in anyway.
Now that I got my small rant out of the way, how do you watch anime? Do you watch it subbed, dubbed, on your phone, on your computer, on your tv? While taking a bath, eating breakfast, what makes anime watching unique to you?