Sub or Dub? A fiery exchange has forged my part 2 on this issue.

Here are some heated xchanges (of verbal blows, perhaps we can categorize them this way) among some folks at MAL, including me (I don’t know if any copyright issues are involved. So sue me) (it’s about a dub voice over, specifically Wendy Lee, who’s going to sing in English for “God knows” and “Lost my music”):

ani: Yeah and did you know that they are going to sing the songs “God Knows” and “Lost My Music” is english in the dub. At least that’s what ANN states.

rayyhum777: Man that sucks. Can these dub people sing?

Asrialys: Why would they dub it if they can’t? And just because you don’t like dubs doesn’t mean they can’t sing or do anything correct.

rayyhum777: And just because you like dubs a lot doesn’t mean they do a decent or even wonderful job consistently. Or do you have facts and evidence to back you up that they can sing and voice act as well as their Japanese counter parts? I can go online and find endless pages and comments from people from many different places that’ll prove a lot of the people they find for dubbing are not very good, and there are tons of evidence and facts that their Japanese counterparts do – just look at the popularity of Japanese voice actors at any convention – NOT JUST the US conventions. Also, it’s a fact the Japanese voice acting industry takes its job very seriously. Every year, there are over 10,000 of people try to get in, but less than a couple hundred ever get in. And no, don’t tell me about their counter parts in US have to audition for hundreds of hundreds of ACTING JOBS and perhaps a couple of US animation jobs – just the fact that their focus isn’t on the voice acting shows how little they prepare for it. Anyway, also a lot of times they don’t even get to watch the whole thing and dub. They get a few sheets and have to try to act it out.

On a not so emotional side (I only respond emotional outbursts in kind), I really liked the American dub actor who did Duo Maxwell (Gundam Wing& Endless Waltz) – he was way better than the Japanese counterpart to portray Duo.

Anyway , I’m not the only one who has some complains. If you’re so sure that they can sing, give me a link where I can hear their songs or suggest an album or anything. Because, I can find albums for Japanese voice overs, but I can’t find the dubbers albums anywhere.

Otakuhatsu: right on brother

Pvt_Donut : The dubs are fine just leave it at that there is no problem with them doing it and frankly I don’t see any wrong in it either. This was mainly about the Haruhi dubs not dubs over all so don’t even mention something off topic, if they guy sticks up for the dubs then you don’t need to go out on some emotional outburst yourself, I’m undecided on whether I would prefer dubs over subs or vise-versa but to me its no question subs just give it a feeling that dubs just cant. But if i had to choose one I’d rather watch the dubs since I can look away for a second and not miss any thing

rayyhum777: Whatever. Tell that other guy that he’s off topic first. Like I said, somebody does a good job on dubbing and these dubbers don’t get enough resources to do their job, so technically it’s not their fault. But just because you happen to love dub doesn’t mean you have to pick on me first without telling the other guy first that he’s off topic. It’s not like you’re so fair – you’re obviously closer to be on his side. It isn’t like I just went out and said something without being challenged. He doesn’t know me and didn’t read me correctly and neither did you. Go ahead, have the last word. I’m sure you’re both good folks, and I appreciate your comments, and I have heard what he said. But I’m done with this topic.

Otakuhatsu: Personally I’m all about dubs for all foreign film
I watch crouching tiger hidden dragon on Chinese
I watch my anime in Japanese
the original language is always better because the story and the words that make up that story are based on that culture
another language can’t compare

Now, I’m not going to say that I was completely fair, and I’ve realized that maybe that Asrialys’s had enough of people talking trash about English dubbers. But since he challenged me and lashed out on me, and not on anyone else, I wasn’t going to let him off easy. I’ve stated my view (I’m rayyhum777) very clearly, and people who seem to like dubs a lot tried to express theirs (I didn’t leave out anything except comments made by others before the heated exchange took place. To see how the whole thing started go here: http://myanimelist.net/clubs.php?cid=79 , go back maybe just a little bit if necessary – don’t worry, no other posts are as long as what I’ve typed. =P

I hear the same problem with dubbing in Taiwan as well as what I heard back in States – there simply isn’t an established industry for dubbing in both countries like in Japan, and the voice overs in either countries don’t know how to voice act as hard as the Japanese voice overs do. The Japanese voice actors are so devoted to their jobs that they become the characters they play sometimes even long after the shows are over. As for the English dub actors, not only they often don’t get enough prep time (which is unfair), but voice-acting isn’t even their main focus anyway.

What do you think? And if you like dubbing but also find it not satisfactory sometimes, is there anything that can be done about it? Or if you have a counter argument against us hard-core sub watchers, please enlighten me. I want the American dub industry to be as good and perhaps one day, better than the Japanese industry. Will that ever be possible?

If you find the issue tiring you’re welcome to just look away.

7 thoughts on “Sub or Dub? A fiery exchange has forged my part 2 on this issue.”

  1. Ohshi, they’re dubbing the songs, regardless of the quality, there’s going to be a shitstorm of Biblical preportions.

  2. I hate dubs, but it’s okay if other people want them. If you don’t care what things sound like and are more interested in having a clean screen. Or if you can’t read fast enough to keep us easily and miss seeing some things. The only problem for me with people wanting dubs is that it can make the DVDs more expensive for those of us who never listen to them.

    In anime, in addition to straight quality problems, I find dubs unlistenable because the US dubbing industry has settled on the wrong tone as a standard, much more kiddy-like than the original seems to me.

    But I hate dubs of French, Italian or German films, too. The original, in my experience, is always much better. Which stands to reason, since the actors spend so much more time getting into the role, and are working with the original director.

  3. I think the real problem is that, with rare exceptions, the dubbing process usually adds another layer between the original creators of a work and the final product. ADR directors and voice actors usually don’t just recite a bare translation of a show’s script. They usually make an effort to do their own spin on a character, or reinterpret a song with lyrics that scan better in English. In the process, something often gets lost. I’ll cite again my favorite example, Spike Spencer’s turning of Shinji in Evangelion from a resigned self-loather into a whiny bitch. More generally, there’s the differences in acting styles between America and Japan, and the fact that as Ray mentioned in his comments, the Japanese voice acting industry is a very well-developed and independent branch of acting with its own traditions, competition, and separate fan base. In America, voice-acting is still considered second-tier acting, or a side job for big name stars at best (which is generally how most non-Pixar animated films in America are done).

    It’s not that anime, or any other non-English entertainment, is sacrosanct. A few dubs are great (Cowboy Bebop, the Disney ones, arguably the Ghost in the Shell SAC one too). But frequently the artistic reinterpretation that goes into the dubbing process ends up violating something of the original artistic intent of the show, and I DO find that objectionable. I still fail to see why we only treat anime and kung fu movies this way; no other foreign film in America is treated like this. Is it because they think fans of those mediums are stupider and can’t read?

    As for me, just give me a DVD with both options and I’ll be perfectly happy.

  4. I could never stand dubs. The American voice actors just don’t compare to the established seiyus in Japan, and it sounds so unnatural. I have seen a lot of people who can only watch dubs, and in turn, hate watching subs. There’s nothing wrong with that. They can help to support the industry by buying the dubbed tracks, but…I won’t. I seriously doubt that the American anime industry will ever begin to touch Japan’s. Like hashihime has already said, the mindset is completely different. Americans think that anime is the same as cartoons, and for kids. Because of our culture, people are more concerned about movies anyways. When’s the last time you heard of someone saying “when I grow up I want to be a dub voice actor for an anime”?

  5. “When’s the last time you heard of someone saying “when I grow up I want to be a dub voice actor for an anime”?”

    The question of how to become one gets asked A LOT in voice actor panels at American conventions.

    I think most fans are overly generous to the skill and talent they ascribe to seiyuu.

    My main reason for comment has to do with pre-determining that the dubbed song will suck. It may suck indeed, but we don’t know that right now. You’re complaining about something you haven’t heard, creating a problem before there is one.

    I don’t care about the debate. Dubs suck in both English and Japanese. Watch what you like.

  6. Super rats –
    ““When’s the last time you heard of someone saying “when I grow up I want to be a dub voice actor for an anime”?”

    The question of how to become one gets asked A LOT in voice actor panels at American conventions.”

    You’re right about that one. Good call.

    “I think most fans are overly generous to the skill and talent they ascribe to seiyuu.”

    Have you tried being a seiyuu? Have you tried to understand the seiyuu industry? If yes tell me your experiences. Do you have enough data and evidence to back you up to say that the fans are “overly” generous? Offer some. As for my end, I can find more than enough evidence for people who say they can, and have a great deal of talent and skills, plus, you’ve never been to Japan, or obviously read on seiyuus, or even know enough about these people; you just want to express the fact that you really don’t think these people are all that talented but you don’t want to state your opinion straight up.
    Talent helps but it doesn’t help that much if the person is lazy or doesn’t know how to use it, or if the person’s working environment sucks or not enough tools are offered, which is what happens with the dubbers. Skills come from study and endless practice. Seiyuu do, they have to do that over long stretches of hours, even days. Voice overs/dubbers often don’t.

    “My main reason for comment has to do with pre-determining that the dubbed song will suck. It may suck indeed, but we don’t know that right now. You’re complaining about something you haven’t heard, creating a problem before there is one.”

    Again, you’ve also misread me. What I was implying was that I was leaning toward a doubt of the dubbers’ ability to sing and how the songs will turn out, and not a straight out, through and through statement that they can’t and the songs will suck. I didn’t say: “Can these people EVEN sing?” I did say: “Can these people sing?” I’ll admit that I was having a lot of doubts but I wasn’t flatly saying that they just can’t. In fact, I did not say: “They suck and they can’t sing.” I did pose a question.However, based on my past experience and even listening to a dubber dubbing Minmei , which originally is from Macross but that got made into Robotech and instead of hearing Mari Iijima singing, we got to hear that lady who voiced over Minmei (Min-may). That lady’s voice was not good. You’ll find enough people on the net that say she wasn’t very good, and if you can tell me otherwise, so what? Can you offer proof that any dubbers can sing? Can you tell me that any songs that the dubbers made are good? I’d love to be corrected and I’d love to buy albums with the dubbers as singers – if they’re pretty good.

    “I don’t care about the debate. Dubs suck in both English and Japanese. Watch what you like.”

    We’re obviously talking about English dub here. Where did you hear Japanese dub? Where did you hear Japanese dub their own anime? That would be called “in its original language.” We are talking about anime here. Are you talking about the Japanese dubbing English movies in their own language? Then yeah, I agree, it just doesn’t sound right. English movies should be listened in English, Japanese movies should be listened in Japanese, and Polish-speaking film Avalon, directed by Ishii, a Japanese, just sounded so much better in Polish.

    I appreciate what dubbing does do – help people to understand what’s going on without having to read a lot of words. But there’s always going to be a clouded layer there from the original voice to the dubbing. However, actually dubbing and singing over the original Japanese songs just seem like such a waste of time. Singing involves different mechanisms and ways of expressing. Once the language is changed, the message and emotions expressed is going to be very different, which is essentially the same problem as dubbing in general.

    “I don’t care about the debate.”

    I know you don’t care and I can appreciate that. But if you want to comment and say that I’m responsible for creating a problem before anything happens, I’m not going to sit down and just take it without offering my opinions/thoughts/defense. I’m not creating a problem here, but a lot of people who watch anime would agree with me, that it’s redundant to dub over the Japanese songs.

  7. Totali –
    “I could never stand dubs. The American voice actors just don’t compare to the established seiyus in Japan, and it sounds so unnatural. I have seen a lot of people who can only watch dubs, and in turn, hate watching subs. There’s nothing wrong with that. They can help to support the industry by buying the dubbed tracks, but…I won’t. I seriously doubt that the American anime industry will ever begin to touch Japan’s.”

    you’re right, there is nothing wrong with just liking the dubs and not the subtitles, that’s personal preference and it certainly helps the industry, and yes, people care more about movies in the US. So in short term, nothing will probably be changed. It would be nice if people treat dubbing more seriously here.

    Mike –
    “ADR directors and voice actors usually don’t just recite a bare translation of a show’s script. They usually make an effort to do their own spin on a character, or reinterpret a song with lyrics that scan better in English. In the process, something often gets lost.”

    These people do a spin on the script often because they want to make it acceptable to the audience, a lot of times mainstream ones. I have one thing to say about that – a lot of good US and other movies today wouldn’t be considered acceptable in, say the ’50s. But people have come to accept them. So instead of letting people do their own decisions, they decide to add their own flavor to the dish.

    “It’s not that anime, or any other non-English entertainment, is sacrosanct. A few dubs are great (Cowboy Bebop, the Disney ones, arguably the Ghost in the Shell SAC one too). But frequently the artistic reinterpretation that goes into the dubbing process ends up violating something of the original artistic intent of the show, and I DO find that objectionable.”

    In many cases, I think the US or another interpretation help with one thing – how the staff and others distributing studio see the anime they want to sell. I do agree that a violation is there a lot of times. Perhaps this is necessary (dare I say) “evil” with dubbing in general.

    Hashihime –
    “In anime, in addition to straight quality problems, I find dubs unlistenable because the US dubbing industry has settled on the wrong tone as a standard, much more kiddy-like than the original seems to me.”

    That’s one of the problems that I couldn’t describe. Thank you. But yes, a lot of anime is not for kids. But the US industry tend to make them sound that way. Tell me a kiddie voice actor, and I am NOT talking about a regular actor, who can sing well. Anyone?

    “But I hate dubs of French, Italian or German films, too. The original, in my experience, is always much better. Which stands to reason, since the actors spend so much more time getting into the role, and are working with the original director.”

    That’s it exactly. The dubbers don’t even get a chance to learn what the original director’s intention and thoughts – Japanese directors and producers even take fan service show seriously in production and planning. Voice-overs from other countries never get to learn anything about it, which is fine, but they never get to learn about the essence of the show either.

    The masked man – well, none of us is 100% positive if this is going to turn out to be that bad, but I’m not putting my hopes on it. XD

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