The Stigma of English Dubs


A common facet in the world of anime fans is bickering over whether English dubs are good, bad or are simply never as good as the original. Therein lies the lair of anime ‘purists’ who constantly bash English dubs, good or not, and vehemently refuse to watch English dubbed versions of anime. If they do, it’s usually to have some points on which to bash it.


The reason I bring this up is because I was thinking about my Sub Dub Comparisons and didn’t want to give the same vibe as an anime ‘purist’. I am not implying by these comparisons that all dubs are bad. In fact, it’s actually fairly difficult for me to find shows that have bad enough dubs to do comparisons on besides the obvious ones. Many dubs, I’ve found, are actually pretty damn accurate in terms of translations. They may just have poor acting choices and some annoying voices. However, the exact same thing can be said of plenty of original Japanese anime as well.


That is another thing that really bugs me about anime ‘purism’; it acts as if all anime in their original formats are flawless and any version done in English just can’t stand up to it no matter how much it tries and that’s just ridiculous. Even some of the best anime have poor lines or bad acting in some spots. And as a side note, if someone prefers all or most of their anime be in English dub for whatever reason, that doesn’t make them less of an anime fan. It just means they have different preferences. Just as someone insisting that they watch all of their anime in the original Japanese doesn’t make them more of an anime fan. Again, that’s just their preference in how to watch it.


My stance? I love both. I like watching anime both in English and Japanese. However, my preferences do change based on the show, how I know of it and just how I feel I enjoy certain versions. For example, I first watched Inuyasha in English dub on Adult Swim. While the original version is fine, I feel more comfortable watching the dub. Pokemon is an anime I first watched and basically knew for a good chunk of my life as English dub and it holds nostalgia as an English dub, but I can’t deny that I grew to like the original better for several reasons (though the dub’s first theme song is still insanely awesome.) Then there are shows like Naruto or Bleach which I can watch in both Japanese and English and really feel little to no preference because both versions in terms of their acting and lines are done extremely similarly. There are even some shows that I much prefer in English like Trigun, Fullmetal Alchemist and the epitome of good English dubs, Cowboy Bebop because, to me, they just sound better in English.


I won’t deny that some English dub4Kidsbing companies purposely ruin some anime for the sake of money (or just because they have no clue what they’re doing), and that’s likely where a good chunk of the bad rep for English anime came from. However, there are still English dubbing companies out there who are really loyal to their source material and respectful of anime fans, and they produce good to great and even some fantastic dubs that don’t deserve to be bashed or looked down upon simply because they’re in English. Having preferences is one thing, but damning an entire subsection of the anime world simply because it’s not the original is another. Gold and crap come in all languages, people.