There are bunch of arguments in the anime world that I’m sick of hearing, but I mostly chalk it up to ‘Eh, to each his own.’ Some ‘arguments’, however, there are just no excuse for – and these are my top two choices.
English Dubs Are All Terrible.
Growing up with 4Kids and DiC, and the absolutely terrible dubbing jobs some companies did on those early direct-to-video movies in the 80s and 90s, I can totally get how dubs would get a bad rep.
But, guys, this is 2018, why are we still bitching about this? And why are we acting like dubs are the plague of anime?
We have great dubbing companies now. We have incredibly talented voice actors with passion for their work. We have people who care in the industry. It’s not perfect – oh god, no – but it’s massively better than it was back in the day. Yet it’s still incredibly common to hear ‘Ugh, I hate English dubs. They all suck.’
All of them? Really? Come on now.
‘Well, maybe one or two are okay, but the vast majority all suck.’
The vast majority? Is that why dubbing companies are bigger now than ever?
‘They just make bank on the mainstream anime that the plebs watch on Toonami and stuff.’
Mainstream? More anime are being dubbed now than ever too – from obscure to mainstream.
‘Poser anime fans love English dubs. A true anime fan would watch the original.’
Who cares what language they watch it in? They’re still following the story, they engage with the characters, they’re being immersed in the world – they’re enjoying it. You’re a true anime fan if you’re A FAN OF ANIME. I have a friend whose native language is English and lives in the US and he watches all of his anime in a German dub – is he less of an anime fan?
‘Because it’s not English.’
(That last part was, word for word, a conversation I had with someone once. They were serious.)
‘But, come on! English dubs have all sorts of censorship!’
This may be true for broadcast releases, but it’s becoming increasingly rare for this to happen at all, especially now that 4Kids is off the anime road. Even if they do, the DVD release is usually uncensored and it’s typically available incredibly quickly.
There was even an instance somewhat recently of a show being censored on broadcast for basically showing child nudity and iffy sexual-ish situations with the visually underage character (Dance in the Vampire Bund – the MC looks like a child when she’s actually over 400 years old because vampire.) People got up in arms over it, and they STILL got the uncensored version on the DVD release first time out.
‘But the acting and voices in English suck so much compared to the Japanese!’
This part of the argument seems to make the assumption that all Japanese versions of anime are well-acted with fantastic voices, and that’s an epic blanket statement. Hardly anyone who makes this argument seems to understand that the original Japanese can be terrible in regards to acting and voice work too.
One of the reasons I hate this one is because so many of the people who say this don’t understand Japanese nor do they really understand Japanese culture, and thus, I have to question, do they really understand what makes for good acting in Japanese? Especially voice acting.
Sure, you can probably tell in big dramatic moments or funny moments where there are instances of intense emotions which version seems better, English dubs are frequently dinged for sounding ‘flat’, but is that just because they’re usually yelling in the Japanese version? Is it because they have a funny inflection to whatever word you just heard?
Remember when people wouldn’t shut up about how bad Naruto’s dub was? It’s actually a really good dub. The acting’s great, there are barely any changes whatsoever, the BG music stays exactly the same and the voices fit extremely well.
‘Naruto’s dub voice is grating!’…yeah…because his original Japanese voice was grating.
‘Sakura’s dub voice is irritating!’…yeah….because her original Japanese voice was irritating. And for the love of god, Naruto fans, you even got to keep your theme songs in Japanese. Do you have any clue how rare that was back then? Especially for the shows aimed towards younger audiences? Geez.
There are sucky English dubs. There are sucky Japanese versions. Neither is inherently good or bad just because they are one or the other.
It’s anime purism at its most annoying. They act like dubbers are out to ruin the beauty and sanctity of their perfect anime’s original form by even thinking about translating the dialogue, or like the disgusting English language could never compare to their glorious Japanese.
You may be wondering why I all of people, considering I compare, analyze and even make fun of the differences between originals and dubs, would make this claim. My SDC series is one of the reasons why I am so adamant about this. I actually have a very hard time finding entries for this series, and nearly all of them are kids shows from the late 90s and early 00s from companies who are infamous for half-assing dubs for money. Even dubs where I’ve heard that they’re really awful, like Sonic X, I’ve tried to do an SDC on and I barely have anything to say.
Not to mention that dubs help anime stay alive not just in the States but around the globe. You should be thankful not hateful.
You’re Not a Real Anime Fan if You Haven’t Seen (Anime)
Oh fuck off.
Is this implying that I could watch thousands of anime but fail as an anime fan because I haven’t seen one or two titles? That’s just ridiculous.
Again, you’re a true anime fan if you’re a fan of anime. End of story. There are no pre-requisites, there are no tests, there is no required reading or watching – even if you’ve just seen a couple of anime and decide that you’re an anime fan now, you’re an anime fan.
I believe there are some major classics every anime fan should watch at least once because I believe they’d really appreciate and enjoy it, but I don’t have a checklist of shows that you need to complete before I grant you your ‘Certified Anime Fan’ badge.
With the English Dub thing we have purism, but here we have pure elitism. This is anime fans trying to lord themselves over others by making them seem more important or validated because they’ve seen the ‘best’ or ‘most important’ anime. I’ve found that anime fans are some of the most inclusive and kind bunch of people you could ever meet, yet we have people who say things like this to make others feel bad.
If you want to suggest things to people, do it. Don’t guilt them into watching things or make them feel like ‘bad fans’ just because you want to feel superior.