Japanese vs. English Anime

Discussion in 'Anime Realm' started by Shining Umbreon, Aug 17, 2003.

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  1. Shining Umbreon

    Shining Umbreon New Member

    I've been thinking about this for a while and I thought it was time to say it to someone other than my mom(she's a great sounding board :D). I have seen many posts on this and other boards talking about how much better subtitled Japanese Anime is compared to dubbed English anime. I'm not disputing that. The few anime I've seen in both subbed and dubbed versions were as good or better in Japanese than in English in almost every respect. What I don't like is the attitude of some of these people. They make it sound like the ONLY way to see anime is in the uncut, subtitled versions, and if you aren't watching the subbed version, you aren't really watching anime. I have seen people be extremely rude to anyone who watches anime on Cartoon Network, for example, calling them losers and a lot of other things I cannot and do not want to say here. What they don't seem to realize is that not everyone can get all that anime in Japanese. Many people can't spend a lot of money buying anime, and if their local video stores and libraries don't have much, there isn't any kind of anime club nearby, they can't download episodes from the internet, and their friends don't have anime collections, they're pretty much stuck. They can see a few dubbed anime shows on places like Cartoon network or Kids WB, and that's about it. Many of these people would be happy to see the subbed version of the shows they're watching, and of any other anime they can get. But they can't(not anytime soon, anyway). They are grateful for what they can get, and are excited to be able to see any anime at all. To be told that what they're watching is junk, and that they have to see it in the uncut, subtitled version or they're not real fans of the show, heck, they aren't really even watching the show, is a painful and insulting thing for them to hear. Are the subbed versions of anime better than the dubbed versions? In most cases, probably yes. Does that make the English version bad, a pathetic imitation not worth watching? NO!! No, it does not! No matter how they may change the words, change the music, edit the episodes, whatever, it's still at least partly the same show, and certainly no worse than most of the other stuff on T.V. these days. If these anime "purists" can't bring themselves to consider it the same show, then maybe they could think of it as a different part of that series' universe, the same story being retold a little differently, or something. They shouldn't put down other people's interests or condemn them for watching the "watered down" version. They should be glad that those people are into anime in any form. It's one thing to tell them the subbed version is better and to watch it if they can, it's another to attack them with a snobby, "elitist" attitude and tell them to, basically, "get subbed or get lost." Instead of helping, that may turn people off anime altogether. So, anyone else run across this kind of thing? What do you think about subbed vs. dubbed anime?
  2. Satoshi

    Satoshi New Member

    Well, for one...subbed animé isn't all it's cracked up to be. My favorite example of this is in Cowboy Bebop, where - aside from Jet and to a lesser extend Ed - the voice acting imo is awful. Faye sounds to nasally whiny and Spike always sounds like he's tired and old. =\ Blah. The dubbed voices rock the Japanese voices two ways to Sunday. =P
  3. Orange Soda

    Orange Soda New Member

    Personally, I can't stand watching subtitles. To me, it just feels more "real" to be hearing the characters speak a language I understand than to read what they're saying at the bottom of the screen.

    And sometimes the subtitles go by too fast, so you have to rewind in order to read what you missed. Or if you're watching it broadcast on TV, then you just plain miss it.

    The whole thing yanks me out of the experience of what I'm watching. I've rented various anime DVDs and never touched the Japanese track. I even own a couple anime DVDs, and I've never touched the Japanese tracks on them. For me, subtitles are more trouble than they're worth. Sure, you can say it's "purer" or something, but if I'm not enjoying what I'm watching, then what's the point?
  4. SD PokeMom

    SD PokeMom Mod Supervisor Staff Member

    Well...I guess it depends on what you're used to. I grew up watching Japanese samurai chanbara Saturday nights at the Buddhist temple...so subtitles are not a big thing for me. Plus, IMO it helps with learning the language...nothing's more fun than watching a subbed whatever and being able to say "THAT'S not what they said!" :p

    I guess my main problem with dubbed anime is how they are 'sanitized' for the US market; ANYTHING Japanese seems to be excised as 'unsuitable' for American eyes. For example, in Pokemon: substituting 'donuts' or 'popcorn balls' for musubi/onigiri (riceballs); now what makes more sense, eating a riceball for lunch or a popcorn ball?

    A lot gets deleted in translation, and IMO having those bits of Japanese culture intact just enriches the experience, gives it some context...and may even get people interested/curious enough that they may want to do some research on their own. A LOT of the Pokemon 'universe' draws from Japanese Buddhist and/or Shinto mythology and philosophy...an example is my avatar, over there. Those two legendaries have several parallels with the bodhisattva of wisdom (Ho-oh) and compassion (Lugia); pretty amazing for a 'kid's' program, no? But sadly, unless you know where/how to look, it's 'lost in the translation'....

    Last edited: Aug 17, 2003
  5. Dek

    Dek New Member

    I honestly have nothing against the english versions of anime. I just dont like it when people completely ruin a good anime. They destroy the entire plot when they have the characters say one thing in English. But then when you find out what they really say in Japanese, you start to question what you should really watch.
  6. Marril

    Marril New Member

    Well, subbed animé usually has the advantage over dubs, but there's mostly problems when you know what someone's saying but the subs say it's something different (e.g. "iinazuke" meaning "fiancée" but the subs in Ranma says it means "tomboy", see also "kawaiikune iinazuke"). Mostly I don't have problems with this, and it's always fun to hear the occasional english words/phrases that get the old Japanese spin (I always loved Misato's way of saying "you are number one", it's just so funny).

    Of course, some dubs *coughevangelioncough* just have voice acting so awful that it's downright painful to watch. Mostly, though, I prefer subs since I can read really fast, the only time I miss something is if there's Japanese writing on the screen and some english over it so you can see what it means. The Japanese seiyuu's are better than english voice actors in most respects, since not only do the voices suit the characters better, the Japanese VAs get into their characters, not like in english, where the VAs just go into a room and read off a script (yes, I know I'm generalising).

    And there are dubs that are just so BAD that it's not funny. DiC's version of Sailor Moon and especially Nelvana's version of Cardcaptor Sakura are just plain painful in english. But there are also the good dubs, like Gundam Wing, so it balances out. I can stand the people who complain about most dubs, but I can't stand the people who claim that every dub is bad, that you have to watch it raw or with subtitles or you're not really watching it.

    And my opinion as to which is better? Sore wa himetsu desu (whatsit mean, you ask? It's a secret).

    PS, Shining Umbreon? Please use more than one paragraph. It's painful to read one huge block of text.
  7. Joshman

    Joshman New Member

    Personally, I'm a dubbed kinda guy. A lot of these anime guys who feel that subbed is the only way to go are just trying to create an elitist type aura for themselves since anime is becoming more mainstream in America they find the market flooded with anime releases that cater to "newbies". There is absolutely nothing wrong with a well done dubbed version, just as there are many instances where I prefer to watch the subtitled version. I have no problem with the CN playing anime (although I do hate the edits, so if you want the good stuff out of Blue Gender and YuYu Hakusho get the DVDs), since this allows me to watch anime cheaply and it helps create more fans who will demand more anime. So just watch what you want, why would you let someone tell you what you should be doing?
  8. poinko

    poinko New Member

    I agree with ShiningUmbreon. It's all well and good if you prefer subbed to dubbed, but for heaven's sake, don't call anyone else names because they watch something you don't.

    I really don't have a preference, if it's an anime I like, I'll watch it, regardless of how I understand what's being said. Heck, if it wasn't for Pokémon, I probably wouldn't watch nearly as much anime as I already do. Just remember, that if it wasn't for people who dubbed anime and put it on TV, it wouldn't be anywhere near as popular as it is right now.

    If I'm watching a subtitled anime, it's usually because no one's dubbed it yet. But a lot of the dubs I've seen have been pretty good, like Pokémon, Lupin III and Samurai Pizza Cats. I like listening to the characterization of the voices, and while the Japanese track is indeed the original track, it doesn't mean that we can't have a little change of our own. Ash's American voice is quite different from Satoshi's, but I think that both of them are really good.

    Also, I'm excited to see how they characterize the voices for animes that havent come out yet that are about to, like One Piece(my FAVE) and Shaman King. Plus, it'll be the first time I've been a fan of an anime before it was dubbed and released in the United States, so it'll be interesting to see what my viewpoint of it will be as compared to something that had already come out here.

    And that is my too sense ;)
  9. GoldenZnok170

    GoldenZnok170 New Member

    I don't mind english dubs. But I HATE dutch dubs (most anime series here in Belgium are dutch dubbed). There are about 10 Dutch voice actors who do anime dubs. They are all in every single dutch-dubbed anime and most of the time they dub several characters in one and the same show. You can't imagine how many times I've thought 'Why does that guy talk just like Brock?'
    Now the reason I don't watch original japanese versions of a show is I simply don't have the chance to. Most anime series on Belgian TV are Dutch dubbed and if I'm lucky english dubbed. There aren't any stores here where they sell anime DVDs either.
    But if I had the choice, I think I'd go for Japanese with subtitles. I don't know why. Maybe just because it's the original. My best example is the english-dubbed version of 'Rurouni Kenshin' that aired on Belgian TV 2 years ago. There isn't a single scene where Kenshin actually says 'oro', while that is one of the typical RK scenes (RK fans will know what I mean). They also 'westernized' the characters' names. Kenshin is 'kenshee', Kaoru is 'cori' and Yahiko is (ughh) 'yoshi'. Tokyo is called Kyoto in this version and Kyoto is called Edo. And there were some VERY crappy translations of the attack techniques. I must say the voices correspond much more with the characters than in the other English dub of this show (the version which is on the DVDs) and maybe even some of the Japanese voices, but the things I mentioned above do make me prefer the Japanese version.
  10. Marril

    Marril New Member

    Wow. Isn't Edo the old name of Tokyo or something? It makes no sense that they'd switch two city names for no reason. :confused:
  11. GoldenZnok170

    GoldenZnok170 New Member

    Yeah I know. It doesn't make sense. I really hated that. I actually believed it was true until I started reading the original manga. I think it's corrected in the DVD version (that's the other English dub I talked about) and in the later filler episodes.
  12. The Anaconda

    The Anaconda New Member

    For me, it depends on the show. For example, when I watched through the fifth season of Sailor Moon, there was no dub available, so I watched it subtitled. As such, when Pioneer started releasing seasons 3 and 4 on DVD, I watched them in japanese with subtitles because that's the way I liked to watch it. But when I checked out and watched the entire Slayers series from my library on DVD, I found it absolutely hilarious to watch a couple episodes with the same voice actors as anything dubbed by 4Kids Entertainment (albeit with a little more freedom in their word choice), and I ended up watching through all three seasons in dubbed English (which isn't at all bad, because obviously Lisa Oritz, Veronica Taylor, Eric Stuart and the rest of them are good at what they do)

    (besides, David Moo makes a much eviler sounding Xellos than the Japanese voice actor.. why don't we ever see him on any pokemon episodes?)
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2003
  13. )v(ajin_ipg21

    )v(ajin_ipg21 New Member

    I used to watch all type of Hong Kong action films. Before Jackie Chan, Chow Yun Fat, Jet Li, Tsui hark & john Woo came stateside to film in Hollywood.

    I LOVED them subtitled. I got to hear the inflection, to catch on to words and found out what they might mean, the yelling, screaming, laughing and comparing it to WESTERN / American vocal inflections.

    DUBBED saps the life out of the dialogue. AND c'mon THERE is nothing funnier than MISspellings, bad grammar, and ENGLISH dialogue being subtitled and IT too being wrong.

    Seven Samurai? 6 hrs or so of subtitled heaven or hell?

    Ok, the dubbing is pasable BUT again, the vocal inflections are LOST!!!

    Subtitles RULE!!
    And cynically I think I found out why subtitled are annoying to some but I'll keep that comment to myself. *need more research or empirical evidence*

    PS I too am used to foreign language films and feel so gypped when SPANISH movies are dubbed in English =/
  14. Nick15

    Nick15 Member

    Depends on the quality of the dub. Good dubs are good. Bad dubs are bad.

    I prefer both subbed and dubbed. Dubbed are good because then you can WATCH the movie, as opposed to merely reading it like a book (your eyes are more focused on the words than the actual movie, which is destracting). On the other hand, subbed keeps the original voices... even if it's in Japanese and I don't understand a lick of it, I catch myself saying "this just sounds better in Japanese than English". Especially since the original Japanese vocal director doesn't have a hand in the English dubbing and therefore can't get them to do things the way it's supposed to be.

    But give credit to English dubbing companies... at least they try. I've seen plenty of American movies dubbed in some other language, and their job is far FAR worse than anything that English dubbing companies have done. I mean I've seen Telemundo butcher a lot of good movies when they dub them in Spanish. Bleck.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2003
  15. Tego

    Tego New Member

    I can't stand to watch dubbed Anime after I started watching subtitled Japanese. I love the Japanese language, it's interesting and the you get the right "Japanese atmosphere" when it both looks and sounds Japanese. And let's take Pokemon as an example: the English dub isn't that bad, but it sucks compared to the original Japanese version.
  16. yoshi1001

    yoshi1001 Active Member

    I've seen a bit of subbed anime, and although I'm someone who likes to flip on the subtitles and watch the movie in french, I really don't see the allure of watching subtitled movies. I happen to like "sanitized" English versions. Call me uncultured, but that's how I feel. Of course, the only way for you to know is to watch both versions and decide for yourself.
  17. tia3

    tia3 New Member

    y'know, whatever one can get is what one will watch. 'good' and 'bad' are such relative terms that they have no relevance here. if you enjoy subs, go with that, if you enjoy dubs, go with that instead. if you can only get one or the other, others should realize that its all the same genre. imho, the people you talk about, the ones who make elitist comments about how subs are best or dubs are supreme are very immature.
  18. BPM

    BPM New Member

    I think Tia said it best. Nothing truly is "good" or "bad". That is all a matter of opinion.

    And my opinion is:
    Dubs = Good
    Subs = Bad

    I cannot stand Japanese voices. They just annoy me. Same for the Japanese language. I just don't like it.

    The only dub I ever watched was when a friend of mine brought over his fansub tapes of the last season of Sailor Moon. It was too annoying to try to listen to the Japanese dialogue, read the English subtitles, and watch the cartoon at the same time. If I want to read, I'll get a comic or a book.

    Sure, somethings might get changed in a dub. But for the most part, it's been just cursing so it'll be OK to air on cable TV. Others have been weird, I'll admit that. And sometimes inconsistant. Such as the thing with Brock's rice balls. One time he called them "donuts" (the encounter with Mankey and Primeape), another time he called them "rice balls" (when Todd first showed up) and then "popcorn balls" (recently. I can't remember when, but it was during Master Quest). If you're gonna change something, at least keep it consistant.

    And I'm not a big fan of Japanese cartoons. I don't buy/rent DVD after DVD of 'em. I just get what I get for free off of the TV.

    I'd also like to state I don't like using the term "animé". To me, no matter what it's country of origin may be (be it Japan, America, or even Canada), it's just a "cartoon." Nothing needs a special term to classify it differently from others of the same media.
  19. SD PokeMom

    SD PokeMom Mod Supervisor Staff Member

    Gee, how DARE those Japanese take the concept of comics and cartoons, put their own spin/stamp/style on it and turn them into manga and anime...and if that's not bad enough, give them annoying language and voices on top of that! It's simply un-American, and something oughta be done, so as not to corrupt these poor kids with foreign concepts and culture...they might get the idea that American pop culture ain't the be-all, end-all, only thing worth watching in the world! Can't have that, can we?

    *sarcasm detector explodes*

  20. BPM

    BPM New Member

    ... You've misunderstood me a bit.

    1- I'm just talking about termonolgy. I just feel that Japanese media doesn't need a specific term to separate it from the media from other parts of the world.

    2- My opinion on the Japanese languge is just that: an opinion. I'm allowed to have my own sets of likes and dislikes, hm?

    3- I got nothing against their culture. It's just their language I don't like. It just doesn't appeal to me at all.

    I kinda feel like that post was a direct attack against me. Ouch.

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