Friday, October 4, 2013

Subs V.S. Dubs

First post! Great! What are we going to talk about?


Aaaand there go half the people that were willing to give me a chance after my intro. Oh well, good riddance.

This is my opinion on the great debate over which is better: watching anime with subtitles or watching it after the English voice acting has been dubbed in. In short, my stance is that I enjoy watching it with subs. Why?

For one, reading text while trying to watch a movie does not bother me. I can easily see where it would, but I am used to it from years of exposure. My mom has really bad hearing and needs hearing aids, so we have always had captions on our T.V. It's actually become hard for me to watch T.V. without them since I'm so used to relying on them when people are speaking quickly, quietly, or with an accent.

Another reason I tend to prefer subs is that I enjoy the authentic feel they give you. Yes, at times, they can be translated badly, and they do tend to sound strange even when done well, but that just gives you a feel for how the Japanese language works. For example, I've noticed that a lot of slice-of-life anime/manga often use puns or references to something obscure. These can be hard, if not impossible, to translate, but are actually quite funny if you can understand them.

The best example I can think of was in chapter 64 of the Ouran High School Host manga where Tamaki goes to the zoo to angst over some drama he's experiencing. Other members of the host club spy on him while he is doing this and immediately notice that he is looking at both a tiger and a horse standing in nearby enclosures. This strikes them as both exasperating and funny, since Tamaki is clearly fretting over the "trauma" in this life and he is looking at two animals whose Japanese names put together mean "trauma" ("tora" = tiger, "uma" = horse, "torauma" = trauma).

Now, while I could explain this to you all with relative ease, there was no good way for the translators to make the joke relevant in English. They had to simply explain why the joke was funny in Japan instead of trying to reword the pun/joke in English. This is almost a bad example for me to use since I was reading an English-translated manga instead of watching an English-subbed anime, I still feel as though my thoughts hold water. See, while the general manga was translated into English, the joke still need to be explained to me because it was so imbued with the Japanese language. I enjoyed this because it helped me learn something about Japanese and the types of humor they enjoy in Japan. In short, rather than have the entire anime cater to me at the expense of the true meaning of the words, I'd rather read what they are saying and see/understand the differences in our culture and language.

Finally, one of the other reasons why I enjoy watching the original anime are that voices are, at times, better than the English ones. Now, please keep in mind that this is solely based on my preference. I am a purist of sorts, in that I tend to like the first version of something that I watch/read better than any other version. For example, I didn't like the Harry Potter movies very much because every single one left out details that I read and loved in the book. (Namely, the entire 5th book/movie... Ugh.) It's a bad habit that clouds my actual judgement, but it's something I realize and can admit during an argument over which version is better

That being said, here are some of my personal favorite/least favorite subs-turned-dubs:

GOOD: Black Lagoon

V.S.(The main characters talk during 2:28 and 6:22... Yay, Revy~)

I'll admit, I strongly believe I've only actually seen the dubbed version, but after looking through the first episode in Japanese, I feel as though Funimation did a really good job. Whereas the Japanese version seems to be a tiny bit more subtle, the dubbed version goes all out. To me, it really fits Revy's personality better and she's the main reason why I like the show. I might have people read this and complain that I don't know what I'm talking about because I've only glanced at the first episode of the subbed version, but that doesn't stop me from really enjoying the dubbed version.

BAD: Ouran High School Host Club's opening theme


Note that I said "opening theme" and not "entire anime," because, to be honest, I love both the subbed version and the dubbed one. They're both great. But that opening.... GOD, NO. I absolutely ADORED the original opening and sang along to it often. Hell, I even put it on my iPhone! Then I finally saw the English version and promptly grabbed the remote, screeching, and muted it out of pure horror and rage. Why was the singing so bad in the English one? The Japanese one wasn't sung badly! This is something that will never cease to bother me.

BOTH: Clannad


Tomoya's voice is spot-on, which is great. However, Nagisa's voice bothers me in that the dubbed version does not keep the same soft, quiet tone that the Japanese one does. However, I understand that it's probably impossible to do so without having her sound strange, since no one talks like that in English, but I still can't help but dislike it.

So, on that note, I'd like to leave you with the knowledge that I started getting choked up the second I heard Nagisa's theme start playing in those last two videos. Clannad will not be discussed on this blog. I can't even.
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