QTfromK: Dubbing in English

Does it ever seem right to you? Or even palatable for that matter? I really can't get into it at all.

Yesterday I thought I'd put 5 Centimetres Per Second on whilst I made lunch (third time watching it in a week I'll have you know), and because I wouldn't be able to look at the subs I decided to give the dub a go. What can I say? I had to stop it after less than a minute.

It's very possible that I've ingrained some kind of elitism into my brain which won't have me watching dubs, but whenever I see one it just feels wrong, you know? It might be just because it's the same cringe-worthy voice of an American child actor that you find in most anime dubs, and perhaps if they were British voices I would mind less, but as it stands I just can't take it in.

Bearing in mind here I'm just talking about anime dubbing. I've watched a fair number of dubbed live-action films, usually Chinese, and in some cases (Shaolin Soccer, namely) the dub can actually add to the tone of the movie (in that case: hilarious). All in all that's slightly strange, I think. Maybe it's specifically Japan's output? It is a beautiful language to be missing out on after all. There are a couple of anime cases that spring to mind though.

Firstly, in a similar vein to Shaolin Soccer, comes Voltron: Defender of the Universe. I'll be sure to make an actual post on this at some point, so I'll keep it brief. In short, for the English version they've made some interesting changes. Why is Sven Norwegian? Really? He looks no different to the rest of the team, and he's CLEARLY not being voiced by a Norwegian, so what's up with that? The answer: Who cares?! It's bloody hilarious! If you don't believe me, check out this footage of our stalwart hero. The whole show, which I doubt could be taken very seriously even in Japanese (just think Power Rangers), becomes one massive joke. But not the one which makes you want to stop watching. There are some amazing pauses left in there in which there will most likely be a close-up on a character's face for as long as a whole ten seconds without them saying anything. You have to watch it really to understand.

The second case is Ghibli films in general, but more specifically Princess Mononoke. The first time I watched Mononoke was quite a long time ago now, and young and naive as I was it was left on the English dub. I have no memory of caring all that much for who was voicing who at that stage, but since then I've watched through the film a couple more times with the dub and it's not half-bad. Obviously Ghibli is a major studio, and their English voice line-ups are never to be sniffed at, but they did a top-notch job on that one. The voices seem to suit the characters, and they're most certainly not overly American. Not to mention they had none other than Neil Gaiman working on the English script adaptation! But the thing is, I still prefer to watch the film in Japanese. That's how it was intended, and that's the way in which I will always enjoy it more.

Anyone out there had any interesting experiences with dubs? Share 'em down below.

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