I'd like to ask one thing: Does it really matter? Who cares if it's subbed or dubbed... it all comes down to whichever version happens to be better! That's not to say you can't prefer on over the other, but I still don't see much point to trying to convince other people that your preferences are more "correct" than theirs.
We all know how militant subbers can be when defending their preference. The main problem I have with them is that few of them actually speak Japanese. Since that's the case, how can any of them judge the difference in quality between English and Japanese dialogue effectively?
Of course, that's only because you don't know what Japanese is supposed to sound like, so, for all you know, the Japanese voice actor is totally phoning it in and would make any fluent speaker cry crimson tears of liquid rage. It's just meaningless noise to the non-Japanese speaker, and, I guess, sometimes meaningless noise is "better" than 4Kids... but in terms of conveying meaning, noise can never really be the same as (or a higher quality than) speech, even terrible speech.
But hey, some people (including this troper, who actually doesn't care one way or the other) just like hearing what foreign languages sound like, so they actually appreciate the meaningless "noise".
There are also differences in acting. You do not have to know the language to recognize the emotion being put into the voice. I generally prefer dubs if they are available, but there are some dubs in which the English voices are just terrible. It seems to me that sometimes the translators/actors just aren't putting any real effort into it. Fortunately, this is diminishing as time goes on, and the overall quality of dubs seems to just keep increasing, to the point that Superlative Dubbing is almost becoming the norm.
I agree with most everything you said, but I have to jump in to quibble with the first point. I think you really *do* need to know the language to recognize emotion. Different languages convey non-verbal emotion differently, and, beyond that, different languages just sound different! A growling voice, a whisper, a grumble — these sounds don't necessarily mean the same thing across all languages. As an example, it would be perfectly reasonable for an American to think that a naturally gruff German voice actor was conveying anger, frustration, or aggression while actually speaking in a perfectly normal Austrian accent. It sounds "rougher" to an American ear, and that confusion might add an unintended element to the scene.
What kind of Austrian's have you been among? If anything, an Austrian accent sounds "softer".
You don't always have to know the language, just have an ear for the nuances of it, which can easily be picked up by watching more subs. I for one started watching subs because of the 4Kidsversion ofOne Piece, and once I got used to the voices I discovered that the inflection in subbed shows is usually quite easy for me to grasp. Then again, I've always had a gift for picking up accents, and I have no desire at all to see Cowboy Be Bop in Japanese, since the English version was done so well and doesn't make my ears bleed.
I have a pretty good example of a possible difference between the emotion a VA evinces in a sub and a dub. Kannazuki no Miko is really fine either way...but there is a part that stands out to me in terms of difference of emotion. In order not to give away plot, one character dies in front of another character quite bloodily. There is only one word in this part and it needs only one word. That one word is "no" and the amount of emotion put into it is important. The dub just doesn't...give that no the emphasis it needs. It doesn't show you the simple heartbreaking anguish behind that one simple word.
Another important part is the mixing of the dubbed version. Dubs tend to have the voices way too far in the foreground, to the point where they drown out everything else. This troper prefers the original language because, for most movies, it sounds much more natural, and exactly the way the filmmakers intended.
This is a problem that I've very rarely noticed, and only in old black-and-white films. It's very rare for any modern production to have problems matching volume of the vocal track with the volume of the SFX track. But as far as the filmmakers' intent? Some dub productions (especially dubs for Hollywood films and official English dubs for major anime productions) actually involve the original sound crew or directors to one degree or another. Not all, but some.
Lip Lock is a much bigger problem with live action than with animation. For animation, I think the lip matching complaint is an especially disingenuous pro-subbing argument. Very very very very few animated productions have the budget to make really believable mouths. Many animated productions are too stylized for anything remotely "realistic." The vast majority get by with around four vowel shapes and three consonant shapes. Really pay attention to the next bit of animation you watch with the original voice track. You'll see — it doesn't match up that well. Of course, when you're reading subtitles, you're not watching lips.
I think you're arguing about something different here. It's the timing issues inherent in Lip Lock that make watching a dub so grating; the characters are either speaking much too fast or much too slow.
Then I think we can agree that a well-done dub probably won't be worse than the original, despite what the vocal minority says. Most dub-preferrers usually like it more because subs are closer to the original, not to mention how easy it is to get pirated material. Also, most dubbed anime on the internet is in English, and fans who are neither English nor Japanese native speakers have a legitimate to prefer subs over dubs - it's not translated to their own language anyway (not to mention attempts of the dubbers to make the shows easier for Americans to understand), so why not watch the original?
That's pretty much the excuse I use in prefering subs. I grew up in the middle of nowhere with no English country in sight, so subs were really the only way to go with most foreign movies and cartoons (most dubs done in my country these days are either lacklustre or horrible). Heck, that's how I learned English in the first place as a kid, by watching subtitles and matching them up with the words spoken. If the word was spoken enough and the same word appeared in the subtitles, I eventually made the connection. The best thing is that I never even realized I was learning.
As somebody who knows more than one language (English, Spanish, and a rural dialect of Spanish crossed with Portuguese), I'm good at telling what the emotion behind each tone of voice is meant to be and what is really being said. I am also very nit-picky and can't stand most dubbing, with the main exception to my "No Dubs, Ever" rule being the US dub of Fullmetal Alchemist. Most dubs just don't sound right to me. I also just know when things in original dubs just don't sound quite right either, even when it's not my native language. I'm a fast reader, so I have no problem with getting a visual, hearing the original voices, and paying attention to the written dialogue at the same time. I can, however, understand why somebody who isn't as fast a reader might prefer watching things dubbed even if I prefer the original.
I guess this will not be familiar to North American tropers, but this Mexican one is seriously bugged by the current tendency to include popular live action actors (as in, not at all voice actors) in the Mexican dubs of movies in an attempt to attract more audiences because of the recognizable names. This can turn movies completely unwatchable when, as part of the supposed allure, the actors shoehorn the catch phrases and/or inflections of the live action characters that made them famous, into the dialogs of the dubbed movie (imagine Donkey from Shrek -which by the way is one of the worst offenders of chronic actor allusion in the Mexican dubs-, dropping catch phrases from The Nutty Professor every other line). There are also truly sad cases of Woolseyism taken to abhorrent extremes, such as the case of the movie The Incredibles; the DVD had to include two separate Mexican dub tracks, one overwoolseyed (bordering on gag dub), and a neutral, far more bearable one, guess which one was used on the movie theaters.
How exactly is that different from any sort of acting in any country?
Ill tell you. You see, Celebrity Voice Actors work aren't so bad when the animation and characters are made with them in mind, the dialogue is recorded and THEN the animation is made to fit it.... However dubbing isn't something you just do on a whim. It is a technique that must be learned to be controlled and it requires much more than just a pretty voice.Aspects like syncronization, diction and interpretation, are vital and cant be learned in a hurry. It isn't just fitting the voice on to the animation and call it a day! Also Celebrities tend to have VERY thick accents that stick out like a sore thumb and detract from the overall enjoyment of Films, which in Latin America is NOT kosher.
It bugs me that we have two sides in a debate whose positions differ by only one letter, and those letters are right next to each other on the keyboard, meaning it's possible to say you like subbing when you mean dubbing or vice versa.
You should advocate a third position, which argues that we never have this argument again. Call it "fubbing."
Afro Samurai really underscores the problem with American anime dubbing. Of course that's not anime, that's a purely American production, and perhaps it's not surprising that the difference in respect paid to each is apparent in the sound quality. Afro's voices are actually in the environment, while dubs sound like they're recorded in a vacuum and layered on. Afro has actors with voices plausible to their characters, while dub 'talent' are typically not actors, therefore have no range, so in the hit-or-miss event that a dub VA is suitable to their character for a given work, their mismatch with every other character they voice exactly, in the same way, becomes even more conspicuous. Anime dubbing could be better if it weren't for Animation Age Ghetto making poor quality release acceptable.
Dub voice actors aren't actors? Are you kidding? About 90% of the ones in the business today were actors before they were voice actors, most of them with a theatre background.
It's not just English dubs. I find that Japanese VAs put on unrealistically high-pitched voices for their high-school aged characters.
I dislike that many of the subber side of things chalk up bad voice acting to...well, bad voice acting. Compared to Japanese acting in animation, Western acting is subtle. In Japan, actions, voices, dialogue, and emotion all tend to be much stronger and more exaggerated than what Western viewers are used to. Coupled with the major differences between the two languages, and, essentially, the problem often boils down to a lack of Woolseyisms. English actors try to emulate Japanese actors, and, to English-language ears, the acting is forced and unnatural. Of course, in cases where an anime is changed to suit an audience, viewers complain it has altered the spirit of the anime and is unfaithful to the original.
I used to prefer dubbing over subbing, and I often gave detailed explanations as to why I immensely disliked subbed anime. Then my ''friend'', whom I'm almost always having to stop from ruining his own life when I'm not having to put up with his incessant natter about his "awesome" new ideas, begged me to go to a website that hosted mostly-subbed anime because he wanted to watch a certain anime series and show me exactly what he ripped off-uh...was "inspired by"...when creating his story. I was irritated with the subbing at first, but after finding some anime adaptations of several manga that I really enjoyed which hadn't been dubbed yet, I gradually began to like subbing over dubbing(which I had begun to notice was often poorly done). Problem is, my friend comes back a few months later after getting me into subs and all of a sudden prefers dubs, and is constantly begging me to watch dubbed anime that "inspired" him to write more suspiciously-similar stories. Problem is, I'm already spoiled by subs, to the point that I notice nearly every flaw in dubbing, causing them to register between mediocre and So Bad It's Horrible in my mind. I constantly point out, rather rudely and bluntly, to my friend about how the stuff he's showing me sucks and that he's ruining my opinion of it by flip-flopping on the dubs vs. subs thing, but he just continues to jerk me back and forth between them without warning. One anime I know for sure he ruined for me was Berserk. Please tell me, tropers, just what the hell is wrong with my friend?
I think it's more you than your friend. Instead of being "rude and blunt", why don't you just leave the issue alone? An anime isn't "ruined" because you watch it dubbed. If you don't like it, just don't watch it and drop the subject if he wants you to watch a dub. It's as simple as that.
No it isn't. If I "left the issue alone" then my friend would get really depressed and complain how I don't like him anymore and then try to kill himself, and his mom will threaten to sue. He's one of those types of people who keep begging and begging and bargaining and scheming and won't shut the hell up until you either do what he wants or punch him in the mouth and get charged with assault. I recently found out that he has ADHD and Asperger's, so that could explain why he's so annoyingly obsessive and at the same time extremely fickle about whatever interests him.
If you live in a place where someone can sue you for not hanging out with their son (even if he committed suicide) then you live in a terrible place. Fortunately I'm pretty sure no place like that exists.
Why do most subbers cite bad 4kids level editing as a reason dubs suck? (Nevermind that 4kids is going under, or that they're the only ones doing those kinds of things....) Yet they're the ones watching the edited content because most subbers upload TV broadcasts which are generally edited for content, because they refuse to pay for anything. Yet you can usually get dubbed DVD's that are uncut with the choice of subs or dubs...
Small Reference Pools. Die-hard dub-haters base most of their opinions on TV dubs they saw a decade ago, such as the works of 4Kids and other edited dubs like Sailor Moon, Cardcaptors, Dragon Ball Z, and the like. They generally don't sit down and watch the faithful dubs that most shows get in their entirety. However, the recent prevalence of "soft" subtitles on TV-source fansubs has facilitated the easy creation of uncensored subbed releases ripped from the Japanese DVDs and Blu-Rays. And there's always been rips of localized releases as well.
Why do the japanese voice tracks of several anime insist on giving grown up, gruff men little boy voices? (Goku, Wargreymon X, Bardock, ETC) Its really Narmy.
It's a cultural difference. The higher the pitch, the more innocent the person. This is also why villains have deep voices. In a similar fashion, the size of the eyes correlates to goodness.
How come every time I say I find a certain character annoying, everyone assumes I'm watching the dub? Isn't it possible that people can find Japanese voices annoying, too? (such as their tendency to make female characters sound even higher-pitched than the Munchkins in Wizard of Oz.)
I myself usually find most of the original Japanese voices much more annoying.