Hong Kong Dub
"I wonder why Japanese people keep moving their mouths when they're through talking."A dub of a live-action film that deals with Lip Lock by paying little or no attention to Mouth Flaps, such that the characters' voices typically begin and/or end out of sync with their mouth movements, and rarely match them when the two happen at the same time. The result is often an unintentional Gag Dub. Nowdays, it is often still present in advertisements. Also called the "Hercules Dub" for its appearance in movies based (loosely) on Roman mythology imported from Italy during the 1960s, particularly the various "Hercules" movies starring Steve Reeves. In the case of these old Italian films it's a problem even in the original language. Most older Italian films were shot MOS and dubbed, before good ADR techniques existed. Common in any parody of Martial Arts Movie movies or Japanese Toku.
— Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Every non-Japanese dub of AKIRA suffers from this, owing to the fact that unlike most anime, the Japanese voices were recorded first and the mouths drawn to match. The second English version from Animaze does make an effort to follow the animation more closely than the Streamline dub. How well it works is a matter of opinion.
- This (among other things) happens at times in the Hong Kong-produced dubs of Transformers Headmasters, Masterforce, and Victory which aired on Malaysian television.
- The Hungarian dub of Transformers Armada is comparable to these, save for the fact that it has proper, professional, and not all-that-bad voice actors, who simply happen to not give a damn about the whole cartoon (understandable), and have a hard time paying attention to mouth movements. That goes for the first 30 episodes or so. The dub vastly improved once the cartoon itself began to make sense.
- The Serbian dub of Tokyo Mew Mew is notorious for having very low production value and poor lip-syncing. Some lines are at least 3 seconds off in both "too early" and "too late". It got worse as it went on, although it got better around episode 30. Unfortunately, it was not to last. It got bad again about 10 episodes later...
- The Portuguese dub of the second half of Mew Mew was also bad with lip syncing, although the voice actors sounded more professional than the Serbian actors (all 4 of them!).
- Watch Dragon Ball Z in Serbian. Laughs are guaranteed. And yes, it's OFFICIAL.
- Speed Racer tended to slip into this. Of course, since they only had two days to dub each episode it's a miracle they were able to sync as well as they did.
- The English dubbed version of Macross: Do You Remember Love was rumored to be used as an education tool to teach English. It featured an interesting bunch of Australian and Hong Kong voice actors. See for yourself.
- The old 1978 English dub of The Mystery of Mamo has a lot of lip-syncing issues.
- Strangely enough, the Japanese version of Ghost Stories played this straight while the Gag Dub matches up surprisingly well.
Film - Animated
- Dingo Pictures animations are infamous for having horrible lip sync. However, this trope is taken to the extreme by even original language having bad lip sync, let alone dubs.
- An American Tail, again, the Hungarian dub. The dub's creators really did have a horrible sense of timing. You could hear the actors just getting ready to speak when the characters have already mouthed full sentences. The sound effects are also nearly fully muted out. Strangely completely averted by the dub of its sequel, done by the same cast.
- Samson and Sally, originally a Danish film, blundered into this in several scenes of the English dub.
- The English dubs of Joseph Lai's animated films: Ali Baba & the Gold Raiders, Beauty and Warrior, and Space Thunder Kids. There are times when the voices don't even bother to sync with the mouths.
- Felix the Cat: The Movie was animated in several European countries, mainly Hungary, but with help from Polish and Bulgarian studios too. The result is a lot of sloppy lip-syncing that doesn't come close to matching what the characters are saying.
- Doogal, which is the American dub of the 2005 film adaptation of The Magic Roundabout, suffers horribly from this, seeing as how most of the dialogue makes reference to pop culture.
Film - Live-Action
- The Harold Lloyd film Welcome Danger (1929) was originally shot as a silent film, but with Hollywood going over to talkies, Lloyd elected to make it his talkie debut. Some of the film was re-shot with synchronized sound. Other scenes feature dialogue and sound effects dubbed over the original silent footage. The dubbing is very, very bad.
- Just watch these clips from the movie Hard Gun. Epic Fail from the dubbers.
- Many of the English dubs produced by Animax Asia (via Red Angel Media) suffer from this. Not to mention, the dubs are actually recorded in Hong Kong.
- Done in Shaolin Soccer, which only enhances the utter absurdity of the movie to epic cheese levels.
- Lots of Spaghetti Westerns have this going in, including The Dollars Trilogy. All the characters said their lines in their native languages, which were then redubbed into the languages the movies were released in, resulting in a bit of oddness as the English-speaking actors having their dialog synched (mostly) with their lip flaps, but their Italian or Spanish co-stars having their lips flap all over the place.
- All of the Godzilla movies from Godzilla vs. Gigan onward (except Godzilla 1985 and Godzilla 2000) were released in America with crude dubs commissioned by Toho (the studio producing the films) and actually created by a firm in Hong Kong. The mismatched lip movement is at times painful to watch, and the acting and writing is pretty awful too. Some of the pre-Gigan films have been released this way on DVD now by Sony, who didn't want to go to the extra trouble of getting rights to the original American dubs from God-knows-what company owned them, so opted to buy Toho's dubs. (Luckily, the original Japanese audio was included on most of their discs, albeit mostly with dubtitles.) However, half the fun of the shows for a lot of people is the silliness of the dubs.
- From Hungary: the dub of the first live-action Transformers film. The timing is about half a second off in most cases. Then, there is Ironhide's line about exterminating the parents, which he says during Optimus' reaction to his suggestion, and also Judy's "You're so cheap." comment, spoken about 10 seconds too early.
- Another notoriously bad movie dub, also from Hungary, this time Beetlejuice. The voice timing is so off, it is baffling.
- The English dub of the movie Hai-Alarm Auf Mallorca (Shark Attack in the Mediterranean). "SHARK ALARM!"
- The Celebrity Voice Actor-cast English-language dub of Roberto Bengini's 2002 adaptation of Pinocchio. This may have been a case of Christmas Rushed: North American distributor Miramax had just over two months to dub the film after it opened in Italy in order to get it released on Christmas Day in the U.S. According to the Other Wiki the dubbing process was the official reason it was Not Screened for Critics! The film bombed upon release and became fodder for Jay Leno on The Tonight Show — he joked that the dubbing was so bad, Britney Spears walked out of a screening.
- A lot of imported shows to Japan will be dubbed in Japanese. While they try not to make it as obvious, it's still a little jarring, albeit this was more common in older dubs from the 60s to 80s than newer ones.
- The history of bad foreign dubs into English is one of the reasons that subtitles are generally preferred for foreign media, especially art-house films, in the English-speaking world.
- Sheet metal worker Sid Leverents made an incredibly visually sophisticated short film called Multiple SIDosis, but the post-dubbing of dialogue in the opening scene is not very good.
- Two of the three stars in Federico Fellini's masterpiece La Strada, Anthony Quinn and Richard Basehart, did not speak Italian. Their dialogue was dubbed, and much of female lead Giuliana Masina's dialogue was dubbed even though she was Italian. Much of it is done quite badly.
- Killer's Kiss: After having difficulty with the boom mike casting shadows in his shots, Stanley Kubrick elected to dub in all the dialogue after-the-fact. In certain scenes it doesn't match up very well.
- The English dub of Guin Saga has become pretty notorious for its poor production values, poor voice acting, and poor lip-syncing. It's unusually bad for a dub from Seraphim Digital Studios (formerly ADV Studios), whose dubs are usually fairly well-received. It's widely believed that They Just Didn't Care about this series. Check out how AWFUL this dub is. It's especially weird considering that the first half's dub... wasn't that bad. For some reason, Seraphim was rushed on part two, and not only did the quality decline, half of the cast ended up changed.
- Observed in Rita Repulsa in the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. This was even preserved in the movie, where they actually could have avoided it, for the Camp value.
- Fairly common in Brazilian dubs of Mexican soup-operas (take in consideration Spanish is only slightly similar to Portuguese). But then again, it's more likely to be a conspiration against such overdone and boring plots, as the voice actors and dub directors themselves say that they prefer to dub action movies and anime, for being more dynamic.
- Pippi Longstocking suffers from this in English, since Swedish has visibly different vocal movements from English.
- The Italian dub of the first season of House suffers from this a lot: in more than one episode you can hear House's voice while Hugh Laurie's lips are completely shut, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Luckily, the dub has improved in the following seasons.
- The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Beer Bad" contains Xander's infamous outburst of "NOTHING CAN DEFEAT THE PENIS!" The line was clearly dubbed in during post-production, considering that his mouth movements don't match up exactly, and he sounds completely different when saying it.
- The French dub of Latin-American telenovelas broadcast on the public service channel for overseas territories, France Ô. In one particularly egregious case they had a 10-year-old dubbed by what was very obviously a middle-aged man, and generally speaking the dubs bring the already Narmy dialogue Up to Eleven. Bad lip-synching is one among a multitude of issues with the dubs, although considering the Memetic Mutation of these TV series on the mainland, it might simply be that the French distributors Just Didn't Care.
- In the Supernatural episode "What Is And What Should Never Be" (S02, Ep20), Dean's mouth movements often do not match his speech while he gives a soliloquy at his father's grave.
- Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army manages to do this with text. However, to its credit, it's not noticeable until the lip flaps do match up, such as when a character says a name, which remains unchanged (this is easiest to spot with the name "Raidou"). As it is in text, it is not at all jarring unless one is anal-retentive about it.
- Much like the Raidou Kuzunoha example above, the overworld skits in Tales of Symphonia have their Mouth Flaps synched to the original Japanese text. It's barely noticeable most of the time, since the skits aren't voiced, but now and then it's obvious that they're taking too long or not long enough to say a line. In one particular instance, Sheena takes six syllables to say "I...I...".note
- Sonic Adventure was known for its rather interesting lip-sync. Starting with Sonic Heroes, later games attempted to avoid this by syncing the mouth movements to the English dialogue. The side effect is that the Japanese version greatly suffers.
- Used for conveniences' sake in Sam & Max Hit the Road, where the animation sprites for the characters just use a repeating, meaningless mouth flap loop. Lampshaded in one of Sam's failure dialogues, where Sam turns to face the player and tells them, "Read my lips - I. Can't. Pick. That. Up.", with his lips doing the exact same loop as the entire rest of the time.
- Also done with Stan in the first two Monkey Island games. He almost never stops talking or waving his arms.
- Street Fighter IV has some of this. It's typically not noticeable, but at times its very obvious that they didn't care. This carries over to Street Fighter X Tekken, which uses a tweaked Street Fighter IV engine.
- The English dub of Final Fantasy X-2 has a lot of moments of this, often having close-up shots of the characters flapping their lips but saying nothing.
- The English version of God Eater seems to have just decided to ignore the Mouth Flaps when they dubbed the game.
- The Polish translation of Aztec Wars, especially painfully visible in the intro, where everyone and their mother move their lips even when quiet, as if they were all chewing gum.
- Starting with Soul Calibur 4, the character models were designed for specific dubs. In 4, the characters' mouths are synced to the Japanese dialogue, but in 5 synced with the English dub.
- Asura's Wrath's english dub would get this every now and then depending on the episode. The most glaring moments, however, are in episodes 11.5 and 15.5, mostly due to the fact that those particular episodes use anime cutscenes instead of in-game cutscenes.
- The Hungarian dub of The Simpsons suffers from every dubbing-related problem you can think of, among them bad lip-sync, and it shows no signs of improvement, even after all this time.
- Likewise, Xiaolin Showdown in Hungarian. There are only about... two episodes you can enjoy without bumping into a serious dubbing error.
- In the Hungarian dub of Phineas and Ferb, the voice actors have to do a lot of ad-libbing, as if there was no dubbing director or any guidelines.
Parodies and intentional examples:
- The Dubbed One is the name of a Japanese agent in The Tick and related books. He was specially trained to talk that way so he could communicate with English speakers.
- Futari Wa Pretty Cure Dragon is supposed to look like this in its writing style.
Film - Animated
- The animated Asterix and Cleopatra parodies this at the end of its prologue about the Egyptian language, blaming it on antiquity's dubbing methods not being advanced enough.
Film - Live-Action
- Parodied by the film Kung Pow!: Enter the Fist, which used advanced greenscreening technology to insert Steve Oedekerk into scenes from a 1970 kung-fu movie... then replaced all the characters' lines with new ones. In silly voices. All by Steve Oedekerk. The movie even turned a scene with almost no dialog into a fight involving ventriloquists:
Students: [singing, their mouths both shut the entire time] We are both ventriloquists, ventriloquists, ventriloquists, we are both ventriloquists and we practice every day.
Student 1: He carries the baskets.
Student 2: He carries the paper roll.
Students: And we don't have cysts. But one thing is for sure my friends, we are ventrilo-
Betty: (bursts in with goons and smirks) Ventriloquists, huh?
(Stuff happens and Betty starts beating the ventriloquists up.)
(A voice comes from somewhere else.)
Voice: I'm the Chosen One, outside the wall!
Betty: Your mouth tricks will not work on me, ventriloquists!
- Kung Pow even went so far as to dub a dog barking. No, really. The dog visibly barked, and only after it had sat down and laid its head on the ground was the bark actually heard.
- There was also when Steve grabs hold of Ling and screams at her,note while his dub voice calmly says "I implore you to reconsider."
- As well as a good chunk of Ling's mouth flaps being translated as "WEOOWEOOWEOOWEOOWEOO"
- What's Up, Tiger Lily, a film directed and produced by Woody Allen, was one of the first to do this. A Japanese spy film, dubbed over with dialog about finding the recipe for the best egg salad in the world.
Interviewer: So, Woody, would you like to explain what is going on so far?
Woody Allen: (casually) No.
- In one draft of the script for the second Kill Bill film, Pai Mei's lips would be speaking Cantonese, while his voice (dubbed by Tarantino) would be in English. This isn't the case in the final though, as Gordon Liu does his own dialogue. Also, a deleted scene in the first film features Michael Jai White doing a very impressive imitation of a bad dub job.
- Two examples from the Wayne's World films revolving around the character of Cassandra.
- In Wayne's World, Wayne is talking to Cassandra in her native Cantonese, when she asks him what happened with his previous girlfriend. Wayne says two syllables in Cantonese, and two paragraphs in subtitled English. They even get visibly bored waiting for the subtitles to end.
- In Wayne's World 2, Cassandra's father is unimpressed by Wayne speaking to him in (subtitled) Cantonese. When he decides to start a fight, Wayne brings up how it's traditional to be dubbed during combat. From the next line on, they have Hong Kong Dubs, including Mike Myers dubbing himself.
- In the first of the Police Academy movies, Larvelle Jones (played by Michael Winslow, AKA the guy who does the funny sounds) puts on a headband and flaps his mouth in imitation of this to intimidate some thugs.
"Wanna fight? Fight me!"
- It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie also parodies this during the martial arts fight between Miss Piggy and Miss Bitterman.
- A lot of old Italian films were this way; they would film the movie without a soundtrack, and dub dialogue in later. (Federico Fellini in particular liked to play the piano while filming.) If you pay attention, you can frequently see minor lip synch slips. Just to give an example, in Fellini's Satyricon, the dialogue is nothing but foreign actors counting from one to ten over and over, which was then dubbed over in Italian with... something not much more coherent. Fellini gave two reasons: to confuse the audience, and because there were no homosexual actors in Italy.
- Independent film Kung-Phoooey has one actor does this while the rest of the cast speak normally.
"Everyone from Hong Kong speaks like this"
- Parodied to hell and back in Tongan Ninja. The cast members regularly emit lines of dialogue from their closed mouths, especially Action Fighter.
- The Japanese scientist in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! is very obviously dubbed over by what sounds like an overly bored George Takei doing a robot impression, completely missing his mouth flaps. Given the tone of the rest of the film it cannot be anything but parodic.
- The Australian comedy film Hercules Returns is about a trio of cinema owners who have to hurriedly dub the film Samson and His Mighty Challenge during the red carpet premiere: this framing device takes up about 15 minutes of the film, with the remaining 65 given over to seeing their result.
- In Elvira's Haunted Hills, everybody talks normally except for one badly-dubbed character. Lampshaded when Elvira turns to the camera to ask, "How does he do that?"
- The independent short feature No Place Like Home (an adaptation of The Wizard of Oz) is mostly shot in on-camera English dialogue, except for the "Cowardly Lion", a samurai whose mouth movements don't match his dubbed English dialogue.
- This was parodied in an episode of the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids television series, when Matheson comes under attack of a mysterious band of ninjas who all talk like this. Diane even flat out says the ninjas are "badly dubbed".
- This is parodied in Lizzie McGuire when Matt and Gordo make an audition tape for being in the new Jet Li film. Happens again when the McGuire family sees Matt's ad on TV (the commercial itself was the HK dub-like in that episode).
- The episode, "Lost and Found in Translation", from Power Rangers Dino Thunder watching a dub Japanese show about Power Rangers, which in reality is Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger, the Super Sentai series where the fighting/Megazord scenes and footage for Dino Thunder come from.
- Parodied on Whose Line Is It Anyway? every time they played Film & Theater Styles and "kung fu movie" or "spaghetti Western" came up.
- In My Parents Are Aliens, there is an episode where Lucy comes home and finds Brian in a karate outfit and when he talks his lips don't match up with his mouth. Lucy then sees Brian has been watching a karate videotape and tells him that it is dubbed.
- The sketch-comedy Almost Live! did this with its "Billy Quan" kung-fu parodies. Amusingly, one of the actors in the skit (John Keister) always supplied the still-out-of-sync voiceovers for his own character.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In "Restless" Dream!Xander is confused when Giles and Anya try to explain what's going on, but they're talking in badly-dubbed French.
- SCTV has two foreign film parodies that are presented as lousy dubs: Rome Italian Style (postwar Italian cinema in general) and Pepi Longsocks (the Compilation Movie edits of a Swedish TV series, and two big screen follow-ups to it, that were released in the U.S. in The Seventies).
- 2012 show Danger 5 has all dialogue (English and subtitled non-English) done like this, as part of its loving homage to old action/adventure television.
- Brazilian group Casseta & Planeta had a Cop Show parody, Fucker and Sucker, where the title characters (two American cops who are transferred to Rio de Janeiro) are portrayed like this. At least once, the voice actors are even present!
- For a good amount of time, Kaientai's gimmick in the then-WWF was that they were always Hong Kong Dubbed. And this wasn't just for the folks at home, either; they were somehow dubbed in real-time via the arena's sound system. Don't ask how that was supposed to work; it was funny.
- Think Milli Vanilli concerts.
Stand Up Comedy
- One Jeff Dunham skit featuring Peanut had Peanut claiming he could speak Japanese, and to prove it, he said "Godzilla." When Jeff says that's not Japanese, Peanut "corrects" himself; he opens and closes his mouth several times rapidly without saying a sound, and only when his mouth finally closes does he say "Godzilla!"
- Serious Sam II parodies this in the beginning cutscene of the boss level of the third world.
- Ben and his friend in Goblin Hollow make Godzilla parody movies in their garage. According to them, the hardest part is getting the lips out of sync with the dialogue in editing.
- Kung Tai Ted, one of Brad Jones' characters, talks in a perpetual Hong Kong Dub as a deliberate pastiche of the movies he features on his show. In one video, his voice actor changes in the middle of a fight because he was bought out by a different dubbing company.
- Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG:
9. My monk's lips must be in sync.
- Ninja The Mission Force, as an Affectionate Parody of the Godfrey Ho Ninja Movies, does this deliberately.
- "You should spend more time matching your voice up to your lips!"
- Nigahiga's Daily Life of Ninjahinja.
- Everybody in Girl Chan In Paradise, with the sole exception of Yusuke, who not only has better animation than everyone else, but whose lip flaps actually match what he's saying, and actually pronounce everything phonetically unlike most anime lip flaps (though as a trade-off he also usually talks incredibly slowly.)
- The character of Rita Repulsa from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was even featured in a few The Nostalgia Critic movie reviews, including his review of Turbo A Power Rangers Movie and Devil. In these episodes, she was physically played by Rachel Tietz while being badly dubbed (deliberately) by Doug Walker.
- The Adventures of Sam and Max parodies this in "The Second Show Ever", when the Freelance Police mistake a sushi chef at Career Day for a knife-wielding lunatic.
- Rugrats referenced this trope with everyone watching a dubbed Reptar film and the on-screen characters saying things that didn't synch up with their lips. At one point an actor is obviously speaking a lengthy sentence while the voice just says "Yeah."
- Parodied in My Gym Partner's A Monkey, during the duel of the shiny objects.
- Parodied in SpongeBob SquarePants with The Tickler, appearing in the episode "Karate Island".
- In The Simpsons episode "Marge in Chains", Osaka factory workers have lip movements that don't match their spoken lines in a parody of this. Most notably, their Evil Laugh apparently lasted much longer in the "original" Japanese.
- Family Guy plays a similar gag by showing characters from Speed Racer talking with sped up voices and badly synced mouth movements.
- Parodied in the Chowder episode "Tofu-Town Showdown".
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends featured an episode that had Mac taking on bullies after training by watching Kung-Fu movies. Hence he somehow forces his lips not to match his actual voice.
Mac: [to bully, complete with the bad lip synching from Kung-Fu movies] You have disgraced my people! We shall now engage in combat!
- Parodied in some of Futurama's Something Completely Different episodes where the style shifts to anime parody.