When a Japanese media property is licensed and released overseas - in this case the English-speaking world - you would expect a dub in the local language, right? Sadly, no.
Sometimes, the product contains the original language, and only the original language. It is the linguistic equivalent of the Vanilla Edition
There can be many reasons for not dubbing something:
- 1. The prospective market is not enough to justify the cost of a dub. (Dubbing is expensive!)
- 2. Materials essential to the creation of a dub - namely the Music & Effects tracks - have been lost.
- 3. For whatever reason, someone at either end refuses to allow a dub to be created.
- 4. The material is either too reliant on the Japanese language to be adequately dubbed or includes situations that are illegal or otherwise to risky for western television.
Because international licensing is handled by region rather than by language area (not a big deal for Latin Spanish, German, or Japanese, but a HUGE problem for English), it is not uncommon for one region to get a dub but another to lack it. This is especially the case for anime that air on the transnational English-language satellite channel Animax
, which broadcasts across South and Southeast Asia; the channel produces many of their own anime dubs - often in Hong Kong or Singapore
- but does not sublicense those dubs out, leading to many series that have full English dubs (a few even recorded in
North America!) being released subtitled only in the US and Canada.
Sadly, this trope became more and more prevalent during The New Tens
with the anime market in decline and many licensors like Bandai Entertainment, Geneon, and ADV Films falling and closing down (with English dubs being the biggest cut from the market in order to survive the declining sales). This created a negative backlash in the old Subbing versus Dubbing
where some anime fans (particularly the dub haters) putting the blame entirely on the dubs, the dub fans, and (to the most extreme extent) the voice actors involved in the dubs
and claiming dub fans are not the true supporters of the anime industry
. Nozomi Entertainment
and Discotek Media
completely refuse to dub any new unreleased anime they license. NIS America also refused to do any non-video-game dubbing until March 2014, because of what happened to Bandai, Geneon, and ADV (they stated that they were "looking into it" for the future, and their first dubbed release is going to be Toradora!
). Despite this, English dubs in anime are still largely being produced for the North American markets, but most of them nowadays are done in Houston and Dallas
rather than Los Angeles, New York, or Canada note
, and Bang Zoom
nowadays avert the All-Star Cast
trope by using newer name voice actors in their anime dubs and even hold open auditions every year in Anime Expo in search for newer talents. Sentai Filmworks
was a big proponent of this trope until about 2011 when they got back to regular dubbing, and only releases some
of their catalogue sub-only (some of their titles that were initially released sub-only have received English dubs years later, such as Maria†Holic
and Special A
). They even produced more dubs than FUNimation
in 2013. The revival of Toonami
and the introduction of Neon Alley
in North America have shown that there is still a market for English dubbed anime. Some popular streaming/downloading sites like iTunes and Netflix still routinely refuse to take most non-dubbed anime. While not nearly as many dubs are being produced as in their heyday, sub-only titles are still, in general, limited to niche modern titles and older ones that never got dubs.
Occasionally, a series will initially be released sub-only, but will eventually be re-released with a dub. Some examples are also highlighted below. Even more rarely, a title will receive a dub, but is re-released without it.
Note that shows that were never expected to be published overseas in the first place
, naturally, do not count for this trope.
List of anime that have not received an official English dub at all:
List of anime with partial or region-specific English dubs:
- Armored Trooper VOTOMS - Central Park Media did dub the first episode as a pilot, but decided not to go through with dubbing the series due to not wanting to risk the cost.
- Black Magic M-66 - A dub was produced by Animaze and Manga Entertainment for their original VHS/DVD releases and showings on Encore Action. Maiden Japan (sister company to Sentai) rescued the OVA and released it sub-only because they "didn't get" the English dub from Bandai.
- Bunny Drop - Animax did dub it in English for their channel.
- Case Closed / Detective Conan - All episodes after 130, and movies after 6, due to FUNimation giving up on the series after it underperformed on TV and video, also considering the apparent high costs of the license.
- Dallos - An English dub was produced for the abridged movie-version for the original home video releases by Celebrity Home Entertainment and Best Film & Video Corp. Discotek's release of the full uncut OVA series did not include this dub, which was another South-East Asian dub, and not very good anyway.
- Deadman Wonderland - The OVA sequel in the UK. An English dub was produced for the US release however.
- Dirty Pair - The TV series. The ten OVA episodes, the spinoff, and all three features have dubs however (the latter each with two).
- Fist of the North Star - Only the movie and the first 36 episodes of the TV series were dubbed. A series of compilation films were dubbed, but haven't been released.
- "Galaxy Angel X" - Only the first 8 episodes were dubbed
- GaoGaiGar - the first half was dubbed, but the second half was not due to poor sales
- Gintama - TV series only; the first movie has a dub
- Girls und Panzer - Recap episodes 5.5 and 10.5 only; the main episodes of the series were dubbed.
- The original Mobile Suit Gundam movie trilogy was dubbed for video in the late '90s, but these dubs were absent from the DVD re-releases. Given the reception they had, this was hardly a big deal for diehard fans.
- Gurren Lagann - The movies were sub-only; as for the TV series, well, see below
- Hayate the Combat Butler - Only an Animax dub. The series was released sub-only in the US.
- Hell Girl - Second and Third seasons only; The first season has a dub
- Lucky Star - OVA only; the TV series was dubbed
- Lupin III - Only half of the Second series, four movies, the OVA, 9 specials, and the recent Fujiko Mine series have been dubbed into English over the years under a variety of studios and voice casts (many twice, movie 1 four times). Although the first series, the third movie, and a few other specials do have sub-only releases.
- Maid-Sama! - Only an Animax dub.
- Maria-sama Ga Miteru - Only an Animax dub.
- New Dominion Tank Police - An English dub was produced in the 90s by Manga UK and released to DVD in the US by Central Park Media and shown on Encore Action. Maiden Japan's recent DVD was sub-only because Bandai felt the quality wasn't up to standard. Maiden Japan tried to produce a redub, but by that point, the music and effects tracks had been lost.
- Ojamajo Doremi - Only the first series was dubbed by 4Kids.
- Pretty Cure from Max heart onwards. The show was originally licensed by 4Kids, but they dropped it before they did anything with it. The first season later aired on YTV in Canada with a dub produced by Toei themselves with Blue Water Studios. The dub also aired in the UK and Australia, but never in the US, who has only seen a subbed streaming of the first season. An English dub of Yes! Pretty Cure 5 was done by William Winckler Productions, but never aired and was only done for the purpose of teaching English to a Japanese-speaking audience. Saban has supposedly licensed the franchise, and it's still up in the air what it's future holds.
- Pretty Sammy - TV series only; the original OVA series was dubbed, but poor sales resulted in the TV series getting the sub-only treatment. It remains the only piece of the Tenchiverse not to be dubbed.
- Saint Seiya - Only the first 60 episodes were dubbed, including a separate TV dub for the first 40.
- Space Adventure Cobra - The original movie was dubbed however (twice), as was the Sega CD game. A pilot episode was created for English markets in the early '80s (with Michael Bell, BJ Ward, and Neil Ross doing the voices), but it didn't amount to anything. The TV series is getting a sub-only release, however, and the recent OVA sequel was shown with subtitles on Crunchyroll.
- Super Gals - Only the first season was dubbed by ADV, and tanked on DVD. When Nozomi rescued the series, they also licensed Season 2, and released it sub-only.
- Tokyo Mew Mew/Mew Mew Power - Only the first half was dubbed due to 4Kids not getting a merchandise deal for the show.
- Urusei Yatsura - TV series. The movies did all get dubbed (mostly by AnimEigo, but Central Park Media handled Movie 2). AnimEigo also dubbed the first two TV episodes with a different cast as Those Obnoxious Aliens, but the project fell through due to very low sales and negative reception. Animax did air an English dub titled Alien Musibat, but it is unconfirmed how much of the series was covered. In addition, a gag dub of a few episodes aired in the UK.
- Victorian Romance Emma - Only an Animax dub. The series was released sub-only in the US
- You're Under Arrest! - The recent second and third seasons only; the original season, TV specials, and Movie were dubbed (with great results too)
- Sgt. Frog - Only 78 episodes have been dubbed due to the dub being on hiatus. The Animax dub has over 100 episodes dubbed.
List of anime that lacked an English dub initially, but were rereleased with a dub:
List of foreign-language video games that have not received an official English dub:
- Arcana Heart (all of them, but only the first and third games were released outside Japan)
- Atelier Annie: Alchemists of Sera Island
- Azure Striker Gunvolt
- Corpse Party
- Dead or Alive (varies from game to game; the first and second games had Japanese dialog only; DOA 2 Hardcore was bilingual; DOA 2 Ultimate reverted to sub only; the third game and Xtreme Beach Volleyball were sub only, except for Zack in the latter; the fourth game was bilingual; Xtreme 2 was dub only; the fifth game was bilingual)
- Death Smiles IIX was left translated when it was released on Xbox Live Games on Demand.
- the original Dynasty Warriors and some spinoffs (original one-on-one fighting game; DW 7: Empires, Samurai Warriors: Chronicles, Warriors Orochi 3)
- Endless Frontier
- Flower, Sun and Rain was originally intended to be a PS2 title and suffer No Export for You, but eventually it still received a DS remake that was exported. While the dialogue of the game was translated the game kept its Japanese voice acting and rather than deciding to translate the In-Universe guide they made a split menu in which the translation was given.
- Guardian Heroes (all of the voice-overs remained in Japanese while the in-game dialogue menus was translated)
- Guilty Gear (GG 2: Overture is the only one in the series with a dub)
- Jojos Bizarre Adventure
- The King of Fighters (only KOF XII and the Maximum Impact games were bilingual)
- Any One Piece game released after Unlimited Adventure.
- Panzer Dragoon Saganote
- Project X Zone
- Radiant Silvergun (the HD re-release on Xbox LIVE Arcade still have the voices in Japanese although there is an option for subtitles for the dialogue)
- Record Of Agarest War, Zero, and 2
- Senran Kagura (A strange cross-media example. Burst and the upcoming Shinovi Versus will only have Japanese voices with English subtitles, but the anime, which Funimation will release in North America between Burst & Shinovi Versus, will surprisingly avert this with its own English dub.)
- The original Soul Calibur
- Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All Starsnote
- Tales of Destiny (though it was limited to Calling Your Attacks, as the skits were excised from the US version).
- Far East of Eden: Kabuki Klash (Tengai Makyou Shinden) - This was the only Tengai Makyou game released internationally, and all the Japanese voices were left intact, including the Title Scream.
- Virtue's Last Reward — Applies to the European version only.
- X Blaze Code Embryo
List of English-language works that have not received an official dub in any other language: