This page is for anime and manga you wouldn't admit watching to like-minded friends, but you just can't look away.
Sometimes a show can do good or bad, but the dub job falls into that rare niche of, while still listenable, being impossible to hear with a straight face.
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A.D. Police: To Protect and Serve, a bastard offshoot of Bubblegum Crisis, which focused on a super-cliched team of police who specialize in combating berserk Boomers (or Voomers, depending on the dub/sub). It has some... interesting... animation lapses, and is accidentally hilarious from beginning to end. Given that it is both a cheesy action movie, cheesy police procedural, and a cheesy anime, it becomes a veritable trope goldmine.
Not to be confused with A.D. Police Files, an OVA prequel from the early 90s, which was actually fairly decent, as was the A.D. Police: Dead End City tie-in manga. Although some point out how the third OVA episode is almost a direct ripoff of RoboCop and how extreme/over-the-top the violence/sex was throughout. There's a jarring scene with a sexy female scientist (with glasses!) basically using her cyborg creation like a giant stripper pole.
Angel Cop: even when not taking into account it's ridiculous and over-the-top profanity-ridden dub, the series as a whole isn't much better. It's filled with buckets of blood, and a stupid plot that shows what could happen if the Jews take over America, and the newly Communist America attempts to take over the world. It's up to Japan to stop them with their awesome technology! Also, the main sexpot villain looks more like a man in drag than anything else. The show is stupid and weird in every way, but that's what makes it such a blast to watch!
The studio Knack Productions produced many of these (although some of their shows, such as the The Little Prince anime, were successful). The most infamous example by far is Chargeman Ken, which really must be seen to be believed. It would have been long forgotten had it not been for one person uploading the DVD re-release of it on Nico Nico Douga, and the nonsensical narm has undergone extreme memetic mutation since. Two episodes in particular are infamous: one where Ken's sister obsesses over a football-star whose every line has become a Catch Phrase/meme who begs Ken to show him his "Charging-Go" (episode 4, English subs), and another where Ken uses a kidnapped scientist as a human bomb to get rid of some aliens (episode 35, English sub).
Diatron-5 (a.k.a. Space Transformers), a Korea-produced anime, has Off Model animation, a hero who sounds like both a 25-and-8-year-old (if you're going to leave his grunts undubbed, it might help if his original voice matches the dub voice...), the grandest case of Artistic License - Biology (Ivy, the "world's most talented girl", has a goddamn galaxy in her body, which is what the heroes have to be injected into... and no blood either, since they didn't drown after injection), a plot that starts off incoherent and gets worse from there... Gods. The clincher is the voice acting—not only does everyone sound bored out of their minds, half of the cast don't sound like native English speakers (the other half are British). And that's not counting the DVD cover, which has artwork (and character designs) ripped straight from Gundam and possibly AKIRA. Despite all this, it still manages to be entertaining—after all, what other anime claims that the immune system of a cybernetically-enhanced girl is comprised of tribal, bumbling "White Soldiers"?
Fourteen is a horror manga about the mad mutated chicken professor Chicken George. It's probably the narmiest work of fiction ever. And you won't be able to stop reading.
Strangely, it's considered a genre classic without any irony in Japan. Compare The Filth, which is no doubt as ridiculous from a non-Western perspective but is pretty highly regarded by the culture that spawned it.
Hoshi no ko Polon (Starchild Polon), like Chargeman Ken above, has also gone through (albeit minor) Memetic Mutation on Nico Nico Douga. In addition to its horrid animation and nonsensical storyline (if there's any "story" at all) are the constant use of stock music composed by Jean Jacques Perrey.
I-zenborg, a mix of anime and Tokusatsu from the late 70's. First, the villain is a talking T-Rex, which tries to take over the world. Add to that the no budget animation, laughably bad live SFX, backgrounds made from photographs that never match the perspective the characters are drawn and ridiculous storylines with cringe inducing dialogue. To top it off, each Monster of the Week will meet a gruesome end, usually getting some limbs hacked off by the eponymous mecha's saw blades. In short, it's hilarious!
Mad Bull 34 is either one of the most terrible anime ever made... Or one of the AWESOMEST. Sure, it's sleazy as hell, but it's also rendered unintentionally hilarious thanks to a combination of the English voice acting, some animation errors, and the fact a good chunk of what happens onscreen could only be described as sheer insanity. Among some of the crazier moments: the main character tyinng grenades to his pubes during a stakeout, that same character FLIPPING A TANK, and quite possibly the biggest over-reaction to a grocery store robbery EVER.
Musashi Gundoh must be the epitome of this trope for anime. It is so unintentionally hilarious in how badly it was executed that the DVD version with improved quality animation is actually less popular than the original broadcast version (with just plain QUALITY animation). It's never been translated, but it's been reported that it becomes even funnier if you actually understand what the characters are saying, because entire scenes that were crucial to the story never made it into the show itself due to budget constraints or animators claiming they were too difficult to draw, resulting in the show making almost no sense whatsoever.
Star Blazers gets this in the first season for its use of cliched plots, lack of action in the space battlesnote the forward gun turrets always rotate just a hair to the right before firing, for getting New Powers as the Plot Demands, for Desslock's on screen ham and for his mooks hilariously forced chant every time he appearsnote "Deeeeesslock Desslock Desslock, Deeeeesslock Desslock Desslock..." now repeat every time Desslock is on or near his throne.
The Scientist, who had an inexplicable German-ish accent
An overload of New Powers as the Plot Demands that included a self-leveling bridge, a Star Trek-like force-shield, rocket-powered anchors, and the inexplicable—and plot-irrelevant—ability to fly. Each of these abilities were shown exactly once with the exception of flight, which was shown a second time during the closing credits of the second part.
However, it did have a very kickin' and epic soundtrack.
Thunder Prince (sample here) is yet another one of his abominations. The actors sound like a bunch of high schoolers not taking the entire thing seriously, the screams sound unnatural.....the kid has an Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping moment when he stops talking like a little kid and talks like a 40-year old British Woman! He even has a weird psychedelic nightmare/dream.
The anime adaptation of The Violinist of Hameln was an attempt to make the the plot of the manga, a comedy that parodied similar shounen series (albeit with a dark and serious overarching plot, resulting in strong Mood Whiplash every time something important happened), Darker and Edgier by removing almost all of the comedy. Unfortunately, they had almost no budget to work with (rumor has it that they spent most of it on the rights to Hamel and Raiel's classical music), meaning that the writing was incredibly shoddy and they didn't have enough money to actually animate most of it, making 90% of the anime a sort of slide show of pastel chalked freeze frames with endless whining voice acting on top. In the end, it was cut off at 26 episodes (as opposed to a planned 31) due to poor ratings and ended up with an incredibly unsatisfying DownerGecko Ending. The anime still manages to be popular today because it's so Narmtastic that it's almost funnier than the manga.
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light could be considered one of the worst anime movies ever pumped out by 4Kids, for taking the bad plots, dialog, voice acting, and Product Placement leaps and bounds farther than even Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has managed to do. There are reasons, though, that some find the movie so hilariously bad that it was entertaining: the entire lack of explanation as to why anything was happening, or why Yami was suddenly able to summon a gigantic glowy dragon, plus the random kung fu fights with mummies led to much inappropriately-timed laughter. The Abridged version sums it up: "I can't help but feel as if it was some sort of cheap cash-in made to promote a bunch of cards." Japan got a novelization and some extra scenes that explained more of the plot (which helped little to none at all.)
The sexual content in the Zeorymer manga is so random and clumsy that one can't help but laugh. Notable examples include the title robot's IUD power source, the icicle rape scene, and an abrupt shot of female lead Miku's elderly adopted father giving her oral sex. To make things even funnier, despite Miku having a teenage body while clothed, she often suddenly has a little girl's body while nude.
Anything produced by Joseph Lai. This is a super-cheesy, Narmtastic, production full of ridiculous shots, overused gestures, and even MELODRAMATIC camera shots of characters' faces when they announce something stupid. The pronunciation sounds odd, too, to the point where even saying "You married a human being" sounds more like a human bean! In other words: They Just Didn't Care!
For all the anticipation, the general consensus of Blazblue Alter Memory is that it's this, due to the generally low-quality animation and lacklustre fight scenes - it's an anime based on a fighting game, it has no excuse for boring fight scenes.
In both Chargeman Ken and MD Geist, characters walking are often represented by sliding the cel up and down.
The animation in Lost Universe in episode 4 before it was revised for home video. The animation for the first few episodes' had been lost in a fire and had to be quickly reconstructed before broadcast. The results are about as bad as you'd expect.
The dub opening for Cardcaptors. "The secrets of the Clow - were all a mystery~! But when this mighty book was opened, the powers were set free! CARDCAPTORS - a mystic adventure! CARDCAPTORS - a quest for all time!" It's just so damn catchy!
The version of Yuzurenai Negai used in the Latin American dub of Magic Knight Rayearth has this quality. The original song is pretty, but for the dub they inexplicably choose male singers with deep voices, and that's before we talk of the changes on the lyrics. It's known among the fans as "the mariachi version'', and you can see why.
Some of the original songs for Pocket Monsters (the original Japanese version of Pokemon) have an endearing sort of awfulness. For an epitomizing example, look no further than "Pokemon ieru kana?" ("Can you say the Pokemon['s names]?") – the basis for the "Pokerap" – which starts with a sample of the Beatles' "I am the Walrus" and a hyper-enthusiastic American accented MC, and keeps getting weirder,
The 80s English dub of AKIRA provides a ton of nostalgia from those who listened to it when it came out, but by today's standards it's very hard to take seriously, especially with the 2001 redub, which isn't perfect, but is technically superior on pretty much every level. The 80s dub was filled with over-the-top overacting from some characters (especially Tetsuo) and robotic under-acting from others with laughable uses of slang like "That PEA brain!" and very poor line readings like "Fight like a MAAAAAAN!!!!" This dub also had many cases of Talking to Himself, and the whole thing sounded like it was recorded into tin cans. The script was also very confusing (making an already-confusing movie into an outright incomprehensible one), and in one case, accidentally gave Kaneda one of Kei's lines. Almost every character's name was pronounced wrong, notoriously poor Kaneda, who's name came out sounding really close to "Canada." This was especially laughable when Tetsuo's voice actor screamed that name at the top of his lungs in the most bizarre way possible.
Bubblegum Crisis's English dub fits here pretty well. It was one of the earliest serious attempts to straight-dub an anime without resorting to Bowdlerisation or Macekre-ing, but the results? Not too good. Actually, the dub is pretty laughable to listen to now with all the monotone performances and voices that sound way too old for most of the characters. The Knight Sabers' voices almost sound like they're from Designing Women (which makes sense considering the dub was made in North Carolina), and Leon sounds like an aged Tim Allen. Fortunately, the Tokyo 2040 reboot got a much better treatment, as it was made years later by ADV Films, and its quality is more in-line with modern English anime dubs.
The Swedish dub of Cyborg 009 deserves some accolades here. All the voices are done by a single guy (yes, all the women too, which goes over as well as you would expect), lots of inappropriate swearing that was never there in the first place, and it falls so often into "Blind Idiot" Translation that there's a rumour circulating Swedish forums that the translation and dubbing was done by a Danish guy. One piece of proof is how Jet says "Today me wins" at one point (which is acceptable in Danish, but utterly laughable in most other languages). It actually manages to sound like a Google Translate translation made before Google Translate existed. Since the proof video was taken down, compensation comes in the form of this piece of dialogue that shows more than anything else that They Just Didn't Care:
Girl: Le~ver den, eller hur, farfar? (Does it li~ve, isn't that right, grandpa?)
Granddad: Veh? ... Ja, varför inte? Jag är väl ändå din farfar... (Huh? ... Sure, why not? I'm your grandpa, aren't I...)
Girl: Ja! Det gör du! (Yes! You do!)
In Finland, Digimon was originally translated and dubbed by a group called Agapio Racing Team. Their dubbing was so bad it was even lampooned on newspapers, and they got replaced by a more professional team. Even though Agapio's dubs have been off-air for years now, online videos of their weirdest moments as well as parodies are still popular.
AB Groupe's Dragon Ball Z movie dubs (made for European markets – unlike the TV series, these do not use the Canadian cast), also known as the Big Green Dubnote (named for Piccolo, who they call "Big Green" for some reason) are so hilariously awful, they have to be heard to be believed. For example, most of the characters, particularly villains, are voiced by some old guy who sounds like an unholy combination of Adam West and Orson Welles. It also led to such memetic quotes such as "Come, magic cloud"note Ever wondered where Dragon Ball Z Abridged got that joke from? and "Let that child alone". Here's an excerpt from the end of Lord Slug. (Yes, Goku did just yell Kamehameha when using a Spirit Bomb.)
The Geneon dub of Fate/stay night delivers a surprise unintentional hilarity. Lancer's voice actor pronounces "Gae Bolg" as "Gay Bulges". Worth watching for some good laughs.
Many French dubs, especially for anime of the eighties, qualify as that. Perhaps the biggest example is Fist of the North Star – The voice actors hated anime in general, and the series' violent nature especially, so they decided not to work until they were given free reign to dub the characters however they felt like, leading to an absolutely ridiculous and hilarious Gag Dub.
On its own, Garzey's Wing is generally considered to be horrible (in fact it earned an entry on the Horrible version of this page). A stunningly inept English dub, however, elevates it straight into this category.
It could possibly go into Gag Dub territory, as there's even a man who suspiciously sounds like Droopy.
It should be noted that this mostly applies to the second half of the show. The first half had decent voice acting. The second half ended up getting a rushed hack job with many examples of The Other Darrin.
The 4Kids dub probably counts now, due to its unbelievably hokey scripts and stereotypical voices. But when it was the only dub we were getting, it was just "So Bad, It's TRAGIC.
The terrible English dubs from Odex in Singapore are usually this.
Karin is an infamous example, containing performances from a mix of American actors that happened to be living in Singapore (Chelsea Curto, who played Karin, is a US expat), and other "actors" that barely spoke English. It was full of weird dialogue, awkward line readings, lots of Talking to Himself, and miscasts galore... and it's considered one of the better Odex dubs.
Fantastic Children is usually considered to be the worst (at least of what Americans saw). Both it and Karin are actually quite entertaining if you don't take them seriously. Their Yu-Gi-Oh! dub gets extra points for being uncut (although it still used the US localized names) and every bit as weird as the 4Kids dub. They actually got a woman to voice Marik, and the results were... interesting.
German dubs are often of questionable quality. The dub for Paranoia Agent is so bad, stiff and overly serious it gives the rather grim show an unintended humourous side. Even Hatomura, who's a lighter character than the rest. Disappointing because there's some real talent cast in the dub.
The original English dub of Rurouni Kenshin, called "Samurai X" – produced by Animax, recorded in LA, but aired everywhere except North America – certainly counts. While many of the voice actors are very well-known within the industry (some even came back for the superior BangZoom dub made for North America), this was not their finest hour. Here's a clip.
The English dubs of the movie and OVAs done by Monster Island Studio veer between this and Horrible depending on who you ask. The poor quality is due mostly to Monster Island being pretty new to the game at the time – before this, they had only recorded one or two other dubs. That doesn't excuse scripts that were way too liberal (to the point that some lines had the exact opposite meaning of whatever the subtitles said), a few bad line-reads that were not corrected, and the fact that the well-received BangZoom dub had come out in the US first, making Monster Island's effort seem offensive by comparison. Of the cast, only J.Shanon Weaver, who played Kenshin, seemed to be really trying.
Worth noting that the dub of Reflections, recorded years later once Monster Island had established itself, sounds much better. Unfortunately, that OVA's is considered terrible due solely to its storyline.
The Colombian Spanish dub of Rurouni Kenshin also counts, due to the thicker accents of many of the characters and the inability (due of how Colombian Spanish works) of pronouncing correctly many of the Japanese names and techniques.
Sailor Moon's original English dub is this in the S and SuperS seasons. Linda Ballantyne's painfully bad imitation of original SM voice Terri Hawkes's performance has to be heard to be believed. While she wastold to imitate Hawkes, and put forth a decent effort, and got slightly better after a few episodes, she will never be able to live down her loopy delivery and crazy shouting in addition to sounding a couple decades older than the character should. In addition, nearly every other voice actor turned in an awkward, wooden-sounding performance, regardless of their talent (the dub was directed by a French-speaker relying on an interpreter, recording each line only twice and using the better take). Sailor Mercury's replacement voice was especially bad, sounding laughably wooden, with an intense robotic delivery and lots of narm. Another bad voice was Zirconia, sounding eerily like Kermit the Frog (despite being a woman in Japanese), while Dr. Tomoe and Queen Nehelenia were both Ham and Cheese.
Also, the voice actors no longer made any attempt to hide their Canadian accents, so we're cursed with lots of "soarry"s "a-boat"s, and "Sailor Scoat"s. The written dialogue wasn't much better, as the scripts were extremely rushed and inconsistent with attack names changing by the episode, along with really laughable lines that included awkward (and outdated) slang and dialogue completely out-of-character ("You're the BOMB Serena!" "He's so PHAT!" "WICKED cool!"). Of course, Sailors Uranus and Neptune became "cousins" to hide their lesbianism. A website called "Sailor Moon Uncensored" had a field day mocking this dub.
The DiC dub for the first two seasons (Classic and R) was in many respects worse due to its heavy editing and censorship. But as "Sailor Moon Uncensored" pointed out, at least it was professionally butchered; and while the voice actors were far from great, they weren't quite laughably bad... except for one guest character named "Laurie", a animator who gets possessed by a Youma (or... the Negaverse), who was cursed with a bizarre Southern accent that sounds like a really bad actor in a Tennessee Williams play (because that's totally how we expect a shy geeky animator to sound – as you can imagine, Sailor Moon Abridged had a field day with this episode). Sometimes Molly's Brooklyn accent fell into this as well, especially during dramatic scenes. The dub also had its share of laughable dialogue.
Corrine Orr and Peter Fernandez... normally, very talented with a wide range. But in Speed Racer? Oh, it's the best Ham and Cheese.
In the English dub, the Motor Mouthexposition for any given scene ending in a sudden exclamation (OOOH!) became iconic not just of the series, but Anime dubs in general to the point where many a Gag Dub and parody invoked this distinct, peculiar dubbing style.
The Colombian dub of Super Doll Licca Chan is hilarious, if only because of the dubbers desperately trying to imitate the very high pitch of Japanese female voices, and then overdoing it so.
Transformers Energon. The original was already weird, slow, and confusing, but merely mediocre. The dub took it right off the rails by constantly mixing up characters, lines, and voices, and seemingly being unable to decide whether or not they'd edit Primus out of the dub (some episodes he's there, in others his lines are edited out and mention of him is replaced with "the core"). This is on top of the fact that the dub often got incomplete animation. Meaning you got such awesome things as characters outlines not moving along with them. Even when the animation was finished, the terrible CGI often limited itself to two facial expressions (it would usually switch back to traditional animation if something more impressive needed to be rendered), and "running" consisted of robots sliding across the floor while clumsily swinging their arms. Add to this some of the most bizarre toy shoe-horning in history (there was often no reason for the transformers to actually transform, so they'd end up transforming to fly through space. Creating a situation where you had cars driving in space.) and you've got an anime that was terrible to sit through on the air, but makes awesome lampoon fodder provided you've got some friends and popcorn with you.
Scorponok: Fortress Maximus has come himself! Okay! Then I shall get Fortress Maximus to fight me! Heh heh huh!
Not to mention Spike became Sparkle, Blaster was renamed Billy, and Soundblaster, the black version of Soundwave was called... New Soundwave.
To those who didn't grow up with it, the Philippines English dub of Voltes V almost sounds like a Gag Dub. The actors sound like they're reading their scripts for the first time in their lives and their accents render some sentences incomprehensible. They also changed Kenichi's name to the inherently funny Steve and Daijiro's to the Sesame Street-esque "Big Bert".
The 4Kids dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! sometimes has the dialogue of a cheesy 80's movie.
Mad Dog, in the English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. One of the most notorious cases of bad voice-acting in 4Kids history ever; contrary to his appearance, he has a very high and childish voice that was intended to be a parody of Mike Tyson. Whenever he opens his mouth, it's hard not to laugh at him.
Almost everything that Animax Asia touches, when they're not just plain bad (or occasionally good).