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Sugar Wiki / Superlative Dubbing

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Subbing vs. Dubbing: the only debate that rivals the Ship-to-Ship Combat.

As such, some hardcore fans will insist that subbing is the only way to go. The worst of them will mock dub fans for being "illiterate" or "unrefined" and won't seem to accept that people have different opinions.

Every once in a while, however, some game or anime will come along that makes these haters think twice. The dub cast is brilliant. Their voices fit the characters to a T. Maybe the original version had some astonishingly cringe-worthy moments of Gratuitous English that the adaptation filters out. Even the fact that the dubbers changed some of the jokes, and perhaps even a personality or two, doesn't change the fact that it just shines. Sometimes the dub is just good. This unfortunately does not always stop these haters from bashing everything related to the dub.

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The most famous example is the English dub of Cowboy Bebop, which is just as equally liked as the original Japanese version. Another notable one is the English dub of El-Hazard: The Magnificent World, which is even stated by the creators to be the definitive voice cast. And every dub that Disney has done for Studio Ghibli is approved by Hayao Miyazaki himself. Of course, even with these dubs, your opinion may always vary, thus examples are to be signed and state your personal opinion.

Note that while this debate can heat up quite a bit even in the English-speaking world (the majority of which hardly ever gets in touch with any sort of non-native art), it can escalate to ridiculous proportions in Europe, Japan and other territories that tend to import a vast number of English-language products, aimed at mass audiences.

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The ultimate contrast of Macekre. Compare Woolseyism, which those dubs may sometimes contain. See also Creator-Preferred Adaptation.

Notes

  • Just because a series is listed here does not necessarily mean the the dub is superior to the original, just that it is very good in its own right.
  • Some people talk about "the dub" when they are referring to the English dubs. Please, avoid that.
  • Try to include links to examples. They make this list a lot better.

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Examples

Generally Well-Dubbed Works

There are many shows/anime/movies that have a superior dub in many languages.

The reason usually is that the product in question was expected to be a hit, so it makes sense hiring expensive translators and great voice actors for something that will sell a lot. It also helps when the producer company and/or the publisher have its own localization department.

Note: Don't write anything about a particular dub of a movie/series here. Use the languages below instead.

Dubs

Languages without their own pages

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    Dutch 
  • According to Muppet Wiki, "Jim Henson was so impressed by [Paul] Haenen and [Wim T.] Schippers' performances that they are the only Bert and Ernie in the world who are allowed to write their own material."
  • The Rescuers in Dutch is undoubtedly very well done, but what really sells it is Annet Nieuwenhuijzen's incredibly hammy and psychotic performance as Madame Medusa. She really takes the Ax-Crazy aspect of the character Up to Eleven.
  • Most of the Dutch dub of Pocahontas is only above average if not mediocre, but the main character is voiced by opera singer Pia Douwes, which results in astounding amounts of Awesome Music. Like how she hits the high notes in the reprise of "Savages".
  • When Jozsef Nepp's already fairly odd Mézga Family series was dubbed into Dutch in the early 1990s, exceedingly snarky translations and inexplicably gender-flipped character names (Géza and Paula became "Annie" and "Karel", respectively, for instance) further cranked up the surrealism.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has one of the greatest Dutch dubs in existence and manages to match the impressive performances of the original English.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Doofenschmirz is especially stand-out.
  • The Emperor's New Groove: It is one of the few Dutch dubs that can be considered better than the original English version, with jokes rewritten for a Dutch audience, and amazing performances.
  • Frozen: Many fans of the film hail Willemijn Verkaik's Dutch dub of "Let It Go" (and Elsa in general) as superior to the English.note 
  • The Dutch dub of Marvin Marvin probably counts. Remember how the bad voice acting in the original English version was one of the major complaints. Well, the Dutch version has a dub that was good enough to be on the BENELUX version of Nickelodeon for multiple years and the show still managed to fail at having a truly Vocal Hatedom.
  • The Dutch dub of Yo Kai Watch hired some very good Dutch voice actors to provide the voices for some of the characters. Notably the dutch voice of Whisper, Jibanyan, and Komasan. This dub is on par with the English dub and could end up rivaling the English dub because of how impressive it is.
  • The Dutch dub of DuckTales (2017) definitely belongs in this list, as they truly went above and beyond to get the right voice actors for all of the characters. The voices of the main cast, in particular, were either at or above the level of the English cast, as well as the voices of most villains (Magica De Spell, General Lunaris, Flintheart Glomgold)
  • While the Dutch dub of The Lion King (1994) wasn't that spectacular, there are two things that truly made it memorable. First of all, the performance of Coen Flink and Arnold Gelderman as Mufasa and Scar respectively, which truly matched the performance of their English counterparts. Second of all, the casting of David Verbeeck and Door van Boeckel as Timon and Pumba, who not only stood out due to their Flemish accents (which worked like a charm), but also due to the way they voiced Timon and Pumba, which was spectacularnote . This is further cemented by the fact that their voice actors have won international awards for their performances.
  • The Dutch dub of Rango not only had a strong voice cast starring Tygo Gernandt, but furthermore won international awards for the way they added vocal/sound effects to the movie that weren't present in the original.
  • The (rather bold) Dutch dub of Crayon Shin-chan is (most likely) the biggest reason why the show became such a hit (and gained cult status) among its (young) viewers. Most characters truly were voiced in a larger-than-life way and nearly all of the jokes hit their mark flawlessly. The voice of Shin-chan, provided by Melise de Winter, stood out in particular, as she gave him a gruff boyish voice, which complemented the adult content he spouted incredibly well.
  • The voices of some contestants on the Dutch dub of Total Drama Island matched their English counterparts so well, that it is truly uncanny. In cases where the voices don't match up, the Dutch voice actually improves upon the English version (Chris McLean, for example, was voiced by Barry Atsma in a mocking Badass Baritone voice in the Dutch version).
  • The Dutch dub of Sonic X generally holds up against the English dub quite well, but the Dutch voices of Sonic and Eggman (provided by Sander van der Poel and Just Meijer) were simply a better fit for the characters compared to their English counterparts.
  • While the Dutch dub of Pokémon: The Series had it highs and lows like every dub, it does stand out for several reasons. First of all, it (largely) lacks the mid-series voice cast change, which means that the voices of several long-standing characters (Ash, Misty, Brock, Jessie, Delia) have been voiced by the same voice actor for over twenty years. Second of all, while there have been some mishaps in the translation (which is done from Japanese instead of English), the series has been translated quite excellently into Dutch. Last of all, the theme songs (which, save four of them, were all translated to Dutch) deserve a special mention, as they occasionally improve greatly upon the original version.
  • The Dutch dub of Winx Club is considered superior to the English dub by Dutch fans for several reasons. First of all, it trades in the patchwork of different dubs for a single consistent one. Second of all, both the quality of the dub and the quality of the translation are of such a high level, that one doesn't even notice they're watching a foreign dub. Lastly, the theme (and other) songs of the Dutch dub are spectacular, as they show off the amazing singing skills of (some of) the lead voice actors of the show.
    Finnish 
  • In the Finnish animation fandom, all the dubs translated and directed by now retired Pekka Lehtosaari are held in high regard. Especially his Disney work is usually seen as the Golden standard for dubbing. This is thanks to him striving to honor the spirit of the original work, but still giving the dub his personal touch, and always trying to give his regular cast of dub actors different types of roles, while also looking for different talent for special occasions. Some of his career highlights include:
    • Aladdin was given by the Disney themselves an award for the best foreign language version of the movie and while the dub overall is very high quality, in fact many Finnish Disney fans regard it as the best Finnish dub of the entire Disney canon, the standout of the dub is agreed by many to be Vesa-Matti Loiri as the Genie, since Disney gave Lehtosaari the blessing to rewrite all of the Genie's jokes to better fit Loiri's style of comedy and Finnish sensibilities. The end result was so loved that Eric Goldberg, Genie's lead animator, himself sent Loiri a personal thank you illustration.
    • While dubbing Hercules, getting the "used car salesman" cadence of Hades down, while matching the lip sync set by the animation based on James Wood's delivery, proved to be a real challenge for both Lehtosaari and Seppo Pääkkönen, Hades' Finnish voice actor. In the end, the Finnish dub was the only European dub of the movie that Disney didn't request a do-over on.
    • More on a personal level, Lehtosaari is a real proud of the dub of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, which Warner Bros. offered very little money for, but Lehtosaari took the job anyway, because he is a huge Batman fanboy (probably not a coincidence that he himself voiced the Caped Crusader). All of his regular dub actors agreed to take the parts offered to them despite the lower pay and gave their all as usual, with Aarre Karén's Joker being the most remembered part by the Finnish Batman fandom. Unfortunately, out of all of his dubs this is one of the harder ones to track down, since it was only included on the now rare Finnish VHS release of the movie and there hasn't been any Finnish DVD or Blu-Ray releases of the movie. Even when the movie was briefly on the Finnish Netflix, the dub wasn't included.
    • Hayao Miyazaki was so impressed by the dub of Howl's Moving Castle (the first Studio Ghibli movie to be dubbed in Finnish) that after seeing it he declared that no Finnish dub directed by Lehtosaari of his movie would need his approval. Considering how strict Miyazaki is known to be, this is not a small feat.
    Italian 
  • Filly Funtasia has a surprisingly perfect Italian dub with great fitting voices. Since it was the first version we ever got for the series, the Filly fandom often regards the Italian dub as the definitive version of the series, and helping with that is that a lot of dubs use this one as a base.
    Tagalog 
  • Eddis: If you haven't seen the Tagalog dub of Kuroko's Basketball you are missing out a lot. Yes, the awkward "senior" honorific replaces "-senpai" (it's a Jeff Utanes thing). Yes, Seirin calls one another by their first names. Yes, a lot of the voices repeat (I'll talk about this later). Set those aside, and Tagalog Kuroko becomes a fantastic localization. Jet Paz mimics Kuroko's deadpan snark perfectly, and can do drama too (just watch the Teiko episodes). Many have commented that Maynard Llames has that gruff, sexy voice, similar to Junichi Suwabe's Aomine. And don't even get me started on Louie Paraboles! His Kagami is perfect, his Koganei is hilarious, and when he's voicing Mibuchi it's unbelievable...his work in Kuroko definitely shows off his vocal range. Vincent Gutierrez replaced Monty Repuyan as Midorima and Hyuuga starting S2 and I'm happy they did, as Mr. Repuyan already sounds old for a high school student. Plus Vincent Gutierrez has so much emotion, especially in the Seirin flashback episodes. As for the script, it's hilariously and wonderfully Pinoy (where else would you hear an "Eh di wow!" in an anime, huh?). I like to think that ABS-CBN/Creative Productions/the cast considered this their chance to have their own version of Slam Dunk (i.e., a basketball anime that they'll rerun for a long, long time, for a basketball-loving audience) and kept that in mind when they worked on Kuroko.
  • Eddis: the local dub of Free! is a gift to the Tagalog dub scene. Haru's dub voice is uncannily similar to Nobunaga Shimazaki that if you weren't listening hard enough, you might mistake him speaking in Tagalog. And I can't give enough kudos to the translator(s) and scriptwriter(s) for making the dub more hugot than it already is!
  • Moonlight Bomber: Out of all the anime dubs TV5 has rolled out, the one for Azumanga Daioh is the best one yet. Everyone in the cast acted naturally within the context of the Tagalog language, and the funny moments are excellently captured by them. Rona Aguilar as Chiyo is easily the best one in the cast. This dub is also one of the few that aired in the channel that avoids the Name Order Confusion that plagued most of the channel's other dubs.
  • Judasmartel : The Tagalog dub of KonoSuba features four rookie voice actors pulling off their roles quite well considering this is one of their first projects as professionals. While Richmon Manalo doesn't quite capture the snark of Ryota Ohsaka as Kazuma, Romi Jallorina as Aqua sounds very much like Sora Amamiya speaking in Tagalog, especially with her hilarious Freak Outs. Austine Espino as Megumin almost perfectly pulls off the upbeat and confident explosion wizard that is Rie Takahashi, while Grace Dalisay pulls off Darkness' shy knight voice very well.

Alternative Title(s): Voice Acting

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