Anime – Dub Or Sub?

Is it better to watch Anime dubbed or subbed? – This seems to be a common disagreement that occurs amongst my friends. In a dubbed version the dialogue is recorded by new voice actors, while in a subbed version the translation is displayed in text along the bottom of the screen.

For some folks watching a dubbed version is an absolute no. In fact the guy that first introduced me to Anime recommended to me to never watch the dubbed versions because the voice acting is usually of a poor quality. I stuck to his advice for a long time until finally moving over to the dubbed versions. Now I’ll default to a dub if it is available.

I know a few people who are the opposite and the thought of having to read while watching a film/show is so off putting they’ll avoid it altogether. If there is no other option I don’t mind having to read subtitles, but I think it can detract from my engagement of a story. For starters, I miss some of the action because my eyes are focussed at the bottom of the screen where the text is displayed. Sometimes I have to pause or rewind because they flash up too quickly. I also find that I can’t pick up on inflection so easily when it isn’t in my own language. I can imagine in the case of comedy that the delivery of a line will feel very different based on whether you read it or hear it. Not all Anime has bad voice acting either – for instance I love Vic Mignongna in both Fullmetal Alchemist and Ouran High School Host Club. On the other hand the dialogue is not always 100% accurate to the original and the way it is said can greatly change the meaning. Broc referring to rice balls as jelly filled doughnuts in Pokemon for instance, although I don’t always find these issues severe enough to ruin my enjoyment of the Anime.

As a final point, I guess sometimes I just want to sit back and relax or watch it in the background while doing something else and with a subbed version this can be difficult to do. So yeah, I admit, I do prefer a well done dub over a sub, but I’m not fussy to the point that I can’t do either. Feel free to share your own preferences and reasons in the comments below.


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About wallcat

I have a strong passion for computing. In particular programming for which I am able to use a variety of languages including C++, Visual C#, Blitz Basic, Actionscript 2.0, Python and Lua. I also enjoy web-design and have some knowledge of HTML/CSS, PHP/SQL and Javascript. As well as programming I have a strong background in art and enjoy drawing in my spare time. When I’m not sat at my computer I like to keep fit by going to the gym or using my exercise ball.

4 responses to “Anime – Dub Or Sub?”

  1. Sue Archer says :

    For anime, I prefer dubbed versions, for a lot of the same reasons you describe. I find subtitles distracting. Of course, when it’s live action, it’s the opposite for me – subtitles all the way. There’s nothing worse than watching dubbed dialogue for live actors! Yikes.

  2. j3w3l says :

    I think it really depends. Sometimes the source material is just better, and the dialogue seems to match up better. There are quite a few terrible dubs out there as well.

    I get why you dislike them though. Sometimes you just don’t want to focus that hard on reading.

    Oh, and there are quite a few excellent dubs out there though which nearly always comes down tot he voice actors.

    • wallcat says :

      Yeah, I agree, it does depend a lot on the chosen voice actors. Admittedly, when I first gave the dubbed versions a try the voices grated on me a bit. There are some voice actors that I’m glad I didn’t miss out on hearing though. I guess it depends on the anime and what mood I’m in.

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