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It’s great when it works.

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This is my first journey through the “100 Days of Anime” Challenge, an ambitious project that I’ll be taking. For the full list of prompts, click here.

“Sub or Dub?”

Day 40 of the challenge had me confess my love for the English speaking Brina Palencia over her japanese seiyuu counterparts. Surprisingly, I wasn’t hit by immediate backlash from the community, so that’s great (people really like Holo, huh). Though I do watch most of my anime subbed, I definitely would prefer watching anime dubbed if I had the chance. Here’s the thing though.

Most of them just aren’t good.

The worst part is that it’s not about quality alone. When it comes to dubbing, there just isn’t enough money in the business to entice veterans or promising new talent. It’s even common for voice actors to get into dubbing for the sake of practice alone, before moving on to bigger productions. The results? A huge lack of new talent in the field and the same 7 VA’s rotating through different series. This is further worsened by a lack of quality control in the script. Lines that may sound fine in Japanese often come out awkwardly in English. Coming from someone who continues to struggle with writing dialogue, there are methods to turning these awkward lines into something usable. I see this part of dubbing skipped over far too often. Again, it’s a money issue.

Show me the green.

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A great dubbed is one that has its own style. It adds a cultural flair that the western audience can relate to in an otherwise completely Japanese production. Jokes are funnier when I can understand them. Hearing an English delivery of that same line will convey a character’s mood and personality far better than reading a line. Pulling a line from my earlier post, dubs take advantage of my proficiency in English. It allows me to appreciate Holo and Lawrence’s loving banter, especially when those very jabs are properly localized for the western viewer. Dubbing is a field I would love to see grow bigger, but in its current state?

It may just fall into the endless declining loop of money, quality, and sales.