Release List Reviews Shop Join News DVD Giveaways Video Games Advertise
DVD Reviews | Theatrical Reviews | Price Search Buy Stuff Here
DVD Talk
DVD Reviews DVD Talk Headlines HD Reviews


Add to My Yahoo! - RSS 2.0 - RSS 2.0 - DVD Talk Podcast RSS -


Go Back   DVD Talk Forum > Entertainment Discussions > Anime Talk

Anime Talk Discuss Anime on DVD & Blu-Ray, CGI animations, Manga and other cool stuff from Japan!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-07-17, 08:49 PM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: New York
Posts: 15
dubs vs. subtitles

Do many people watch anime with the dubs? I've kinda always been curious as to why the dubbing actors tend to play the roles so differently from the Japanese actors. Often times when I start watching an episode with the dub accidentally on I'm surprised by how cartoony and exaggerated the voice sounds in comparison to the sincerity of the Japanese soundtrack. Granted I don't actually speak much Japanese, so it's difficult to compare directly...but the characters' emotions and tones of expression tend to feel very different. Is this done intentionally for American audiences, or just a by-product of the difficulties of hiring an entire cast for dubbing, or--?
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-17, 11:40 PM   #2
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 20,833
Re: dubs vs. subtitles

Some of it is undoubtedly the budget constraints and the difference in the pool of voice acting talent. There's also the lip syncing constraints that dubs are often subject to, trying to write a script that at least kinda looks like the animated characters are voicing. I think at least early on most voice acting talent came from American cartoons, which were primarily aimed at kids and thus took more of an excited, exaggerated tone, but that shouldn't be the case now (the problem now is that there's often not even a budget of dubs).

I think it's also that unfamiliarity with a different language can make it seem cooler. But watch some Japanese live action shows and movies, a lot of the acting there is just terrible.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-17, 10:00 AM   #3
DVD Talk Legend
 
Maxflier's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 11,154
Re: dubs vs. subtitles

Quote:
Originally Posted by boltz009 View Post
I'm surprised by how cartoony and exaggerated the voice sounds in comparison to the sincerity of the Japanese soundtrack.
When it comes top anime, I only watch English dubs and actually feel the opposite of you. To me, exaggerated is the perfect word to describe the Japanese voice acting.
__________________
My DVD / HD DVD / Blu-Ray Collection
XBOX Live Gamertag:Maxflier
PSN:Maxflier
3DS Friend Code:1178-1287-2020

My Countdown Counting down to: The first Saturday in May.
42 days 12 hours 57 minutes
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-17, 02:01 PM   #4
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: New York
Posts: 15
Re: dubs vs. subtitles

I guess it may depend also on which series we're talking about... I think probably when I don't relate to the Japanese language actors, I usually just give up watching. Also, in the context of fantasy and sci-fi I think exaggerated or eccentric acting is not totally out of place. But it depends somewhat, for me, on whether or not it feels pretend or realistically otherworldly. I notice it particularly with the emotions though, even more so than words... in a lot of my favorite series, if a character were to laugh or cry, gasp in pain or joy, I fully believe they're going through that experience. Whereas the dubs remind me more of watching cartoon network as a kid...almost like it's not supposed to feel too serious even if the world's ending and the characters are in their last battle to save it. Or, as if the characters are in on the joke that they're only a cartoon. I know a lot of anime can be kinda meta in that way, but it seems especially prevalent in dubs. It feels more like a theatrical retelling of the story, rather than being in the midst of it. The only series I have watched in its entirety in both languages is Mushishi, which I did appreciate...the sort of wide-eyed english version worked well there, and I enjoyed each uniquely. Even with the Miyazaki movies which must have a big budget for the dub, it tends to feel a little bit more silly and Americanized. But, I suppose a lot of those were done by Disney, so it makes sense that they would have that resemblance.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-17, 02:10 PM   #5
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: New York
Posts: 15
Re: dubs vs. subtitles

I should also say that many of my favorite series are 10 to 15 years old now, although I do watch some newer ones when I get a chance, so I may not be as familiar with the current english actors.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-17, 02:27 PM   #6
DVD Talk Legend
 
PhantomStranger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: The Phantom Zone
Posts: 17,241
Re: dubs vs. subtitles

It's probably about 75% Japanese dub versus 25% English dub for me. I usually give both dubs a chance for a couple of episodes before deciding, though the Japanese dub is usually my first choice.

Some English dubs are undoubtedly better than the Japanese dub for whatever reason. Some voice actors are simply made for their roles. Black Butler's English dub is half the reason the show is entertaining. It doesn't work nearly as well with the Japanese voice actors.

Another one would be Hellsing. Crispin Freeman's legendary voicing of Alucard elevates the entire series.

I will say that Americans do a much poorer job with cutesy moe and high school stuff. The Japanese voice actresses handle those roles ten times better than our American voice actresses.
__________________
Blu-ray Picture Quality Tiers (last update: May 30, 2016)

Over 5000 Blu-rays ranked by pure video quality.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-17, 06:19 PM   #7
DVD Talk Legend
 
Ash Ketchum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 10,144
Re: dubs vs. subtitles

I'm a sub purist. Hell, sometimes I'd rather watch anime in Japanese without subs than have to listen to a dub.

However, there are exceptions. I've been watching Pokémon for so long (since 1999), that I'm used to the English dub on that. The first six seasons were expertly done by New York stage-trained actors. I actually met some of the voice actors in that cast. One, who's still in the cast, was a friend of mine before he got the job. My first exposure to Naruto was the English dub and I liked that one very much.

Just recently, I watched the first 5 eps. of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn Re: 0096 on Cartoon Network and I was really impressed with the English dubbing on it. Not a surprise, since it's a New York-based crew and the voice director, whom I've met, trained in acting at the High School of Performing Arts (the "Fame" school), which is where I went and was also a drama major. Even so, I went to a Japanese video store today and bought the original OAV series, from which this is adapted, on DVD in Japanese and with subs.

But all the dubs done elsewhere are subpar.

I love the way Japanese voice actors convey layers of emotion with just the right inflection. It's something American actors try to do and just can't get it right.
__________________
“Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice.” - Will Durant
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-17, 06:27 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Koby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Kametsu
Posts: 672
Re: dubs vs. subtitles

If a dub exists at the time of me watching a show, I'll generally go with the dub; permitted that it isn't completely terrible.

One of the most recent terrible dubs I've come across was 91 Days... I absolutely despise fake accents...

The whole "Japanese are better at emotion'-sthick is nonsense. It's crap people came up with because they do not understand the language and they take the way certain words are said as being emotional when it's simply how the word is spoken. Watch an actual Japanese live-action show and you'll really see how terrible Japanese are at acting and how lack of emotion they tend to be.

When it comes to emotion, more often than not; the English dubs do better at portraying it; because there is actual acting going on; rather than simply reading some lines off a page in an extremely high-pitched kiddy girl voice.

Then you get Japanese dubs like Dragon Ball, where main macho-guys are voices by really kiddy-like women who absolutely do not fit the stock portrait of said character.
__________________
[MyAnimeList] [MALgraph] [Trakt.tv]
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-17, 12:24 AM   #9
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: New York
Posts: 15
Re: dubs vs. subtitles

This is an interesting discussion indeed, lots of different perspectives... I maybe didn't realize how subjective it all is, or perhaps even relative to our individual imaginings and suspension of disbelief while hearing different languages. Is anybody here a native speaker of Japanese who has also seen the english dubs? Also, are the actors in these live TV programs the same actors who would be participating in anime? I think a lot of american TV shows don't have super great or realistic acting either, when compared to some of our most authentic performances in theater and film...mostly because I don't think the studios who produce those shows are necessarily looking for deeply authentic actors (but I digress). In terms of Japanese movies I have only seen the older art films and some newer directors like Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Hirokazu Koreeda, Takashi Miike, etc. I have been quite impressed with the acting, which is admittedly pretty eccentric in some cases when the role calls for it. I have never been to Japan though, so it's difficult to even have a point of reference...especially when the story is fantastical to begin with.

I mean, I think I just kinda assumed that because the original language tracks are made with the involvement of the directors, creators, etc. they would naturally be truer to the original vision...but I wondered also why the American versions have often felt so different in terms of the characters' personalities. Almost like if Jim Carrey showed up for Eternal Sunshine but decided to play Ace Ventura instead... At the same time, I don't mean any disrespect to the American actors...I'm sure there are lots of talented and dedicated folks involved in the dubs. I guess I was just getting at a general theme of "cartoonization" that I have noticed. I have seen a number of anime that felt like great, astonishing works of art...but sometimes I am embarrassed to recommend them to people who will probably find a streaming dub online somewhere, not knowing if it will even resemble the original. Sometimes I even lend out the DVDs and people look at me like I'm crazy for asking them to watch a cartoon with subtitles.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-17, 09:11 AM   #10
DVD Talk Legend
 
Ash Ketchum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 10,144
Re: dubs vs. subtitles

I'm not sure how to respond to Koby's sweeping assertions other than to say it's no surprise to encounter an American who consistently misreads or, in this case, mis-hears everything they see that comes from Japan. As someone who's been watching Japanese movies, TV shows and anime in the original Japanese--with and without subtitles--as well as English dubs for comparison purposes regularly for 25 years and less regularly before that for another 20 years, and as a published author on the subject for over 20 years, I think my observations rise above the level of "nonsense." To rebut one of Koby's points, "actual acting," or overacting as I would put it, is not the best way to portray honest emotion. Just ask any director who works with actors how they feel about "actual acting."

To Bolt009, I would like to encourage your continued inquiries and advise you to trust your instincts. I had good luck when sharing anime with friends and family members because I travel in circles where people are used to reading subtitles. When I first started collecting anime, I had a lot of tapes that were in Japanese with no subs. I could show MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO without subs to people of any age long before a dub of it was available because it was just so damned beautiful and the story was so clear. You might want to try expanding your circle of friends to find others who like anime and are receptive to subtitles.

Also, if you want to hear some great voice acting in Japanese, check out any of the Slayers series, especially the first Slayers season, to hear Megumi Hayashibara portray Lina Inverse. She makes a lot of little asides, to the point where it sounds like ad-libbing, and it's hilarious.
__________________
“Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice.” - Will Durant
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-17, 11:38 AM   #11
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Under a dead Ohio sky
Posts: 5,454
Re: dubs vs. subtitles

I'm like 95% dub. By and large dubs are pretty well done nowadays. No reason to limit yourself just to subs.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-17, 02:39 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Koby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Kametsu
Posts: 672
Re: dubs vs. subtitles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
It's no surprise to encounter an American who consistently misreads or, in this case, mis-hears everything they see that comes from Japan.
Good on you attacking a whole country of people just to try and make a point; and whoever said I was an American? Secondly, it's not like I just jumped into a conversation I have no knowledge about... I've been watching anime for 25 years and even at one point was part of several fansubbing groups back in the day. I can also speak a little Japanese. But good on you to try to pull your dick out and wave it around by pointing out how long you've been around and that being a 'published author' somehow makes you knowledgeable about a language you don't know. But it's always nice to see that you'd would rather jump to conclusions and attempt to bash others (including a whole country of people not even involved) when your opinion is in question, rather than be mature about it. Perhaps actually try acting your age next time? Thanks. Judging from your comments, I'd surmise you're at least 50 to 55 years of age.

Again, unless you understand the actual language, what you're perceiving as 'emotions' is just the languages nuances, but since you don't know the language, you're misjudging it as to what it is. Thus people with no knowledge of the language assumes it's somehow more emotional, when it's actually not. Speak to a Japanese person who doesn't understand much English but tries to watch an English audio Cartoon with Japanese subtitles and they'll tell you the same thing an English speaker watching Japanese audio anime with English subtitles will tell you only in reverse. They'll think the English is more emotional, because they don't understand the language or it's nuances. So to really have any sort of real opinion on the matter, requires the ability to understand both languages; otherwise you're (as in anyone) just guessing in a field you don't understand.

I see enough dub fans getting bashed around the internet for even mentioning they watch dubs, because anime fans somehow got it into their heads that ALL dubs are garbage and unless you watch it in the 'original' language, you're somehow not an actual fan of the show or even anime in general, and thus somehow garbage too just for existing as someone who doesn't mind dubs. It gets old quickly, and I certainly didn't expect to see such a mindset here or to feel attacked for having an opinion that isn't aligned with someone else. It's reasons like this that people feel less and less inclined to partake in community forums such as this.
__________________
[MyAnimeList] [MALgraph] [Trakt.tv]

Last edited by Koby; 02-09-17 at 04:26 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-17, 04:48 PM   #13
DVD Talk Legend
 
PhantomStranger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: The Phantom Zone
Posts: 17,241
Re: dubs vs. subtitles

I'm fairly fluent in Japanese and have watched a lot of anime in both languages. I'd actually submit that some English subtitle translations leave a lot of nuance and meaning out of the dialogue.

English dubs are occasionally their own thing with content and especially tone that was probably not intended by the Japanese creators.

I like hearing English dubs for certain historical periods and settings. Hearing Japanese in the England of the Victorian Age just doesn't feel right. The same goes for historical Japanese settings. Hearing an English dub for Samurai in the Edo period doesn't work at all.
__________________
Blu-ray Picture Quality Tiers (last update: May 30, 2016)

Over 5000 Blu-rays ranked by pure video quality.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-17, 06:15 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Koby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Kametsu
Posts: 672
Re: dubs vs. subtitles

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
I'm fairly fluent in Japanese and have watched a lot of anime in both languages. I'd actually submit that some English subtitle translations leave a lot of nuance and meaning out of the dialogue.

English dubs are occasionally their own thing with content and especially tone that was probably not intended by the Japanese creators.

I like hearing English dubs for certain historical periods and settings. Hearing Japanese in the England of the Victorian Age just doesn't feel right. The same goes for historical Japanese settings. Hearing an English dub for Samurai in the Edo period doesn't work at all.
That's very true, sometimes somethings can't truly be translated 1:1 as there isn't exactly a word in one language for something in another occasionally. It can be altered to something similar but at times the meaning is varied and at the same time, the length of text for video subs needs to be fairly close to the length & syllables of the spoken dialogue so that people have a chance to read things before it disappears from the screen... So certain liberties have to be taken at times. Of course this is also true of dubs themselves too, where sometimes some liberties have to be taken to match lipflaps, remove honorifics, Eastern vs. Western name order, etc...

Luckily most anime dub companies try to remain as true as possible to the source as they can these days and don't try to alter things. The days of 4Kids butchering anime are behind us... Unfortunately things like Pokemon, Digimon, and Yu-Gi-Oh! which are aimed at a younger crowd, continue to be butchered (edited), and we don't get uncut versions of them on home media either.
__________________
[MyAnimeList] [MALgraph] [Trakt.tv]
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-17, 08:14 PM   #15
DVD Talk Legend
 
Ash Ketchum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 10,144
Re: dubs vs. subtitles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koby View Post
Good on you attacking a whole country of people just to try and make a point; and whoever said I was an American? Secondly, it's not like I just jumped into a conversation I have no knowledge about... I've been watching anime for 25 years and even at one point was part of several fansubbing groups back in the day. I can also speak a little Japanese. But good on you to try to pull your dick out and wave it around by pointing out how long you've been around and that being a 'published author' somehow makes you knowledgeable about a language you don't know. But it's always nice to see that you'd would rather jump to conclusions and attempt to bash others (including a whole country of people not even involved) when your opinion is in question, rather than be mature about it. Perhaps actually try acting your age next time? Thanks. Judging from your comments, I'd surmise you're at least 50 to 55 years of age.

Again, unless you understand the actual language, what you're perceiving as 'emotions' is just the languages nuances, but since you don't know the language, you're misjudging it as to what it is. Thus people with no knowledge of the language assumes it's somehow more emotional, when it's actually not. Speak to a Japanese person who doesn't understand much English but tries to watch an English audio Cartoon with Japanese subtitles and they'll tell you the same thing an English speaker watching Japanese audio anime with English subtitles will tell you only in reverse. They'll think the English is more emotional, because they don't understand the language or it's nuances. So to really have any sort of real opinion on the matter, requires the ability to understand both languages; otherwise you're (as in anyone) just guessing in a field you don't understand.

I see enough dub fans getting bashed around the internet for even mentioning they watch dubs, because anime fans somehow got it into their heads that ALL dubs are garbage and unless you watch it in the 'original' language, you're somehow not an actual fan of the show or even anime in general, and thus somehow garbage too just for existing as someone who doesn't mind dubs. It gets old quickly, and I certainly didn't expect to see such a mindset here or to feel attacked for having an opinion that isn't aligned with someone else. It's reasons like this that people feel less and less inclined to partake in community forums such as this.
I overreacted and made some mistaken assumptions. Not the first time I've done that on this board, and I have been called on it, rightfully so, but it's been a long time since the last one because I generally try to show some restraint. I lapsed here. I apologize. I certainly don't wish to make you less inclined to participate in this forum.

However, I still disagree with your assertions, bolded in this quote, which I think are too sweeping in their criticisms:
Quote:
The whole "Japanese are better at emotion'-sthick is nonsense. It's crap people came up with because they do not understand the language and they take the way certain words are said as being emotional when it's simply how the word is spoken. Watch an actual Japanese live-action show and you'll really see how terrible Japanese are at acting and how lack of emotion they tend to be.
When it comes to emotion, more often than not; the English dubs do better at portraying it; because there is actual acting going on; rather than simply reading some lines off a page in an extremely high-pitched kiddy girl voice.
I'm not going to dig for examples right now to bolster my case, but I've watched plenty of anime where the voice actors do a remarkable job of delivering lines that convey the emotional subtext of a scene in a most affecting way. When I see the same scenes dubbed, I don't get the same effect. For anime in general, I don't get the same emotional effect of a scene when the lines are dubbed as I do when I hear the Japanese voice actors. This is true of me for Japanese films in general. Also, I've seen plenty of fine acting in Japanese TV dramas. As well as plenty of overstated acting in certain genres like tokusatsu and sentai, but in those cases it's designed to convey to the viewer the characters' belief in the outlandish goings-on to enable the audience to suspend disbelief. This is why I also like the U.S. Power Rangers franchise; the actors have to convey to us that they believe the far-fetched antics being enacted in front of them and they tend to do it very well.

Anyway, it's possible to have an intelligent discussion and agree to disagree. I'm sorry I went into my old-fart "indignant" mode in the earlier post. It's an occupational hazard of being retired.
__________________
“Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice.” - Will Durant

Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 02-10-17 at 07:08 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-17, 11:33 AM   #16
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Natick, Ma, USA
Posts: 5,852
Re: dubs vs. subtitles

Speaking of dubs, the upcoming GitS SAC Blu release uses dubtitles. Shitty.
__________________
"The camel is dead and I ate it! (just like the bacon)" - Todd
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-17, 02:52 PM   #17
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 20,833
Re: dubs vs. subtitles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
Speaking of dubs, the upcoming GitS SAC Blu release uses dubtitles. Shitty.
What? Why? Isn't this already released properly subbed on DVD?
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-17, 02:04 PM   #18
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 4,941
Re: dubs vs. subtitles

Stand Alone Complex and the U.S. theatrical release of Princess Mononoke are the only dubs I can recall watching. No interest in them whatsoever.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-17, 02:13 PM   #19
DVD Talk Legend
 
PhantomStranger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: The Phantom Zone
Posts: 17,241
Re: dubs vs. subtitles

I will toss out that some male Japanese voice actors give flat, monotone lead vocals. That seems to be a popular affectation for certain character types. It does get annoying at times.
__________________
Blu-ray Picture Quality Tiers (last update: May 30, 2016)

Over 5000 Blu-rays ranked by pure video quality.
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:46 AM.


Copyright 2011 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.2.0