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The Great Subbed vs Dubbed Debate

Sometimes it's not about whether a show is good, or bad, or even if you can follow along; sometimes it's just about the basic translation, and despite the total insanity and moronic ass-holery dip-shitting that usually comes from the fans of anime, the core of the Subbed vs Dubbed debate is about proper translation.

1.) Subs are superior to dubs simply because subs are closer to the exact translation of the series.

2.) Dubs are superior to subs, since it takes more talent to convey in spoken dialect the intent and meaning of the translation, and most people in America speak English.

The whole nut-shell argument about this debate is that fans that watch a subtitled anime are getting a more accurate translation of the series, and what the author/creator intended; as opposed to the dubbed fans, that get a mere interpretation of the series, which may or may not be subject to some voice actor's impression of the character/dialogue emotion etc.

Most fans that are pro-dub, argue that nothing is exempt from interpretation, and that it is foolhardy to presume that Japanese anime is/should be any different. While on the other-hand, the pro-subbist fans, express that they are getting the dialogue straight from the original actor's mouth, and that only the subtitles are translated, which to me seems like a stupid argument really.

In all the time that I've spent floating back and forth on the currents of the inter-webs, I've yet to encounter many fans that are willing to let their opinion simply rest, and just shut the hell up. Instead they push and push, and push, and push and make themselves, and that which they argue for seem idiotic.

The biggest argument aside from fan-subs vs professional subs, is that of subbed versus dubbed, and wouldn't you know it, everyone has got an opinion. Well, everyone also has an ass hole, and just like them, their opinions are of the same value to another person with an opposing viewpoint.

Here's the real nastiness about subs, and this is coming from quite a few years of experience here; is that just like anything else, they are nothing more than an interpretation, and the individual translator's impression of the original content. People who are multi-lingual will know how damn difficult it is to accurately translate something from one language to another, and there really isn't a master-level "how-to guide" on making a translation, aside from sticking with the basics and making the original intent of the piece get conveyed.

What the fans of subs won't tell you is that it makes them feel special to be able to hear the original work in its original language and read the translation on screen, because that alone makes it closer to the original; and in some small context they are close, but not 100 percent correct.

The audio and the video may be unaltered, but the text is still being translated, though fans of subs are un-flinching in their belief that subs are superior simply because of a few factors, that they chose to believe, or not believe.

More than half of the fans of subs are basing their preference on easily available fan-subs, provided by nerds for other nerds free of charge, and when they watch fan-subs of shows a year before they are released, then naturally the balance of their viewing gets shifted to subs more than dubs, and once something has been watched subbed first, it's harder to wrap an English voice around that which you've already conditioned yourself to watch, read, and listen to.

Subs however despite what the moronic fan-base will tell you are nowhere near perfect. In fact, getting a good textual translation of an anime is just as hard as getting a good dub, though the fans of subs will hide those facts, and pretend they don't know what you are talking about. Since they prefer to believe that no matter the translation, as long as its a sub... it just cannot be incorrect.

unfortunately, the amount of energy that goes into a professionally translated sub for a show gets about the same hasty treatment as a speed sub from an underground fan-sub group, and more often than not, it's one man or woman that translates the entire anime--I'm sure for consistency's sake--and no doubt versions are going to differ.

I once argued that if you took a dozen PhDs all fluent in both English and Japanese, they would offer you a dozen different interpretations of the same Japanese document they would be asked to translate. This is human mechanics, and not something that can be changed. Unless you'd prefer a machine to do the translation, in which case one need only go to Yahoo babelfish.

The worst part about dubbing anime, is going to be the delivery. I've heard from fan after fan after fan that no English voice actor can just properly portray some specific character, and that's probably one of the three most damning pieces of evidence against dubs. The other two being the wrong voice actor for the part, and the last being bad translations/re-writes.

If i have to hear about re-writing or changing a line of dialogue or a scene, or hell even the whole show in the next thousand years it'll be too damn soon!

While dubs do take longer to produce as opposed to their sub-only released brethren, it is clear that the dubbing industry is plagued with lots of issues. Most of which greatly stem from the three points I listed above. The recording process itself is not the issue, nor is the technical aspect, as if fans really know anything about that.

Most dubs suffer from bad translations, and fumbled honorific usage, along with terrible name pronunciations. But for those of us that like dubs, it's a thorn in the flesh we are willing to deal with to get a show that caters to our sense of laziness. A show that doesn't require our constant attention to enjoy, and one that can be slightly modified to cater to our English American ears.

In addition, we get to have the convenience of easily recognizing our favorite VAs, and we can fan-gush after them as if they were big time Hollywood stars, and not some college students that just got lucky recording a string of words behind a microphone.

Dubbists will tell you straight up, that no dub is perfect, and that they are always going to be subject to multiple factors, but that like subs, they are all each one open to interpretation and variable translation. Though even when changed can make for entertaining media. To the fans of the dubbed anime, it isn't about the exacting law of the translation, it's about the spirit of the anime, which most fans of dubs will admit is its most significant quality.

The single worst issue I have with dubs is the over use of the same Voice Actors, and the limited resources it places on a dubbing studio, taking the time to properly dub a show is a lengthy process, and when a company has multiple big names, and shows of any length, it makes it hard to wait out the dry spells to get a new dubbed show.

Fans of anime have one serious flaw with them, and that is their inability to agree to disagree. Not one of you sick bastards is ever able to just let something go, you can't walk away with your own opinion intact, or refrain from an altercation... instead you have to take it to every new extreme, and force through will-power alone the other opposing side to see it your way, and for that; you all fail.

Subs are not perfect, and just because it makes you feel like a special little fan that's had your bottom patted by the Japanese, to watch a subtitled anime, doesn't mean that it is any better than a dub. If you think so, then you are retarded, and a moron, and your mother didn't love you.

If you think that dubs are better than subs, then guess again. It's arrogance and laziness that makes them accessible, not better; and just because you masturbate every night to the voices of Steve Blum, and Laura Bailey doesn't mean that you are the majority of the industry or the fanbase.

Yes there are good subs, and yes there are bad subs. Yes there are good dubs, and yes there are bad dubs. But you've got to be kidding me, it you think that just because you've watched a few shows in Japanese with subtitles makes you any sort of expert on the matter, please. You are probably just a little kid that hasn't even had a testicle descend yet, or a child that hasn't even gotten through puberty. Your opinion is crap, just like your self-importance. Go get an education, and watch lions mate in the wild on Discovery Channel, and then come back, and watch some more shows.

Dubs are not the saving grace of the industry, and they aren't the spawn from hell you make them out to be. And just because you've listened to a few terrible voices in English makes you pretty dumb to imagine that every Japanese VA is perfect God-Like better. You just can't tell a bad Japanese performance, because... hello! You don't speak ****ing Japanese! You really are an idiot aren't you?

Well, like I mentioned before, everyone has opinions, and everyone has ass holes, and like them your opinions are always going to be based on what you always personally like, what makes you feel good, and what brings a smile to your face. I seriously doubt a fan of subs would grind his teeth all the way through them while they played out on screen because it was such a chore to read. Or a fan of dubs would wear ear-muffs to watch an anime in English. We pick these things because we on some level like them, and if you can't see that we each have different tastes, that are not yours, then you are a bigger douche-bag ass-hole idiot than I thought.

The biggest mistake the anime fandom ever made was trying to share it's personal interests, cause it makes opinions evil, unless you can argue correctly, and it makes likes and dislikes breeding grounds for flaming and hating.

The internet is full of one opinion after another, and one fan's garbage is another fan's gold. So in the end, it's pretty obvious that fans of both sides are just deluding themselves into some sort of stupidity, thinking that their way is better.

Well, since neither side is right, or wrong; then what's the point of the never-ending debate?

Damned if I know. I just know, that I hate your opinions, and most likely I don't even like you for it, seriously **** you! Take your better dubs, and your better subs, and go shove them up your ass, and let those of us that want to just watch the damn show do so in peace and quiet.


  1. SUBS FOREVER!!! *SHAKES FIST!!* (just kidding ^_~ )

    I used to watch dubs but no longer do so except in rare circumstances. That's just a personal preference. The only show I ever state should be watched in Japanese with subtitles at least once is the canon TM!R series and that's just because minor tweaks in the script does completely change things, especially with Kajishima-sensei's notorious use of clue-dropping in his scripts.

  2. I will wholeheartedly agree that when done correctly that there can be some superior subbed products, and likewise, some superior dubbed products.

    Mostly though, I just wanted to address the toilet paper mentality behind much of the pettier arguments pro each side, and expose those dogmatic chants to reality.

    I've seen several excellent subs, and I do have a great love for both variety, though I'll be the first to admit, that I categorize myself among those that will watch a dub for the convenience, and not often because I even like the sound of the VAs.

  3. Nice article indeed! By the way, would you be interested in reading and commenting your opinion on whether you believe subbed vs dubbed animes is better?


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