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Confessions Of A Dub Hater

Updated: Sep 20, 2018

I have a confession to make: I hate dubbed anime.

I'm aware that that makes me sound like an obnoxious weeb. I will totally own that - but I can't help it. To me, the voices sound stilted, awkward, and unnatural. They pause in the middle of sentences for no reason, put the inflections on the wrong parts of words, and worst of all, pronounce the characters' names wrong. It's not Keeyo, it's Kyo. It's not Muhdooriyuh, it's Midoriya. I'm also still lightly traumatized by the dubs of my childhood, which assumed that American kids like me couldn't comprehend the existence of things like Buddhism, rice balls, and gay people. But that's just me.

If you're an anime fan, you probably have some thoughts about this. Maybe you're like me, and dubs make you cringe. Maybe your eyes are rolling out of your head right now because you think dub voice actors do a great job and I'm just nitpicking. Maybe you don't care one way or the other.

No matter where you come down on this, YOU ARE VALID. No, really. There's no wrong way to enjoy anime. I may have once exited a showing of Future Diary because I found the dub voices too grating, but that doesn't mean you have to. Dubs aren't inherently bad - actually, they make anime accessible to people who wouldn't otherwise be able experience it. Subtitles are legitimately hard to track, especially when you're trying to watch the action at the same time. I can do it because I trained myself to, and I'm a huge nerd who used to win speed reading contests in middle school. Not everyone wants to or is able to do that, and that's fine. What's more, some people actually do enjoy the English voice actor's performances - it's not inherently bad, it's just not my aesthetic. People who hate dubs should step off and let dub fans enjoy themselves.

On the other hand, dub fans need to let sub fans do their thing without worrying about being called elitist. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who have audio processing issues, subs are a necessity, not a preference. Meanwhile, some fans want to experience the show as it was originally intended, which is valid - things aren't inherently better just because they're in English. Also, some people share my misgivings about the quality of modern dubs. They haven't solved the problem of matching speech to pre-made mouth movements, and they haven't started pronouncing Japanese names - which are often shared with real people, because it's a real language and culture - correctly. Both mediums can and should be enjoyed - and we need to stop giving each other grief about it. No one is better than anyone else because of their preferences - unless you're consistently pronouncing Japanese people's names wrong like many dubs do. You're not allowed to like anime and not respect the culture it comes from. Sorry, I don't make the rules.



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