Subs Vs Dubs Part II

Posted By EthaNox On December 2, 2011

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Subs Vs Dubs Part II

Well, we already dealt with one part of the equation and we are gonna give the same treatment to this next bit. Hope you are ready to read and dive into a new opinion article on our new series! Keep in mind that the conclusion is soon to come.


We already talked about subs and now we deal with their opposite, the more often than not infamous and reviled dubs. Dubbing is a process that can (and NEEDS to) be made into a fine art, because doing a half-assed dub will leave you at a situation where studios lose money. Well, technically the studios get money because it comes down to the ones in charge of localization to pay the God-awful voice actors and deal with distribution, but in the long run it does cost them money.

Why? Because a bad dub might turn off new viewers of alienate fans, making it so that any penetration they could get on a new market goes down the toilet. Not all dubs are bad, though, it’s just that when they are they do far more damage than any sub project could ever do.

They are big investments and they are more obviously prone to disaster if they are done wrong, but they certainly have some virtues right?

My…voice…is coming…out delayed

If there are awful dubs there also awesome ones! Some of them add a great deal of flavour to the anime title, as they work around the rare and awkward idioms or puns by making their own ones as they go. A good localization team with great voice talent can turn a show around into a different experience that can be enjoyed alongside the original, as it adds new jokes and dialogs that might get the anime out of a joke that can’t be translated in the proper context.

Some good dubs include gems like Azumanga Daioh and Cromartie Highschool (the last being extremely awesome) but for a classic that many might not know, for alas our readership is young, I have to point out Samurai Pizza Cats. This show ran into a massive problem from the get-go, the localization team didn’t get the Japanese scripts to dub, so they were pretty much dead on the water unless they did something awesome. And they did just that.

They made their own scripts and jokes out of the episodes, turning Japanese signs into “This weird language” that they never bother to translate or read, and it was actually funny and worked well. Truth be told this was an adaptation more than an outright translation, which leads us to our final point of the day.


As a Venezuelan I had the good fortune of being in a country with some kick ass dubbers that made great adaptations, which is cool since they took jokes out of context and gave them a meaning that stuck as close to the original one as possible. But this is onto itself a new problem.

A pure translation might end up with awkward lines that can very well make no sense, but an adaptation done wrong can end up taking away some aspects of the original or adding unnecessary ones. Case in point would be anything from 4kids, or the treatment Dragon Ball got in the USA…Not even sweet guitar rifts could save it man.

Here’s a funny bit for any latinos that might bitch at dubs in Spanish being awful; they are in occasion, such as the dub for Fate/Stay Night…A dub that if I’m right (It’s bad enough for me not to bother to double check) was made in my country. Saber ended up sounding like a constipated female truck driver and Shiro’s accent flailed from “regular dude” to “Venezuelan ghetto.”

So, what’s better?

We’ll hold onto the final judgement for a last piece, but you are free to discuss it in the forums and our Facebook page! Just hold on tight and take bets if you want to, in the mean time visit our FB page for a few examples of good and bad dubs.

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