So recently during all the hubbub surrounding the fansub issue, I’ve heard a lot of people make the argument “Why do they even make dubs?” or the one I like even better “Does anyone actually buy the DVD for the dub?”
Well, I have a confession to make – I’m a dub fan.
Yes, really. I actually like dubs. In fact, I prefer them. Now I’ve heard all of the arguments, ranging from the super-amazing, “Oh my God, I can’t believe you don’t watch it in the original Japanese. You’re an evil person and are going to Hell for supporting this perversion of our Most Holy Artform.” to the more rational “The acting is better in the subs.”
To be honest, I really want to know how people can tell that the acting is better. To explain, I’ve had a theory about actors. An all right actor can do one part okay most of the time. A good actor can do one part well all of the time. And a great actor can do multiple parts well most of the time. And an excellent actor can do multiple parts well all of the time.
To use American movies as an example: Arnold Schwartzenegger is an all right actor. Nicholas Cage is a good actor. Jeff Bridges is a great actor. And Robert DeNiro is an excellent actor. Now I don’t see the difference between these actors and the voice actors in the subs. Granted Monica Rial can do two parts well (the little girl and the tough girl), Steve Jay Blum can do multiple roles well most of the time and Crispin Freeman… well all I have to say is that he was Spark in Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of a Heroic Night and Alucard in Hellsing. Yeah.
So I’m not seeing the difference between them and the Japanese voice actors. Maybe that makes me a Philistine, but I don’t think so.
But let’s assume that there is a difference, and even I’ll admit that a lot of the early dubs were pretty lame. There’s another big reason why I prefer dubs. Because subtitles often get in the way of immersing myself in a show. There are a lot of times when I’m watching a subtitled show that I find myself having to stop, check to see what they’re saying and then go on. For a large part, this hurts the experience of watching the show.
Now, as much as I feel like an arrogant American for saying it, I’m not a fan of reading my television. Sometimes it works better than others, but generally if I’m watching something, I want to be immersed in the experience. And subtitles add another layer visually to my viewing experience.
So if you want to know why I actually don’t want the distribution companies to get rid of dubs, that’s it.
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