Subbed or Dubbed Anime?
Many people have a particular preference to one or the other. Some like things to be dubbed into their own language. Whether it is because they like the ease of just watching the content and listening to what is being said or because they feel it relates to them when the characters talk in their own language. While others like the purity of subtitles where they can enjoy the content in its original form but still follow along. There is debate which is better. Is it better to dub or to subtitle? Ultimately I guess it is up to the person how they choose to watch. There are many articles out there that can advocate it one way or the other. Some say people are for dubbing because it put the media in the language that they associate with. While others say that dubbing is just a form of social control. And that subtitling brings in a format that exposes people to new ideas and new cultures. For me personally I choose subtitled. I do not find it any harder to read a few subtitles at the bottom of a screen. In fact it helps my reading comprehension and speed at which I read get even better. I have also had the benefit of becoming interested in a new language and subsequently finding time to learn it on the side. I find subtitles have enriched my life better than mindlessly watching dubbed versions.
I find dubbed versions to be annoying. I have seen both dubbed and subtitled versions of the same animes, movies, live action series, and TV shows of many that I have watched over the years. I have come to find that the dubbed version does not portray the same feelings, moods, messages, and nuances that you find from watching the content in its original format. For instance take a movie I love. It a sad but poignant movie about WWII called Grave of The Fireflies. I like to watch this movie to remind myself that my country is not the only country that suffered. I have seen both versions of this movie. The dubbed and the subtitled and I like the subtitled the best. I like it better that way because I can feel the emotions and what the director wanted to get across to his audience. However in the dubbed it gets lost in translation.
Now don’t get me wrong the voice actors in the dubbed are very good but do not fit the parts because these parts were never meant for them. The original voice actors were picked for these parts. They meld and are molded by the director who creates the movie to get his voice and point of view across to the audience. But when you dub it, it loses the nuances that this molded crew creates. The dubbed version has a new interpretation that is just not the same because a new director takes over with a new set of voice actors and gives you his translation of what the original director put forth. A huge part in the movie The Grave of the Fireflies is part of the Aunt. I loved the original voice actress who played the aunt because she played her so well. You can just see and feel her emotions of how hard it must have been to take in her sisters’ children while she was struggling to try to take care of her own. She was not particularly nice but she was not particularly mean either. And the children in my opinion made a very sad decision to leave her although a bit understandable. However, when you see it in the dubbed version it does not quite get across like that. It is like yeah she is sort of annoying but then what parent figure isn’t. And you sort of start to think the kids are stupid for leaving her for the rest of the movie. The emotions and feelings are not the same. Nor is the interpretation of why they left. What was their motivation for doing so? I find that if I even get stuck watching a dubbed version of something I try to find the subtitled version straight away so I can truly understand and enjoy what the director of this masterpiece was trying to get across. Take a part out of Inu Yasha when one of the main characters, Kagome, tells InuYasha to sit. Well in the dubbed version the word ‘sit’ does not have the same commanding presence as its Japanese counterpart ‘osuwari’. It just sounds wrong and not as forceful. Maybe it is because I am used to hearing the English word ‘sit’ all the time but to me hearing the character Kagome say ‘osuwari’ in her forceful but albeit sometimes exasperated tone makes it just seem more commanding.
Make Your Choice
I guess it typically boils down to personal preference but my preference is and always will be to enjoy any media in its original format with a little help form subtitles of course. First because I believe that to get what the person who created the media masterpiece wanted us to get can only come from viewing it as closely to the original as we can. Second the more we dilute it the farther away we get from truly understanding what they were trying to convey. And third every time we dilute someone’s art I believe we not only misunderstand them but we silence who they are as an artist and any message they were trying to convey gets muddled and lost.