Dubbed and subbed anime
It’s time for a Sub vs. Dub deathmatch. Ding ding ding! Ooh, it’s an age-old issue for foreign film lovers anime fans – what’s better? Watching dubbed anime or anime with subtitles?
There is nothing like sitting yourself down to watch a muchly-hyped and anticipated brand new anime, hitting the play button in mouth-watering anticipation and discovering that what comes out of your speakers is not distinctive Japanese but a horribly English and badly-acted voiceover. Dubbed anime is one of my pet hates; it hurts my ears and my sensibilities.
Anime has managed to spread across the globe making thousands of fans and followers. Some of whom enjoy the dubbed series (why-oh-why?) whilst others would prefer to view the original, unchanged version with addition of subtitles.
The issue of subbed vs. dubbed foreign films may be contentious but it certainly isn’t new. Nor is it only anime which has been affected. Old kung fu movies such as Way of the Dragon starring Bruce Lee in the 1970’s also come across from Hong Kong with characters having adopted a strangely English accent. Dubbed. That doesn’t entirely appear to match the movement of their mouths.
Some DVD releases of anime series are now incorporating the option of viewing the anime with the original Japanese audio and English subtitles. However, there are still plenty of anime releases out there which still aren’t giving their customers the option of subtitles, leaving fans turning to other sources such as Fan Sub websites in order to watch anime the way they want to.
Hundreds of Fan Sub sites have emerged all over the internet, launched by ordinary anime fans who are able to translate Japanese into English. As well as giving fans a chance to watch original anime episodes with subtitles, it also means anime fans can get hold of new episodes only a few days after they are initially aired in Japan.
There is, of course, a reason why anime is dubbed as it comes across the waters. In most areas of the first world, Anime is seen to be aimed at a younger audience – children mostly under the age of 10. However, the Japanese target audience for anime is more mature.
As a friend and avid anime watcher elucidated: “Dubbing causes anime to lose a good chunk of its audience as a lot of fans outside Japan are above the target audience age range.”
Due to the low age range of the audience at which Western anime is aimed, you not only get dubbing rather than subtitles but also censorship in the omission of the violence, blood, injuries, swearing and nudity originally present in the anime.
Censorship and dubbing results in changes to anime’s appearance, atmosphere and even storylines. Anyone recall Battle of the Planets? It was a TV series beloved of western audiences, but neither America nor Europe showed the final episode where Jason commits suicide.
Although some fans are happy with these changes – or don’t recognise them as such, assuming they’re watching the genuine article – it leaves many of us wanting original, uncut anime shown in raw, original Japanese.
So give us what we want!
Full Metal Alchemist is fantastic anime. If you wish, you may watch it dubbed.