Finally, a non-controversial topic! Any time I’ve had the Sub v Dub debate it’s always ended in hugs and roses, and usually everyone in the room claps for us when we’re done! In all seriousness, the last few days of this challenge have felt contentious to say the least, so I guess we’re keeping with the theme.

I know you all saw the challenge title and knew you could count on me to impart wisdom and settle this debate once and for all. So gather around children while I gift you my expert level analysis on which is superior: subtitles or dubtitles.

So, I won’t hold you in suspense here. This isn’t a food blog and I don’t feel the need to tell you my life’s story before giving you the recipe for success. My personal preference for anime is….

Subtitled

I have several reasons I prefer the subtitles and the original audio, so I’ll just list a few of them here:

  • The anime is synced to the original audio rather than the other way around
  • It feels more authentic to me
  • I’m forced to pay attention

Really, the first two reasons go hand in hand. From an outsiders perspective, it feels like a lot of work goes into the professional voice acting industry in Japan. With anime being such a huge market, it makes sense. So the script, emotions and delivery always seem to sync up perfectly with what I’m seeing on screen. These shows are animated to emulate Japanese voice actors, and it shows.

I don’t mean to indicate that the English Dub cast is lazy or untrained. It’s just that, while the English Dub cast always put in amazing time and effort, it rarely ever truly clicks for me. There’s always something a little bit off. It could easily just be in my head. And it isn’t just anime; I also prefer any live action show to be in it’s original language.

The last point is another big one for me. Even for the most exciting movies and TV shows, I’m always tempted to pull out my phone and “multitask”. Of course, one or the other always ends up getting most of my attention and I become lost. If I’m having to read the screen to keep up with what’s happening, this becomes much less of an issue. I’m fully immersed in what I’m seeing. That’s obviously more of a fault for me and not Dubs, but it’s the unfortunate truth.

Irina over at I Drink and Watch Anime recently wrote a very thoughtful post on the topic that is definitely worth checking out. Click here to read it.

Ultimately, it’s going to come down to personal preference. While I see Sub as the superior choice, all of the reasons I see it that way are personal to me. Many people have their own reasons for picking one or the other, and in the end, enjoyment is the real goal here. So let’s stop pretending Dub is as good as Sub that one is better than the other and just get along.

But seriously, Sub is better.

4 replies on “30 Day Anime Challenge (2022): Day 4 – Subbed vs Dubbed Anime

  1. You gotta imagine how bad it must feel to be a dub actor though working so hard on an anime just for people to say it’s trash. I mean I prefer subs too, but that must suck. Though, I sometimes go for dubs for different reasons.

    I’m curious if there are any anime where you prefer the dub—aside from the classic choice of Cowboy Bebop. Personally, I prefer the dub for Konosuba because the specific comedy of that show just hits better for me when I’m actually hearing the jokes rather than reading them. And VAs are all really good too. Dubs have really come a long way in recent years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, I think there are plenty of people who really do prefer the dub, and more power to them. Hopefully it’s enough of a following to help Dub actors feel their work is valued.

      I did try to step into the dub world on twitter and see what people were saying, and I found a lot of…drama? Maybe I just stepped in on the wrong day (surely it’s not always that way), but it felt really weird to be reading about a bunch of dub actors hating on one another. Could be tied to some drama I’m not aware of I’m sure.

      I haven’t actually run into any I prefer as Dub (I’m only one episode in on Bebop). Konosuba is a good example of a good dub, though I still prefer it in Japanese.

      I think Dub’s biggest problem is the consistency of the quality. Sometimes it feels like they genuinely try to make something amazing, and other times it feels like they’ll just go with easiest to get applicants. Maybe anime is seen as a proving/practice grounds for mainstream television and movies later on? Maybe the casting director just doesn’t care to familiarize themselves with the characters? Regardless, it’s hard to consistently recommend Dub for anyone who doesn’t want to watch subtitled anime because it’s hard to know if it’ll be great or meh.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well your mistake wasn’t going into the dub world at the wrong time, it was going on twitter lol.

        I heard that there actually isn’t a lot of money in anime dubs, which is probably why the quality can sometimes be lacking. Though, I’ve really only heard good things about recent dubs. Back in the day, I think they actually did just get whoever to do dub voices. Most of these actors probably didn’t care about what they were working on. But today, with the rising popularity of anime, I think most VAs actually are anime fans and care about their work—at least, from what I’ve seen.

        Liked by 1 person

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