There has been a long standing debate in the anime viewing community concerning which is better, anime that is Subbed or Dubbed. Just a quick run down for anyone that doesn’t know. Subbed refers to anime that is subtitled, as in the dialogue is in written text across the screen in your preferred language while the original voice acted audio remains. Conversely, Dubbed refers to when the original voice acted dialogue is replaced with voice acted dialogue in your preferred language.
And for many anime fans that is the end of the debate, there are only two options and if you don’t like one, than you’ll have to use the other. But very few anime fans consider or even mention the other option, and yes there is a third option. It’s neither Subbed or Dubbed, but rather anime in the Raw. No that doesn’t mean that it’s anime in it’s birthday suit! But rather, it’s anime that keeps all it’s quirky, over the top, highly emotional dialog found in it’s original audio track and lacks all those annoying subtitles scrolling across the screen. Though it is a bit more work on the viewers part, it is a much better experience. Though all formats of anime have their benefits and problems, here is a run down, and reasons why you might want to consider the third option.
There are many benefits to watching anime that is Dubbed. One of the most obvious benefits of watching dubbed anime is that there is no learning curve with this form. You don’t need to get used to reading subtitles at the bottom of the screen and there is no extra language barriers for you. Another benefit is that this form of anime is very welcoming to those new to the media. For people that maybe are just trying out anime for the first time and are a little wary of this new and foreign form of media, it can be a little overwhelming to handle all the uniqueness of anime and also deal with understanding a foreign language.
Dubbed anime is also ideal if you want to share your love of anime with a younger relative/sibling that maybe can’t read fast enough to keep up with the subtitles . Though Dubbed anime is very convenient, there is a rather big drawback of the Dubbed form. At times the dialog in the Dubbed form of anime is good and very close to the original Japanese meaning, but more often than not, it is surprisingly far from the original. This is most obvious with humor in anime. Many non anime fans complain about the strange/nonsensical humor in anime, what they don’t understand is that it wasn’t really the jokes that made no sense, it was just translated poorly. The term “Lost in translation” can explain a lot of anime’s eccentricity. Though I honestly think that if you are watching Dubbed anime than you are only watching half of anime (you’re missing out on that much!) there is some series that are actually better when Dubbed, like Ouran High School Host Club. The English voice acting is just so good with this series, while the Japanese voice acting kind of falls flat, that it would actually be a dis-service to the series to not enjoy the Dubbed version.
There are so many reasons to love Subbed anime! (I’m totally not biased) First of all, you get to listen to the huge emotional range of voice acting as the anime characters were meant to sound. And Japanese voice actors are amazing! Also, the emphasis and tones of the dialog in Japanese will better match the animation that it was designed for. It’s just a fact that Japanese and English language (and other languages) put emphasis at different parts of a sentence. While in English emphasis is placed at the beginning of a sentence, in Japanese the emphasis is placed at the end. Needless to say, when the animation is designed to have emphasis at the end of sentences, but the dialog as been changed from it’s original to have emphasis at the beginning, things don’t match up very well.
This is just one of the problems that trying to match Japanese animation to English dialog has, and that watching anime in it’s Subbed form solves. Of course, Subbed isn’t perfect. One down side to Subbed is that when multiple characters are talking at once it can be very difficult to understand which line of subtitles go to which character. I think that most anime are better with their original audio, and one in particular that really demonstrates the full range of emotion that is possible in one anime character is Vash the Stampede from Trigun. This character can flip from goofy to sweet to serious in the blink of an eye. Something that is sorely missed in the English version.
You might have already guessed, or maybe you were already in the know, but Raw Anime refers to anime that is in it’s original form that would be seen in Japan with no alteration. Of course, this does mean that you would have to learn the Japanese language. Wait, wait, come back! It’s not as bad as it sounds! Though many have claimed Japanese is the most difficult language to learn, it’s really not that bad. Japanese has a lot of loan worlds from English, so if that is your native language, you’re in luck.
Also, Japanese grammar is very straight forward and has almost no exceptions to their rules. Best of all, you can understand a lot of anime with a relatively low level understanding of the Japanese language. In fact, just learning basic exclamations found in anime can really help in your understanding of the dialog. Once you get over that teeny weeny mountain of the language barrier, it is such a huge benefit to your anime viewing. No annoying subtitles scrolling across your screen, getting in the way of seeing the best parts of an action scene. No confusion of exactly who is talking. Nothing (or at least very little) lost in translation. Best of all, you can work your way up from Subtitles to Raw in baby steps, and if you ever come across an anime that you just can’t understand the dialog to, you can always just turn the Subtitles back on. One anime that is clearly better in the Raw is the series Toilet bound Hanako-kun.
This is definitely an anime that was created just for the Japanese language. The English voice acting is bland and uninspiring, yet the Japanese voice acting really brings the characters to life. Further more, the Subtitles can be a bit confusing as to who is talking, or if someone is talking or if something that is written is being translated. This series is so much more enjoyable if you have a little bit of Japanese under your belt!
Do you have a favorite form of anime? Why do you like it the best? Leave a comment below!
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This week’s anime exclamation is: Gomenasai! meaning Sorry!
I’m currently watching;
- Banished from the Heroes Party
- Sailor Moon Crystal
- Click Link
- Visual Prison
- Taisho Otome Fairy Tale
- Mars Red
- Inari Kon Kon
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
- The Great Jahy will Not Be Defeated!
- Detective Conan
- The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window
- Revolutionary Girl Utena
- Neo Angelique Abyss
- Hanasakeru Seishonen
- Takt Op. Destiny
- Zombie Loan
- Over Lord
- Bung Stray Dogs
- Cardfight Vanguard Overdress