Why Even Watch Anime Dubs Anymore?

Quite a mute topic I know, but while Im waiting for the spring season to end and get my reviews ready I need to talk about something. Luckily I have a habit of thinking about things that don’t warrant as much critical thought to the point where I drive myself insane. One of which was my morbid curiosity about the dub scene. Considering that I’ve been watching a lot of Funimation’s simul-dubbing, I have taken this chance to give a sort of status update on dubs these days and maybe give a few recommendations of some modern dubs that you can sink your teeth into. But before all that we need to address the big question that I think needs addressing, “Why should I watch a dub of a show I’ve already seen?” And maybe in my excessive and tangential ramblings we’ll formulate some kind of an answer.

So I am one of those people who still get super excited when a dub comes out for a show that I really liked. I also don’t try to make it a habit of buying series without an english track. So I am probably the only dub fanboy who talks critically about anime. I am also the first critic to make that previous statement (<—sacasm alert). Sure its understandable that for the most part what you see first will be he subtitle version if you like to keep up with Anime. I certainly wont hold off watching a show because it doesn’t have a dub. This isn’t just because I review shows for a living and would be severely irrelevant if I talked about shows months after they released. Its because when a dub comes out it means that I will get either a brand new experience with at show or a heightened version of what I had already watched. The reason for this is that I just get more out of dubs because I don’t speak Japanese that well, not to mention the different dialects. When it comes to english I can tell the difference between every accent the language has and know what the inflections of these accents mean. As for Japanese I know little about how inflection works and what word or phrase its necessarily being put on, and seeing that inflection gives meaning to what you’re saying, its a big deal. Plus since subtitles can never be an exact mirror of what the Japanese are saying, there’s even more disconnect. At least with english dubs they change it to where what the characters are saying is congruent to what Im hearing. Some people will say that those things don’t matter since the emotions from the Japanese cast come’s through better than the english cast. Well something always sounds good when you don’t know how its suppose to sound like. This is the reason that I think most people praise subs over dubs. This is where I lose them.

Lets take Comedy as an example. When it comes to comedy series, unless its an extreme case, I will always find that the english dub release makes me laugh more. Theres just something about the Japanese language that doesn’t fit well with my brand of comedic timing. I really commend the english adapters on how they can bring the comedy in anime and localize it for western audiences. Most of the time they hit it out of the park. Shows like Baka and Test, Maria Holic and Date A Live, are made by how well the english comedy fits right in with those shows.


Moe/Slice of life shows are another matter here I can see a hard argument of just not getting a good experience from english dubs. But the market usually tends to release a lot of Moe/Slice of life as sub only so I think they get that too. There’s just something about that genre that doesn’t translate well enough to english. I guess Americans don’t know how to accurately portray funny cute girls or something.

But enough about genre specific stuff lets get into the reason why “you” the reader show even bother with watching an anime dub. To put it simply, when they hit it out of the park, which they do often, its just so good. I don’t buy all that original intent crap when it comes to voice acting, most of anime doesn’t need the original Japanese vocals to get the point across and people who say that don’t understand art in general. Besides if this were true we wouldn’t have plays and Shakespeare wouldn’t be the greatest playwright who ever lived, if his works couldn’t handle a simple change of cast. I mean I don’t think people know but subtitles are already unfaithful to the original Japanese intent. English and Japanese are two very different languages and a lot of things said in Japanese cant be directly translated into english. When something is truly great and is handled by people who care, the product that comes out will more often than not be great. And yeah I get where some people are coming from, there was a point in the mid 2000’s where Anime dubs sucked and everything felt like it was coming off a conveyor belt. And don’t even get me started on the dubs in the 90’s (#90kids). Since those dark times, the shows that are good, get a good dub. So this isn’t really a call to action seeing that the dub industry doesn’t really need it right now. I mean, I’m pretty sure if companies are willing to crank out dubs in such a quick fashion there is still a demand for it. All I’m here to do is maybe give those of you who haven’t seen a good anime dub in awhile some suggestions.

And if you’re asking “Why should I even watch a dub to a show I already have seen?” Well for one it gives you a reason to watch a show you like. Two, it will help you really focus on whats going on since anime is a visual medium. And Lastly, trust me when I say this, when you’re hearing emotion in your own language (and the acting skills are on par) its going to resonate with you more. Watching a dub is getting the fuller experience out of your anime, and who doesn’t want that. You do right? Of course you do. So go watch some of these stellar/recent dubs I’m about to recommend.

For this list I’m gonna be doing shows that are currently streaming, aired after 2010, and that I think benefit by having an English track.



Kill La Kill

Your Lie In April

Magi The Labyrinth of Magic



Haganai: I don’t have many friends

Death Parade

Blood Blockade Battlefront

Lupin the Third: A Woman Called Fujiko Mine


Space Dandy

Logan Peterson
Logan Peterson
My names Logan and I love writing about Anime. Other art is guchi too. When I'm not writing gonzo reviews I'm writing books. *If interested look up The Dream Sequence on Amazon.* I usually write more editorial stuff than just plain reviews. I like my writing to be more big picture. I feel consumer reviews are a thing of the past and more personal reviews are the most valuable nowadays.