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The magic of dubbing

Often times, when an anime is dubbed people, will say the dubbed version is inherently inferior to the original Japanese. Which in the case of many early 80’s to mid 90’s I would agree with to an extent. Often times the voice acting is poorly directed and cheaply done with amateur actors, but I believe that changed largely due to Dragon Ball Z. The massive popularity of Dragon Ball Z brought more money into the localization process of many Japanese products when they were brought over to the west and this can be seen in how the dubbing of Dragon Ball Z. Despite these improvements why do people continue to believe that dubbed anime is inherently inferior to the subbed version? Both types of localization have their own strength and weakness, so why does the western anime community hate over the other?

  • Being a keen fan of anime I can certainly agree with the points you've raised in this topic suggestion although I generally prefer to watch anime subtitled and hear the original language, but that's my personal preference. I have seen some dubbed anime in which the voice actors did a splendid job - Crispin Freeman's voicing of the Kyon character in 'The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya' series and film (2006 - 2009) is a good example, but in direct contrast to this is Emily Hirst, whose whiny, nasal drawl was not at all in keeping with the character Makoto Konno from 'The Girl Who Leapt Through Time' (2006) and annoyed me intensely. One of the problems with dubbing (and subbing) is transference of cultural idioms and references. Simply switching these from one language to another, e.g. Japanese to American English doesn't always work and (no offence intended towards Americans) it shouldn't automatically be assumed that everyone in the English speaking world will necessarily understand the American reference or idiom. One size doesn't always fit all! Whilst professional subtitlers will sometimes, by necessity, have to be linguistically creative with translations and transference of idioms and cultural references, any competent translator will never balk at translating a difficult turn of phrase - which can't be said for some fan 'subbers' I could mention - so will try to keep as close to the original as possible whilst still creating text that can be easily understood by non-Japanese speakers. This doesn't make subtitling superior to dubbing as the two approaches to translation are completely different, as any professional voice artist will confirm. There is, admittedly, some 'snob bias' from some who prefer subtitling and there always will be; it's just the way of the anime community. Coincidentally I'm presently preparing an article about the history of subtitling in which I also cover anime fan subbing - both its good and bad points, so it would be interesting to see someone take up your topic suggestion and write about the development of dubbing; I have some fascinating source material I could suggest for anyone interested. – Amyus 4 years ago
  • I tend to prefer subbed anime over its dubbed counterpart. My main reason for this being that I feel the original Japanese voice actors are able to capture concepts and convey them more effectively than an American voice actor. Abstract concepts that are unique to Japan like the red string of fate or even the various ways to say "I love you" may be things an English-speaking voice actor might not completely understand and will therefore not be able to capture the subtle nuances associated with the idea. However, that's not to say English dubs don't have their merits. There are a number of anime in which I actually prefer the English dub. FMAB, Rurouni Kenshin, Yu Yu Hakusho, etc. Possibly the reason why some people in Western audiences hate dubbed anime is a matter of superiority and originality. The Japanese dub came from Japan where anime was born and is thriving. Because anime is still a relatively foreign concept for Western audiences, it may take a while before the idea of something belonging to one country can successfully bridge the gap across cultures. – ceekim 4 years ago

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Update: Sony patched the issue involving the CMOS battery. (9.0.0 patch) So it is now possible to continue using games on the system even if the battery dies or should the console lose connection to the PSN. I have not seen any sources if the console can play movies though.

The Importance of Digital Media Preservation

I would make the case it does affect anyone who engages with games. While it hasn’t occurred yet many companies are making a push for digital only games. That already affects you as if that becomes and industry standard you cannot trade games in.

You could possibly use some form rental service like PSN Now, but if a game suddenly gets pulled from the service you won’t be able to play it. Or if a game never makes it on the service due to legal reasons then you won’t be able to play it.

There’s also games like Hexen 2 (it’s a really old PC shooter) but due to publishing rights for the game, there is currently no legal way of getting a hold of it. Meaning this game could possibly be lost forever.

A recent event that occurred is Ubisoft just shut down might and magic 10. Because they did this, the people who purchased the game and its dlc can no longer play the main campaign or the online. This gets worse when you consider the fact that you can still purchase the game on certain sites or stores. People uniformed by the events have now essentially bought a very expensive paper weight, that depending on where they bought this game from, they might not be able to get a refund. Had Ubisoft made the source code available the players could set up their own online server, but Ubisoft didn’t.

You may never experience any of these situation, and should find your self in such a situation you might get over it. But, simply put its naive to think none this effects you. The only people who aren’t effected by this are people who don’t play games (and I find that to be a bit of a stretch in logic).

The Importance of Digital Media Preservation

Someone mentioned it farther down in the comments, but getting games put in the public domain like books, movies, and television programs would help. Changing the attitude of the public would help as well. Many people see games as toys and not art. This is part the reason games don’t have the same extensive protection under law when it comes to preserving them. While some legal battles have gotten them protective rights, there place in our culture is not fully defined which leads to problems. Supporting preservationist groups can also help.

The Importance of Digital Media Preservation

Expressing you opinion isn’t belittling. You’re entitled to feel how ever you want. That is how we get a discourse going on subjects like this, which is important to understanding these topics. So, please don’t take my rebuttal to your comment as being belittling/defensive.

I largely disagree with this statement for several reasons, some of which I already made in this article.

(1) Anyone can have fun with anything. There is no way to accurately predict someones level of enjoyment without having talked to them first. While there is no denying that older games aren’t as popular as the modern games. This can be due to several reasons like, accessibility, the fact that there not regularly marketed like newer games, or as you pointed out that they look/feel dated. Ultimately that’s not for you or me to decide. I’ve personally never been a fan of Mega man (classic) yet the game has ported/remade for multiple consoles in its original 16 bit design on multiple systems new and old. It like many other games has become a timeless classic that many enjoy for multiple reasons. Games like Mega man have also acted as inspiration for multiple modern games.

(2) You’re right once again in that video games due to being entirely electronic are quickly surpassed by newer content. But, that doesn’t mean they should be completely forgotten. Anyone who is a big FPS fan should know the names John Carmack, John Romero and Id Software. Once again games like the classic doom trilogy and Quake may not be as popular anymore, but much the of code and design philosophy in these games act as the basis for modern shooters in some way. We also see games like Nightmare Reaper and Bombshell that are made on the build engine. Despite the build engine being over thirty years old now, people still use it to develop successful games that people enjoy.

(3) This is probably the most important point to me, but true art is timeless. You mentioned books in your response. Many people don’t see the purpose of reading anymore. They believe that literature has been surpassed by television and other forms of storytelling. And even amongst those who do read many don’t see the purpose in teaching stories like Beowulf and Romeo and Juliet. They believe we should only be reading and studying new and more relevant books. Which can only be said if you ignore how older books helped paved the way for the newer text. Much in the same way older games helped paved the way for newer games. (Gonna make a straw man real quick) Many will say things like “These lessons have been taught better in other places or I’d rather watch the movie, There not as entertaining as movie, and so on.” Games like Metal Gear, Drakengard, Nier, Spec Ops the line, and Final Fantasy have a cultural value that should not simply be forgotten, even if they are surpassed on the technical level, games have an artistic value that should be preserved like any book, painting, film or song.

(4) People are directly inspired by other works. Shovel Knight goes out of its way to only use sound and visual techniques only possible in the SNES. A hat time and Yooka-Laylee are directly inspired by the N64 era of platformers.

The reason I responded to you so extensively is because your comments mirror Jim Ryan’s. Which I feel these comments can only be made when someone doesn’t acknowledge the cultural relevance that games play in our society now.

The Importance of Digital Media Preservation

The compliment doesn’t feel backhanded to me. Your feelings about PASWG seems to be the norm from my experience. Most of my friends hated this show when it came out (most still do). And from what I’ve read in the comment section, most people seem to be split on the show as a whole. Some either like the wild, unpredictable nature of the show. In contrast, others like yourself would have preferred a more grounded and consistent art style.

This is a completely fair criticism of Gainax. It’s very jarring when you have a series constantly changing how it looks. It takes you out of the experience and reminds you as a viewer that you’re watching a cartoon.

And you’re spot on about PASWG being good for analysts, but not viewers. I love to pick through studio Gainax’s works and see all the references to different animated shows. They’re is probably the most Avant-garde studio still in the business.

But just because you’re breaking the norms doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Norms in art become norms because they work. And if you don’t have a good reason for breaking them, it becomes self-indulgent like you pointed out.

While Gainax was trying to do it for comedic effect. I feel unless you’re really familiar with animation of the 1990s-2000s some of the jokes might be missed. And even when you do notice them they might not be that funny. Teen Titan’s go has a similar problem (though they’re mostly trying to chase the superficial trends that show’s like Adventure Time, Gumball, and Annoying Orange started.)

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: Breaking the mold of classic feminism

You’re absolutely right. The same could be said of Fate Kalied as it is mostly a parody of the mainline Fate Series. When I was writing, I was mostly thinking of what shows use the transformation sequences for fan service. But, as you said, not all my examples can be viewed in the same context. After reading your comment, I’d honestly remove these two from my list of examples as their intent is more in line with what Gainax is doing in PASWG.

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: Breaking the mold of classic feminism

The ending was good for building hype for a possible second season. Some fans even started working on a continuation of the series when the realized Gainax wasn’t going to continue the series.

It personally took my by surprised and when I first saw it. I was immediately looking for season two (as I watched it for the first time in 2015 during my time in college.) Now it leaves me mostly frustrated as I would like to know why Stocking betrayed Panty.

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: Breaking the mold of classic feminism

I’ve mentioned this in some of my earlier comments, that it was never meant to come across as complaining or making an uproar. But rather I was trying to comment on trends that I’ve noticed with in the animation industry. If you can point to what section in my article came across as me making an uproar it would be greatly appreciated. As in both my articles I’ve published on this site, people seem to think I’m complaining, when my goals is to point out area’s where I think an artist work can be improved.

Not only that but, many of your comments I felt I pointed to in my article as well. Such as how Shiro suffered from PTSD, had a rare muscle disease, lost a arm and went on to find happiness despite his troubles. I made a point to dedicate a lot of attention to how Shiro was built up as a great leader to the paladins. I even had a quote from the director about how they wanted Shiro to be more than just the token gay character.

I also drew attention to how the producers wanted the series to be more focused on the action, while the writers and directors said they wanted more opportunities to explore the paladins background and deal with more of the dramatic action side of the series.

While I didn’t mention it in my article the director did want an opportunity to explore the paladins ethnic background as well, but once again the producers blocked it for the reason I mentioned earlier.

Also as to why fans didn’t raise a fit about the ethnic backgrounds of the Paladins. I would say it was due to a couple factors.

1. They didn’t use the Paladins ethnic background in any of the marketing like they did with Shiro’s sexuality. The paladins heritage was left largely ambiguous, with only subtle hints to it (such as with Shiro’s name, and Hunk and Lances family dropping hints as to their background. This came in the form of their word choices their family used and food they prepared when they got back to Earth.

2. Another factor is if no information is provided, their is no analysis that could possibly be made, only speculated upon. BTW Hunk is Samoan, Pidge is Italian, Lance is Cuban, and Beside his Galra heirtage nothing is known about Keith. Most people assume his father is American because of his southern accent, but that’s once again speculation simply because there is no further information given. The paladin’s ethnicity is never explored. This is probably as you said, that it didn’t matter in the grand scheme of the series. Most of this information comes from the data book, but was never mentioned in the series.

3. I also believe people didn’t care about Shiro being Japanese, as animation as whole has plenty of Japanese protagonist. Due to Japan being one of the biggest animation producers. So it is fairly easy to access shows written and directed by people of a Japanese background. This means the market isn’t exactly starved for shows that follow a Japanese protagonist. (This doesn’t excuse American studio’s from not writing a series that follows a diverse background imo though, but that’s why I believe it might not have been that big of a deal for people) Where as LGBTQ+ characters being shown in a more favorable light is less common. So when event’s like a Gay wedding appearing in show’s like Voltron or Steven Universe its a big deal for people who are a part of the community, and they don’t want their sexuality to be used as a marketing gimmick.

I also agree with you on that the show is about about how we could come together despite our differences. Proof of this can be seen in how the people who worked on the show, as well as the paladins come from a multi cultured background. And the fact that the Voltron coalition is made up of various aliens the paladins meet in their journey. While the main antagonist is an empire made up largely of one race, and the people they forcibly subjugated (and are not loyal to the galra).

I also want it to be known that Shiro is one of my favorite characters. Despite my criticism of how his sexuality was handled, I believe he is a fully realized character. But it doesn’t mean there aren’t flaws in how he is handled.

I believe criticism is the only way we can improve. If we are not aware of problems we can’t fix them. This is why I wrote this mini essay in response to your criticism, as this is how I perceived my article. But maybe I was wrong. Maybe it didn’t come across that way. If you could point to where exactly you felt I was lacking it would be greatly appreciated. It will only help me improve as a writer.

Shiro's Sexuality in Voltron: Legendary Defender