My best friend from college recently came over, and we had a short discussion of the dub vs. sub controversy that I haven’t had since… well, high school probably.
Nice to know somethings don’t change in the anime community, right? That aside, I’m always shocked to hear, even from my niece, how some people think that dub is inferior to subtitles and, to me, that is one of the biggest jokes in our community. I’m sure to make a few enemies in saying this, but, come on–don’t be a snob about which one is better all of the time.
I’ve seen plenty of shows that I preferred in English to that of the subtitles, partially because the dub was careful to hold true to the tone of the original, making jokes that a person from the West–particularly the States–would understand and laugh at/with. Admittingly, though, I think that subtitles are often better for many reasons. For example, there was a time when fansubs were really the only option for new fans devouring content almost as fast as it is produced, and those subs were great not because they were grammatically perfect but because the people working on them loved the series and that came out clearly in their translation. Even now, I love sub rather than dub for many series but it doesn’t mean that I don’t try both every now and then when the opportunity is offered. When I hear people snub dubbing altogether though, I get a little POd because dubbing is what brought me into the anime community. You think that at the tender age of five I was watching Sailor Moon in Japanese with subtitles? Hell no. When I got older I did, and I do like the sub better, but it doesn’t mean the dub doesn’t hold a special place in my heart.
Many people I know entered the community via watching dubbed series. Even people I know hear spouting the weird mentality of “sub is better than dub all the time,” when I know for a fact that they have a handful of dubs they absolutely love more than the subs.
I bring this up now because it kind of needs to be said that the debate is ludicrous. I said to someone recently, “You know what would be even better than subtitles?” after they tried and failed to shame me for my opinion on this debate. They didn’t have an answer. I do though, and that is “learning Japanese so you don’t have to read it.” Because ultimately, if your argument is that subs are better than dubs because it keeps the original language or is closer to the original than what is better than that is actually learning and understanding the language that the series was first produced in. However, if you’re not going to do that than I think it’s kind of ridiculous to get on your high horse about subtitles. I mean, it’s kind of ridiculous to get on your high horse anyway when our community is so rich with other content to discuss and debate.
HEY, if you are interested in learning Japanese I recommend the Sky Blue Project on Youtube and getting some Genki books. They’re what we used in my early Japanese classes and I stand by them as a great start to learning.