Ah, the age old question. One every anime fan fears when it is whispered at conventions. Are we afraid our choice will cause automatic judgement? Does it define us as a “real” or “fake” fan? Is subtitled anime (subs) the only way to watch anime? Is anime dubbed in your language (dubs) the wrong way to enjoy anime?
I don’t think my answer will surprise anyone. I enjoy both subs and dubs for a variety of reasons. Neither are the wrong way to enjoy anime. I encourage all of you to enjoy anime the best way you see fit, whether it be subbed or dubbed. After all, anime is made to be watched no matter which way is your preference. I’m going to break down my reasons for enjoying both.
Subs tend to be what most anime lovers side with and I know why. It’s actually the best way to enjoy anime as it was originally intended. Anime is recorded in Japanese first (in a majority of cases; I’m sure there are anime somewhere that this may not be the case). Sometimes things get lost in translation like catch phrases, mannerisms, and honorifics to describe relationships. Sometimes characters are changed entirely or relationships are given a very different meaning (looking at you Sailor Moon in the US) to fit within a set of standards for that country.
Another issue with dubbed anime is that lip-syncing is usually off which can take away from the show. Listening to anime in it’s originally language can feel more natural and normal despite having to read subtitles. Characters have voices that were picked especially for them and voice actors in other languages may not match that original voice. It can change the way we see a character.
If you’re really into an anime, the last thing you want to do is wait for the dubbed version to come out. If you’re okay with subbed anime, you can watch your favorites as soon as they come out! Dubbed anime takes a lot of time to create.
Dubs are how I first enjoyed anime. We didn’t have internet until I was 13 and even then I really had no idea about other anime besides what I saw on cable. So I watched Sailor Moon, InuYasha, Digimon, and many other of my “starter” anime series as dubs! I never really considered watching them in Japanese with subtitles. I didn’t venture into subbed anime until I grew impatient waiting for one of my favorite series’ last season to be dubbed.
The first time I watched anime with subtitles, I found it strange to read the text instead of watching the action play out on the screen. This led to me missing some action and fighting scenes which is annoying. Many people find it hard to keep up with subtitles while still trying to pay attention to what’s going on. For those with reading disabilities, it’s especially difficult, and they may never get to enjoy anime otherwise. I’ll admit it does takes some getting used to, and you can’t enjoy subbed anime while doing anything else like working or blogging.
Dubs really aren’t all bad. I promise. There’s tons of well dubbed anime out there in English like Dragon Ball Z, Death Note, Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist and more (but let’s be honest; we watch dubbed Sailor Moon for the nostalgia). If you’re a patient fan, it can pay off to watch dubbed anime in your language.
So to answer that question simply: neither are a wrong or bad answer. Just enjoy the anime in whatever way is easiest or best for you!
Want to see more of the 30 Day Anime Challenge? Want to try the challenge yourself? Read this post here!
Do you prefer subs or dubs? Why? Tell me in the comments!
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