Anime Challenge Day 3: Do you prefer Subs or Dubs?

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?

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Photo by A Geeky Gal

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

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.

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Photo by A Geeky Gal

Dubs

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.

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Photo by A Geeky Gal

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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16 thoughts on “Anime Challenge Day 3: Do you prefer Subs or Dubs?

  1. I normally watch anime that’s dubbed b/c like you mentioned I can focus more on the story without having to read everything. I do watch some subbed anime if it’s the only version available & the dubbed version won’t be available for years.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I watch dubs because I only ever watch tv while doing something on my computer, usually playing a game like Minecraft or Stardew Valley. Watching subs would require sitting down and fully focusing on the TVA, and I just don’t enjoy doing that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When it comes to live-action films, I only ever like to hear them in their original language. However, technically speaking, animation is always dubbed – even in the language of its country of origin. As a result, I don’t think one option is inherently better than the other. Which one I go with is on a case-by-case basis; sometimes both are fine while in other cases, there’s only one viable option. I have seen more cases in which the subs beat the dubs than the other way around, but it’s foolish to believe there aren’t any cases in which the dub is better (hint: you generally know that’s the case when the original creators prefer the dubs).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually, that’s precisely what I was referring to. As I said, I think both subs and dubs are perfectly fine for animation. A lot of the fun is seeing how the dubbing teams overcome subtle language intricacies that don’t translate.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I like subs. I don’t know if it is one of the few plus sides to ADD and ADHD, but I don’t have much of an issue seeing the whole screen and reading text at the same time. And, I enjoy hearing other languages.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I sometimes have issues if a lot of text is going on. In Food Wars for example, sometimes you’ll have text on the bottom for dialogue and text on the top explaining Japanese characters or something in Japanese culture. But if it’s simple as reading dialogue it doesn’t usually pose too much of a problem. And yes, other languages are beautiful; Japanese is especially beautiful. 🙂

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  5. My answer to this question is…both?
    For clarity, I watch EVERY show with subtitles/captions. I find that it enhances my understanding of what’s going on. I’m the kind of person who absorbs information best by reading, so having subs on adds a lot to my viewing experience. It’s also nice when my family is asleep and I can’t turn up the volume as loud as I would like!
    That being said, I still watch the English dubs of anime so that I can experience the show in my native language. I’ve always understood the argument in favor of subs to be “the voice acting is better,” to which I always replied “it doesn’t matter if you don’t know the language, because you still can’t appreciate the nuance of their acting skills.” However, the way you’ve phrased it here – the potential for translation errors in particular – has pushed me a little more in the direction of being a subbed guy. So thanks for presenting the argument well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad I’m not the only one who watches everything with captions haha! My hearing isn’t great so sometimes I miss dialogue is characters are talking really softly. Captions takes care of that.

      I really wanted to show both sides here and help people understand liking one or the other doesn’t make you less of a fan and both have benefits. We all have our own reasons for our preferences! Thanks for reading Robert. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I used to be a gigantic sub snob in college even though my first anime was Sailor Moon back when it was on TV and it was obviously dubbed for American audiences. In college I joined the Anime Club there and everything we watched was subbed, which I loved. I like the idea of watching something in its original language, but unfortunately it caused that elitism/classism in me, which is pretty horrendous. Dubbed is a perfectly valid way to enjoy anime for whatever reason you like it. As a gamer, though, I’m really happy they’re starting to offer the choice of dubbed or subbed with JRPGs, though the one I’m playing right now (Octopath Traveler) I choose the English, and it’s actually really good voice acting. A lot of times the Japanese voice actors are just so much better and there’s going to be text regardless.

    One of my favorite animes I believe is only in English (or I haven’t found a Japanese version yet, which would be weird)! Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. I’ve only ever seen the English language version, but it there’s a Japanese with subtitles one out there, I’d love to find it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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