On mostly uncontroversial things
Summary: Dubs are generally shitty because it’s very hard to make them well, although that doesn’t mean dubs are always worse than subs (courtesy Wondering Weeaboo).
I prefer subs and have very little faith in dubs at all. There are exceptions, of course, but I find most dubbed anime to be lacking. There are several reasons for my preferences.
1. There is always, always something lost in translation. I am teaching myself Japanese so that I don’t even have to rely even on subs. It’s shocking and kind of sickening sometimes how terribly butchered the original meaning of lines and whole plot points can become because of the need to match dialogue to the original “lip flaps.”
2. The voice acting industry in America is small. Because of this, many actors are recycled over and over and over into roles they should not be playing. They have talent, sure, but the industry is NOT big enough to find a suitable voice actor for most characters.
3. The voice-acting is far too often cheesy and cartoonish. The actors ham it up a lot, which is understandable; in American cartoons, everything is over-the-top. In anime, subtler voice acting with more inflection is absolutely necessary. Whether because of a lack of talent or because of a misconception about anime in general, this rarely happens.
4. With “Americanization” of anime, many cultural references are lost. We’re trying to make this appeal to American audiences, but it’s ridiculous how much is lost—not accidentally in translation but purposefully in the script-writing process.
Those are the main ones for me right now. I usually find dubs ridiculously cheesy and almost painful to listen to. As I said, however, there most certainly are a huge number of exceptions, and the list of successful dubs is growing, I imagine, as the industry expands. I actually began watching dubbed anime and that is what brought me into everything else, so I am extremely grateful to dubs. However, twice removed from their source material, they pale miserably in comparison to the original.
I can”t stand dubs, for the most part. Where I”m from, almost any movie or show is aired in the original language with subtitles, so maybe I”m just more accustomed to it.
The few times i have seen a dubbed movie or tv-show, I just couldn”t watch it.
In dubs I almost always feel that the voices don”t sound right, or the lips move wrong to the audio track. It may be small things, but it just annoys and distracts from the whole experience.
Now, there have been a few (about 3) anime for which I actually liked the dub, in one case even more than the original. Live action however, I can”t watch it dubbed without feeling the urge to pull out my hair and stab my ears with a sharp object.
I would just like to add, people who say they don”t like subtitles because they don”t want to “read a movie” need to get punched in the face. This excuse is only valid if you are under 9 years old or an analfabetic.
Edit: Here is a link to tvtropes about Cowboy Bebop – one of the more famous examples of dubs trumping subs, courtesy of Wandering Weeaboo’s virulent fanship.