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The One English Dub That I Prefer Over The Japanese One

Day 4 of the 12 Days of Anime

Just a few days ago I watched an anime called REDLINE. I had started it about a month earlier, however, I was originally intending to watch it with a friend, so I waited a bit to continue it. However, it turned out that the friend I was going to watch it with wasn’t as keen on it as me, so I just decided to go ahead and watch it for myself. The one thing I learned from watching that first part, however, was that the anime looked gorgeous and the subtitles made it impossible for me to see the visuals, so I decided to redownload the whole anime with a dub (the original download lacked the dubbed track for some reason).

I couldn’t embed this video for some reason (need to pay for this blog to do that, and I won’t do that unless I start making money from this, which probably won’t happen), so I’ll just have to link to it. Here’s an example of the amazing sakuga that is everpresent throughout the whole movie!

I’m one of the people that generally prefer watching anime with subtitles because for one, I’ve been used to read subtitles since I was old enough to read them fast enough when they appeared on the screen. Yes, I grew up as a Norwegian (and still am by the way), so I didn’t understand enough English that I could watch without subtitles for a very long time. That’s why I’m so used to subtitles, and I still use them in a lot of cases, as I have trouble focusing enough that I can discern all the words in a sentence without being able to re-read it at times (perhaps because of ADD?).

Finding an anime that actually made me want to watch it dubbed is hard as well. For one, it needs to have something that makes it difficult to read the subtitles quickly enough. In this case, it was the art. The art made it hard to follow the subtitles in time because I always wanted to stare at it. Secondly, the dub itself actually have to be good. You can’t get by with a mediocre dub, because if that happens, I’m just gonna watch it subbed regardless. The only exception to this is if it’s literally better in the way of making something unwatchable, watchable, like with Ghost Stories. Usually, I would say that the English dub has to be better than the Japanese one, or else, I won’t bother.

REDLINE hit the mark with an awesome dub that actually in some cases elevated the characters. This is supposed to be a mature story, however, the Japanese language lacks the same kind of swearing that the English language has. Instead of expressing themselves through taboo words, they use other means to the end. When translating this, the subtitles generally don’t convey the same message that the words might carry in Japanese, so when the dubbed version of REDLINE had actual swearing in it, I was quite thrilled. It gave me the mature feeling that the setting was implying from the start.

What a good dub should do isn’t just directly translating what is in the Japanese version, as that wouldn’t work that well in an English setting. A good dub should take the meaning out of the Japanese version, rewrite the translation to carry the same message and then adapt it for the new audience at hand. This is pretty much what REDLINE does, and while some purists may say that this is heresy, I’d say, what they’re doing is an actual translation. A translation is supposed to carry a message from one language and culture to another, and sometimes that requires change so that the same message can be conveyed. This is why I don’t mind when I put on subtitles for a moment to see what they say in Japanese and find an entirely different text compared to what is said in the English dub.

Another important aspect that REDLINE hits is the delivery of lines. Most of the dubs I’ve heard so far are totally ruined for me by the annoying voices. Usually, female characters are trying to aim for the same type of voice that was in the original Japanese, but neither do they have the type of voice to make it sound natural nor do they shape the pitch correctly. They end up going on a repeating upwards spiral, changing their pitch too much from lower to higher and back down again (like a saw-wave if you speak music). This becomes very repetitive and annoying quite quickly and is a problem I don’t just see with female characters. Yes, I do notice this in a lot in male characters as well, however, it’s usually most prevalent in female characters with higher pitched voices. This is why I will probably never watch any cute girls anime dubbed. REDLINE did deliver well on this aspect, having characters speak mostly naturally, despite timing them to the lip-flaps. This is something I rarely see pulled off well, and hats off to them for managing to do that. The voice director must have been talented!

In general, REDLINE did a pretty good job with its dub, only having one or two side-characters that had an annoying voice. I’m quite happy that I found a dub I liked, as that means that it’s not entirely impossible for me to like them!

Considering the length of the previous post, I’m gonna stop this here and call it a day. I think I want to make a post about voice acting in the future. I was originally thinking about doing one for Gridman, however, I think that it would be too difficult to analyze the voice acting in just one show. I’ll instead make a list of multiple shows that has excellent voice acting and try to point out what they’re doing right. At least that’s what I want to do. We’ll have to see if I will 😛

I also wanna make a post with a suggestion of a new watch order to the Monogatari series, doing some minor tweaks. It’ll most likely be a shorter post to fill in time, because I won’t be having too much of it going forward (I think at least)

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