Whether its TV series such as My Hero Academia or movies such as Your Name, there has been an ongoing battle within the anime community that has kept its members divided for decades. It all stems from just one question: Should anime be viewed in the original Japanese language with subtitles, or dubbed in English?
At the end of the day, it’s nothing more than a personal preference, and that fact certainly hasn’t discouraged dub watchers from sticking to their own. In fact, there’s been plenty of dub defenders on Reddit arguing for the English versions of certain anime that even the biggest subtitle elitists can’t deny are of top-notch quality.
Unlike the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime, the alternate series Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood has been praised as one of the greatest animes of all time, and it’s been recognized for being more faithful to the original manga. Not only has it been deemed the more superior adaptation, but the English dub also seems to be more preferred among its fandom.
Redditor okcodex highly recommended viewing the show in English, claiming “the dub voices are among the best ever recorded, you can tell that a lot of care went into recording the show.” For those who doubt the talents of English voice actors in anime, the passion behind the performances of Brotherhood‘s dub does more than say otherwise.
With its thrilling action and humorous dialogue, Black Lagoon is the kind of anime series that fans of Tarantino will adore. When a Japanese businessman decides joins forces with the pirate mercenaries who had taken him hostage, he finds himself in a new line of work that he had never anticipated.
Reddit user huntarr found that the dub works especially better than the sub, considering all the different nationalities of the characters, saying “You can’t expect everyone to speak Japanese when the MC is the only one in the cast who speaks Japanese.” For anyone looking for classic Toonami anime to stream on Hulu, Black Lagoon is one that is definitely worth checking out, with a dub that is more than deserving of a listen.
When a class of young assassins are tasked with the mission of killing their otherworldly homeroom teacher before he can end the world, the result is Assassination Classroom. When it comes to preferred English dubs, the show appears to be be popular pick on Reddit, with user SSJ5Gogetenks even calling it “Genuinely one of the greatest dubs ever.”
They also praised the dub’s scripting and handling of the show’s comedy, claiming that it “not only has an extremely accurate script, but one that makes the slightest tweaks on localizing the jokes so that they land just perfectly.” The user also noted the “great vocal performances” of Sonny Straight as Korosensai and Chris Rager as Principal Asano as two of the show’s biggest highlights.
Set in a world where magic is an essential part of everyday life, Black Clover tells the tale of a magic-less young boy who fights alongside a lawful group of magic knights with his unique usage of anti-magic. With its lovable characters and engaging story, it’s a suitable starting point for anyone who has never been exposed to anime before.
Since the start of its run on Toonami, the show has not only gained a wider audience in America, but the English version has managed to grow a surprisingly high following. Redditor Renkin42 cited that when it comes to the protagonist, Asta, they find that his “screaming is way less irritating in English”, while UpvoteIfYouAgree replied, “I enjoy the show way more when I watch the dub.”
Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt
With its relentlessly crude satire and shock humor, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt has become something of a cult classic since its release. After two angel sisters are banished from Heaven and forced to fight off evil spirits on Earth to earn their way back, raunchy and foul-mouthed hi-jinks ensue.
Redditors such as Monte_Carlo_1971 have found that the dub pulls off the show’s humor better, claiming that English speakers would be doing themselves “a major disservice by watching the sub.” For a show that’s both influenced by and heavily satirizes Western animation, perhaps it’s no surprise that Panty & Stocking fans find its comedy to be much more effective in English.
Quite possibly one of the most bizarre anime series ever, Bobobo-bo Bo-Bobo tells the story Afro-donning warrior who, alongside his equally unusual teammates, uses the power of his magic nose hairs to fight against a tyrannical ruler who seeks to turn the entire human race bald. With its off-the-wall silliness and highly energetic comedy, it feels like the sort of show that was made for an American audience.
In a response to RochHoch, who who referred the dub as “a treasure”, Reddit user Fartikus agreed wholeheartedly, praising it as “a 110% improvement of the sub.” Every so often, there comes an anime that is so surreal and out of the ordinary, that perhaps the only real way for any non-Japanese viewer to even attempt to understand its true nature is to hear it spoken in their own native language, and Bobobo-bo Bobo-bo certainly proves it.
While its live-action film adaptation may be ranked among the worst Netflix original films, Death Note has been praised as one of the best and most well made anime series of the last two decades. Playing God with a demonic notebook that can take the lives any name written within it, high-school student Light Yagami finds himself locked in a battle of wits with renowned detective, L.
Redditor gammarik admitted that while they usually prefer subs, Death Note for them is a “special case”. They elaborated further, saying “Death Note is very dialogue heavy, and you really need to listen to all of it, to get the real experience. The dub makes that a lot easier”. The show is an intense thrill ride that fans of both crime dramas and supernatural thrillers will certainly love.
Following the misadventures of a dysfunctional crew of bounty hunters in the future, Cowboy Bebop has been highly acclaimed for the genius of its tone, writing, and the complexities of its themes and characters. The acclaim and popularity of the series however, largely stems from those who have watched the show in English during its initial run on Adult Swim.
Even an anime fan who “absolutely hates watching dubbed anime”, such as user Ezra88 isn’t afraid to openly admit “It is the one and only anime that I have preferred dubbed than subbed.” They especially praised Steve Blum’s performance as Spike, saying that he “captured Spike’s character in a way that even the original voice actor was unable to do.”
Surrounding a group of school kids battling supernatural threats, Ghost Stories was originally a flop in Japan, but once ADV was approached to produce the dub, they were granted permission to do whatever they wanted, turning it into a Family Guy-esque comedy. Perhaps what makes the English dub such an entertaining experience is just how unfaithful it is to its original Japanese version, while still keeping the core of the story intact.
Redditor feanor0815 is just one of many who have found the show to be “ten times better” in it’s abridged and improvised state. While the serious tone of the original Japanese version didn’t capture the effect that the creators hoped for, the English dub is a hilarious equal opportunity offender that has gained a massive cult-like following and is one of funniest comedy anime to watch right now.
Studio Ghibli Films
The films of Studio Ghibli, especially the works of Hayao Miyazaki, have been long considered to be masterpieces in animation. With high-profile actors such as Christian Bale and Emily Blunt lending their voices and even popular writers such as Neil Gaiman having worked on the translations, the amount of care and effort that goes into producing a Ghibli English dub shows a great amount of respect for the films.
Redditor Karametric cited the Ghibli dubs as some the only few they actually like, and expressed an appreciation for how the producers “really go out of their way to get real talent and do these films justice.” Given how they’ve “never been disappointed with a single release”, it speaks to just how well-crafted the English dubs of the films are.