Hopefully this will not put me in the fire for making this my second post on this site. But, it seems like this is the ongoing battle since the beginning of time. Subs keep the beauty and meaning of what the anime is. Yet, dubs allows one to continue on with whatever activity they are doing without having to put in too much attention. We may have a favorite voice actor from one side and we wish to support them. But the worry here is not Japanese VAs versus American VAs; what we are looking into are professionals versus fanmade. This seems to be the thing that brings people headbutting because they may enjoy how the anime was brought for us rather than the other way. Let’s look into who brings us the subs and dubs that we so love or so hate.
Let’s go into the people that I would give my greatest respect to: fansubs and fandubs. Holy cow, growing up watching these people put up their own blood, sweat, and tears through their own projects. Of course, I never really knew of groups I really only thought it was friends that would put their hand into trying subbing or dubbing. When looking between both, fansubs and dubs almost came in at the same time, but subs beat out dubs by a few years through the great era of the VHS. Fansubs mainly came through the use of using genlock, generator locking, where the subber would try to combine their subtitles with the video that they are using. Of course, this time was also a pretty lenient time for subbers to do their own thing from licensors just because of how uncertain it would be for anime to come to the US. Yet, as time moved on for anime and how anime started to become more popular, licensors tried to tighten their grip which then brings us to the time of Bittorrent. During this time, mainly between the late 90s into today, was when piracy started to look bad and the question came down to: How do we stop fansubbers? And that came down the Anime simulcasting. What we have today through Crunchyroll, which was a fansub site that illegally showed anime, and Funimation. As for fandubbing, sadly was just not as popular as being a subber.
Of course, these are two companies that have their fist up in the licensing pie but there are other companies that do take care of dubbing and subbing. Companies that I have found are: USA Dubs, JBI Studios, Haymillian for subs and for dubbing, well, Funimation, Viz, Aniplex, and many more US companies. So, even though most studios are in complicated situations that does not mean you are just stuck with who you think is out there. Don’t be afraid to try your hand in becoming a professional subber or VA. Heck, I might be your next fan.
Translating is weird, this is the truth. Now, I do not have a lot of experience in translation. But I did get a Master’s of Divinity and I worked with some Hebrew and Greek words and trying to fit one word in those languages into our English language, it is tough. Especially with the fact that as English speakers our words mean just one thing while other languages may have multiple meanings from one word. First off, as an English speaker I apologize but I was not the one that got us from where we were to here in the modern day. Secondly, every translation should be taken with a grain of salt. If we do that then we understand that the context will never be understood until the right group of people come together to translate; namely those that do have an expertise or when a native speaker teams up with translators to help give feedback on what certain contexts means.
Does it matter? Personally, no. There are some animes where I will never, never watch in English. And there are other animes where I have enjoyed the dub and I will only ever watch it that way. It is the principalities that brings up this battle when the innocent question of subs or dubs comes up. Are you willing to die for what you believe in so you can convert someone or is this a subject where you can lay down what you enjoy and move on?
So, what are your favorite dubs or subs? Do you have a favorite VA? Say so in the comments below!