The Attraction of the Subs vs Dubs War

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.

Never forget who you are

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.

“There’s a lot of work that voice actors have to do, even before they start recording, so that they can do justice for their character and for an audience that cares deeply about the show.” Stephanie Sheh

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.

Heck, I’m a native speaker and even I have hard times…

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?

We’re all on different sides of the same coin. I have a dream… That one day we all may get along.

So, what are your favorite dubs or subs? Do you have a favorite VA? Say so in the comments below!


The Little-Known History Behind How Anime Was Brought to U.S. Shores

The Great War Over Anime Fan Dubs

The Attraction of Shōnen

Shōnen manga or anime typically aimed at boys younger than the age of 15. Yet, people flock to this genre as their first time exposure to the world of manga and anime. What makes Shōnen so attractive that people remember first getting in DBZ, Yu Yu Hakusho, Naruto, One Piece, or even Bleach?

Before even looking into explaining that, let’s take a look into the history of manga that has brought a passion to just not the land of the rising sun but all around the earth. When taking into consideration of what time that Shōnen started, one tends to think about Osamu Tezuka-sensei and his work “Astro Boy.” But, what if we push the time back even more and into 1895. During that time Shōnen Sekai, translated as “The Youth’s World,” is the work of the original manga and stories came out. This did not isolate girls and boys but after a war with Russia, they finally made an adaptation: Shōjo Sekai (shocker of a name, huh? It was also first published in 1905). Surprisingly, this was just not isolated to Japan during its run time, 1895-1914, but there had been some mentions of Shōnen Sekai in America. Many of the stories have been left untranslated.

Studying… A bane of our existence.

So, Shōnen Sekai was the very first of its kind. But all of that changed once WW2 was finished. A new influence came to Japan and spun new ideas of what comics and animation should be like.

Following WW2 during America control, they (or is we more appropriate) brought over Disney cartoons and this is where inspiration was brought. This brought the rise of Osamu Tezuka-sensei, he shared his work mainly through newspapers and magazines. This all tumbles down to what we have now that comes out of Japan.

History aside, why Shōnen? How does this attract people all around the world to read or watch? The very first thing that would bring a person to this genre would be the protagonist. Boys or men with insane power, intelligence, or even charisma going on adventure or misadventure either around the world or in their home town. They represent ideas that we wished we had; we get to live vicariously through them. Not only that, but most do start at a point zero where they are not strong but have a goal to reach a point in life to not be the same person. We want to cheer on for the protagonist that strives for who they currently are not. But what if it is not what they do not have but what both the character or yourself have? Even though it is a cartoon with unrealistic views still doesn’t mean we cannot make these characters people we want to be like (for the love of all that is good please let it be good people, ok?). Sometimes when I watch certain anime where I cheer for a protagonist, after a while I realize how similar both of us are like. But that character, unlike me, actually achieves goals and ideals. It hurts a little yet I should not let that hold me back from becoming better in my way and grow with this character.

Ok, ok, I can hear some people in the back saying they are not in it for the main character (wink, wink). But instead, it is the plot that they watch and read what they do. The plot is pretty important for any kind of medium that is out there. And just like the importance of a protagonist that has goals, the plot as well needs its own goals. If there is no noticeable ending then why bother? Because you care about what is happening with what is in that setting. Watching as much anime as I have, a few slip up because a good amount follows along with the manga. If the manga is not far ahead and has arcs that have not ended or been answered then it is up the anime to fix that. And that becomes, well, interesting. Yet, this is one element that should not be ignored when thinking about the attraction of Shōnen. The plot is another thing that drags people along, whether it is within our world, the character(s) are taken out of this world and placed in another, or it’s a brand new world that we get to experience. We get to see what the author is thinking or how they view certain situations that we may never have thought up.

Now, this one may be a hit or miss depending on what the author is thinking about their characters. But, love can also be something that attracts people to this genre. Now, it’s not as saturated as the Shōjo genre, but sometimes it can be there and sometimes it just is not. If we take a step back from the shipping we try to put into the story, does Shonen have romance? Some do and some do not. Dragon Ball was not supposed to have too much romance, but Goku and Chichi were an end couple that Toriyama wanted. This was planned from the very first volume. But, let’s be real here: if the author did not have it in mind the love part is going to suck. Harsh? Yes. Yet, when their company realizes that people are fighting for a certain couple to get together they push for the author the make character x and y to become a couple. For those that automatically ship (I’m guilty of this myself), try to take a step back and look through and see if there is potential. Is this painful? Yes, but open eyes help see that this is more of the hamminess of the main character with their side characters and the plot that the author is trying to portray rather than whatever relationship they can force to work.

Planned Relationships=Good!
Not Planned=Not Good…

So, why are you attracted to Shōnen? Is it anything from this list? If you’re not attracted to this genre, what is the genre that you are attracted to?