The Sub-Only Debate, and Why Dub Fans are Upset

Dubs. Some people hate them, some people love them. In my time as an anime fan, I've gone both ways. There are some dubs that I absolutely love and some that I absolutely despise. But the term "dub" seems to be becoming more and more obsolete in the anime industry these days. In these tough times, some companies are releasing their DVDs in a "sub-only" format. Simply put, these DVDs have only Japanese audio, with English subtitles. No English dub. I, for one, have had very mixed feelings on the matter.

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I'm a person who enjoys good dubs, and I actually prefer to watch anime in English as long as the dub is good. So naturally, seeing a blog post like this one got me very worked up. The author's harsh choice of words in the last paragraph agitated me quite a bit:

[Dub fans] believe every anime should be dubbed in English. Oh please. These people need a reality check. Badly. Dub fans still have Funimation, Viz and Media Blasters to rely on for dubs, but how long can they really take on the financial losses? Get a dose of reality English dub fans, because at this point, you should be looking for a new hobby or adapt to the changing market. You don't get what you want anymore. Got that? Good.

I feel this paragraph would have been better supported by factual statements about the industry, rather than by outright attacking dub fans. Anyone who feels the same way as the original poster of this article needs to understand how we, as dub fans, feel.

Us dub fans are the ones who have been supporting the anime industry for years. We buy the DVDs, many times just for the dub. We're not the people who simply download a fansub, watch it, and then say goodbye to a series. We buy the DVDs because we want what the fansubs can't offer, and that's an English dub.

Now, I understand that we are in tough times. I also do realize that at this point, this is the only option for some companies. But you have to understand that the Anime companies' decisions to offer DVDs in a sub-only format frustrates us a bit.

Now, I do not expect every anime to get a dub. In fact there are many shows that don't deserve a dub. But there are also many shows that do, and those are the ones I'm upset about. It's insulting to me as a fan, and is an insult to the shows themselves to not dub them. I'm talking, of course, about Hayate the Combat Butler, Kannagi, and Clannad. These shows we're immensely popular in Japan and among English-speaking fans as well, so naturally I expected that they would be getting a dub. When I first heard that Hayate was licensed, I was ecstatic because I always wanted an English dub of that show, plus I know that Bandai tends to do very good dubs. So of course, when I heard the news that Hayate was going to be sub-only, I couldn't help but feel betrayed.

I have religiously supported Bandai throughout the past few years. I've bought every single Limited Edition volume of Haruhi, Lucky Star, and Gurren Lagann and spent hundreds upon hundreds of dollars in doing so. Hearing the news about Hayate and Kannagi was like a dagger to the throat. I felt "Gee, this is the thanks I get? F you, Bandai." Of course, I've calmed down since then, as that was only my initial response. Still, the damage was done, and my loyalty to Bandai has been shattered.

So when you see these angry posters on the ANN forums raging about how they can't stand all these sub-only releases, this is why. It's not that us dub fans don't understand why the companies are doing this. It is simply the fact that it frustrates us that so many great series' are being "wasted" through a sub-only release.

The solution? Well, there is none. It sucks, and we just have to deal with it. But please at least understand how we feel. I just hope that once the anime companies get back on their feet, we'll see the revival of dubs. Ideally, I really want these companies to go back and do dubs for the aforementioned shows, because they really deserve it.

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Posted in Home Post Date 03/22/2019