Weekly Ramblings 11 – Summer Wars and Dubs Vs. Subs

Last week we had the OVERDRIVE special, so I guess this would have to be the Anime special! I’m going to start off with Summer Wars, an anime movie that I really enjoyed, before tackling one of the major issues i’ve encountered in my relatively short time in the Anime fandom: Dubs or Subs?

Also, if you haven’t already noticed, The Geek Clinic’s first piece of commissioned art was finished earlier in the week! You can check it out in the new “The Geek Clinic Art” tab.

Summer Wars Anime Movie

Summer Wars is an Anime Movie that came out in 2009, and if you’ve even seen the Digimon Movie you’ll have a pretty good idea of what it’s like (surprisingly enough, they have the same director). Kenji Koiso is pretty normal; he goes to high school, hangs out with his friends and has a part-time job in OZ, the massive virtual reality world that’s used for pretty much everything nowadays. During the Summer break he’s whisked away to the country to pretend to be his friend Natsuki Shinohara’s lover. While he’s away, OZ is attacked by an artificial intelligence, bringing nearly all of Japan to a screeching halt, and it’s all Kenji’s fault. A virtual war begins, with real world consequences and with the Shinohara family right in the middle of it.

I mentioned earlier that Summer Wars is very similar to the Digimon Movie, and it is, but that doesn’t mean that you should pass it up. Firstly, that movie was awesome, and secondly Summer Wars brings a whole lot of new material to the table. Highlighting the importance of family and the impact the real and virtual worlds can have on each other, Summer Wars tells a much more believable story that also features deeper themes. I really enjoyed watching it and happily recommend it, even if it is pretty much the Digimon Movie grown up (and without Digimon…rats!).

Summer Wars Anime Movie

“All dubs are terrible!”, is just one of the things my flatmate has to say about dubbed Anime. And if I were to be completely honest, I used to have no idea why anyone would want to watch subs. This being the internet, I don’t think it would be too hard to find people willing to argue either side. Is one truly better than the other, though? Rather than be wishy-washy about it, i’m going to say yes: subs are better. However, that doesn’t mean that dubs are bad.

I would like to say that I have yet to encounter a bad dub, but i’ve seen about 10 seconds of the Negima Anime and that made my ears cry (which is really rather impressive). Despite that, i’ve watched a number of dubbed anime and the vast majority of voice acting work is excellent. It’s just easier to watch Anime in a language you understand, without frantically trying to read subtitles before they disappear (I actually have a friend who likes to draw while he watches Anime). So why are subs better?

Fate/Stay Night Fate Stay Shirou People Die If They Are Killed

For me at least, I like to experience the original production. I may be wrong here, but Japan has a much larger selection of trained voice actors, so it’s much more likely that a character will get the voice that they were originally intended to have (and lets be honest – the Anime was made with Japanese voice actors in mind). The other reason is that Visual Novels have Japanese voices, so if I want to really enjoy the adaptation then subs are a must, which very loosely leads into my final point.

What I think it comes down to is whatever you watched first. If you’ve watched the sub and want to see if the dub is any good or vice versa, the change in voices is incredibly jarring. While, for me, Fate/Stay Night is best watched subbed, I wouldn’t go anywhere near the subbed version of Pokémon, Naruto or Fullmetal Alchemist. It doesn’t really matter which one you watch, though, nor it doesn’t matter which one other people watch. They’re just different ways of enjoying something we all love, and that’s fine.

Translation Anime Bad Funny

That’s it for this week! I apologize for only having two topics, but I wrote I bit more than usual on the second one so don’t hate me too much.

“Even if our memories are gilded, and not entirely accurate, that doesn’t change the fact that they’re beautiful.” – Rewrite (Tennouji Kotarou)

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About Silvachief

I'm a Gamer that dabbles in a little bit of everything. I'm big on Video Games, Visual Novels, Anime, Books and TV Series, but there's more to me than just those!
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7 Responses to Weekly Ramblings 11 – Summer Wars and Dubs Vs. Subs

  1. Justin says:

    Hmm. Guess you’ve given me a lot to comment on!

    Summer Wars: I watched this movie 3 or 4 times. Each time I watch it it’s just great. I just watched Our War Game today. Now I did hear that Summer Wars and Our War Game is the same, but I snobbishly scoffed it off, saying it can’t be all that similar…

    And in the first ten minutes of watching Our War Game I counted maybe 5 or 6 things I saw in Summer Wars LOL and then that ENDING. I had to cry at the setup. I couldn’t believe how amazingly similar the two were. That being said, Summer Wars is basically a longer, more detailed version of Our War Game.

    ….I ain’t complaining 😉

    Dub vs Sub: This is an argument that will forever transcend time and reason, and it will never stop for reasons that probably even complicate me. I probably have the same feelings you have on the both of these. I’d prefer the subs, but I don’t mind checking out a dub. In fact, you might be able to get lucky with a dub: B Gata H Kei is an mediocre show that somehow is 10x better dubbed thanks to Funimation. I didn’t think there was any salvation for the show. Well I was proven wrong. Since then I’ve sometimes been eager to check out a dub, though that opens me up to more poor dubs though ._.

    “If you’ve watched the sub and want to see if the dub is any good or vice versa, the change in voices is incredibly jarring”

    Probably a dated example since I’m talking about a dub back in the 2000s (or the heyday of script changes), but I recently watched Digimon Adventure 2 subbed…and dubbed. The differences are so night and day. It was pretty weird seeing how serious everyone was in the sub…and how joking and light-hearted everyone was in the dub! I still liked both though lol But in general, most dubs are adequate, and not quite as bad as they used to be. But there’s still some pretty meh VA’s…

  2. Silvachief says:

    Yep, there are similarities literally all the way through, though I am also not complaining. While I loved the Digimon Movie I would probably be more likely the recommend Summer Wars to others, as it’s probably a little easier to get into if you haven’t seen Digimon before.

    How unfortunate! I actually have B Gata H Kei, but only the subbed version. I’ll take your advice and hunt down the dub. I’ve never actually heard of a dub that actually makes a show better than the original, so i’m very interested to see what it’s like. My girlfriend prefers dubs because she has dyslexia, so i’m always looking for dubbed series to watch.

    I remember commenting on your post about that. While i’m not sure about the original version, the dubbed version of Digimon was definitely targeted at a younger audience. Perhaps that could be the source of the change in tone?

    • Justin says:

      Well, supposedly the other dub that makes the show better than the original, Ghost Stories (which I watched the dub of when I was growing up and loved), is another one that has been agreed to have made the JP version pointless to watch. Since that wasn’t successful at all in Japan lol But I hope to keep finding gems like that every once in a while.

      Yeah, the dubbed version is targeted at a younger audience, but it also requires knowledge of certain American jokes as it references it a lot. That and there’s talking for EVERY SINGLE THING. Like a scene in Japanese can be all silent and maybe supposed to be reflective, but nope, none of that in the dub script! You gotta throw in a joke or two to get the kids to laugh lol aside from the general massive script changes (which keeps the original intention of Digimon) that prevailed in those days.

  3. When I started watching anime, I only watched dubs! After a while though I realised I wanted tot see them in their original language too, and started doing that. Still, there are those very first animes that I watched which I still prefer the dub over sub, no matter which one is the actual best one.
    I agree with Justin in the matter of checking out dubs though, after watching the sub, given that I really enjoyed the anime and wouldn’t mind watching it again. Of course the voices will sound all wrong to me, but most dubs are indeed acceptable or even good.

    • Silvachief says:

      I also started by only watching dubs and couldn’t even begin to understand why people would want to watch in another language. Even though I don’t keep up with it any more I could never watch Naruto subbed, for instance.

      I don’t generally try to check out the other version of whatever I watch, but I also agree that most dubs are well done.

  4. Briar Foley says:

    LOL Dude ( I AM A DUB LOVER) for the most part but goshdang, Canaan was the worst dub , not only made my ears cry it made them bleed.

    Please god no/

    • Silvachief says:

      You know, I don’t remember having any major dislike for Canaan’s dub (though I hated the series itself). If you haven’t already, watch Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood to see a real dub in action.

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