In some parts of the world like India or Japan, being “darker” skinned is looked down upon. As if you’re less human for having a different shade of skin tone.
It’s a little dramatic but I look at anime voice actors the same way. Meaning: that’s how BADLY they’re treated in the anime community.
Usually by sub-elitists who think they’re “someone” just because they watch the original versions of their favorite anime.
I won’t get into the quality of dubs in this post, but I will share reasons why anime VA’s deserve more respect.
Why English Anime VA’S deserve more respect:
1. They’re part of the reason Funimation exists
I love how so many people support Funimation as a business, and yet hate on dubs knowing Funimation is responsible for many of them.
And that’s not all – Funimation is one of the reasons Dragon Ball Z became so BIG in the 1990’s. Thanks to the dubs that were released to a global audience.
And we all know the anime industry wouldn’t be where it is today if it weren’t for shows like Dragon Ball Z.
To deny this truth would mean you’re an elitist who’s caught up in your feelings, instead of accepting the facts as they are.
2. English Anime voice actors gave rise to the industry’s growth worldwide
Following on from my last point – where in the world would the industry be without English VA’s?
Let’s take an anime like Pokemon for example. One of the largest anime shows ever made.
With a franchise that’s even bigger.
The Pokemon dub is massive for its success overseas. Regardless of what your opinion is. Results don’t lie.
It’s literally the anime show most fans grew up with outside of Japan.
And then there are more dubbed anime like:
- Sailor Moon.
- Dragon Ball (all seasons).
- Code Geass.
- Death Note.
And too many anime series to name. It’s a crime to shove anime voice actors to the side as if they’re doing more harm than good.
The Japanese anime industry, even though it won’t “say” it out loud, has a lot to thank for its international audience. Which is even more true for the USA since that’s where most anime companies are based.
3. There are still LESS dubbed voice actors than subbed
Japan is the motherland of anime. The homeland of all things anime as we know it.
Naturally there’s plenty of voice actors and actresses in Japan. That’s why subbed shows have different voice actors, even for different shows to keep things fresh and dynamic.
The USA, UK, and other countries where “dubbed” voices are recorded… Well, the same isn’t true.
And how can you blame them?
Anime is still looked down on and rejected by the masses outside of Japan. There’s not ONE single country who’s fully embracing anime for what it is. Except the Philippines probably.
So as long as this is true, on top of the demand being relatively “low” outside of Japan for VA’s, this is a trend that will continue.
4. Translating material is harder than it looks
I mention this because there are tons of anime fans who cry about it 24/7.
But here’s the thing: it’s a lot harder than it looks.
Other than what you think is happening, anime VA’s and studios:
- Have to deal with licensing issues.
- Permission from Japanese companies.
- On top of limited resources (compared to Japan).
- And of course – the issue of supply and demand.
And there’s also the fact that translating material can’t always be 100%, because of words, definitions, context and so much more.
Generally the translation is good for what’s available, but some people are a little too nit-picky.
Read this: The Cultural Transfer in Anime Translation
5. There are plenty of great anime voice actors, most just overlook it
When you’re bias and wrapped up in your little bubble, you’ll reject anything that doesn’t agree with your view of the world.
I’m not saying all anime fans are like this, but I’ve seen too many who are.
Let’s take a voice actor like Christopher Sabat.
He’s the voice actor for Vegeta in the Dragon Ball series. Who’s easily one of the BEST dubbed voice actors I’ve ever heard.
Most lovers of dubbed anime seem to agree as well.
He’s also played a role as:
- Son Hok (Yona Of The Dawn).
- Piccolo (DBZ).
- Shio Sakaki (Kenichi The Mightiest Disciple).
Christopher Sabat is just ONE anime voice actor worth mentioning.
There are plenty who deserve so much more credit than they’re getting.
6. Dubs have been growing in recent years
This isn’t the 1990’s or early 2000’s anymore. Where we had certain shows dubbed by 4Kids (who “kind of” have a bad reputation).
These days, probably since 2012-2014, we’re seeing more and more dubs being released on a yearly basis.
In fact – Crunchyroll and Funimation run “simul-dubs” a lot these days during the anime’s early stages of being aired.
HInamatsuri and Violet Evergarden are great examples from 2018.
Goblin Slayer, Fairy Tail: Final Series and Golden Kamuy are 3 more shows worth mentioning with simul-dubs.
You can expect to see more of this in 2019 as well.
7. Less than 10% of all anime shows are dubbed, so it’s a flawed argument
And the most important point of all: less than 10% of anime shows are even dubbed.
I’d go as far as saying less than 5% (which is less than 1000 anime shows. Over 20,000+ shows have been created).
So when I see a sub-elitist (usually) criticizing dubbed anime shows and even comparing them to subbed… I wanna dip my head in a bucket full of freezing cold water.
You can’t compare the quality when there’s hardly anything to compare it to.
Dubbed anime series are at a disadvantage by default.
And that doesn’t change the awful subbed voices I’ve heard in shows like Konosuba that doesn’t leave a lot to be desired.
English anime voice actors (and actresses) deserve more credit
People have a tendency to focus only on what’s bad, instead of what’s good. That’s why the mainstream news is so F’in popular.
But not all anime VA’s are as bad as people claim. Especially not in 2019.
So let’s give credit where credit is due, instead of acting like no credit is deserved in the first place.