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The Never Ending “Subbed Vs Dubbed” Argument, And Why It Exists

The subbed vs dubbed anime debate never ends.

People are always talking about it because there’s always one elitist trying to put the “dub” lover down.

Or in other cases – an anime fan will say they like the dubbed version of My Hero Academia, and someone will jump in and sh*t all over their opinions. Because they disagree.

dub vs sub fans anime

But for a lot of reasons I’m gonna get into – there’s more to it than a “sub is better” argument.

That in fact is NOT objectively true (no opinion is).

Either way – I’ll start with why the argument even exists between sub vs dub.


1. Elitists

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Let’s start with the elitists of the anime community.

They’re the ones who got out their way to:

  • Belittle.
  • Troll.
  • Hate.
  • Put down.
  • Start heated arguments.

And everything related to that in the anime community.

They’ll say things like:

  • Fans who listen to dubs are illiterate.
  • Dub fans are stupid.
  • Dub fans have no taste.
  • Dub fans don’t know what they’re missing out on.
  • Dub fans don’t have an opinion.

And all kinds of nonsense to justify their elitism and arrogant opinions, made to demean you.

I mention anime elitists first because they’re at the top of the pyramid when it comes to the subbed vs dubbed anime debate.

They make the most noise, get the most attention and cause the most problems for anyone who watches dubs.

The irony is they mind the business of people who enjoy anime dubs, while people who enjoy dubs don’t bother anyone or go out their way to “hate” on fans in the subbed community.

Related: 7 Types Of Fans That Make The Anime Community TOXIC


2. The reputation of 4kids

4kids anime dubs

4Kids Entertainment is known for having the worst anime dubs.

In fact – 4Kids Entertainment is the reason anime dubs have such a bad reputation.

They destroyed the anime dubs for:

  • Yugioh.
  • One Piece.
  • Pokemon.

And plenty of other anime that was in their catalogue.

They were SO bad fans made a running joke out of it online, and probably still do to this day.

Not even Funimation compares to how bad 4Kids is.

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And the damage goes further than JUST bad dubs.

4Kids took it a step further and censored a lot of their anime content. To the extent that it made the content worse than they intended.

This is always the case when you litter something with too much political correctness. It does more harm than good and backfires.

When it comes to subbed vs dubbed anime debates, this is the main reason people who watch subs say anime dubs are awful, even in 2020.

Related: 11+ Anime Companies And Studios That Went Bankrupt In The Last 4 Decades


3. Funimation’s propaganda

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Funimation, just like 4Kids Entertainment, is known for its censorship and drastically changing dialogue. On top of other things that ruin the original while making the DUB even worse.

The one thing Funi does right is quality. Their voice actors are stellar.

That can’t be denied.

But they’re known for shoving so much political propaganda down dubbed fans throats, it’s a meme.

Their latest “change” is with Nekopara, a controversial anime that’s got people riled up (the type who think the world is coming to an end).

They’ve done the same to shows like:

  • Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid.
  • Prison School.
  • YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love

And plenty of other anime that are kinda mainstream or at least “known” to a good degree.

This is another reason people prefer the subbed version over dubbed anime.

The sub isn’t altered to fit a bullsh*t narrative, and everything is within context. So you can’t really blame people for preferring subs in this case when companies like Funi ruin so many anime.

Related: How Funimation Merging With Aniplex Will IMPACT The Anime Industry


4. Mouth movements 

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Bodacious Space Pirates is a decent-ish anime series. One of the few I’ve seen about “space”.

I watched the dubbed version and enjoyed it… Until I started to notice something odd about it.

  • The mouth movements didn’t align with the dialogue
  • In some scenes this is painfully obvious

Sometimes the dialogue and the voices were so out of sync it hurt to watch.

Bodacious Space Pirates isn’t the worst anime (and not the best), but this one thing made the anime worse for me.

It made it hard to enjoy good moments because it was so badly out of sync, making it hard to overlook.


Mouth movements isn’t an issue in subbed anime

science fell in love subtitles anime

“Science Fell In Love, So I Tried To Prove It” is a modern example in 2020.

But it’s not like subbed anime ever had a problem with “mouth movements” and lip syncing.

Even anime that are over 20+ years old never had that issue.

That’s why some fans argue that subbed is better than dubbed, and in this case – it’s true. Though dubbed anime these days is more accurate when it comes to lip syncing.

It’s not as bad as it was 10 or 20 years ago (when some anime were good, others weren’t).

Related: 12 Of The Funniest Rom Com Anime That Are English Dubbed


5. Preferences

sub vs dub OK saitama meme

Most of us don’t realize the power of habit.

Once you get used to doing something, the alternative seems foreign, weird, out of place and “not as” good as your usual way of doing things.

Anime works the same way.

When you start watching or even getting into anime through subs, you’re gonna be wired to see “subs” as the better version.

  • The Japanese voices
  • The words
  • The phrases
  • Nuances in language

Overtime these things get normalized by the fact you’re so used to it. So when you see a dub you’re bound to underestimate how “good” the voices are, more so than you would if you weren’t used to it.

dragon ball z goku ss namek

The same is true for anime dubs.

I started out watching Dragon Ball Z in the DUBBED version.

I’m from the UK and there wasn’t much of anime to begin with (expect dubs on Cartoon Network, etc).

To this day I’ll never watch the subbed version of DBZ, and when I’ve tried it sounds:

  • Strange
  • Odd
  • Out of place

And to be blunt – like a pile of sh*t compared to the DUBS quality.

I’ve gotten so used to it It’s been normalized.

  • The English dubs cast
  • English lines
  • Nuances in English humor

And everything related is embedded too deep into my mind for me to see the sub as superior.

I cringe at Goku’s VA in the sub.

This is how it works in general for any anime. It’s a matter of what you’re used to seeing and hearing, and which version caught your interest first.


There are exceptions, obviously

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Claymore is one exception when it comes to anime dubs.

This anime has a GOOD cast regardless of whether you’re used to one version or the other.

And other anime shows like:

  • Black Lagoon
  • Death Note
  • Full Metal Panic
  • Gamers
  • Fairy Tail
  • My Hero Academia
  • Owari No Seraph
  • Attack On Titan

Plenty of anime of this calibre have GREAT dubs overall.

Opinions will differ, but in general a lot of people will agree with the quality of these types of shows.

DBZ included.


Just like dubs, not all subs are stellar though

good luck girl anime funny

Good Luck Girl is one example I’ll share.

The anime’s sub is mediocre compared to the dub.

  • The lines
  • Jokes
  • Phrases
  • Comedy
  • Humor

Everything about the sub lacks something compared to the dub. The dubbed VA’S and the lines they pull out are sharper, funnier, and more on point.

They really went out their way to make the dialogue stellar and enjoyable. And it’s clear when you compare the two side by side.


squid girl and nagisa

Squid Girl is another anime with a superior dub.

In the subbed version, the dialogue is OK. But line for line – the dubbed version of Squid absolutely dominates.

The VA’S make use of Squid Girl’s differences, and use it to create clever dialogue that makes the jokes that much funnier.

  • “What the Squid”
  • “You gotta be Squidding me”

Lines like this “that make use of the word “Squid”) makes Squid Girl’s dialogue in the dub unlike anything the sub manages to do.

You have to see it to know it.

And the good VA’S only make it better in the dub compared to the plain sub.

At the end of the day: preference in 2020 and beyond is a BIG motivator.

Anything else these days is less of an issue, because dubs have gotten better with every decade that’s passed.

If you like subs, watch that.

The same is true if you like dubs. But being elitist and belittling is some insecure sh*t that needs to be shot dead at this point.



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