Why I Stopped Watching DUBBED Anime Shows As Often As Subbed

surprised pikachu face anime
Written by Theo J Ellis

This isn’t the typical dubbed vs subbed argument, and it isn’t what you’d usually expect to see from the dubbed vs subbed argument either.

It’s a lot deeper than that.

Like a lot of anime fans outside Japan, I grew up watching dubbed anime shows. It’s not like there was a choice in the matter either.

  • The 1990s blew up the anime industry.
  • During this time most anime was dubbed outside Japan (in the west at least).
  • Anime shows like DBZ, Sailor Moon, Yugioh, Beyblade, and others lead the way.
  • Platforms like Cartoon Network were especially important during that time.
  • And subbed shows weren’t that common until later down the line. And if they were they were hard to get.

It wasn’t a matter of choice as I said, but a matter of obligation. Blurays didn’t exist yet and DVD‘S were barely around and hard to get. And the internet was still maturing as far as anime.

But… since the 2010’s (or late 2000’s) dubbed anime shows got better in quality in general, but then something else happened with the industry that’s been deterring fans from watching dubs altogether.

Let’s talk about it.


Why Dubbed anime became less appealing:


1. Bad reputation of many dubbed anime voice actors

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I’m usually not the kind of guy who will stop enjoying something just because the voice actors/singers, etc aren’t exactly the best people in the real world. Or they’re assholes or whatever the case may be.

Art is art, and we all like something someone’s done despite who they are in real life. It’s almost inescapable. But it gets a bit on top when you’re constantly exposed to a lot of the bullshit in the industry, usually associated with the dubbed voice actors.

Michiko Malandro Monica Rial

Take Monica Rial for example. She originally did the voice for Bulma if I’m not mistaken, and she also voiced Michiko Malandro in Michiko To Hatchin. She’s also done roles in Fairy Tail.

Look at the nonsense going on with this voice actress in the past couple of years. She hasn’t done herself any favours (or the western anime industry). She’s part of the reason its become so toxic, an overused word I hate to use.

Jamie Marchi is another one. Partners in crime. Same for Daman Mills who was caught out on a grooming tip and yet the industry, including MANY voice actors, have stayed silent and protected his reputation.

We got to see anime voice actors and their BS yet again during the Anime Matsuri controversy on Twitter. This isn’t all of them, but the ones who are the loudest have slowly been driving dubbed fans away from wanting to support the industry.

It’s not a good look and it’s consistent for all the wrong reasons. There is a lot of GOOD anime dubbed voice actors and actresses (Sosuke from FMP, Lucy from Fairy Tail, etc) but the bad apples are making the industry rotten.

Plus the lack of it being called out only makes it worse, though I 100% get why the “good” voice actors stay silent and mind their business.

Related: The Greatest Anime Dub Actors Who VOICE Your Favorite Characters


2. Not enough options/availability

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There are at least 11,000 anime shows in existence. A mixture of:

  • OVA’S.
  • TV Shows.
  • Movies.

And everything else in between. Of all those shows at least 90% if not higher are SUBBED as opposed to being dubbed.

The amount of dubbed anime shows is a laughing stock in comparison to the originals. Not surprising in a way, but surprising when you realize how far the anime industry has come and how much its progressed.

It makes watching dubbed anime more pointless every year that passes. Because you can’t watch so many shows dubbed since they don’t exist, to begin with.

  • Monogatari.
  • Nisekoi.
  • Kino’s Travels.
  • Skip Beat.
  • Hinamatsuri.
  • Call Of The Night.
  • Barakamon.

And an endless number of anime are ONLY subbed, and it’s best they stay that way at the end of the day.

Some shows don’t need dubbing, but most just won’t be anyway despite the demand for it. As far as things go in this day and age, it’s probably never gonna change or improve since dubbing is the minority of the industry (even though it has demand).

It makes sense to watch more subs when this problem won’t be fixed anytime soon because that’s what’s available.


3. Not enough simulcasts/takes too long

Yoshino Koharu Head Scratch Sakura Quest

You could partly blame Sony for this. Since they’ve bought out Crunchyroll and they own Funimation, things have changed. I will admit there are a LOT more dubs these days with seasonal shows, but even still.

When there are dubbed versions announced they take too long to be released, and a lot of the time fans who watched the subbed version don’t care to try the dubbed version unless they’re REALLY curious. Or they watched the previous show in the dubbed version.

In general, there aren’t a lot of simulcasts either as far as dubbed shows. Only certain shows will get that kind of privilege, which makes sense because they bring in sales, and do big numbers and whatnot (Dragon Ball for example).

For people who wanna watch the dubbed versions of anime that aren’t as popular or mainstream, it becomes a headache. Too much time passes and by that point, the care to wait starts to fade away.

There’s also the fact some dubbed anime might not be up to par, so even if it’s simulcasted the quality might be a let down, and that’s a separate problem in itself when it comes to the western anime industry.

And then there’s anime that don’t get dubbed for years because those same anime don’t get follow-up seasons for so long or any new material at all.


4. Censorship/dialogue changes

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There have been all kinds of censorship and dialogue changes over the years when it comes to anime. In fact, this has been happening since the 1990s at least, verifiably.

Dragon Ball Z is a famous example when it was being handled by Funimation. Specifics aside, one of their dubs censored violence and other elements in the anime series.

The same happened with Yugioh when that was dubbed. And of course the famous censorship we saw with Pokemon. The wine glass was changed and filled with orange juice instead.

Years down the line you have Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid censorship, dialogue changes, WOKE politics, and other nonsense. Though it wasn’t overwhelming, admittedly.

But it still happened.

This censorship and dialogue changes have only increased with time, and these days it’s more consistent than it was back in the 90s or 2000s (ignoring 4KIDS).

People who want the PURE dialogue with only the necessary changes, as opposed to the politics and BS that comes with the west, will have every reason to cut down their time spent on DUBBED anime shows.

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