Ever since people all over the world have started to gain an interest in anime, dubs have started to appear. The main herald is of course North-America, who have been providing English dubs for numerous anime. But also in many other languages, such as French and German, the number of dubbed anime increases. Is this a good thing, though? Should we all learn to live with subtitles and hear the characters speak in Japanese? Or should we all rejoice over this phenomenon of dubbing?

My personal stance on this matter is that an individual should be able to choose between subs and dubs. If you like listening to English or another language more than Japanese, then you should be able to do so without being scolded by the “real” anime fans that only prefer the Japanese audio. I hate it when people criticize others that prefer dubs, because there are two possible options, dub and sub, and these options exist because people appreciate both of them. If no one would choose a dubbed anime, the dubbing industry would have gone bankrupt long ago. I can understand very well that, if your mother tongue is English or French, you like watching anime in that language. It’s probably a lot more relaxing than having to read subtitles all the time, because you just sit back and listen to what they say.

However, there are a number of reasons to prefer subs to dubs. I have been lucky to learn English in school, and therefore I can understand a lot of spoken English, but I still find it easier to read English than to listen to English. If I watch a program on the BBC, it’s not uncommon for me to press the teletext-button and to switch on the subtitles. Not because I don’t understand what they’re saying, but because it makes it easier for me. The same counts for dubbed anime: people whose native tongue is not English sometimes have trouble understanding every single word the characters say. And there are no subtitles to fall back on. In those cases it’s better to opt for the original audio with subtitles, so that it’s easier to know what’s being said. Also, there are subs for almost every single anime out there. In fact,a lot more anime are subbed than dubbed, so you have a bigger selection to choose from.

Personally I always watch anime in the original language, which is mainly Japanese or occasionally Korean. This has a lot to do with my cultural background. I grew up in a country where everything (with a few exceptions) is subbed instead of dubbed. Programs for children and some animated movies (but not anime!) are dubbed here, but the sole reason for that is that the audience is probably not able to read well enough to read the subtitles. Nearly every program that is aimed at an audience that’s 12 years and older, is subbed. If I watch a program on a French or German television station, I find it striking how much dubs there are.

A second reason that I prefer the original language is the fact that I like Japanese and Korean a lot. I love the sounds, and I also love how different they are from European languages. I hear English on tv every single day, whether it’s in a sitcom like Friends or a Hollywood movie. But I don’t get the chance to hear Japanese that often other than in anime. Of course you can watch Japanese or Korean drama’s and movies, but they are barely shown on regular tv stations, and therefore I take every chance I can get to listen to these languages other than in music.

This is only my personal opinion, of course. I accept the fact that a lot of people share another opinion, and it’s their right to hold on to those beliefs. However, I hope that I have made my point clear in this post, so that you know what my stance regarding this subject is.

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