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What makes the Japanese Audio better by Lia | DALnet #anime editorials



What makes the Japanese Audio better

I was wondering this the other day. A large majority of the anime fans out there (including myself) will argue that an anime is better experienced with the original japanese audio than with the dubbing effort produced for international versions.

I have heard and made the arguements about how Japanese anime is treated with a higher cultural standard over in Japan than "cartoons," which is what anything animated is lumped into over here, generally receive unless they are Disney. I have also heard and seen that Japanese voice actors, or Seiyuus as they are called, can sometimes rise to a level of fame unheard of over here for voice actors that haven't already established themselves through other means like Tom Hanks and James Earl Jones.

These are interesting arguements and may very well be valid, but I'm left wondering...how do we really know? There are few of us out there who love anime and are fluent enough in the Japanese language to have discerning ears for how it is spoken. It's also true that in many anime, the characters speak Japanese at a level that would be deemed kiddish or childish by the standards of typical Japanese inflection and mannerisms. Could it be that we have a romanticized notion of the language itself and that's where our opinions of great Japanese voice acting come from?

A Seiyuu like Megumi Hayshibara is an established star over in Japan, so one can argue that she's a talented voice actress. However, can you as a non-Japanese speaker, articulate what makes her so good? Can you compare/contrast her against other voice actors?

Another interesting observation: I'm often in a position of saying that I like what I hear on the Japanese side better, however, so rarely do I ever listen to the english track first that maybe those initial associations that are formed make me pre-disposed to that presentation of the anime, which may not culturally make sense from an English Dubbing standpoint. That's not to say the English dubs are excellent because most of us know English and can recognize crap for what it is, but if we heard the english first, I wonder how different are perceptions of the original Japanese audio would be.

In the end, it comes down to liking what you like because you just know. However, try sometime seeing if you can pinpoint specific details on why you like the Japanese audio better, something more than "I Just Do." Even if that's the only reason you need, a deeper understanding of the anime you like will help you in conversations with others who might necessarily know what you mean by your strong opinions.

Lia
Saturday, March 15, 2003





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