Thursday, April 9, 2009

The West Strikes Back - In Defense of Dubbing, Second Phase

About a week ago, I proudly hoisted the banner of dub lovers everywhere. Upon retrospect, I think I may have come off as too aggressive in that post, and might have misled some to thinking that I have an active dislike of people who prefer subs.

That is not true.

Whilst I will probably never willingly watch a show in subs if a dub is available (unless the dub truly is earth shatteringly bad. So far, only Genshiken has ever earned that dishonor), I can respect the decisions of those who prefer subs for well thought out reasons.

So no. I don't hate people who prefer subs. I do however, hate certain subsets of the people in the sub camp.

As I had pointed out in the last post, one subsection of the team sub that I hate are those who insist on the innate superiority of Japanese VAs for no apparent reason other then the fact that they're Japanese.

There are two other groups that I didn't point out in the last post, which is what I intend to rectify today.

The first, are those douches who claim that they prefer subs because they're, "true/avid anime fans."

That's an argument that has about as much merit as a steaming pile of horse manure.

As fandom can't be quantified, one cannot ever accurately assess whether one is a greater or lesser fan.

However, I can say this; my computer hard drive is loaded with several hundred gigabytes of anime, my entire dvd collection largely consists of anime, every single book that I've bought in the last few years which haven't been non-fiction titles have been manga, my desk is literred with figures, a vast array of miscelleneous items in my house such as cups, phonestraps, posters and so forth are anime related, I've been to anime conventions in multiple countries, and I've spent days walking the streets of Akihabara.

For personal reasons I do not refer to myself as an otaku, but that word is still a pretty fucking apt descriptor.

So don't give me this bullshit about how the fact you jerk off to subs somehow makes you a "true" anime fan.

And a common argument that follows the "true fan" claim is that they don't want dubs to ruin the director's artistic vision.

Now let's get this straight; Anime. Is Not. Fucking. Art.

You want art? Go to the local art gallery, go listen to classical music, go visit the theater. In fact, for fellow Sydney-siders, there's a new Tom Stoppard play that's on at the moment, go watch that if you want some art. Also, Wicked is coming to town in a few months, go watch that for your art fix too.

Anime however, is not art. It's essentially the animated equivalent of a sitcom or a TV show; a commercial endeavour whose primary purpose is making money. Any artistic merit is just bonus.

Just because an anime might be intelligently written or thought provoking doesn't somehow make it art. Every once in a while, an anime comes out that is so ahead of it's time, that it can rightly claim it's place as art. But those are the incredibly rare exceptions.

Also, if we really want to go into the whole argument about how the director wanted people to see his/her work, I'm pretty sure s/he didn't intend to have fucking text hovering around the bottom of the screen every fucking time a character opens their mouth.

Now the final subset of camp sub that pisses me off; the idiots who think that just because they like reading stupid little text at the bottom of the screen somehow means that they're smart and well read, whereas people who like dubs are dumb.

No. Reading subs does not make you smarter, and preferring dubs does not mean you're dumb.

I should know; I'm a fucking Mensa member with a tested IQ of 180. I am a fucking student in fucking law school. Everyday, I have to read and comprehend court reports and legal critiques, mostly written by Judges and legal academics, who rank amongst the most pointlessly verbose and ineloquent people in the known universe.

I can read well, and I goddamned have some fucking grey matter in my head. And the same applies for many of my fellow fans who prefer dub work.

So stop fucking patronizing us with your bullshit.

You might prefer subs for whatever reason, but stop thinking that somehow makes you better then us. Cause here's something that might surprise you; it doesn't.


  1. hehehe snark is angry =D
    much like that time on the grand chase forums ;D
    you rant long young one

  2. ROFL I am amazed that you have an IQ of 180 and study law...WH00T. what are your dream career and...why not a scientist/inventor? XD (just curious)

    I'm shoooo stupid but I know how to dfferent shape stupid and rational peeps HAHAHAHA.

  3. Even if anime can be art (and I'm not sure that's even a useful discussion to have) there are schools of thought (one of which I subscribe to) which say that looking for the creator's artistic vision is the wrong way to approach art. And even if it's the right way, I'm told that the extent of the director's creative control can vary wildly: fans might actually be looking at the artistic intent of the commercial sponsors or of the writer(s).

  4. Well said Snark, well said. Not much else I can say. It'd be a miracle if the debate ever just stopped. I just roll my eyes when I see people furiously fighting over it.

  5. @ Sneth
    Bah! When am I ever not angry!? =P

    @ Anna
    Eh, IQ really doesn't mean too much...doesn't mean I don't show off about it though >=P

    And as to why I don't wanna be a scientist or something, it's mainly cause that's not where the money is. Screw dreams and ideals! Show me the dollar sign baby! >=D

    @ iknight
    Eh, I would almost never consider anime a work of art (save a handful of truly outstanding titles). And yeah, I agree that even the director may not have total freedom of control.

    @ Persocom
    Meh, the debate'll probably never stop. It's ironic that it's continued even till the age of dvds where both dubs and subs are available, but hey, what can we do?

  6. You have a curious definition of "art."

  7. Dude, I lied, I prefer subs. :P
    Have a cup of tea mate, u need one.

    I guess everyone has their own opinions about this matter and how they see each particular group. No wonder it's such a popular topic. lol

    PS: Vita dub voice kills her character. She's not the hot-head I know anymore whoever dubbed her. >_<