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January 16th, 2012


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Jon Turner
05:52 pm - Haters of the Disney Ghibli dubs
This is another post about Ghibli, but not for the reasons that you'd expect.  It's about the dubs that Disney made for them.  Speaking for myself, I love the Disney Ghibli dubs.  Every one of them.  My favorites?  Castle in the SkyPrincess MononokeKiki's Delivery ServiceMy Neighbor Totoro, and Whisper of the Heart.  These dubs, while not perfect, are still very much worth watching.  And yet there are some Ghibli fans who seem to oppose them as if they are the worst things in the world that "butcher" Miyazaki's work, despite the argument that the director approved of the dubs in the first place, and yes, any change made to them.

Case in point:  the soon-to-be released Arrietty dub by Disney is already getting a lot of flak by people even BEFORE it's released, with many declaring that a different dub made in the UK will be the superior version and Disney's will be the terrible version no matter what.  This isn't the first time I've ever seen people be so vehemently against Disney's dubs. Even when KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE was released, a lot of fans railed against it. I remember one time when I was telling a friend in school (a hardcore Anime fan who HATED everything Disney at the time) about seeing KIKI, and he went into a rant on how he hated that Disney was getting Anime, and even told me that they should "shut down the animation department!" I know, I shouldn't take it personally, but still, it really hurt me deeply.

One of the most stabbing arguments I've ever heard fans make is when they say how better the non-Disney English dubs were, when, as a matter of fact, I didn't find them so.  CASTLE IN THE SKY, KIKI, PORCO ROSSO, and MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO all had pre-existing dubs (the latter of which was released on FOX video), and many fans napalmed the new Disney dub of TOTORO from the start. Why? Because they knew the FOX dub was perfect and that Disney could never improve on it, so they ripped it apart. Never mind what it actually does RIGHT. Similar atmospheres occurred for KIKI and CASTLE; mainly from fans who opposed the casting choices from the start and the alterations of music, despite the asset that CASTLE's dub had Joe Hisaishi himself — yes, THAT Joe Hisaishi — produce the whole rescore for LAPUTA. No matter how it turned out, fans still hated the new score, condemining it as a "crime against all humanity" and tried to push other people into avoiding the Disney dub. Still other fans also claimed that the '80s dub of CASTLE was "perfect" and "better" than Disney's "poor, trainwreck" dub. But listening to the '80s dub myself, I could not understand what those people were talking about. The older dub of LAPUTA, as I have mentioned in other forums, was absolutely HIDEOUS and lifeless, with everyone sounding just horrible. Disney's dub cast may have the leads sound older and more dialogue, but I always have and always will maintain my view that of the two dubs for CASTLE IN THE SKY, Disney's is the better of the two. But standing behind this view has not been easy for me; fans of the '80s dub tried to use every argument they could to "prove" to me that there was nothing good about Disney's dub and that the "80's" dub was "sooooo much better". None of which were valid. Some have even called me a "Disney whore" and told me that I was wrong to like the Disney dub and that no one loves it; all they wanted was the "REAL" version, which was the '80s English dub. Needless to say, I have since decided to distance myself from such fans, and not even care what they have to say.

I have not heard the PORCO ROSSO older dub, but I was told it wasn't very good—although somebody said it was better than Disney's dub. KIKI'S older dub is good, too, on par with TOTORO's older dub. But NAUSICAA and LAPUTA's older dubs are nowhere near quality dubbing, unlike their Disney counterparts.  (Actually, NAUSICAA's older dub is hardly a proper dub at all, but a 30-minute edited travesty of Miyazaki's film, NAUSICAA.  Disney didn't even do that one, and frankly, Miyazaki was disgusted at it, because the changes were done WITHOUT his permission, unlike the Disney dubs, which didn't cut even one second from the films).

Two years ago at a con I also ran into a man with his daughter who both told me they hated PONYO's dub because they hate Cyrus.

So believe it or not, fans like those do exist. But do you have to listen to them? Does what they say count? Of course not; these dubs are the best in business, none of them are bad in any way, and if Ghibli doesn't have a problem with them, who are others to say Disney ruined them? Think about it.

(7 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:theidolhands
Date:January 17th, 2012 03:34 am (UTC)
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Firstly, gonna have to side with Japanese still rule when it comes to voice acting. However, did not hate the early dubs either. And I realized why recently...the lack of "name" or Hollywood stars made it easy to accept the characters as they were and honestly I do like "cartoon acting" (like the stuff from the 80s). It's not that Hollywood can't overcome these things, for example Ellen was AMAZING in a Pixar film and I doubt anyone disliked Ursula in The Little Mermaid, but doing things like hiring the Jonas brothers...does kill it.

I started watching cartoons as a kid. Obviously. lol. So, my point is that a wonderful part of my inner child is still watching these works. In my opinion, when the actors trump the characters, for me it breaks the spell. The most telling aspect of this phenomena is in the giant difference of the tone of the interviews of the Japanese creators/actors versus the American side. I literally cringe from embarrassment, and stand in admiration (a goal I've set for myself) to the humility of the nation who created the work in the first place.

So, of course you are entitled to your opinion (I mean that), but this post comes off as a rant and we're supposed to be the anti–rabids. heh.

Edited at 2012-01-17 03:37 am (UTC)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 17th, 2012 01:13 pm (UTC)
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I don't understand why dubbing films has to be such a big deal! We don't need sounds. People used to make silent films and we still understood the storyline of the film. If you don't like a movie or dubbed version, don't watch it! You don't have to give people guff for something they can't change now. Just be patient and wait for another version to come out. Or maybe you should try to make one yourself if your so concerned! I appreciate Ghibli's films not because of the sound, but because of the beautiful animations and the amazing storyline of Hayao Miyazaki.
From:saturns_aurora
Date:February 15th, 2012 06:43 pm (UTC)
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I had the FOX dub of Totoro on VHS, and pretty much watched it till the tape fell apart. So, I feel like I'm pretty qualified to say: the Disney dub was just as good, if not better. It was strange hearing different voices, since I'd come to see the original cast as the 'real' voices of those characters. But, the acting was just as good and the translation was slightly better.

....maybe these fans should watch the first season of Sailor Moon in English? Then they could understand bad dubs.
From:Jon Turner
Date:February 18th, 2012 08:04 am (UTC)
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Bingo! See this is the kind of view I'd like to see more brought out than brushed aside. The FOX dub of TOTORO was fine, but does that automatically mean the Disney dub is bad by comparison? Not at all; the only reason it ever is, from what I've seen, is either bias against the Fannings or Disney in general or too much attachment to the original. The latter argument is understandable in a way, but the first two points? No way; not credible reasons to dismiss any dub, redub or not.
From:Jon Turner
Date:February 18th, 2012 08:03 am (UTC)
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Sadly, a lot of fans have the mentality that the Japanese voice actors are perfection personified and no one else can be better. To that point they will object to a character's tone of voice and even rip apart the actor no matter how much of an effort he/she is putting into the role.

That's why I've found myself standing up for James van der Beek's Pazu in [i]Laputa[/i]; yes it is true he does sound significantly more mature than his Japanese counterpart. But to say that he alone spoils the film is absolutely bogus and frankly, totally unfair. Ideal though he may not have been, he still brought something to the role that I felt his '80s dub counterpart lacked: effort and enthusiasm. Unlike his previous English voice "actress", who sounded unconvincing and frankly, not very lively, I could tell that James was putting energy into his role and never sounded lifeless despite some missed lines. It's only jarring to hear his voice if you're too accustomed to the Japanese voice actress, which is partially understandable, but on the other hand, not very fair to the other side of the fence. It's just like faulting Vic Mignogna for making Edward sound more mature; him making Edward sounding like a teen alone should automatically make the dub bad, never mind the enthusiasm he puts into his character? It doesn't make sense. And to add more fuel to the fire, Pazu's Japanese voice actress wasn't even 14 when she did the role. She was 30-ish. Ditto with his JAL actress. And yet James was 21 when he did the role yet some say he sounds like he's in his thirties! Big deal! So what?!

This is why I've often found it very difficult to respect the opinion that Van der Beek is so distracting that he spoils [i]Laputa[/i] because IMO, that argument just reeks of bias and preference; there is no way to prove that he does. Not everyone even shares that same belief either; in real life I've spoken to many people who thought he did a great job and were baffled by the internet naysayers. I doubt everybody who was unfamiliar with the Japanese version wrote him off just because he was in the film. Never mind the whole "screen actors don't always make good voice actors argument"; if they are good then what does it matter?
[User Picture]
From:weber_dubois22
Date:March 6th, 2012 08:39 pm (UTC)
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I can't comprehend how anyone can be so mentally slavish to one type of voice acting (or type of dub) by using the blanket generalization that "Anything is better than English Dub(s)". Its stupid and narrow minded. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, both have good dubs and bad dubs. While I prefer to watch Anime with English Dubs, I'm not so blind to my own preference that I'll ignore when one is better than the other. I never understood the vehement hatred English Voice acting gets from the crazy Otaku fans on the internet; It wasn't particularly good in its earliest days (no one can deny that), but like with any art form or profession, its gotten progressively better (especially since the notion of "Americanizing" everything for a better translation for the audience has been dropped completely) with each passing decade. Japanese voice acting is not the be-all-end-all standard of voice acting and nor should it be, especially when there are other languages to consider beyond English.
From:Jon Turner
Date:March 18th, 2012 01:47 am (UTC)
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That's exactly how I feel. I have seen quite a bit of dubs in my life, and I honestly haven't found all of them to be as unlistenable or painful as many of these Otaku have said. I can't find any fault with the Ghibli dubs. They are not perfect by any means, but are any of them bad? Not at all. In fact, from what I've watched, I have found no legitimate reason to hate on the Disney dubs and say the Japanese dubs are automatically better—they were made around 1998-2012 by skillful professionals who did arguably better jobs than many other dubbers at the time.

And yes, it is true that many older Anime dubs, mostly from the '80's and the early '90s were, at best, not particularly good at all. Some of them were downright terrible. However, there HAVE been some dubs from this era (SOME, not all) that I have a soft spot for and stand behind to this day: Record of Lodoss War OVA, Slayers, Carl Macek's own My Neighbor Totoro, and Wings of Honneamise... all these are listenable to good dubs which hold up pretty well to this day in my opinion. They do have their weaknesses, but I'd like to think that they're better than many other dubs from the eras they were made, respectively.

Even with the argument over older dubs never being pretty good, in the end whether a dub is great or not is ultimately up to the individual. No one should have to give others "permission" to see the dubs in question. They should decide for themselves, ignoring any warnings that they are "horrible", when they may, in fact, be just the opposite.

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