A crapload of stuff I watched.
Over the past couple of months I’ve watched a crapton of stuff dubbed, but I’ve been do busy doing more important things, like working… or playing Borderlands 2 to bother actually coming up with a write up for how I felt about them. As such I’ve decided to cleave through as much of by backlog as possible while being as lazy as possible.
Gainax’s evolution through the years has always amused me, particularly the way they’ve shifted from making character heavy works that focused more on realistic emotions and motivations, to overblown, heavily-stylized anime-blockbusters. One can easily see this shift by examining the franchises that they have revisited over the years. (See Evangelion vs Rebuild and Gunbuster vs Diebuster.) Their earlier works still had cool action scenes and whatnot, but they always felt more about the characters and their emotional journey instead of just shit exploding. Not to say that I have a problem with most modern Gainax works and also not to say that they still don’t have some decent characters. It’s simply a shift from one kind of story telling to another. (Gainax is kind of like the George Lucas of anime – except unlike Lucas, Gainax can make their visual porn not shit.) So the natural conclusion to Gainax’s shift from character-focused drama to substance-through-style is Panty and Stocking. Considering that P&S is an overly-stylized profanity ridden gag show, it felt like a perfect show to watch dubbed.
The dub left me with one question. Why is Garterbelt just Chris Sabat in blackvoice? (Sub-question: why is there a voice acting version of blackface?) I get that the voice acting market is not exactly littered with black voice actors, but is it to much to ask for the stereotypical blaxploitation character to actually be black and not blatantly a white guy trying to sound black? Whatever, it’s not that important. Apart from Mr. Sabat’s black-voice, I have absolutely no problems with this dub. It’s foul and vulgar, the cast sounds like they’re having a pretty good time, the script never made me vomit, and my only complaints would be that the Demon sisters need to learn to roll their r’s in the dub and ‘fuck’ doesn’t sound as good in English as it does in Engrish.
Final Score: A-
The best way to sum up this dub would be to quote Stephen Hunter, “Zzzzzzzz. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Ulph. Umph. Ach. ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz.” Azumanga Daioh is probably one of the best “cute girls doing cute things” shows but it definitely needed more liberties taken in its dub and less Osaka with a southern drawl.
Final Score: C
I must confess I kinda cheated with this one, I only watched bits and pieces while watching Dragon Ball Kai dubbed (just for comparison sake). Dragon Ball Z‘s dub is a train wreck. I’m sure if I had grown up watching this on Toonami I’d have more love for it, but watching it for the first time as a jaded adult, I am disgusted the notion of anyone saying that this dub is better than the Japanese cast. The casting sucks, the performances are amateurish, the script is a complete fucking mess, the replaced music mostly sucks and overpowers every goddamn scene, any moment of silence is either filled with added dialogue that serves no purpose or random generic snyth-rock.
Final Score: D+Now this is a Dragon Ball dub. The script is better, the cast seems to have learned what the fuck they’re doing, the music isn’t replaced with retarded crap (although I must confess, I do kinda like the dub Vegeta theme from DBZ) and does intrude on every single second of the show, Frieza doesn’t sound like a tranny, etc… There are still some major issues like Chris Sabat voicing at least five characters from what I could tell. Seriously why do Vegeta and Piccolo have the same voice actor? Is it two much to ask for two major characters who are in a large majority of the scenes to not sound nearly the same? Or for Sabat’s Piccolo to be more than just his Vegeta but more gruff? I watched The Tree of Might dubbed and Scott McNeil made a pretty good Piccolo (I mean he was no Toshio Furukawa but entirely serviceable), they should have gotten him back to voice him.
Final Score: B+
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA… oh wow. This dub was really painful to watch. Not only was it really bad in the worst possible way, but it has no reason to be bad. Brad Swaile’s performance as Setsuna is probably the worst performance I’ve seen from someone I like. (Why the hell wasn’t he Ribbons? He spent the original Gundam being American Tohru Furuya, he can do it here too!) I’m convinced that the ADR director threatened to viciously flog Brad Swaile if he showed a single emotion. The rest of the cast is either equally bland of completely ridiculous, with the biggest offender being Scott McNeil’s Ali, who somehow manages to cycle through at least five accents in every scene he’s in and then promptly not give a single fuck afterwards. Unsurprisingly this dub is directed by James Corrigall who also directed Zeta Gundam‘s dub.
Final Score: F
Code Geass is a wonderful trainwreck, it and its sequel are probably the perfect example of how to completely fuck up story telling. As such it’s one of those great candidates for a truly great cheese dub… unfortunately it doesn’t get that. I actually refrained from looking up the cast of this dub because Dub Nunnally is so bad that I don’t want to know who voiced her. So bad in fact that the entire dub is irreparably damaged by her performance. Not that the rest of the cast was all that good, but it was at least close to passable. (Johnny Yong Bosch really needs to stop trying to voice hammy characters, his voice just isn’t suited for it.) The only good parts of this dub were Crispin Freeman as Orange (now there is a man who should continue to voice hammy characters), Cool Old Guy A (Michael McConnohie) as the Emperor (no Wakamoto, but still better than the rest of the cast) and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (whom I shall now refer to as Better Wendee Lee since it’s easier to type).
Final Score: F (Entirely for dub Nunnally)
Another classic dub that holds up. There are some problems (mainly K. T. Gray’s accent), but for the most part I can’t find much to hate in this dub. Crispin Freeman makes a great American Jouji Nakata, Steve Brand is a good Anderson, K. T. Gray’s Seras is definitely the weakest member of the main cast but still entirely serviceable, Victoria Harwood has a good balance in her Integra and Ralph Lister makes for a really good butler. Dub Icognito kinda sucks but his character is shit and the worst part of the original series (well besides the LOLGONZO animation) so I’m entirely forgiving of it. However, I’d have to say the high point to the dub is Josh Phillips as Jan Valentine, who is having way too much fun in his role.
Final Score: A-
Same thing as the TV series. Great cast, great acting. Crispin Freeman continues to be great as Alucard, K. T. Gray’s accent continues to be mildly grating, Josh Phillips continues to completely dominate his one episode. The new characters have equally strong dubbing, particularly The Major (despite his “I love war” speech having some wording oddities I wasn’t particularly fond of) and Kari Wahlgren’s Rip van Winkle who really was a delight to listen to (especially while Alucard… Vampire raped – or the closest thing to rape – her). My one complaint with the Hellsing Ultimate dub is Steve Brand. While his Anderson is still pretty good, he not bombastic enough for Ultimate. It was fine in the TV series where the animation wasn’t extreme and over the top but in the OVA Anderson is pretty much the role Norio Wakamoto was meant to play and requires at least 3/4ths as much ham. And while I do not like saying something dubbed sucks because the Japanese actor is Norio Wakamoto, when Anderson’s mouth is taking up half the screen and their are visible sound lines from how much scenery he is chewing, the voice acting really needs to match the animation.
Final Score: A-
I’m not going to lie, I only watched this dubbed because after Hellsing I kinda went on a Crispin Freeman marathon. Big O falls into the “shows that are extremely western” category of dubs that are good. Steve Blum continues to be his one note wonder (although in recent years he seems to have expanded from Cool Dude A to Gruff Angry Guy A) and I have no problems with that he matches the guy he’s voicing. The remaining cast handles their shit, Wendee Lee is Wendee Lee which I consider good and bad, Crispin Freeman continues to be awesome (I really see why people like him, he’s just so fun to listen to), Michael McConnohie does a great mad scientist shtick and has a great evil laugh, and Lia Sargent makes for a really good Rei Clone.
Final Score: B+
Thank you dub Haruhi for having a great male cast and an amazingly shitty female cast (well two thirds of it anyway), that’s exactly what I wanted for Christmas. Now I find Haruhi horribly, horribly overrated. While it’s my favorite of its type of shows, it still has a shit ton of stupid and annoying in it. This is made twenty times worse by the dub cast. I enjoyed the shit out of the male side. Crispin Freeman is a great lead and Johnny Yong Bosch actually feels correctly cast for a change. The female cast on the other hand? Not a fan. Wendee Lee proves she can annoy me as much as Aya Hirano (also she dubs the concert songs which even K-ON! had the decency to avoid – and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I miss Aya Hirano’s singing). Stephanie Sheh voices Mikuru and that’s really all I have to say about that because I think it speaks for itself. (See her Yui in the K-ON! dub for further clarification) NOT Wendee Lee’s Yuki I don’t have that much of a problem with. The secondary cast is all pretty good and along with the male cast really help salvage the experience into something entirely watchable. (I sat through Haruhi in Japanese with Haruhi and Mikuru annoying the hell out of me, I can do it in English too)
Final Score: B
If this was my first exposure to Todd Haberkorn I would probably think that dub Firo has quite possibly the worst New York accent of all time and question what the hell the ADR director was doing having someone use that voice. But having seen him in other roles, that’s apparently just his voice, and to be honest part of me is really happy that someone naturally sounds like that. It’s the same part of me that would be happy to find someone in real life who naturally sounded like Bane from The Dark Knight Rises. It’s just so absurd I’m overjoyed to find out it exists. That said I wanted to dislike this dub but couldn’t. J. Michael Tatum, Bryan Massey’s “I eat gravel for a living” voice, Chris Patton, Jerry Jewell, Ian Sinclair, and Colleen Clinkenbeard were all really fun to listen to and easily carried some of the weaker roles. I wasn’t too fond of Brina Palencia’s Ennis (but I’m generally not to fond of dub Rei Clones) and Catlin Glass was pretty grating as Miria Harvent (she didn’t have the same fun charm as J. Michael Tatum’s Isaac and I thought that hurt the duo). Joel McDonald’s Jacuzzi suffers from ridiculous accent syndrome like Dub Firo, but for the whole “high-pitched, constantly scared” routine he executes it really well and far less annoying that I thought it was going to be going into this dub.
Final Score: A-
I recently subscribed to Funimation’s streaming service, because I had nothing better to do with 8 bucks a month and because it means I don’t actually have to open the DVDs/BDs I buy. As such I’ve been using this opportunity to watch a bunch of anime that falls into the “shit I don’t even remotely care about but will watch anyway because I hate myself”. Normally I’d watch this shit subbed because purity and original language and all that other crap, but I find myself not even remotely caring about that anymore. I don’t know if this show is as horribly boring and generic in Japanese as it is in English and frankly I don’t care. In comedy, there are some things that have just gotten old and need to be taken out behind the shed and shot. The laugh track is one of these things in American TV comedies. In anime it’s shit like, Generic Male Protagonist sees “cute” Female A naked due to a series of events that aren’t his fault, then he gets assaulted for it anyway. I’m tired of this shit. It’s not funny. It might have been funny at some point but nowadays it’s the anime version of a fart joke. No one cares. And that’s pretty much Is This A Zombie (props to Funimation for not going for a completely non-translation like My Bride is a Mermaid) generic as fuck. Female character treats the male protagonist like shit? Check. Male protagonist gets repeatedly mauled, beaten or suffers other great bodily injury? Check. Female characters feel like a generic compilation of market tested character traits rather than actual organic characters? Check. Art and animation that make me want to vomit? Check. Non-plot pretending to be actual plot? Check. Annoying best friend character who is constantly talking about women and how much the main character sucks at getting women only to find out the main character is living with a herd of them and become devastated and jealous while imagining the main character engaging in some massive rotating orgy with his housemates? Check. (Also, I hate Japan for making that a cliche.) So how is the dub? It exists. That’s pretty much it. The most amusing part was Funimation’s subtitles that would point out the dub actress voicing the main character’s fantasy Eu (she’s voiced by a different actress every episode) while the on screen Japanese directly contradicted it and listed the Japanese actress. And I understand why they did it, but the fact that they formatted it as if they were directly translating the onscreen text made me laugh. Since it basically read as if Funimation was saying, for example, 日高 のり子 was Christian Luci
Final Score: F