A crapload of stuff I watched V2.
I didn’t add these to the previous post because it was becoming rather robust so I decided to split it in two parts.
This dub was really goddamn confusing. It was like watching Mike McFarland and the entire cast forget how to do their jobs, remember, forget again, remember, then promptly stop trying. To say that it wildly fluctuated in quality would be an understatement. There were a few people who I enjoyed consistently through like Travis Willingham and Colleen Clinkenbeard, but for the most part I didn’t care for the soulless lack-of-giving-a-fuck that filled this dub. What makes it worse is that I’ve seen nearly every member of the cast turn in performances better than this. (Like Chris Patton – why is his Greed so boring when I’ve seen him put so much life into other roles?) Hell, Vic Mignogna probably turned one of the best overall performances in this dub which I think speaks volumes for its problems. Vic Lasagna should never be the strongest performance, especially with such a robust cast. It was the anime equivalent of watching Shia Lebouf out act *insert well respected actor here*. Beyond that, there were some recasting choices I didn’t care for at all; particularly Jerry Russell as Tim Marcoh. I really liked the original dub Marcoh and it’s a shame that he got replaced in the show where he has about 5,000% more screen-time; and while I was never a big fan of the original Scar but I felt J. Michael Tatum’s also felt short. On the writing end there was some wonky dialogue, it’s been a while (and I’m too lazy to check) but if I recall correctly, dub Nina didn’t sound like she had down syndrome this time around, so that’s an improvement. Some technical aspects felt off, particularly in the beginning of the series where Maxey Whitehead’s volume seemed about 30% lower than the rest of the cast for no goddamn reason. Overall “Meh” would be the best description of this dub. Not horrible but not good.
Final Score: C
School Rumble operates at just the right frequency of stupid that it hits my soft spot for dumb, inoffensive, entirely watchable crap. And that pretty much sums up the dub. The cast has good synergy and while weak at the beginning, grow to be entirely enjoyable. Luci Christian and Brandon Potter do well as the leads, the entire effort feels like the people behind it gave a shit and had fun producing it, and there is a large lack of “cute girl” voice attempts (besides Luci Christian’s Tenma – but I’ll give her a pass because I don’t think it’s possible for Tenma to not be the worst part of the show.) More importantly the writing and rewrites generally work, apart from the couple of times where the dialogue descends into, “Look we can be hip and cool and talk like those kids with their fancy machines and internet,” type lingo.
Final Score: B+ (Season 1), A- (Season 2)
Like School Rumble, Seto no Hanayome occupies the “stupid as shit but I like it anyway” realm of shows. Yeah it has a lot of the same things that I hate about other Japanese comedies but it generally tends to execute them better and with 100% more Arnold Schwarzenegger. Unlike School Rumble, the localization is really weird and seems to go out of its way to sabotage itself. With the dubbing ranging from pretty good to “why did they do this!?” and not really having any rhyme or reason for why certain choices were made. Too much of the writing is filled with the aforementioned, “Look we’re hip and can say ‘noob’,” bullshit that really should have resulted in a long beating for whoever suggested putting it in the script. And that’s really the biggest problem, the writing itself fails far too often. I’m not going to bitch about the change to the whole chivalry pun shit because it’s a pun (one of the worst things ever) and while, “honor among thieves is honor under the seas,” is a pretty shitty line it’s not like anything was made worse by the change. (Exchanging stupid for stupid does not produce rage.) Likewise most of the other localizations didn’t bother me because at the very leas they didn’t make anything worse and, surprisingly, having Cherami Leigh dub Lunar’s battle song didn’t annoy me, but I think that’s because it’s a tongue-and-cheek war-chant and not an in-show actual song and/or dance number. The voice acting is passable; John Swasey is fun when he’s screaming and yelling about stupid crap, Monica Rial and Cherami Leigh are delightfully bitchy, but Chris Sabat really needed to be a lot smoother for Masa and Todd Haberkorn’s Todd Haberkorn-ness gets kinda grating after a while.
Final Score: C-
G Gundam‘s dub is horrible. It’s also awesome. It’s pretty much the embodiment of G Gundam in a dub form: hilariously terrible, but completely awesome in that regard. While the show itself is the often attempted but rarely ever successful brand of purposely so-bad-it’s-good, the dub is not and that really gives it charm. It’s an accidental perfect fit. There is only one performance that is even remotely passable (Master Asia), the rest range from complete shit (Rain) to trying but failing miserable (Mark Gatha’s Domon) to completely bizzare and nonsensical (nearly every supporting character). There is however one gigantic flaw with this dub, the localization removed about half of the racism. Yes Neo-Mexico is still a giant flying sombrero and it’s Gundam still wears a sombrero, poncho and wields a pitchfork but there is so much lost by not having the Gundam named Tequila Gundam. But for a show that features a German Ninja Cyborg Jester, this dub is exactly what was needed.
Final Score: S+
Crispin Freeman is an awesome abusive drunk dad type character and Kari Wahlgren is really good at being American Ami Koshimizu… and um… also I hate the way they pronounce Eureka. (I don’t care about accuracy it sounds fucking stupid.) That is all. (Mainly because that’s all I remember from this dub.) Looking at the cast again I see that Stephanie Sheh was Eureka and considering that I don’t remember being completely and totally annoyed every time Eureka opened her mouth, I’ll say that this was her best performance. Johnny Yong Bosch was the other lead and I remember virtually nothing about his performance either so it was probably totally serviceable. I can’t recall a single side performance and any attempt to simply ends with me being reminded of how much of a shittier-remake of Mobile Suit Gundam Eureka Seven is (it stops being an homage when you start lifting entire arcs) and also lamenting that they failed to lift some of the more awesome moments from MSG. (If Euraka Seven had an entire episode about them trying to get salt it definitely would have been better.)
Final Score: B-
Kirk Thornton, Kari Wahlgren, and
Daniel Andrews Steve Blum (seriously ANN when it’s that painfully obvious, just put Steve Blum there) all do a good job in their respective roles and it’s nice to see Steve Blum put some more life into his “Cool Guy A” voice besides his usual smooth tone. The background characters for the most part avoided background-character-syndrome, in fact I recall many of the background characters putting in pretty good performances for their limited roles similar to Cowboy Bebop‘s dub. (Particularly Michael McConnohie as The Saw.)
Final Score: A-
As really a one character show and a show that’s pretty much about “nothing” the overall quality of the dub hinged entirely on how shit/not shit dub Ginko was. Thankfully Travis Willingham was completely passable in the role. It wasn’t amazing but it never felt mediocre or phoned in. The other area the dub succeeded in was having a properly large cast to fill the various one episode characters without much overlap going on (although I’m disappointed there wasn’t an episode where every character was voiced by Scott McNeil in order to one up his talking-to-himself in the horrible Gundam 00 dub.) However the dub fell short in two critical areas that prevented it from being really great. First is the writing, as the show is 90% just people talking about stuff, this is a major flaw. While the writing for most of the dialogue is pretty good the terminology is where things get pretty messed up. Some things they translate other things they just leave completely untranslated and it gets annoying after a while. It’s like they were trying to preserve the Japanese-ness of the show, which never works out in dubbing. (Side note: I normally don’t give a fuck what language someone watches a show in but Mushishi is one of those shows where I’d say you really should watch it in Japanese.) The second area that the dub falls flat is Mike McFarland’s whisper acting bullshit. I will give the dub credit, it handles the subdued aspect of the performances really well, but there is a difference between subdued and whispering for no fucking reason. I actually listened to the commentaries for this and in one of them Mike McFarland actually brought up that people give him crap for said whisper acting and then said the reason he does it, is basically to make the audience listen. (His actual explanation was more along the lines of “by being quieter it makes the performance more intimate and brings you closer because you really have to listen” or some shit like that.)
Final Score: B
Another entry into my category of stuff I watched because Funi has it in their online catalog and I can just watch it dubbed and get twice the bitching for half the effort. Allow me to say this show monumentally disappointed me. For a show about a girl who wants to fuck 100 guys before she gets out of high school, this was not as gloriously retarded as it should have been. Instead it was a pretty generic romantic comedy. Now I will say by the low, low, low standards of Japanese romantic comedy this was probably one of the better entries I’ve seen in the genre. You’ve got your generic crap like the main male character being completely interchangeable with his clone from a billion other shows and the main character’s best friend who spends the entire time bitching about the main character and has absolutely no reason to be friends with her. However, B Gata H Kei does at least cut out 90% of the bullshit. In most shows you have 12-24 episodes of the main characters attempting to enter a relationship and then finally doing that in the final episode. That’s mostly averted here. Yamada does take 10 episodes to finally admit she likes Kosuda but it’s more bearable because instead of the two struggling to talk to each other they pretty much start dating at the start of the show and then spend the entire show attempting to have sex. In terms of overall narrative it’s pretty much the same, “I have to admit my feelings to Character Y-kun,” shit, but because their entire relationship is pretty much founded on, “I want to bang this guy,” with the, “Oh I actually love him,” coming later the annoying situational comedy of “Character A sees Character B in a semi-naked or naked situation and Character B flips out and beats him” is almost entirely absent. (Probably because when the girl throws the guy into a closet and flashes him in the first episode, then spends the next 11 episodes talking about how much she wants him to have sex with her and doing various things like not wearing panties and attempting to show him her vagina, she can’t really get angry at him for seeing her naked.) As for the dub, it’s pretty generic. Nothing too annoying or amazing. I’m not going to look up the cast but off the top of my head I didn’t recognize a single voice and if I tried to remember what any of them sounded like right now I probably couldn’t. So yeah.
Final Score: C
Chuck Huber, Luci Christian, and (on occasion – when he isn’t being annoying) John Swasey are awesome. Laura Bailey and Chris Patton were pretty good too. (Although since Laura Bailey is replacing Chiaki Omigawa, she’d have to try pretty hard to not be an improvement.) The rest of the cast spent the whole show either being extremely annoying (particularly Brittney Karbowski as Black Star), bland as hell (Maxey Whitehead’s performance) , or just sounding weird. The only thing I found interesting in this dub was Micah Solusod because I spent the first fourth of it thinking he was Johnny Yong Bosch. So it’s nice to know that we now have a NOT Johnny Yong Bosch to go with NOT Wendee Lee (Michelle Ruff). Adding to the mostly bored cast, the script was pretty generic as well with some really bad rewrites in certain places. Overall it was a poor effort filled with a couple of people who bothered to act.
Final Score: D
Despite them dubbing the opening song this dub mostly does everything right. The script is fast and loose and cares more about entertainment than accuracy, the cast isn’t asleep (Eric Vale and Luci Christian make strong leads), and it matched the goofy stupid tone of the show. I do lament that this type of dubbing is shoved into the “stuff we just happened to license” type of shows instead of anything truly good but at least I had fun listening to it.
Final Score: A-
Chris Patton and Luci Christian worked well as the leads and played off of each other excellently. (Well, as well as two separately recorded actors can.) The supporting cast did a good job; the cool old guys were cool and old, Vic King of the Lasagna felt properly cast to me and I actually liked him as Kurz, Allison Keith was a fine Mao even if she did feel a bit Misato-y in places, Hillary Haag’s nagging voice has grown on me and enjoyed her as a character I hate, and Greg Ayres provided the token annoying voice (he really needs more Yamazaki roles and less everything else he’s ever done). On the villain side, Mike MacRae does a great job as Gauron in the first series and John Swasey is delightfully insane as Gates in The Second Raid. Not everything is gumdrops and ice cream in this dub however. There are a few side characters that felt pretty underwhelming (particularly in the first series) and a few odd writing choices here and there, but nothing to really hurt the overall experience too much.
Final Score: B (First Series), A- (Fumoffu!), A- (The Second Raid)
All I remember about this dub is that it contained the line, “Merry fucking Christmas” in a scene where a girl was dressed up like Santa and used a rocket launcher to blown down a wall. Looking at the cast, it’s filled with people I generally like so I’m going to go with the tried and true, pull it out of my ass method, and say this dub was good.
Arbitrary Score: B+