The Dub Track
Martian Successor Nadesico: the Motion Picture

by Ryan Mathews, Dec 2nd 2003
Now featuring better-sounding clips! See below!

Before I begin...

Most of you should be familiar with Anne Packrat, my partner in creating this column, whom I thank each month for her assistance in helping me choose and record the sound clips. For over two years now, Anne (whose real last name is Butler), has been my partner in more ways than one. Two days ago, she agreed to be my wife. So at the moment, I am one happy dub reviewer!


Martian Successor Nadesico: the Motion Picture

The defining point for me, as I reviewed this dub, came after it was over. As the credits rolled, as I always do, I got out a pen and paper and prepared to write down the pertinent info. As the cast list slid by, I began writing down names, then more names, then even more names. Finally I just gave up and watched in awe as the list went on and on and on.

There are over 140 individually credited roles in this dub. Counting the actors is more difficult, but at least 35 roles moved past before I saw an actor repeated. I'd guess at least 50 actors were used to make this dub, maybe more.

How do they do it? Remember, ADV dubs in-house — to this day they are the only major anime distributor that does this. The main argument against in-house dubbing, from the viewer's perspective, is that specialized acting studios must surely be able to do a better job. And while ADV's early dubs seemed to bear out that theory, they've since built themselves into one of the best studios in the industry. I feel safe in guessing that other anime distributors would hire ADV to dub for them if they could.

And they've done it all from Texas. Again, that wasn't supposed to be possible, given the US acting universe, which is divided into Los Angeles, New York, and Everywhere Else. But the distance from the union-dominated world of the acting capitols may have helped them, allowing them to build up a stable of enthusiastic, talented actors who aren't concerned about hiding from SAG.

But onto the topic of this particular dub. It's interesting to contrast it with the dub of Urusei Yatsura I reviewed a few months ago, since both suffer the same handicap: far too many roles shoehorned into a movie that's not that long (only 75 minutes for Nadesico). However, unlike AnimEigo, ADV had the advantage of having the dub cast for the Nadesico TV series on hand to reprise their roles. So even when a character only has one or two lines, they sound just like you remember them.

That is, when the character hasn't changed. For example, Ruri is three years old and not quite the child she was in the series. It sounds like Kira Vincent-Davis (Quon in RahXephon) has turned her voice half a notch lower to account for this - it works.

Spike Spencer (Shinji in Evangelion), known for playing young, unsure characters gets a chance to show his range here and runs with it. Akito, his character, has been through some hellish times and is no longer the innocent, idealistic young man from the series. This is Spencer as I've never heard him before, low, soft, and cold.

As if there weren't already enough characters, the movie also introduces some new crew members to the Nadesico. With such limited time to work with, it's hard for an actor to find the voice for a new character, especially given that these new characters aren't that well-defined. Chris Patton (Ayato in RahXephon) has fun as Saburota, yet another long-haired, over-confident, womanizing pilot, but the performance is hardly memorable. Cameron Bautsch (Tatsuya in Ushio & Tora episodes 7-8) plays Hari, the little kid computer operator that has a crush on Ruri. The character comes off as a little whiny, which I suppose is understandable, given how Hari spends all his screen time complaining.

The incidental voices in this dub are pretty good, showing what you can do when you have a large stable to choose from and don't have to overload your actors with too many multiple roles. I don't think there's a truly bad voice in the entire dub.

Overall, this isn't the best dub I've heard, because this isn't the best anime. Most of the vocal performances for the new characters sound rather generic. But it's clear ADV worked their asses off to make it as good as it is, and I appreciate that.


Rating: *** (out of 4)

Vital Stats:
Released by: ADV
Dubbed by: ADV/Industrial Smoke & Mirrors
Director: Eric Sherman

Cast:
Ruri - Kira Vincent-Davis
Hari - Cameron Bautsch
Saburota - Chris Patton
Akito - Spike Spencer
Ryoko - Tiffany Grant
...and many, many, MANY more!


Clips: Several of you have written to inform me that the sound clips in this column often sounded terrible. It was true. I never noticed, because I tested the clips with Apple's QuickTime player, which apparently corrects for distortion. But if you played the clips with a player that didn't feature correction, they were pretty much unlistenable. At a reader's suggestion, I have switched to mono MP3, which takes better advantage of the tiny bitrate. (Going to a higher bitrate would increase the bandwidth-drain on the site.) And I've begun testing with a non-correcting player. Thanks to Anne Packrat for helping me choose the clips and editing them.
Agree? Disagree? Have a comment about a dub, or just about dubbing in general? Let me know! (mathews1 at ix.netcom.com)

The views and opinions expressed in The Dub Track are solely those of Ryan Mathews and do not necessarily represent the views of Anime News Network or its sponsors.


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