Forum - View topic
Answerman - Can English-Speaking Fans Critique Japanese Voice Acting?


Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8  Next

Note: this is the discussion thread for this article

Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Zin5ki



Joined: 06 Jan 2008
Posts: 6680
Location: London, UK
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:08 pm Reply with quote
A most interesting question today, Justin.
Quote:
And you know what? That's fine. That's a perfectly acceptable way of watching anime. I wish I could do still do that. Frankly now that I can hear just how bad Japanese voice acting can be, I really wish I could stuff that genie back in that lamp. Hearing bad performances in anime just ruins many shows for you.

It would perhaps be revealing to know how you would answer the following question. It may be perfectly acceptable for one's experience of a performance in anime to arise from an amalgam of uncomprehended speech and comprehended (but unheard) text, but as far as appreciation is concerned in the normative sense, is it just as good, all other things being equal, as what you are able to take away?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website My Anime My Manga
Sakurazuka_Reika



Joined: 19 May 2009
Posts: 524
Location: Malta
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:11 pm Reply with quote
I agree with you. I also think that not being familiar with a language can severely impair your impression of tones and intentions. When someone overhears me talking to another person in my mother tongue, they are almost always under the impression that we were arguing with each other, when really we're just speaking normally.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Divineking



Joined: 03 Jul 2010
Posts: 1256
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:14 pm Reply with quote
Yeah that's more or less my take on it too. In my early days of watching stuff subtitled I never really payed much attention to seiyuu performances outside of whether or not they sounded cool but as I saw more stuff and started getting more familar with certain seiyuu names I got a better feel for the performances and now I can achieve at least a basic understanding of how they sound.

Of course as I don't know Japanese and have more or less given up on trying, I don't think I can really give too much of an opinion on them, and it's part of why I still watch dubs(aside from obvious interest in certain voice actors). If I'm going to be at the mercy of someone else's translation no matter what, might as well go with the one that requires the least amount of effort to listen to Laughing
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
KutovoiAnton



Joined: 03 Mar 2013
Posts: 707
Location: Vladimir, Russia
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:15 pm Reply with quote
Hm... Bad performance in anime? My example is Denpa Kyoshi. And I'm not even talking about Rena Matsui's performance (no need to beat a dead horse). The rest of the cast, including Hiroshi Kamiya as MC also gave very weak performance.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Via_01



Joined: 24 Aug 2014
Posts: 551
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:17 pm Reply with quote
It's certainly hard to meassure bad acting when you're not listening to your native language. At the same time, it's not difficult to notice whenever a voice actor is bad, or on the contrary, when a voice actor is really good. Satoru's VA from ERASED has a very different way of expressing himself from other male VAs I've heard, and it didn't surprise me too much to learn that he's actually a live-action actor (and apparently a pretty decent one).

However, even if the voice acting is not too great, I still rarely ever watch the dubbed version, as they tend to sound very unnatural to my ears (English is not my native language, so it's just changing from one foreign tongue to another).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1091
Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:22 pm Reply with quote
This is mainly why I stick to English. To me, it feels unfair to judge the acting in a language I don't understand. That's also the reason I'm currently studying Japanese. Eventually, I'd like to get to the point where I can watch in the original language without subtitles.

However, I have seen a few short films and clips in Japanese (EVA Impacts comes to mind). As for bad Japanese acting, I found a clip from the Barefoot Gen animated film, whose original source material I loved. They got an actual kid to voice main character Gen Nakaoka. Based on my knowledge of the language, I can say that, in the words of the Unshaved Mouse, he is...a very nice young gentleman who did the best he could.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
AwaysAnnoyed





PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:35 pm Reply with quote
Ah. Just when I clicked reply my eye caught the 'Shouwa Genroku Rakugou Shingu' article. That show's actually a good example of how diverse voice actors could be. I'm always baffled by Akira Ishida and Yamadera Kouichi's skills when they tell one of their stories. It sounds unlike any other roles I've heard them in. And, let's consider for a moment the possibility that these stories they tell are taken in one cut, that would be even more impressive. Of course, clever sound engineering and editing makes it impossible to notice when one recording stops and a new cut begins, but even so, listening to one voice actor telling this story, and doing it with emotion, is truly a treat to my ear.

Oh, and I've noticed that one voice actor would play a role in modern day Japan and use all the jargon the cool kids use, and in the next anime they'll be a samurai 'ha' 'ha'-ing everything. Now, i believe this in of itself is a skill, since I can't really imagine myself speaking the 'high and dry' 200-year old version of my own native language. That's just too much.

When a voice actor's roles start sounding similar to me, it's usually in cases where the voice actor's been typecast. So they use their 'badass voice' for 'badass character A' and 'badass character B', since the creators want the 'badass character' to sound 'badass', so why not?

So, my hats are always off to voice actors. Wonderful profession. Oh hey, I just remembered. There was a little anime that aired last year that actually focused on voice actors and their difficulties - Seiyu's Life!! That show gives a little insight into the business, if anyone's interested.
Back to top
myskaros



Joined: 13 Jun 2011
Posts: 566
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:36 pm Reply with quote
Via_01 wrote:
Satoru's VA from ERASED has a very different way of expressing himself from other male VAs I've heard, and it didn't surprise me too much to learn that he's actually a live-action actor (and apparently a pretty decent one).

Ugh, but that "GO BAAAAACK!!!" line when he Again'd after being arrested was so cringe-inducing Anime hyper otherwise, I do agree that his performance is a nice change from typical "anime voicing."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 1905
Location: North Brunswick, New Jersey
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:38 pm Reply with quote
I agree with others in that being able to "properly" judge a performance that's in another language, especially if it's voice acting, is simply hard to do. When I give my feelings on a seiyuu's performance in an anime review on my blog, I'm not exactly judging the person's acting, per se, but rather I'm judging if the performance fit the character & the story as a whole. I'm no actor, so I don't think I can really give a proper judgment in that regard, but at the very least I can still tell if I like or enjoy the performance that's being given.

For example, everyone knows that Norio Wakamoto is an intensely cheesy & overdramatic seiyuu; he's anime's Christopher Walken for a reason. Still, much like Walken, everyone loves Wakamoto's performances simply because you can tell he's putting his all into his roles & is usually having a blast doing so. Any acting coach will tell you that Wakamoto's deliveries of lines of "All Hail Britannia!" or his intensely Engrishy delivery of his first line as Alexander Anderson in Hellsing are technically terrible, but it's the sheer passion he gives & the feeling that Wakamoto's loves doing what he does that makes us not care about how proficient he is as an actor.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Nazca Lily #837256



Joined: 01 May 2015
Posts: 30
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:45 pm Reply with quote
I usually watch anime subbed because I like hearing the Japanese voice actors. They seem better able to express the characters rather than the English (which sound a little flat). I thought voice actors in general had to be able to project their characters feelings more so than tv/movie/stage actors because the audience could not see the performance. Seeing a performance visually is easier to interpret what the story is being communicated.

Some of the anime shows and manga series get drama-cd to either carry a side story or to narrate the story. It's a bit like radio theatre or an audio book. I got into listening to radio theater one night scrolling through radio stations and hitting Riders in the Sky program.

I have no class experience of learning to speak any Japanese, so for much of what I listen to, it can be a challenge to figure out what is happening. Been listening to Psycho-Pass 0 which I'm kinda familiar with the characters and world - it's easy in areas and difficult in others.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Red Fox of Fire



Joined: 24 Jan 2010
Posts: 345
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:55 pm Reply with quote
I need to bookmark this so I can link back to it whenever someone tries to argue that "The acting in the Japanese version is always better" (or something to that effect). 99% of the time the person saying it doesn't know a damn thing.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Via_01



Joined: 24 Aug 2014
Posts: 551
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:56 pm Reply with quote
myskaros wrote:
Ugh, but that "GO BAAAAACK!!!" line when he Again'd after being arrested was so cringe-inducing Anime hyper otherwise, I do agree that his performance is a nice change from typical "anime voicing."


Haha, yeah, but I suppose a VA can't do anything if the script itself has faults. It was a very manga-ish moment, which I suppose is understandable considering the source.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Merxamers



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 704
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:01 pm Reply with quote
Over the years as i've watched more and more anime, i feel like i've become able, to some extent, to tell a good Japanese performance from a bad one. I've definitely heard some anime voices that were wooden or flat, while others felt more natural and emotional.

One of the first examples of anime where i was impressed with the Japanese VO was Maoyu, and the female lead at least is a very prominent anime voice actor (also voiced Ryuko in Kill la Kill, to my shock). However, I'm certainly not qualified to judge relative quality between most anime, and i enjoy watching a few select dubs (Spice and Wolf, Good Luck Girl, etc.)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Brand



Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 1026
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:03 pm Reply with quote
I recently watched Don't Leave Me Alone Daisy and I kept thinking the whole time this would be more enjoyable if this was dubbed. Though, thinking about it, the terrible voice acting kind of just lends its self to the weirdness of the whole show.

I've been watching more dubs lately. Sometimes it about needing a rest and sometimes I just want to craft while consuming media. I recently finished Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and thought the dub for that was great. And I also didn't have to say glued to my seat for 64 episodes. And in a interesting note I started watching Grappler Baki. I had watch like the first 4 episodes years ago subbed but just stopped watching. This time I started again with the dub and I am enjoying it much more, it just hits the right tones with how goofy this series really is.

Now somethings I'm a 100% on sub side (Hellsing), some I'm really split (Azumanga Daioh), and some the dub is just classic (Cowboy Bebop). So, a lot of it depends on my mood.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website My Anime My Manga
wolf10



Joined: 23 Jan 2016
Posts: 540
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:06 pm Reply with quote
As one of those who did release the genie from the bottle, I honestly don't regret it. If my choice is between bad overacting or bad overacting, I'll just put on the Japanese, turn off the subs (when allowed), and enjoy it as it was made. Too often I find myself translating the dub/sub script back into Japanese in my head anyway, so I just cut out the middleman.

I've since taken to watching more live-action Japanese television on the side as a way to get a better feel for the language as it is usually spoken. It sounds less emotive at first, but once you can pull your eyes off the subs, you may find even an actor you had problems with in the past is actually putting way more into the role than you thought.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8  Next
Page 1 of 8

 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group