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The Dub Track

by Ryan Mathews,
Time for me to pull out the old mailbag! Here's what some of you had to say about my reviews.

Regarding Inu Yasha:

I absolutely agree with your latest "Dub Track" about Inu-Yasha, despite the fact that I find Kaede's old english dialogue twice as annoying as you seem to.

I watch the dub on Cartoon Network weekly, and haven't heard the sub. But I was suprised when two weeks ago the dub went from 'average' (considering how Cartoon Network) dubs normally are) to 'quite good.'


I can only assign this change to one thing-- Miroku's appearance. His VA (Kirby Marrow, I think?) is the best I've ever heard on Cartoon Network, and his presence seems to light up the rest of the VA's performances as well. Add to this the fact that Miroku is a great and funny character, and the show's overall appeal has skyrocketed. I cannot wait for Saturdays, and the new Adult Swim lineup will be even better.

[email protected]

So, I've got something to look forward to. I've only seen the DVDs. I do get Cartoon Network, but I've only caught one episode. (Like I have time to watch TV with all these unwatched videos strewn about.)
Thank you sooo much for your article about the Inu Yasha dubbing. I am a big fan of the comic and when I found that I could watch it on Cartoon Network I was ecstatic. Then I saw it......and was slightly disappointed. In the comic Inu Yasha was this sexy dangerous "I'm gonna rip your heart out cause I want to" sorta guy. And the dub made him sound like a pouty little brat who wants to act tough. And Kagome ended up sounding so stupid and cliche instead of the tough "I am NOT going to let this get to me!" girl I thought she was. Plus the series just got on my nerves by deleting some good parts that happened in the comic. Oh well.

Thanks for listening!

[email protected]

You know how Ocean lag works. Even by disc two, you can feel the characters growing into their roles, and this is a ninety-odd-episode-and-growing show. Assuming the cast remains the same, this show is going to have a damn good cast by disc three or four. Even David Kaye's Sesshomaru starts off fairly strong, in my opinion, and that's just disc five...

Just some food for thought. Although it might be all right to judge a thirteen-ep series by the first three or so episodes, it might be better to judge a show this long after its tenth or so ep. Look at the Rurouni Kenshin TV series for proof of that--the first five or so episodes were downright atrocious, but by the fourth disc they've all got their characters pat--and by the seventh disc, when everything hits the roof, it's one of the best dubs around.

Maybe try giving this show another chance further down the line. ^^; Actually, that'd be an interesting thing to do. You're talking about how your standards are becoming more strict, so it might be a great time to go back and do a recheck through some of the shows you've already reviewed!

[email protected]

Of course, not everyone agreed with my appraisal...
I believe you are being too harsh on the Inu-Yasha dub. The way you portray it makes it seems stupid, awful, and a complete waste of time, when it is none of the above. I have seen both the original and the dub, and it is one of the closest translations you'll find. You're right that the voices do fit better after a few episodes, but the text isn't clumsy at all, except for those few inconsistencies. The voices themselves actually, with the amazing exception of Sessho-maru, are very much like the original voices. (Inu-Yasha does sound like a "snot-nosed punk" -_- Unfortunate, but true). Anyway, thanks for taking the time to at least mention Inu-Yasha. ^_^

[email protected]

I believe you are being overly harsh on my review. All I've said is that the dub is mediocre, not poor. It's not bad acting, just not particularly creative acting. Thus the two-star rating. "Stupid, awful, and a complete waste of time" would be one star.

Comments on my review of You're Under Arrest:

I agree, the YUA dub is most excellent. When I watched the dubbing sessions, I've seen how much care they've put into lip syncing and character personality. The voice actors have outdone themselves and it was worth the wait, but I can hardly wait until I receive the second box set. I think the dub is so good, in fact, that I preordered all the rest from AnimEigo. I would even say that this series' dub is just as good as any of the high-end animes, such as Ninja Scroll, Macross Plus, Wings of Honneamise, etc.

Just one question, maybe you know the answer. For animes with simple mouth design. Why wouldn't the dubbing studios get their hands on some software that would automatically adapt mouth movement for different languges? It would be quite easy. Non japanese voice actors wouldn't have to do so much oral gymnastics then.

Tom Winnicki
[email protected]

You mean digitally manipulate the image? Well, first off, that's more difficult than it sounds. Probably only a fraction of the scenes of any given anime would work. Secondly, it would take a great deal of effort to make it look good. And last, it would be a public-relations disaster. Anime otaku do not appreciate it when someone screws with the art.

Besides, matching lip movements -- that's a dub actor's job, whether dubbing animation or live action!

While I agree with you that the dub is quite good for the most part, I think you're off base in your assessment of Strikeman.

To me, the dub version falls flat precisely because Strikeman's actor is doing a parody. The effect, IMO, depends on the voice being played as straight heroic; the humor is in the contrast between the voice and music, on the one hand, and what Strikeman is actually doing, on the other.

Bert Miller
[email protected]

But don't you think that the animation is doing a parody? Turn off the voices and watch it mute. Does that look like a serious superhero to you? That grinning face, that ridiculous chin, the constant posing: that's parody, no doubt about it. And the voice should match the animation. It makes no sense for the character's voice to be deadpan when the character himself isn't.
Send all comments and criticism regarding The Dub Track to mathews1 (at ix.netcom.com). If you don't want your letter printed, or wish your name. and/or email address withheld, just let me know. I reserve the right to edit your letter for length and/or content.

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