Best Anime Dubs You Can Watch RIGHT NOW (Part 3)by The Cartoon Cipher,
Another Verse, same as the first! Hey everyone, it's AJ from the Cartoon Cipher and it's that time of the season again where we recommend english dubs from shows that have aired in the past few months. I wonder if I'll be able to make it to the end of this list in particular without crying and if you're wondering why, well let's find out!
To Your Eternity
To Your Eternity is something that I don't necessarily want to spoil for a lot of people as it's engaging direction and storytelling legitimately kept me on my toes, unsure about what was going to happen next. Whether it be a young girl named March trying to make the best out of the situation that she finds herself in or the young white haired boy we're introduced to in the first episode who stays optimistic to hide his loneliness, I can say this is a show that will try to pull your very heart strings. Sometimes the more dramatic the series, the easier it is for people to notice the actors behind the curtain. However I'm happy to report that whatever language you watch the series in, nothing feels fake or artificial. Sarah Anne Williams sounds absolutely adorable and invokes a strong urge to be protected by those who watch her, acting as a good contrast to the adults around her that are noticeably a bit more jaded and fearful. Then there's the stand out of Jacob Hopkins being the next example of actors who had a presence in western cartoons developing more of a presence in the world of anime ADR. He's given so many emotions to portray right out the gate and it is hands-down a performance that nearly left me in tears by the end of the first episode. I really hope this isn't a one and done deal as I would love to hear him take on a role where he gets to more regularly flex his acting chops throughout the series. But don't take my word for it, give that first episode a shot and see for yourself.
Wonder Egg Priority
The English dub of Wonder Egg Priority has already made the rounds online when one of the actors said “no cap” in it. And I can definitely see how that or a few other lines could put people off but there's definitely more to this dub than just that. There are some anime where the actors just have to BLAST emotions nonstop, and Wonder Egg is not one of those shows at all. The dub staff clearly recognized this and tried using more reserved delivery for its main characters, making their deeply personal struggles feel real and serious. The highlight by far is Mikaela Krantz as the protagonist Ai Ohto, which was surprising since prior to this, the character I best knew her by was someone… very unlike Ai. She's frequently cast as the younger versions of many characters in flashbacks, like Levi, Senku, and Todoroki. But for this role she brought a lot of sensitivity, and the way she carefully manipulated her delivery told an engaging story beyond just the words themselves. This is also true of other cast members, although... and I'm not sure if it's just my audio set-up, but sometimes the sound quality sounded different between actors, though that might come down to remote recording from different sound spaces and I hope that gets fixed for a home video release. And while I'm not 100% sure, it feels like a couple of scenes had slight linguistic hitches. Despite those though, I really enjoyed this unique dub of a very unique story. Regardless of what ended up happening to Wonder Egg by the end of its run, I really hope the people who worked on it... from all corners of the world, have better luck in their next endeavors.
Megalobox 2: Nomad
Of all the anime that deserved a sequel, I didn't think Megalobox, a straightforward underdog sports anime presented as a love letter to an almost forgotten retro aesthetic, would be one of them. But after seeing what kind of story the show runners wanted to tell, I couldn't be happier that this got made. Nomad is a sequel where the sport and action take a back seat to more dramatic character studies and poignant social commentary that feels more relevant now than ever before. Season one was exceptionally solid and leaned into the show's overall gritty aesthetic with the stand out being Jason Marnocha as Nanbu. However, I found that the dub for this season sticks out more since the material that the old and new dub actors had to work with led to far more poignant performances.
Kaiji Tang was great at selling the almost listless yet confident Joe in season one, but now he portrays a broken down version of that same man. His guilt ridden undertones are accompanied with this audible shakiness and it really sells the fact that this is a Joe that is constantly in pain, one far more intense and overwhelming than anything he could've experienced in the ring. Even as the character tries to make himself better throughout the series, the performance alone makes it clear that this is a man with a lot of baggage to carry. Whether it's returning cast members from season one or newer actors taking up the mantle of older, more jaded versions of what was established before, everyone carries a sense of fear regarding their place in this new status quo. However things aren't completely nihilistic as moments of hope and optimism managed to shine through that uneasiness. Sometimes it takes a community that's been through a lot to come together in order to overcome even more unnecessary hostility and the use of accents during the moments where the story leans into parallels with the immigrant experience are especially noteworthy. Massive shout out in particular to Chris Guerrero as Chief who carries this sense of warm seasoned charisma that left me with a glimmering sense of hope for the future.
Okay, this one is probably cheating considering it's just 4 episodes long, and some of the creative staff themselves are English speakers which probably helped the localization process. But I'm not exactly gonna pass up the chance to hear David Tennant, Rosario Dawson and Neil Patrick Harris in an anime! Eden is a short and sweet 3D-animated series that premiered on Netflix with an English dub from NYAV Post. As you can expect the approach to acting and adaptation was very carefully done but obviously…yeah, celebrities! Admittedly it was a bit weird at first to see two really famous actors in the cast only for them to speak in stilted robot-talk. But as the story went on both the direction and scripting allow them to show glimpses of emotion as they spend time with their adopted human child. NYAV has a track record of working with celebrity talent in their anime like Rhiz Ahmed, Shakina Nayfack, Vince Staples, Lakeith Stanfield and others. I know David Tennant best from Dr. Who but I was happy to find they let him use more of his natural accent for this role. When it comes to these post-apocalyptic sci-fi futures, you don't always have to strictly rationalize what accents some characters will have, and I wish this is something dubs took advantage of more often. However, something else NYAV Post are well-known for is being pretty much the only anime dub studios to regularly work with child actors, as heard in A Silent Voice, Welcome to THE SPACE SHOW and others. The Eden dub has Julie Nathanson as Elizabeth, but also Ruby Rose Turner as Sara, who brought her energetic personality to life really well. There were a couple of moments that sounded a bit weird but for the most part she really went all out in emoting, sounding nice and natural. If there is a downside to watching Eden dubbed it could be that the dialogue for the human characters didn't always match the mouth animation, but for a story that mostly features robots it's not too persistent, and at most was a slight distraction. It's a very short series anyway so if you have a bit of time, this dub will give you a smooth and easy way to enjoy it.
As the Fruits Basket reboot comes to an end, I am left with a strong void in my soul that I never thought I would get the opportunity to experience. When it was first announced and it became clear that the Japanese cast from the original was going to be replaced, a big question for a lot of English-speaking fans was what approach Funimation was going to take? Would they follow suit and go for something completely different from what was established before or would they try to recapture the magic that so many fans of the original dub wanted to re-experience. You could argue that the answer is a little bit of both because while Funimation seemed to try and get back as many role reprisals as they could, including some like Laura Bailey who has long since moved past Anime at this point, the intention didn't seem to simply mimic what had been done almost 2 decades ago. According to Caitlin Glass, who was kind enough to share some of her insight with us as the dubs ADR Director, all of the actors that were coming back are in very different places compared to where they were when the original came out. A lot changes in that time with a wealth of new professional and life experience defining the gap between these two animated retellings. So instead, it makes sense to have the actors perform these characters based on who they are now and based on what the material currently demands rather than let that be compromised by an attempt at recapturing nostalgia, a decision that I think worked out for the better.
Being a reboot that properly fleshes out the multiple layers to these characters in a way that anime only fans had never seen before, the dub actors now have the opportunity to explore more intimate feelings of guilt, sorrow and happiness in a way that I would almost argue we don't see enough from anime these days. Laura Bailey makes Tohru sound more innocent and lost, both for comedic effect as well as during moments where she is genuinely at a loss regarding what she thinks she can do for this new family she's grown to care about. John Burgmeier flexes some amazing acting skills in juggling the duplicitous nature of Shigure. Eric Vale and Jerry Jewell's chemistry with each other accompanied by those deep-seeded insecurities brought upon by situations far outside of their control makes you just wanna reach into the screen and give everyone a hug. While not every returning cast member gets similar levels of screen time due to how everything was presented in the original material, there is still this warm sense that everything is exactly how it is supposed to be. Obviously not everyone was able to come back and reprise their roles for understandable reasons. However, Caitlin's casting choices and direction felt like appropriate compliments to the show and the dubs overall direction. There's no sense of imitation going on here. Rather there's this confident sense of making the characters their own, whether it be Jad Saxton and Elizabeth Maxwell as Tohru's best friends or Mikaela Krantz as Momiji, using a noticeable German accent as a subtle yet poignant element in how the character expresses themselves in a way that complemented the original text.
Aaron Dismuke getting the chance to play an older, more eccentric character compared to the one he played in the original back when he was just a kid was fun while a lot of fans (myself included) appreciated moments of fan service like getting Akito's original dub actor to come back and play the same character's father. However if we are talking about noteworthy performances, then look no further than Colleen Clinkenbeard as Akito who is an absolute stand out both amongst an incredibly stacked cast as well as amongst her already extremely varied career. I genuinely am getting goosebumps just thinking about it. Inversely, the only noticeable thing that stuck out to me while watching the dub was it's sometimes inconsistent use of honorifics. Some characters are nicknamed using honorifics but they're not used regularly throughout the series. This includes scenes where their usage seemed specific in the original. It doesn't come up enough to be overall distracting and I think that speaks to the fact that any technical shortcomings or minor points of interest get completely overshadowed in a sea of pure genuine emotion. The amount of tears that were shed while working on this series is something that you can practically feel every episode. I don't know how often I'll return to this reboot in the future as I can only put myself through the emotional ringer so many times. (I'm actually getting emotional just writing about this) All I know is that whenever I need to sit down and watch an anime dub that I think succeeds purely on the catharsis of its performances and the pathos its actors have for such intimate material, I'll know where to go. It honestly feels like I'm just scratching the surface as I would go on for another 20 minutes about just this dub but some things need to be experienced rather than just explained.
And that's all for now! What do you guys think about the dubs we talked about here today? Do you think these anime dubs are worth recommending? What other dubs have you been watching since the last time we talked? We're very curious to hear your thoughts and once again, massive thank you to Caitlin Glass for answering some of our questions. This has been AJ from the Cartoon Cipher and we will catch you guys next time.
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