The topic of watching shows in Dub or Sub has been a long and controversial one. There are people that are firm believers and advocates of each one, with both of them having their own specific arguments as to which one is superior.
Indeed, there are specific times and circumstances where a Sub may be completely superior to the other, and vice versa, where Dub is much more preferred even to the original.
With that being said, there’s so much commotion around the subject, that sometimes it makes us think – where did this whole argument come from, and why do we even care so much in the first place? When did a simple preference become a point of controversy, and why are we still talking about it at all?
At the very least, if we’re to put this argument to an end, we should point out some of the benefits of both, and compare them objectively. They both have their own pros and cons, and while one may work perfectly for some people, it may not be as appealing for the others.
Arguments for the Dub
With so many people – myself included – being heavily in-favor of Subs over Dubs, I think it’d be fair to first go over the benefits of Dub, and give it a fairer fighting chance for many people who are still on the fence.
Doing other stuff in the background
A great advantage that watching in the Dub has over the sub is that it requires much less attention and focus. It’s very common for people to do other activities in the background while watching their favorite shows. According to a mass-scale study conducted by an Ottawa-based research firm, gambling is one of the activities where this is very prevalent. Apparently, a lot of people who play casino real money in Canada, with games like slot games, where it’s mostly repetitive action of just watching the spins and waiting for the result, it’s very common for people to be consuming other types of media. Dubs would be perfect here, as you won’t have to fully engage like with the subs, where you have to read attentively to understand the story. Another very common trend that’s noticed is doing stuff like chores or preparing meals while having a show running in the background.
Though this is not for everyone, and many of us may prefer to be fully engaged with the show, this is still a huge benefit for those who would prefer to save some time and do something productive while indulging in their favorite shows.
Some Dubs are actually better than the original voice overs
Though very rare, it’s still sometimes the case that the Dubbed versions sound better than the original versions, and when that’s the case, it really does make no sense to spend extra energy and effort to read the subs.
A very good example of this is the Dragonball Z Anime series, where it’s pretty much universally-accepted that Dub is better than Sub. The voice actors make a really good association with the characters, with their tonality and vocals being very fitting. This is mainly the case for the animated shows though, as it physically can’t be the case for the movies and TV series, where there are actual actors with their own voices.
Arguments for the Sub
This issue has been in the center of animated shows discussion for a very long time now. Generally-speaking, most die-hard fans will be heavily in favor of watching in subtitles, with the original voice overs. There definitely are some very strong arguments for watching subs, and indeed, as people watch these shows for longer and longer, you’ll find more people to be naturally inclined towards the Sub versions more. What are the main reasons for people willing to bother to read, when they can just listen to dubbed versions?
It helps characters maintain authenticity, and captures the spirit of the setting
Dialogue is an integral part of any show, and it holds an extremely important position for portraying the set and setting of a show. The accents, pronunciation and emotional aspects of the dialogue can sometimes be lost in the translation, which takes a lot away from the show. Sure, you’re reading the subs, but you can still understand and feel the emotion coming from the characters’ voices.
The Dubs, no matter how well-done they are, can never contain as much raw emotional and personal aspects of the characters they represent. This is even more so the case for the non-animated shows with actual actors.
Releases are usually faster
Preferences aside, an objectively true fact is that subs are available much faster than the Dubs. The reason for that is that dubbing a film or a TV episode is much more time-consuming and expensive than subbing it. There are numerous issues there that may not seem that important in the beginning but are actually crucial. With such high demand and prestige around them, finding a suitable voice actor for a character, then negotiating a price with them, then securing them for an extended period of time in case it’s a TV show. The list goes on, and the prices go up. Mainly due to this, Subs are much easier to work with than Dubs. Usually, as soon as a movie or TV show is released, Subs are available pretty much immediately. If you’re really excited about something and can barely wait till its release, then Sub is the way to go.
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