The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

Subbed Anime vs. Dubbed Anime

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/7/2015 Category: TV
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 724 times Debate No: 74961
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




I believe that subbed is much better than dubbed because it sounds so much more delicate.

1) Anime is a distinct art form.

2) Because it is an art form, any alteration to the original anime is an unacceptable compromise of artistic integrity.

3) Because dubbing into a different language compromises the artistic integrity of the anime, the only proper way to view anime is in the original unedited Japanese version with subtitles based on a literal English translation.

It is irrefutable that Americanizing anime titles via English dubbing and editing has, on some occasions in the past, led to true travesties. One needs only consider the case of the series known in the U.S. as Robotech, which was really three different and unrelated series melded together through clever editing and dubbing and a creative rewrite of the original scripts. Another prominent case is the series Gatchaman, which U.S. viewers around in the mid-70s might remember as G-Force or Battle of the Planets. This series saw radical personality reinterpretations, gender and setting changes, and even the introduction of a new character that never appeared in the original series. (Remember 7-Zark-7?) Similar treatment can be seen in the current American broadcast of Cardcaptors, aka Cardcaptor Sakura, which originally had a female character as a lead but was creatively edited to focus more on a male character for the U.S. broadcast. Cases of more minor changes " such as switching the gender of an androgynous-looking character, renaming characters, or sanitizing the animation by covering up nudity, eliminating sexual references and bloodshed, and adjusting other things to meet more restrictive American broadcast standards " are far more common. That"s why both Toonami and regular (read: unedited) versions of anime series such as Dragonball Z, Tenchi Muyo, and Sailor Moon are available in the States. The former versions are PG and conform to the animation American parents are used to showing their kids. The latter versions are PG-13 and reflect acceptable broadcast standards in Japan. Anyone who watches both versions will realize that a Toonami version of a series is almost a different series.

Another common complaint by purists is that the exact context and meaning intended by the original creator can be altered or obscured when an anime title is dubbed into English. These discrepancies crop up because using the literal English translation often isn"t possible if one wants to have the words synch with the mouth flaps of the characters - and that is something that American audiences value highly in their animation.

Two particularly difficult cases to dub are songs and children"s rhymes, which are virtually impossible to translate literally and still keep a proper rhythm. (That"s why songs imbedded in anime sometimes are not dubbed and often sound clumsy if they are.) Other difficult cases include insults and humor based on honorifics or homophone-derived double-meanings. These often do not translate well and their meaning can be lost on an American viewer even if they do translate, which is why such humor and insults are usually replaced rather than translated for an English dub. It is also important to note that outright changes are sometimes done deliberately for the English dub to better explain things for an American viewer, use terminology that an American viewer would be more familiar with, or put something into a context that an American viewer would more easily understand.

No matter the reason for the changes done for an English, the argument that meaning can be lost or altered in the process has considerable merit. I have personally run across several cases where characters say significantly different things in the subtitled and dubbed versions of the same scene and the difference distinctly changes the meaning of what is being said, so much so that the scene does not make proper sense until you see a more literal translation. Claiming that this is a prevalent problem with English dubs is ridiculous, however. Out of an entire 26-episode series, this might be a problem in one or two scenes at most if the English dub has been done responsibly.

Here's my proof!


Plagiarism is a direct and intentional violation of the DDO Terms of Use.
Due to plagiarism committed against Theron Martin [1], a conduct only vote may be cast for me without any further reading.

For those who continue:
Subbed refers to subtitled anime, whereas dubbed refers to the process of rerecording the voice work for other languages.

Addressing Plagiarized Material:
Writer Theron Martin of (the person pro plagiarized) argues that dubbed is usually better, with such examples as Hellsing and Neon Genesis Evangelion being much improved by the changes, he of course states on the subject "purists are short-sighted in their insistence on watching only subtitled content ... the whole insistence that anime is an art form is a load of bunk. Anime is first and foremost a commercial product" [1]. The introduction pro copied, was a lead-up to dubbed being better.

Onto the single line of pro's case which was not plagiarized...

I believe that subbed is much better than dubbed because it sounds so much more delicate."
The characters all sounding "easily injured, hurt, or made sick" [2], is a pretty firm net deterrent to watching it subbed instead of dubbed; many characters (not to say all) should sound strong and healthy.

Dubbed wins:
Anime is beautiful, having parts of the animation hidden behind subtitles is covering it, further it's distracting from the rest of it. The creators could have narrated audio-books, instead they made animated movies to be seen and enjoyed. Just consider the various masterpieces from Studio Ghibli, with careful voice casting for the English dubs, causing a more complete experience than one where all the characters sound fragile.

Debate Round No. 1


The subbed anime is much more original than the dubbed anime. The dubbed anime voice actors don't even sound that great. Nothing in anime sounds good in English. Lets be real. Reading more subtitles also speeds up your reading speed which I think is a pretty good thing. Real anime lovers actually watched the subbed and dubbed just ruins anime. Also, the dubbed comes out much slower than the subbed anime.


Extend all dropped points, most notably the plagiarism, that his own source is firmly against him, and how sickly subbed anime apparently sounds (his case, not mine).

"The subbed anime is much more original than the dubbed anime."
My opponent wishes originality to be a measured factor in this debate, I am fine with that.
Subbed follows much closer to a pre-existing script, whereas dubbed is known for greater originality. Consider the case of "Robotech, which was really three different and unrelated series melded together through clever editing and dubbing and a creative rewrite of the original scripts" [1]. It is therefore clear that dubbed anime is more original, offering new content at a level subbed is incapable of.

"The dubbed anime voice actors don't even sound that great."
Not sounding great, doesn't mean they don't sound good; which remains a significant step up from all characters sounding sickly.

"Nothing in anime sounds good in English."
This subjective statement, is easily refuted with two short video clips, Fullmetal Alchemist which even included careful voice modulation to add an echo to the voice of a character trapped in a suit of armor (as opposed to having an identical accent to everyone else) [3], and Supernatural which managed to score the original voice actors from the live action series, giving it a variety of different distinct accents to fit the backgrounds of the characters [4].

"Lets be real."
I suggest using commas, as your separate ideas seem like they should go together.

"Reading more subtitles also speeds up your reading speed which I think is a pretty good thing."
Please prove this, and by what margin?

"Real anime lovers actually watched the subbed and dubbed just ruins anime."
This point is without merit, as it's just an Appeal to False Authority [5], and No True Scotsman [6]. How anime how been ruined, has not even been suggested.
To show why these fallacies are a problem, I could claim (with basis) that no true anime lover watches anime dubbed or subbed, regardless of if they speak the language. It would be equally meaningless.

"Also, the dubbed comes out much slower than the subbed anime."
I prefer quality of quantity. There is no reason to infer that more of something existing makes it better.

[3] YouTube: Fullmetal Alchemist
[4] YouTube: Supernatural
Debate Round No. 2


Mathlover forfeited this round.


In short: Within the confines of this debate, there is no question remaining that dubbed anime is better.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Ragnar 1 year ago
I'm not much of an anime fan, I was hoping for more from this after the initial hiccup.
Posted by Himans45 1 year ago
You just copy pasted?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Kozu 1 year ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro plagiarizes in R1 and FF's R3, costing conduct points. Pro's arguments relied on his subjective opinions such as "nothing sounds good in English" and unsupported assertions like "subs can increase your reading speed". He goes so far as to say that only "real anime lovers" watch subbed anime. Con is quick to point out this 'no true scotsman fallacy" and is able to make a solid case of his own on why dubs are better. Most notably 1. Nothing is covering the screen, and 2. Dubs possess new content. Con gives us sources so we can see the benefits of these changes which are shown in the FMA and Supernatural dubs, winning Con Source points.