“English voice actors generally cannot make it (CMI).”
“She is voiced by none other than the legendary Miyuki Sawashiro, no English voice can compare to her.”
Every time I see such generalised posts online, it makes me cringe a little. Because these fans are giving the English dubs ZERO chance, all because of their habit in listening to the original JP voices. And it’s simply unfair to the hardworking voice actors who have put in lots of work into their craft.
Which is very ironic, because how many of you actually understand the Japanese dialogue to begin with? How does listening to Japanese voices, a language that many viewers outside Japan won’t understand without subtitles to begin with, automatically make it better than an English dub that you can fully comprehend?
For the record, the very first anime that I watched and enjoyed as a kid was the original 1992 Sailor Moon, but I watched it on Singapore television with Mandarin Chinese dubs. Five years later, I fell in love with The Slayers, the show that ignited my interest in watching anime. I watched The Slayers for the first time on Singapore television with English voices.
Lina Inverse’s English voice actress, Lisa Ortiz, was absolutely amazing. So were Crispin Freeman (Zelgadis) and Eric Stuart (Gourry — he also voiced Brock in the Pokemon anime English dub). Several years again later, when I finally continued with Slayers Next, I decided to rewatch the original first season in Japanese. I loved it just as much as the English version, and it’s not just solely because of Megumi Hayashibara.
If you don’t know who Megumi Hayashibara is, she is the original Queen of J-Pop (get lost, Ayumi Hamasaki), and she has been doing voicework since 1986 — the year that I was born, and over a decade before Sawashiro’s career even started. If Sawashiro is a “legend”, then Hayashibara is the undisputed Alpha and Omega. She is still doing voice acting at the age of 47, and she was the first true anime VA star. No one else came close before her. But that’s another argument for another day.
There is a certain magical X-factor at work when listening to voices that you fully understand. It makes the viewing experience so much more entertaining. It happened for the Kill la Kill English dub, a series that I believed at one point, was almost impossible to dub because of the insane amount of screaming (especially from the crazy badass female protagonists) in almost every episode. Fortunately, I was happy to be proven wrong and Ryuko Matoi’s VA, Erica Mendez, did a marvelous job. It’s exactly how Ryuko would sound like if she spoke English.
Please kick my ass in real-life and marry me, English Ryuko.
So I guess what I am trying to say in the end is: be open-minded to English dubs. Not all of them are bad. Even Japanese voices are not infallible. To this day, the English voice of Son Goku in Dragon Ball Z is still far superior to his Japanese kiddie counterpart.