Friday, February 19, 2016

29 Cowboy Bebop Challenge, Day 19: Dubbed or Subbed?

When it comes to foreign cinema, in most cases, I would rather read the subtitles than hear completely retooled dialogue that is devoid of the cultural context of the original language. Watching martial arts movies from the 70s and 80s, it's painful to see English voice actors try their damnedest to fit English words to the lips of the on-screen actors, and it's actually a little worse with anime. The first Akira dub was awful, mispronouncing names and acting like they were in a kids' movie*, and Bubblegum Crisis' voice actors sounded both over-the-top and monotone (sometimes simultaneously, which I didn't think was possible) that I nearly refused to watch the rest of the series after the first few minutes of the first episode. Then there's the whole Sailor Moon thing, which I will be discussing in a future challenge.

But Cowboy Bebop? I can go with either, actually. The dub is so well-done that I didn't feel that disconnect I usually do with dubs (I'm looking at you, DBZ), and I love the original voice actors, as well. Sunrise and Funimation worked really hard to hire the right voices for the characters that match the quality of the Japanese.

A few years ago, I heard that Yoko Kanno had stated she felt the dubbed version of Cowboy Bebop was even better than the original cast, but I've been unable to substantiate that claim. I almost agree with the possible statement, but I'm torn because I feel like I can go from one to the other and not lose anything.

So I'm going with DRAW on this one, although if you have only heard one version, I highly suggest you try the other because both are amazing.

* For those of you unaware, Akira is NOT a kids' movie. It has rape, physical violence against women, extreme violence, and gore. And it is one of those films that leaves you thinking about some pretty dark things when you finish it, so please keep underage children away from it. I mean, I was scarred at 19 by watching it, so ...
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