Ever since I started doing Dubs w/ Dil articles, I walked a tightrope that I was very careful about traversing- I love dubs and the industry, but I did not want to lead my readers/friends into believing I was this gatekeeper persona who was the ultimate authority on dubs. When I was looking around for communities to write for, I had a cup of coffee (so to speak) with a group primarily interested in dubs. I remember walking away from meeting them thinking: “I never want to come off that strong and pompous about something as subjective as entertainment.” Due to this, I tried to be very careful with how often I wrote about dubs for AniTAY.
It certainly was not because I was not watching dubs or did not want to write about them, but, rather, because I was very concerned about rolling the eyes of my readers. “Here comes the dub guy again” was always a reception I was afraid of. I’ve definitely had a fair share of online disagreements that targeted this vulnerability of mine, and it usually led to me reconsidering how open I was about dubs. Now that I am in a better place emotionally, and AniTAY has become a new entity entirely, I feel way more comfortable about writing opinion pieces on dubs.
One idea that I have mulled over for a while about was making my full-length Dubs w/ Dil articles longer and including a handful of paragraphs reflecting on the anime itself. In return, I considered making a “round-up” or a “lightning round” of my notes on 2–3 dubs at a time. These are dubs that I had notes that reflected what impressed me despite not feeling like I had enough material to write a full article focused on a single anime. Trying to keep the alliteration going, I settled on the name “Dubs w/ Dil Digest” to make a clear differentiation. These will not be the deep dives people love, but I hope some of my notes are still entertaining reads.
Oh, one last thing: a huge criticism I receive regarding my dub talk is that I only ever have good things to say and never mention negatives. In theory, I reserve these sort of discussions for the dubs I liked, and I generally abstain from covering ones I was not particularly fond of. I’ve seen it spun that I’m only doing this to stay in good favor with dub folks, but that is false. If you look through my body of work, you will see I rarely focus on the negative aspects of anime. Take it how you will, I am just here to have a good time and discuss things I found good.
Let me know if you like this style of an article- I might stick to these so that my dub content is not as infrequent as it was with the full Dubs w Dil ones.
The Demon Girl Next Door
There are four horsemen that create negative perception of a dub before it ever gets a chance to shine, and I wholeheartedly believe they are present with the dub for the beloved 2019 anime The Demon Girl Next Door. While not all-inclusive, I tend to find four things are shared in criticisms of anime dubs. They are:
· The anime is a darling in the meme community
· The anime is dubbed by Sentai Studios
· The dub has a well-known mainstay voice actor in the industry as a lead
· The dub is not a simulcast and, as a result, comes out a full calendar year plus
Rather than itemize where this dub fits, there are a few quick points that can fit the criterion above. As far as anime memes are concerned, Demon Girl was arguably one of the most used across anime-Twitter. More specifically, the Japanese voices were used in the video clips ripped from the anime. Speaking of voices, there is a vendetta dub hater have with Sentai Studios dubs. Why, might you ask? This studio has a reputation of keeping very similar line-ups in their dubs (if you’ve heard someone complain “it is the same five voice actors in dubs”, they are likely talking about this) and one of these well-known names, Monica Rial (a name that has shown just how ugly fans can get with how they’ve handled her lawsuit), is cast as the titular demon girl Shamiko. Finally, this dub came out the Fall of 2020, which was just about a full year removed from when it initially aired. Combine all these factors, and the dub is likely already lost to split-second reactions.
This is a rather shame, because I found the dub to be very fun for what it was. I think there needs to be the expectation that the original subbed version is going to be the undisputed champion of delivering those high quality memes the anime has won people over with, but this dub serves (as all of the dubs I will discuss today do) as a notice that the old days of Sentai Studios are mainly behind them. I think that Monica Rial (Tsuyu Asui in My Hero Academia, Tsubaki Nakatsukasa in Soul Eater) brings the right amount of spunk and clumsy toned delivery that enhances what makes Shamiko so endearing. Also, Genevieve Simmons (Ryu Lion in Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Grils in a Dungeon?/DanMachi, Mikoto Urabe in Mysterious Girlfriend X) has a performance as Momo that I prefer over the original. When Shamiko starts to get worked up and Momo does the patient/patronizing “Uh-huh, right, go on, you got it” that never fails to be hysterical, I found that Simmons had a tone that was perfect for the context. Really, Simmons feels like the perfect casting for Momo, and I think hearing a few of the iconic scenes from Demon Girl are worth it because of her performance alone!
Admittedly, I have the least to say about this dub of the trio today. Flip Flappers was an anime I started when it was airing seasonally and just never got around to finishing. Many of my friends said they were let down by the ending, so I did not have much incentive to return to where I was. This dub, however, was a fun incentive to give the anime another spin. While I think it certainly more of the kind of anime that has its visuals carrying it than anything else, I wanted to talk about a few things with the dub.
First, Luci Christian (Nami in One Piece, Mitsukuni “Honey” Haninozuka in Ouran High School Host Club) is as solid as ever as Cocona- that is pretty much a given with dubs she is a part of. The secondary cast was surprisingly interesting, as I had to double-take at a few of the names to make sure I was reading it right. For instance, David Matranga (Shoto Todoroki in My Hero Academia, Tomoya Okazaki in Clannad) was giving something I had never heard him do before with his role as the loose scientist Hidaka. This was definitely one of those dubs that was so competent and well-rounded, even if the anime itself did not lend itself for many stellar performances. With that said, however…
I’ve been no stranger to sharing this take: I think that Brittney Karbowski (Mikoto Misaka in Railgun/Index Franchise, Rimuru in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime) is the most talented voice actress in the industry. She has so many unique and clever sounding voices that are never stale and her passion comes through with every role she has. I think she really brings the joy that Papika has out and even manages to give nine (!) unique variations on this role in a particular episode. As someone who used to have aspirations of becoming a voice actor, it is so heartwarming to see someone’s passion shine as bright as Karbowski’s.
Bloom Into You
The biggest surprise of this batch, I enjoyed Bloom Into You far more than I anticipated. It was a very compelling look into the complex nature of discovering what partners are expecting out of their relationships and what they see in one another (and how these conflict with their own self-images). Naturally, this set the stage for great writing and an opportunity for stellar voice acting. Starting with a name we just mentioned in Flip Flappers, Luci Christian has much more to work with as Touko Nanami than she did as Cocona. Christian conveys the emotional weight someone who carries on a façade of perfection has, and it is very entertaining for it. Playing opposite of her is Tia Ballard (Happy in Fairy Tail, Mizore Shirayuki in Rosario + Vampire) as Yuu Koito. The relaxed, laid back nature of the character is likewise well conveyed by Ballard, which is an enhancement of the character. Interesting common theme among some of the principle roles in these dubs have been just how effective delivery has been in carrying the mood of the anime.
Someone else I really want to talk about from this dub is Shanae’a Moore (Tomoyo Kanzaki in When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace, Beatrice in Princess Principal) as Sayaka Saeki. While obviously not part of the main duo, Moore easily has the most lines of the rest of the cast. More than being a wasted corner of the love triangle, Sayaka’s character is written intelligently to find her own motivation. With her development, I think the bitterness and cold nature of the character is excellent and the eventual stern nature is handled well by Moore.
Again, I hope you all liked the condensed roundups like these, but definitely let me know if you don’t! Take care.