Amerikyon and the ASOS Brigade

What is eternity doing tonight? has become Mega Megane Moé. For the latest posts, please change your links accordingly.

So, what of Haruhi Suzumiya and - blasphemy of blasphemies - its English dubbing?

I've always been a staunch supporter of subs in the typical sub vs. dub war - although I wonder how many would support dubs unless it meant a wider audience for the anime. The last time I watched anime dubbed was probably sometime in the 20th century. But then again, I own very little anime with both English and Japanese soundtracks; the DNAngel and Cardcaptor Sakura DVDs I have seem to be Hong Kong imports (hopefully not bootlegs) with only a Japanese track.

But now I've got the Haruhi R1s! Yay!

Reaction to the Dubbing of Haruhi Suzumiya (yes, that's your obligatory Gag of Haruhi Suzumiya) has been pretty mixed all over the place, but there have been some uncharacteristic positive reactions to it, so this time I decided to give it a crack and give English a whirl.

The episode of choice was Melancholy II - probably not the best choice when there's a wider range of voices in Mikuru's Doublezero or a wider range of awesome in Melancholy III, but I'm rewatching this series, and this just happened to be up in order.

Wall of text (no pictures, how sad...) after the jump.

Well, the fans were right. It's a pretty mixed bag - there are some excellent casting choices, and some that could've been better. I don't speak voice actors - neither Japanese nor American, so I won't talk about the people themselves but rather the roles they played.

Starting with the starting character - or, if not the starring one, the titular one, Haruhi, I felt that Haruhi's dub really let the rest of the characters down. The dub overall is above par, but I'm just not feeling the Haruhi in EnglisHaruhi. She's definitely very enthusiastic and energetic, yes, but her eccentricity doesn't really come across. She sounds like she could be more of a cheerleader than a, uh, SOS Brigade leader (don't spoil the poor newbies...). Also, maybe it was really apparent in her close-up scene (talking with Kyon pre-OP), but voice != lips and body movement. The lines could have been better synched in that scene.

But let's move on to better things, shall we? Kyon is absolutely, top-notch ace. I am loving Amerikyon. His sarcasm is still in full force, and most of his lines come across very natural. The unusually intellectual speech at the beginning (although it was sourced from the original) comes to mind as an exception, but in his idle chat with MI-ku-ru (not Mi-KU-ru, hmm...) and NA-ga-to (and not Na-GA-to either) he sounds very natural, something that needs to be kept up in this sort of vaguely slice-of-life anime. The English spin on most of the lines works pretty well too, and I actually thought that he improved some lines - for example, "Are you out of your mind?" to Haruhi during the extortion scene, not to mention later, looking back on it: "Can you say extortion? ...Good!"

I cracked up laughing. *Konata thumbs up* Good job!

As for everyone's favorite squeaky girl, I'm on the fence regarding Mikuru. She is ungodly squeaky (at least when being costume raped, anyway, which is about all she does in Melancholy II), almost to the point of being hard to listen to. But, on the other side, that IS the essence of Mikuru; it completely suits her character, and really could have been done much worse. I'll give Mikuru With No Funny American Pun Name a passing grade.

Yuki's another tough one. General opinion is that her voice is too robotic, that there was just a hint of inflection in the Japanese version that is missing here. It's probably true, but I think English Patched Yuki is pretty well done as well. The test for her will really be Melancholy IV, though. Her lines seem stretched a bit in the American version, for example, from "Nothing" to "No, there's not," although this may be necessary to fill dead space. Well, it's Yuki. What am I going to do, hate her?

Itsuki doesn't appear in Melancholy II. Nyah nyah.

Now for side characters. Taniguchi's voice is decently done, as is Kyon's Other Friend (who sounds like Yukito Tsukishiro in the Japanese version, and close to his JP actor in the US version). Taniguchi's early lines rubbed me the wrong way, seeming a bit stiff for a casual lunch scene, but he made up for it the next day with "so, you've gone and become one of Suzumiya's weirdos."

Asakura (Ryoko, whatever) is still a side character at this point, and her voice is pretty well done. It fits her character pretty well, although her real test, even moreso than Yuki, is Melancholy IV.

Really I'm very ambiguous about all of the side characters, since they don't have many lines to be judged by. If you want to know about the Computer Club President, his voice is very forgettable, if anything, given by my lack of notes on him. Some of his lines have improved, though. It's nice to know they're trying to reinterpret the script a bit (given how much they stray from the subtitles at times).

As for more in general stuff:
* They swear a bit more in the English version, with Kyon and the President laying a couple choice words down more than their subtitled counterparts.
* "-san" is translated as Miss, which along with saying the full names of people really sounds weird in English, or at least in a supposedly English high school? But then again, everyone has Japanese names.
* Yuki's "I'd like to go to the library again" (or something to that extent) line in the opening wasn't translated for some odd reason. I bet a lot of readers are confused by that. I wonder how they'll handle Melancholy VI, to that regard.
* It remains to be seen if they mess with the credits or not a la the Japanese version - I forget exactly in what episodes it was, but keep an eye on it as we get further into the Melancholy series.

In conclusion, the English dub is pretty passable overall, and I would watch it if it hit public TV. Of course, I'd prefer Japanese, but this definitely isn't too bad. Perhaps when AIR and Shuffle! hit English stores I can do another dub comparison, to see if all English dubs are this passable - or if this just results from the popularity and importance of Haruhi Suzumiya.



Well-written entry and no comments? BLASPHEMY!

I felt that Wendee Lee would've done better as Haruhi if only she had alot more enthuiasism while speaking her lines... aside from that, I thought it was okay. Everyone else is fine, except for Mikuru whose voice was already annoying in the Japanese version too, except this time I can understand everything she says and squeaky voices aren't very moe when you have your ears on English mode. :P Whoever hates the rest of the other voices just because they're not the Japanese seiyuu, has to be very weaboo-ish, nuff' said. >_<

Lots of dubs released on DVD and that exists after the year 2000 are all pretty passable, actually. Though, some dubbing companies throw out some horrible voice acting, but most of that is from 4Kids and no one cares about them.

[Off-topic: On an unrelated note, with Animeblogger Antenna not showing your recent posts on the front page yet and Animenano (I assume) not approving this blog on their list yet, it's a shame to see a blog with good reading material seeming to have, well... no readers, or at least no readers who care enough to actually share their thoughts in a comment. I think I should add you to my blogroll since my blog has a fair amount of readers and it might garner some readership and traffic for this blog.

If this is your first comment in your blog as a whole... then I'll shoot myself because that's certainly not possible. >_>]

Hmm, speaking of dubs, I'm really curious as to how the AIR (and possibly Kanon, if the rumors are correct) dubs would play out, what with the Gao~ and the Nihaha and all.

Was it the enthusiasm Haruhi was missing? I'm not sure if that's quite what it was, but it's that one X-factor, something like that. That, and, from the chronological standpoint, I suppose Aya Hirano (20) is a bit more suited to voicing a high schooler than Wendee Lee (52) XD

(I'm going to have to ask you not to scour my blog looking for comments, since your blog is pretty good stuff too, and it would be a shame if it suddenly stopped updating. >_> I've put your link up now, too, by the way.)