Alright, let’s talk about English dubs.
I don’t talk about dubs much, mostly because I haven’t seriously watched one since Samurai Champloo‘s (amazing) dub. I don’t even bother playing Japanese video games with English audio either (nowadays I don’t really play localized JRPG’s that lack a dual audio option). I do like a few of them, but in general… I just don’t really care for them. Unless they veer into alternate adaptation territory (which hasn’t happened that much after the 90’s), it’s not like I have a deep hatred for them or anything. I just tend to find the typical voice performances and overall Japanese-to-English script mediocre. But I do get curious every now and then and check them out for kicks.
One day I decided to see what the cast of the Fate franchise sounded like in English, because holy shit, what do they sound like in English? Jumping in, I found out that the question isn’t “what do they sound like?”, but rather, “what do they sound like in which iteration?” Apparently the cast changes all the time… I could blame it on the dubbing studio probably changing all the time, but then it has plenty of odd examples of the same voice actors getting hired again only to be re-casted to play different characters, like the dude that voices False Assassin in the DEEN anime voicing Gilgamesh in the Ufotable anime… while the dude that voiced Gilgamesh in the DEEN anime ends up voicing Lancer in Fate/Zero. Like, what the hell even happened? That is just downright stupid, what were they thinking? I bet the different voice directors had a dick-measuring contest on who had the better casting decisions, because fuck consistency.
Imagine if they pulled that voice shuffling bullshit in the original Japanese version of the Fate franchise. Shirou voiced by Nakata Jouji…. oh jeez, the thought of that is actually hilarious.
Do it. With the amount of times the characters have been shuffled between production studios (DEEN, Ufotable, Lerche, Silver Link, Shaft), you’d think they’d have twice as much pointless re-casts as the English dubs. Just goes to show you how much the actual content creators of anime actually care about bringing their characters to life by doing their best to cast them with one consistent identifiable voice for every appearance… in most cases, anyway.
Overall, it’s… so-so. Not something I’d put myself through over the original versions. There’s this one hilarious moment in the DEEN movie – which was already pretty far-removed from the visual novel as it was – where the English dub made it even more far-removed:
Shirou goes from reaffirming that his body is made of swords in the original dialogue to saying he doesn’t care if his body is made out of swords in the English dub. Changing the context there just a bit don’t cha think, fellas?
This kid, who supposedly does not give a shit that his body is shitting swords both metaphorically and literally, then goes and creates a magic chant entirely about how his life is centered around being the bone of his sword, and proceeds to make his damn best effort to live as a sword thereafter. Man, he really is a faker and a fraud.
That’s great, haha. Certainly an… interesting little adventure into the world of anime dubs I had, certainly something I won’t do again anytime soon.