This topic has been on my mind the whole day and I felt I needed to talk about it because, I don’t know, it interests me.
If you don’t know the movie, Your Name., I have a full review on the film if you choose to read it. But basically, this Japanese animated film blew up in 2016, throughout the world but especially in Japan, making it the most grossed movie (made the most money) in the country, beating Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s films such as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke (source).
This movie recently came to the United States on April 7th of this year, thanks to FUNimation. In total so far, this movie made $3,369,779 and on opening weekend, it earned $1,813,781 in America (source). After looking at the money they made here in the states, I wondered why so little.
Well, I wanted to give at least a partial answer for my question and what I think about this topic.
Let me clarify first, I do not think everyone in the United States has to like anime. Of course that wouldn’t happen. I am just giving my two cents on why they should at least give one movie a shot at watching.
Pretty simple. Americans only see the stereotypes of Japanese anime. Example? Well, for one thing, they think most anime is basically animated pornography with the tentacles and the big-breasted women. Coming from a person who has a friend that whenever I mention something about an anime, the title, what it’s about, or if I’m suggesting them to watch a series, they just shut my thoughts down and basically say, “i’m not going to watch that hentai stuff”. While they can say that and mean it as a joke since we’re that close of friends, it seems like deep down inside they seriously do not want to watch any Japanese animation because of that stereotype. I’m completely fine with people’s opinions but I feel like they exaggerate way too much.
It’s in Japanese
I’ve always joked around with my friends or my brother about how Americans don’t have the time to watch a Japanese language-based show with subtitles rather than the characters speaking English.
But jokes aside, let’s roll with that argument. Americans/English-speaking individuals won’t watch anime because it’s all in Japanese.
While, yes, it’s much easier to watch the show when it’s in a language that you are fluent in, what about how the characters act? I’ve watched some bad dubbed anime, and even Japanese live-action movies such as Godzilla and my god, they did they do a horrible job voicing over their characters.
Quoting a page on TVTropes about Sub vs. Dub:
Subtitling has many advantages: It allows for an extremely accurate translation, including quirks of the original language that play a role in the plot, while allowing you to hear the original actors’ performances. It renders the show accessible to the deaf or hard of hearing. People bilingual in or learning the original language will be able to benefit as well, since they can enjoy at least parts of the film/TV show in the original while their friends can still know what’s going on. Some fansubbers even include notes in the subtitles that help explain certain cultural references or jokes that might not otherwise be properly understood by a non-native audience.
I believe subbed anime and how the voice actor of the character really make their character come to life is much better than a dubbed version. It seems like when Americans voice over some anime, it doesn’t really flow. For example, in Love Live! Sunshine!!, there is a character who likes to say the phrase, “it’s joke” and says that in English because she is half-American and her shtick is that she incorporates English into her Japanese speech. But while in the dub, they still say “it’s joke” and not in proper English grammar such as “it was a joke”. I can see that they still want to keep Mari’s (the character) funny phrase in tact, when you hear the dub, it just isn’t the same. Here, take a look:
I am not hating on dub, some dubs are pretty darn good such as Cowboy Bebop and even The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya but if you want the authentic and best experience on watching a show, you should lean towards subtitles with Japanese audio.
To be honest, it really boils down on how you prefer it. As I usually say in my opinion posts, I am not forcing you to make a decision based on my thoughts. You are a free person and if you don’t agree with my beliefs, I completely respect that.
My ending thoughts are that people should give anime a chance sometimes. Like I said earlier, people stay away from watching anime because of the stereotypes and such but if you take a Japanese animation, such as Your Name. and take away the things about anime that you’ve heard, you will see that it’s a normal animated film just like how Disney or any other animated film studio make them (i might be completely wrong on that part).
In my head, I feel like I’m saying some stupid shit right now since I don’t really watch Americanized/dubbed anime a lot so just take my thoughts with a grain of salt. If you have counter-arguments or anything that you would like to say, leave them in the comments section, I would really appreciate your thoughts on this topic.
“The American Perception of Anime: Blood, Legs and Language” – The Artifice
“Subbing vs. Dubbing” – TVTropes