Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

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Which is better, English or Japanese?

Poll ended at Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:54 am

English
11
85%
Japanese
2
15%
 
Total votes: 13
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Aaron
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Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby Aaron » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:54 am

So, I was lurking around and I thought to myself. I have never ever heard any of the Lunar cut-scenes in Japanese.

Japanese version:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00xiUQPHctg
English version:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3v19GsMFbw

Well, I searched in Youtube and I found this clip from SSSC where Alex and Co. face off against Ghaleon. I remember the english version quite fondly. And after hearing the Japanese version of Ghaleon I can confidently say that JOHN TRUITT (Voice of Ghaleon) ROCKS!

Holy crap! No wonder people say the caliber of the English versions is better.

When I heard the Japanese version the voice actors for Alex and Ghaleon sounded so typical of good and evil characters. A good parallel I can think of is Dragon Ball Z. The Z Fighters sound so much better in English, even if they're constantly saying, "huh?".

Ironically, I think a female Japanese voice is sometimes superior to the English counterparts. Though the only anime I can think of off hand that I like in Japanese is Naruto.


So, if you didn't feel like reading that here is the question.

Which is better in general; English or Japanese voice actors?

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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby Benevolent_Ghaleon » Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:26 pm

Used to watch and play things in Jap because it felt like they English voice actors weren't trying to sound credible at all. Perhaps the Japanese are the same way, but at least I can't tell.

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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby Kizyr » Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:28 pm

It depends on the character. Some, I prefer the English voice. Some, I prefer the Japanese voice. And a few are equal to me.

Lunar 2:
Hiro - Japanese
Lucia - equal (except singing, which is English)
Ronfar - equal
Jean - English
Lemina - Japanese (definitely)
Ruby - English (definitely)
Leo - English
Mauri - equal
Lunn - Japanese
Borgan - English
Zophar - Japanese
Ghaleon - English (definitely)
Nall - English

Lunar 1:
Alex - Japanese
Luna - Japanese (except singing, which is equal)
Jessica - equal
Nash - Japanese
Kyle - Japanese (close)
Nall - English (definitely)
Ghaleon - English (definitely)
Xenobia - equal
Royce - equal
Phacia - English

Some of these are a bit fluid, though. With Lunar 2, I have more familiarity with both the English and Japanese voice acting sides, while with Lunar 1, I've listened to the Japanese voices much more than the English ones. KF
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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby Alunissage » Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:42 pm

Kizyr wrote:Lunar 1:

Luna - equal (except singing, which is equal)

?? Are those supposed to be different? I assume you're referring to the boat song, since the WD kept the original's lalalas.

Also, Quark, Ramus, Tempest? I guess you only hear Ramus and Tempest once each. For that matter, you only hear one syllable from Fresca, although there were several outtakes of that.

I've heard the Japanese voices for most of the two games, but haven't really been paying that much attention. I will say that the more I hear the English voices the less patience I have for them. I think this is in part because it's been so long since I've heard them that I have established different voices for them in my mind and so when I do hear them again they jar. I'll have to hear Ruby in Japanese, because it's hard to imagine anything that would make her English voice definitely preferable.

I really liked Xenobia in the Lunatic Festa drama. Haven't heard her in-game for a while. Actually, I've heard her Korean voice more recently than her English voice.

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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby LuNaRtIc » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:34 pm

Is this question exclusively for the Lunar games? Or for video games and anime shows in general?

I've only played the Lunar games in English. And I've only seen the Japanese clips on YouTube once or twice, so my answer is a little biased. I do prefer the English voice over. My choice is partly due to sentimental reasons as well. I grew up playing the PS1 Lunar remakes. The "Making of Lunar" discs were my first glimpse into the dubbing process when I was about nine or ten years old. It really helped spark my passion for voice over that I still have today. So whenever I hear the English cast, it brings back a lot of memories and warm fuzzy feelings. :lol: However, I'm open to the Japenese recording as well. I have a deep love for voice over, no matter what the language or medium is.
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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby Aaron » Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:55 am

It is a general question. I brought up Lunar because that is what made me think of creating this poll.

But here is another example from Dragon Ball Z where I feel the English voice actors trump the Japanese voice actors

English:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQUaz1nKABc
Japanese:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUd93rdJLtg

As I'm writing this I realize the main reason I don't like the male Japanese voice over is because they all sound so feminine to me. The Japanese concept of "manliness" sounds more high pitched. And therefore sounds like nails on a chalk board to me. While in the West we keep it low and gruff. Like Solid Snake voiced by David Hayter.

Is it just me or do the Eastern cultures seem to want to emasculate males into some sort of androgynous-equal-to-women sort of thing? I don't want to derail my own topic but for me that is what it comes down to.

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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby Guild_Premier_Ghaleon » Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:10 am

Eh, I think Dragonball is a bad example. That type of voice acting is unique apart from many either Japanese works. I'm a huge anime fan and usually prefer subbed voice acting as opposed to dubbed, though the dubbing is also usually spectacular. I think a good example would be Gurren Lagann. While the english dubbing is excellent, I find the Japanese voice acting is superior. I voted english in the LUNAR category though. :P
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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby Aaron » Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:18 am

Well yeah, Dragon Ball is a probably not the best example and there are cases where I hate the English voice acting when compared to the Japanese voice acting.

Here is an example from Naruto

English Vs. Japanese
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtd8-PxX8vc

The caliber of voice work by the Japanese actors is far better then the crap they hired for the US Version of Naruto.

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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby Kizyr » Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:22 am

Alunissage wrote:
Kizyr wrote:Luna - equal (except singing, which is equal)

?? Are those supposed to be different? I assume you're referring to the boat song, since the WD kept the original's lalalas.

I meant "Japanese (except singing, which is equal)". Forgot to edit that entire line.

Alunissage wrote:I'll have to hear Ruby in Japanese, because it's hard to imagine anything that would make her English voice definitely preferable.

Ruby was atrocious in the Japanese version. WD's version was entirely an improvement. They actually made her much less annoying in English.

Aaron wrote:Is it just me or do the Eastern cultures seem to want to emasculate males into some sort of androgynous-equal-to-women sort of thing? I don't want to derail my own topic but for me that is what it comes down to.

It's just you. It's because your perception of masculinity is based entirely on the English language. It's sort of like ethnocentrism except language-based. KF
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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby Benevolent_Ghaleon » Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:16 am

I agree with Alun entirely this time.

And Kizyr, of course you like Lemina better in Japanese. Megumi Hayashibara is legendary!

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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby NallOne » Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:37 pm

Even though I prefer to watch anime (and play video games, of course) in my native language, the one thing I really like about Japanese voice actors is the way they work. I like that they all sit down together in the recording studio. It really adds a lot of realism to the conversations and it flows so much more smoothly. This is a lot more noticeable in video games for me, where each line between characters comes off as just a solitary soundbite that doesn't really flow with the conversation ... because it IS just a solitary soundbite.

That said I still prefer English dubs simply because reading subtitles is a huge distraction. I'm not sure how I'd feel about it if I understood Japanese, though. As it stands the only time I really watch anime in Japanese is if it hasn't been localized yet and I don't have a choice. Of the few anime I have on DVD, I've tried to watch them in Japanese before, but I always get tired of reading the subtitles before I finish the entire show and switch back to dub.
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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby Kizyr » Sat Aug 29, 2009 1:11 am

Back on topic. I split the previous discussion off into its own thing. KF
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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby Kizyr » Sun Sep 06, 2009 3:20 pm

Alunissage wrote:I really liked Xenobia in the Lunatic Festa drama. Haven't heard her in-game for a while. Actually, I've heard her Korean voice more recently than her English voice.

Say this brings to mind, how do the Korean voices compare?

Korean to me sounds kind of like Dutch compared to English, so I'm not sure how I'd interpret it unless I heard it. KF
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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby Ruby » Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:54 am

I'm a big anime fan, I've been watching anime for many many years now. Heck I'm about 100+ episodes into Urusei Yatsura, which is only subbed and one of the older series that became pretty popular. And what do I have to say about this topic? I general I've always preferred the english dubbed voices over the subtitled ones. Only when the dubbing is really poor do I prefer the subtitles. I think a lot of people's preference for subtitling has to do with the effect that happens when you hear one voice coming out of a characters mouth for long enough, a different one doesn't sound quite right, and the hardest of the hardcore are the ones watching fansubbed material.

In my instance as for my preference for dubs. It's very much a cultural thing. Japanese voices don't respond in the same way to situations like other cultures do. I think I have a better grasp of some of the cultural influences at play and what certain turns of phrase and tone indicate, but if given the chance I'd rather have someone speaking my own language and expressing things with the kind of tone I'm accustomed too. If I'm watching in Japanese with subtitles a lot of the emotion and feeling tends to get "lost in translation", and reading the constant stream of text doesn't help either, which tends to deaden any kind of emotion being expressed with the actor's voice.
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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby Alunissage » Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:54 am

Ruby wrote:I think a lot of people's preference for subtitling has to do with the effect that happens when you hear one voice coming out of a characters mouth for long enough, a different one doesn't sound quite right, and the hardest of the hardcore are the ones watching fansubbed material.

I concur. I had a major problem with the Growlanser II English voices because I was so used to hearing the Japanese voices, or at the very least ignoring them and filling in the characterization from the faces and dialogue. The characters seemed to get a lot flatter to me with English voices, because the voices did not include the nuances I had perceived in the characters.

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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby AirkRaven » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:16 pm

I voted English for two reasons:

1) I don't understand Japanese so I am hopelessly biased towards the one of the two which I do understand.

2) For some odd reason listening to most Japanese voice acting feels like I'm listening to J-pop. I'm not a fan of J-pop.

I admit that neither point is really a judgment on quality of the voice acting. In that respect I kind of agree with what KF said, it depends on the character. I would take it a little further and say that it depends on if the voice matches the character with all the intricacies that voices have (tone/pitch, volume, inflection, tempo, etc...). I mean, Hell Mel's voice wouldn't fit if he had a meek, squeaky voice, think Mickey Mouse. Just as it wouldn't work if Luna was given a gruff, raspy voice, think Bea Arthur (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatrice_Arthur). So I'm not sure if doing an overall comparison is a good way to go about it. It should be considered on a case by case basis, IMO.

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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby Kizyr » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:56 pm

AirkRaven wrote:I admit that neither point is really a judgment on quality of the voice acting. In that respect I kind of agree with what KF said, it depends on the character. I would take it a little further and say that it depends on if the voice matches the character with all the intricacies that voices have (tone/pitch, volume, inflection, tempo, etc...).

See, this is the reason why I never understand why some people are so adamantly against dubbing. Depending on the person, and your linguistic background, certain languages are just going to be easier to infer emotions, tones, and all the other indirect things communicated by speech from.

I mean, I'm indifferent between the two (for apparent reasons), but I understand why some people would prefer one over the other, even if it's something like a mediocre English voice over a good Japanese voice, or a flat Japanese voice over a decent-but-unfamiliar English voice. KF
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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby Ruby » Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:38 am

I mean, I'm indifferent between the two (for apparent reasons), but I understand why some people would prefer one over the other, even if it's something like a mediocre English voice over a good Japanese voice, or a flat Japanese voice over a decent-but-unfamiliar English voice. KF


I note in that reversal English only got to be called "decent" instead of "good". XD

I concur. I had a major problem with the Growlanser II English voices because I was so used to hearing the Japanese voices, or at the very least ignoring them and filling in the characterization from the faces and dialogue. The characters seemed to get a lot flatter to me with English voices, because the voices did not include the nuances I had perceived in the characters.


You know what I find funny is this exact situation is talked about in the anime "Lucky Star" where Konata is explaining to Kagami why she's upset a manga she has drama CDs for is going to be made into an anime but the voice cast is going to be completely different from the drama CDs.
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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby Kizyr » Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:45 pm

Ruby wrote:
I mean, I'm indifferent between the two (for apparent reasons), but I understand why some people would prefer one over the other, even if it's something like a mediocre English voice over a good Japanese voice, or a flat Japanese voice over a decent-but-unfamiliar English voice. KF

I note in that reversal English only got to be called "decent" instead of "good". XD

I was drawing on examples from earlier in the thread! KF
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Re: Japanese voice actors have nothing on English voice actors

Postby Shiva Indis » Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:20 pm

I should keep away from threads like this. I can't stop myself from posting, but my opinion on this sort of thing seems to be extreme...

The particular video chosen for comparison in the first post is not a good showcase for the US voice actors. They they aren't expressing anger to the extent that the footage calls for. Look at Alex's mouth, he's YELLING, but he sounds like he and Ghaleon are going to have a debate instead of a final battle. Neither actor is emoting enough. The Japanese actors are better at this.

The US actors do at least deliver their lines basically in keeping with American English speech patterns. Working Designs cared about prosody and in the 90s especially that counted for a lot. But there's a difference between not being embarrassing and really being good.
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