Alan Smithee

Dubbed Vs. Subbed Anime – My First SLCC Panel

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As the WPR brand tends to be better known in the world (specifically Utah in this case) I can only imagine the adventures we writers on ye olde blog will be able to have. Tonight, I had a grand old adventure, and well…I survived my first panel.

You read that right, your good buddy Xopher was a member of a panel at Salt Lake City Comic Con and it was a doozy. Dubbed versus subbed anime and the pros and cons therein. I know, it might not quite sound like an adventuresome topic, but for a geek going grey this was right in my wheelhouse.

I dare to say that the subject for this panel, which was submitted by an outside force, was somewhat poorly planned. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being a hater or a heckler, but the three of us sitting on the panel had an hour to describe why this subject might be poorly planned which is more than ample time to do so.

Anyways, as far as the topic of subbed versus dubbed anime goes, the battle wages on and on and on and on, in perpetuity I’m sure, whether it be in forums, 4chan, IRC, people just seem to enjoy making themselves an in-crowd and heckling those that aren’t in that tiny little bubble. From what I could gather from the fandom, being some of the 50-60 people in attendance in the room, is that there really isn’t any extreme feelings in one director or the other.

The crowd for the most part seemed tor enjoy both sides of the discussion and there was no bloodbath as you’d think you’d see with such a divisive subject. People were just happy to be part of a larger subset of fans, geeks of a feather if you will. There was a moderated discussion with me and two of my fellow panel members which I’m happy to say that I managed to squeeze a few laughs out of when it came to bad voice acting and lip syncing gone horribly wrong.

When it came to Q&A, there were very cordial questions on subjects ranging from what we thought of dialects (in Japan, there are numerous…same thing in the US), what our favorite slice of life anime was, good dubbed series such as DragonBall Z and all the way over to me admitting to being a 17 year old kid who still watched DigiMon when it was in syndication.

As far as my fellow panelists went, to my right was an amazingly adept moderator whose major hangup with dubbed anime was the horrible names that were given to some of the Sailor Moon cast when they Westernized it. To my left was the only other panelist, one who was at times a slight bit off topic sometimes, was refreshingly ready to hit the mic ahead of other people. I felt at home on the stage, it was nice being able to be considered somewhat of an expert on the topic, and the best part perhaps were the discussions I had leaving the conference room.

One gentleman wanted me to know that my college learned Japanese (which was very formal and slightly feminine) was nothing compared to his buddy self teaching himself, or in other words mine was better than his by a longshot even though it’s not quite conversational.

The other person waiting for me in the wings when I stepped off the dais wanted to know why I thought that there was such a cultural difference between the subtitles and what was being said, this led down a wonderful trail of linguistics, idioms, and perceived language normatives that made me feel great and somewhat like a teacher. The item that really blew his mind is when I notified him that the fandom goes both ways, we may enjoy anime/manga/idols but Japan is also consuming our media as well. When I said that there were Japanese fans of the Metal Gear Solid franchise who preferred the English voice acting over the Japanese seiyu (voice-actors).

All in all, good start of what I am sure will be many many more panels in my future. Hell, I’ve got two more before the weekend is over.

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