(Contributed by Verity)
So, I started watching anime in high school. First was the dubbed Sailor Moon. So in English – there was Serena, not Usagi. They changed up the names to sound more American. They changed a lot of things to make it less controversial. One male character was turned into a girl so that his crush on a man would not be seen as horrible. And Sailor Uranus and Neptune became cousins. It was WEIRD.
Other shows I watched subbed as well – to start. But there was always something… off-putting.
My first dubbed show was Escaflowne. I clearly remember the shrill, “Van-sama!” from one of the characters. I remember having to watch each episode twice because I couldn’t catch all the subtitles the first time around because I was so new at it. I remember being intrigued by the English words interspersed with all the rest. And goodness, the music!
Essentially, I fell in love with the Japanese language then.
In the US otaku scene, there’s a “subbed vs dubbed war.” Some believe that you can love anime just fine and still hear it in your original language. You give work to American voice actors, and some of them are very good. Others believe that if you really love anime, you should see it in it’s original form with its original voice actors. They remember a great many sins of the early industry, when less care was given to talent and being true to the original because, hey, deadlines.
Guess which side I’m on?
I actually took Japanese in college because I figured if I was learning little pieces here and there from watching anime, – honorifics, niku, nakama, aishiteru, suki, itadakimasu, arigato gozaimasu, de gozaru….. Then maybe I should learn the real language.
And goodness, is it beautiful.