Was the ADV Dub really THAT bad?

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Was the ADV Dub really THAT bad?

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Postby Singularity84 » Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:01 pm

About a year ago, for the first time, I sat down and watched my torrent of NGE and EoE Dubbed. I remember thinking the acting was pretty damn terrible in the first three or four episodes and then having it grow on me sometime after Asuka was introduced.
For Christmas, I was gifted with the entire DVD collection of NGE, excluding the first one and the director's cut which I already owned. When I got them, I went through them all subbed, which I now consider to be the ideal way to watch this show. But then there were certain episodes where I actually missed the English VOs. Which pertains more-so to scenes where characters are freaking the fuck out, as I feel it comes across a lot better when I'm listening to it than reading it.
Episodes 16, 22, 23, 25, and 26 come to mind. Episode 16 was the first episode in the series where I got legitimately hooked on Eva, before that, it was just something good to watch while I fell asleep. When I watched it subbed, it didn't feel the same during heavier scenes. Same for Episode 22, Asuka's mind rape and progression through the episode seemed a lot heavier when I heard Tiffany Grant screaming consistently. Then theres things like 21 and 23 which I genuinely think has the actors doing a pretty decent job in their roles. 25 and 26 feature good enough acting so as I'm still immersed in the action and I actually like some of lines in the alternate universe from episode 26.
"are you riding his baloney pony?"
"Oh man, I hope shes got a great butt!"
Immature as they are, I found them funny...but thats a good segway into things I didn't like about the dub. In episode 19, Kaji says the line, "although I'd rather be between Misato's mellons." Which I thought was so painful and unfunny for a cool character like him, I actually cringed a little. When I read that subbed however, I didn't cringe...or laugh, I just acknowledged it being there and moved on. I think part of it might have been the ADV voice actor having the most unfitting performance of Kaji I think I'll ever hear. That episode (19) along with 20, 18, and 17 are unbearable dubbed. Some of the lines are screamed for no reason when a character isn't doing much and occasionally we get some instances of really crappy audio mixing. Also the performances done for the Bridge Bunnies, Toji, and Kawarou are really really bad.
Despite that however, I still see many other episodes as personally better when dubbed, or at least not painful. I think the main cast did a good job, with the exception of the fore mentioned I disliked. So I can at least watch an episode with everyone else and enjoy it.
End of Eva is a weird case for me though. I'm aware of some of the MANGA edits and additions which can easily ruin the seriousness of some scenes, but I enjoy the performances done for all the main characters. Despite the fact that the Soldiers don't sound like they're even trying, Makoto sounds black, and Aoba & Maya just sound poor. I'd default to subs, but I could still tolerate watching EoE dubbed if I had to.
So despite me just venting on all the things about the dub I didn't like, I still think its tolerable and sometimes gives me a better experience for particular episodes. Which makes it to me, passable.
Last edited by Singularity84 on Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Sephizim » Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:36 pm

There will always be a soft spot for the ADV dub in my heart. Most of the acting for the first few episodes is downright awful. But after that, some characters end up really growing into the roles. I think the best example of this is Allison Keith as Misato. At the start, its such a typical anime dub voice that she uses, but as the character gets fleshed out more, she begins to use more subtlety, and you can really feel her humanity. Amanda Winn Lee as Rei is an interesting case. While living up to Megumi Hayashibara's standard is pretty much impossible, once she really found the character, AWL makes for a pretty good Rei. The issue with a lot of dubbing is that the tonal quality of voices, particularly female voices, is so very different in Japan compared to the US. So if someone spoke Rei's lines in English using Megumi's exact voice and tone, it would just sound weird. The tone is suited for Japanese, not English. With that in mind, AWL's lower, less emotive tone works well for speaking lines in English.

Some were good all the way through, though. I've said it elsewhere, but I am a big fan of Tristan MacAvery as Gendo. Fumihiko Tachiki does a wonderful job as well, but there are times when his read as Gendo seems a bit too subdued. Prime example, in episode 18, before activating the Dummy System, Gendo stands and clearly starts yelling. While Tachiki merely raises the level of his voice slightly, I feel like MacAvery's "Its still better than the current pilot!" while maybe a tad too intense, fits the actions a lot more.

As for other characters, hard to say. Spike Spencer is clearly inferior to Megumi Ogata, but it isn't like his read is always awful. Sure, there were probably plenty who could do it better, but there are times when his tone almost seems to match Megumi's perfectly. Tiffany Grant speaks German well, but yeah, her voice does get grating after a while. She screams well, though, an in fact, beats Miyamura in the believe-ability of her screaming. Sue Ulu as Ristuko is definitely one of the stranger ones. When you learn that her normal speaking voice sounds nothing like that, I think it grants her more leeway, but a lot of the times, her inflections are way off. I actually kind of like Aaron Krohn as Kaji, I don't think there was any point where his performance really took me out of the moment, and comparing to Yamadera, there isn't too much that stands out. I think he was also the best English Kaworu, since Kyle Sturdivant seemed to be playing the gay up too much, Greg Ayres was doing the same voice he always does, just a little creepier for effect, and Jerry Jewell... well, actually his Kaworu wasn't all that bad, but Rebuild is a different beast entirely. Guil Lunde as Fuyutsuki doesn't really stand out for me until episode 21, at which point I think he did a really good job with the role. Toji's voice is never consistent in the dub, so hard to really pass judgement on that one. I kinda like Kurt Stoll as Kensuke, just because he has that perfect otaku voice. Trust me, I've been to enough cons to be quite familiar with the voice of the American otaku. Hikari is such a small role that Carol Amerson does the best she can with it, but yeah, some of her reads are awkward. Say what you will about Matt Greenfield, but I really like his read as Hyuga. Can't say the same for Aoba, Jason Lee just has a weird voice, and Aoba needs to sound cooler. Of course, that's better than getting Vic to voice him in the director's cut stuff. *shudder* And... yeah, Kendra Spencer sounds kind of odd at times.

The EoE dub is another matter entirely. Its saving grace comes from the cast members it held on to from the original dub, but with the exception of Kaworu, all of the new VAs are just... not good. The main reason I watch the sub over the dub is so I can at least have vocal consistency all the way through.

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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:22 pm

I tend not to like most dubs in general, since I think the majority of the acting that I see is inferior to the Japanese performances (and sometimes, just not that good.) I didn't like the ADV dub, likely because I tend not to like what dubs turn into.

But yes, it's pretty darn bad. :lol:

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Postby ReiAyanami25 » Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:59 pm

View Original PostNuclear Lunchbox wrote:I tend not to like most dubs in general, since I think the majority of the acting that I see is inferior to the Japanese performances (and sometimes, just not that good.)


I agree with this. As well as often being inferior, dub tracks can be very grating, I find. So, as a rule, I tend to avoid them. I have been called a 'purist' by various people, but I think it is common for western anime audiences to feel the same way as I do. With that said, I was unfamiliar with the anime genre when I discovered Eva, and I neglected to change the language settings on the DVD I rented. Subsequently, I became used to the dub, and it was a hard habit to break, sadly. I honestly believe that the Japanese voice acting is far better, especially Hayashibara-san's performance, but I was never under the impression that the dub was especially awful. I have certainly heard worse.
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Postby Stratomeister » Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:37 pm

As a general rule of thumb, I tend to watch dubs if they are available. Even if I know the dub is admittedly terrible, I'll probably watch it anyways. The only exception I would make is if the continuity has multiple seasons, the latter of which did not receive the dub treatment.

Now don't get me wrong, I have no distain for Japanese voice acting, and I do agree that at many times it is better than the english variant. But personally, in series that contain a lot of action, and as well for certain pivotal moments, if the lines are delivered properly in english, I can just feel a greater connection to the scene, and thus the series as a whole.

That being said, there were some, shall we say, questionable lines in ADV's dub of NGE. Some of Misato's opening lines shine through as glaring examples.

When she was first introduced, pulling up beside Shinji in episode 1, as she delivered her first line, my initial reaction was along the lines of, "Oh god, not this again..." My notion was further reinforced just minutes later when she and Shinji were righting her car after N2 mine blast:

"Thanks Shinji, you're pretty useful!" What the hell were they thinking? How could that have possibly made it into the final cut? Just.. no...

To be honest, many lines in the first few episodes were a little rough around the edges. Misato came across as very generic, and one of the very first lines, being Shinj's "This is dumb!" was just so out of place and awkward, it didn't set me in good standing with the show that I now love.

Despite my complaints, I found Tristan MacAvery as Gendo stellar through the series, and the other voice actors seemed to settle more into their roles quickly, and there were few other questionable translations. Or maybe I just didn't care as much after those initial blunders. Wither way, the voices did grow on me rather quickly.

All in all, I don't really believe the dub was bad, I wouldn't say that it was amazing, but it certainly had it's moments, and allowed me to settle into the series, and enjoy it to it's full potential.
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Postby AngelNo13Bardiel » Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:03 am

It'll always hold a special place in my heart...but yeah, it's not that great.
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Postby Gorbatschow » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:37 am

When I watched the first episode dubbed for the first time, I thought this performance was taken straight out of a sub-prime abridged dub. It's unbelievably bad and I'm still struggling to realize, that people were paid to do this.
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Postby Aiko Heiwa » Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:32 am

Considering the time period that the show was dubbed (it was dubbed in the mid-1990s, right?), I think it was fine.

I say that as someone who will always watch dubbed anime versus subbed if I have the choice and if the dub isn't censored or anything, for the record.
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Postby Stryker » Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:33 pm

Relatively: No, this was pretty decent out of most 90's anime dubs.

Subjectively: I don't mind it.

Objectively: This section shouldn't be here, but if you consider the acting quality between the American dub and the Japanese dub, you will find the Japanese dub to be far better. One must consider that, because anime is the prime form of televised entertainment in Japan, higher quality voice actors are in much higher demand, and quantity, in Japan versus in America. Due to the fact that most actors in America generally don't consider doing animation dubs (there are exceptions of course, Nausicaa being notable with Sir Patrick Stewart), the quality of American dubs suffer.

There are anime with better quality American dubbing than Japanese dubbing, but these are a very small percentile of the amount of anime out there. Some consider Cowboy Bebop to be an example of this, and although I haven't compared the two, Space Dandy has a chance at being one as well.
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Postby Squigsquasher » Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:57 am

I haven't watched the entire series dubbed (I've only seen clips of the dub) but I didn't like it at all.

For one thing, I'm of the opinion that a work as important as Eva should be watched in its original language. "Hurr, I can't read the subs and watch what's going on on the screen at the same time, durr." is not an excuse, and shows that the person in question is too much of a pleb to watch Eva (incidentally, most people I know who only watch dubs either haven't watched Eva or didn't like it). If you can't watch a foreign film with the original voice acting you aren't actually watching it, just a shallow interpretation of it. Even something like Cowboy Bebop (which I understand has a superb dub) I would still watch the Japanese as well, just so I've experienced it as it was intended.

Of course, Eva's dub is nowhere near on par with Cowboy Bebop's dub. Quite frankly, if it had been a spoof dub, it would have been perfect- Tiffany Grant's performance sounds how the silly, over-the-top Tsundere Asuka of the Action Arc should sound, and Amanda Winn Lee does a good "Ridiculously Robotic Girl" performance. Even Spike Spencer would work well as a fourth-wall breaking "When do I get paid?" protagonist. But as the definitive English dub of the series? No. Spike Spencer sounds WAY too whiny, with the first episode being downright painful to listen to (in fact I blame his performance on the reason so many people hate Shinji) and nothing like a 14-year-old boy (although I personally believe Shinji should always ALWAYS be voiced by a woman), Tiffany Grant, whilst good, sounds too silly, and Amanda Winn Lee still sounds too old. And then there's End of Evangelion, starring Bored Fuyutsuki and Black Hyuga.

Jesus Christ, ADV.

So, no, I don't like the dub, and I think it's pretty bad. Japanese is the only way to go.

Except of course for Shinji/Spike Spencer's rant in the DVD abouyt the bastards running out of ink. That bit was pure gold, and quite frankly I hope that when the original series is inevitably released on Blu-Ray that Megumi Ogata does a Japanese version of it.
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Postby pwhodges » Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:21 am

View Original PostSquigsquasher wrote:"Hurr, I can't read the subs and watch what's going on on the screen at the same time, durr." is not an excuse, and shows that the person in question is too much of a pleb to watch Eva

When your brain slows down with advancing years, presumably you won't mind being insulted like this.
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Postby Squigsquasher » Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:24 am

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:When your brain slows down with advancing years, presumably you won't mind being insulted like this.


My brain is already running slow enough that it couldn't possibly slow down anymore. By the time I reach that age I'll hav efar greater worries related to the speed of my brain than watching anime.

And no, I wouldn't mind. I've got a pretty thick skin (and a thick skull).
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Postby lastcody » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:03 am

YEAAH it was bad!

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Postby Aiko Heiwa » Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:41 am

View Original PostSquigsquasher wrote:For one thing, I'm of the opinion that a work as important as Eva should be watched in its original language.

And I'm of the opinion that anime is meant to be watched, not read.
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Postby Wanderlust » Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:04 am

View Original PostAiko Heiwa wrote:And I'm of the opinion that anime is meant to be watched, not read.


What kind of subtitles are you watching that take up the entirety of the screen?

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Postby pwhodges » Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:09 am

What kind of subtitles are you watching that take up the entirety of the screen?

That's not the point; the point is that the graphics are designed to be watched, and the eye should be drawn to key parts of the image at various times. Having to keep skipping down to read subtitles destroys this process - especially in a dialogue-intensive anime like the -monogatari series in which there is scarcely a moment without subtitles to be read.

In any case, when I read a play, I don't feel disappointed that I'm not hearing great actors performing it; experiencing such a performance is wonderful, of course, but like the music I play on my piano at home the play exists complete in its own right. Similarly, the words spoken in anime convey their meaning; and if the speaker is not providing the very best nuance with them, well, I can perfectly well provide that for myself in my mind.

For me, at any rate, a performance has to be actually bad to prevent this process working. I don't find the Eva dub bad, even though I admit that some improvements would be possible.
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Postby Gorbatschow » Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:11 am

View Original PostAiko Heiwa wrote:And I'm of the opinion that anime is meant to be watched, not read.


I prefer dubs if they are appropriate, but the Eva dubs just destroy the experience. Also I don'T really understand the problem of subs demanding "too much attention", I'm usually reading them without even noticing and I'm not even a native speaker. (Yeah I watch with English subs). :uhh:
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Postby Stryker » Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:45 am

I find that subtitles help develop peripheral vision, if that means anything.

That being said, I wonder how the ladies of the forum feel about the whole "reading" debacle, since women have been found to have better peripheral vision than men.
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Postby Bagheera » Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:07 pm

It really depends on the show for me. I stopped watching Monogatari because keeping up with the subtitles was exhausting. It's less of an issue in Eva since I've wound up watching it several times anyway. Age of the show is also an issue: I'd never watch anything from the 90s dubbed, but these days the English VAs are more up to snuff so I don't care as much.
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Postby Gorbatschow » Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:32 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:It really depends on the show for me. I stopped watching Monogatari because keeping up with the subtitles was exhausting. It's less of an issue in Eva since I've wound up watching it several times anyway. Age of the show is also an issue: I'd never watch anything from the 90s dubbed, but these days the English VAs are more up to snuff so I don't care as much.


Agreed. The "modern" dubs are way better than the old ones, although I really don't know why, since we're not talking about equipment or technical development. Is it because Anime get more and more budget at the moment and is general more popular than back in the 90s ? (Although Eva was rather big in the US in the 90s)

I still tend to watch more subs than dubs, but I'm kind of choosy when it comes to dubs.
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