Top 10 Times Anime Dubbing Went Too Far



Top 10 Times Anime Dubbing Went Too Far

VOICE OVER: Ashley Bowman
Some anime dubs are fantastic, some...not so much. Join Ashley as we look over the times where anime dubs went off the rails, as seen in series such as "Prison School", "One Piece", "Dragon Ball Z", and more!
Scritp written by Alex Crilly-Mckean

Top 10 Times Anime Dubbing Went Too Far

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we are counting down our picks for the Top 10 Times Anime Dubbing Went Too Far.

For this list, we’re looking at moments across anime dubs that really missed the mark. We all know adaptations have to cut some corners and take a few liberties, but in these cases…let’s just say it only added fuel to the fire of the sub vs dub war. Think we missed an abysmal dub? Let us know in the comments!

#10: “Shaman King” (2003-05)

Well, all things considered, it certainly could have been worse. We dare say that for newcomers, this was a hallway decent gateway anime. That being said, the dub was handled by 4Kids, and their fingerprints can be seen all over the English version. For one, you’ve got some weird name changes. How the flying fudge sticks do you go from HoroHoro to Trey?! But the most hilarious aspect without a doubt is the accents. Why is Ryo suddenly Spanish? And what’s the point of giving Ren a British accent and not Lyserg? One is Chinese and the other is actually British, learn the difference!

#9: “Speed Racer” (1967-68)

While this classic turned meme can be difficult to digest these days due to the dialogue being pelted out in a rapid-fire manner, that’s just the way things were handled back in the sixties. Dubbing was in its infancy, and we’re pretty sure the actors got paid by the amount of words they could stuff into a scene, so it’s impossible to detest Speed and his nonsensical manner of talking. Ridicule? Absolutely. But we can’t hate on something for just being a sign of the times. We’re just glad this style of voice acting has long disappeared.

#8: “Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid” (2017-21)

While quality in the world of dubs has certainly skyrocketed in recent years, they haven’t been without their controversies. And that’s just within the scripts themselves! One of a handful of examples of anime dubs that tried to interject real-world western politics where its wasn’t wanted, Lucoa’s sudden declaration of patriarchal societal demands being the reason she had to cover her massive bust didn’t sit right with people. Is it a crime she had to hide her mountainous peaks from the world? For sure. But the last thing people want to hear in a series about horny dragon hybrids is real-world issues on gender, discrimination and other serious topics, especially if it’s just used for a throwaway line.

#7: “Duel Masters” (2004-06)

Try as it might, there was no way this series was going to become the next Yu-Gi-Oh. Even if the card game and its mechanics were decent, Duel Masters just couldn’t emulate the spirit of the original, and that included the dub. Whereas the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise had fun with the characters (looking at you Brooklyn Joey) Duel Masters saw fit to erase the fourth wall completely, to the extent that it seemed to spend every episode mocking itself. After a while this stops being funny and disintegrates into an overblown RiffTrax.

#6: “Devilman” OVAs (1987-90)

Akira’s tale of tragedy and bloodshed as the demonic hybrid Devilman has had multiple incarnations over the years, and we have no doubt will once again find itself another reimagining in the near future. That being said, there will never be a set of dubs as hysterically terrible as its OVAs. It’s not hentai level of dubbing, but it’s clear there was little to no direction given here, which makes the random bursts of cursing and clunky dialogue all the sweeter.

#5: “My First Girlfriend is a Gal” (2017)

The late twenty-tens were obviously a time where Funimation decided that they could get a little edgier with their adaptations, and perhaps mix in some real-world content that had no place being implemented. Case and point – ecchi anime and Millennial SJWs. Sure, the whole thing is meant as a gag to showcase how despicable the character in question is, but it still feels out of place. It’s a wholly western hot topic, one you don’t normally associate with the likes of gyaru culture.

#4: “Warriors of the Wind” (1987)

This thing’s very existence is viewed as a crime. Taking Studio Ghibli’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and butchering it with edits, the end result was a film that removed so many vital character moments along with its pro-environmental message that it was practically a shell of its former splendor. I mean, why would you ever get rid of the Toxic Jungle scenes? At least Disney was happy to pick up the slack and ensure that all of Ghibli’s future works remained untouched going forward.

#3: “Prison School” (2015)

For the most part, we’d say this dub is actually solid – taking the erotic and crazy tropes of this ecchi-fest and going all out. It does, however, have a single flaw that uproots it from potentially being remembered as an excellent dub. What’s the issue? One word – GamerGate. For those of you who don’t remember – GamerGate was THE online controversy. So why was it brought up here? We don’t know, and we certainly don’t appreciate it.

#2: “One Piece” - 4Kids Edition (2004-07)

Overall, we’d say Funimation did a decent job of taking the reins of the One Piece franchise and providing a dub that took the legacy of the source material to heart and treated it respectfully. The same could not be said about 4Kids, who did just about everything to twist it into something borderline unrecognizable. Names are changed, whole episodes are cut, with the only thing cringier than the attempts at censorship being the way in which these characters were dubbed. What was going on with Sanji’s voice?!

#1: “Dragon Ball Z” – Big Green Dub (2001-03)

Was there any doubt? Whatever AB Groupe may have intended when dubbing over the likes of DBZ’s various movies, the result was utter chaos. Names are consistently butchered, including the infamous Big Green debacle, along with general mistranslations that don’t make sense in any language whatsoever! While we get a kick out of these in hindsight, the thought of these being the sole examples of dubbed Dragon Ball still fills us with dread.