Dubbed or subbed, which is better?

When watching anime these days thanks to the internet there is always one question viewers will debate till the cows come home, Dubbed vs. Subbed. I personally prefer the dubbed versions of anime because I hate reading subtitles in TV shows however, this week I thought it would be a cool idea to look at the debate and learn why this can be such a heated argument amongst the fans of anime.

This debate has been around for a long time and has numerous websites that look into the debate. Just googling the term ‘Dubbed vs. Subbed anime’ brought up so many posts on forums from fans discussing why they like dubbed or subbed anime. There are numerous reasons for each side of the argument as outlined in the video below. The views of each side both have merit to peoples preference so lets delve into this little research project.

To do this research I thought if I watched the same episode of an anime that is dubbed and subbed and discuss my findings for it. The anime I have chosen is none other than Dragon ball Z because honestly it is a great show and everyone has seen it before. the episode I chose to view is one of the best episodes in my opinion and is the one where Goku finally reaches the legendary super sayian form.


while watching the Japanese version of this episode there were notable differences I picked up from the dubbed version. The first major one I had was the voice acting of Goku. In the dubbed version of the show, Goku sounds a lot manlier than in the subbed version. In the Japanese version i didn’t feel as invested in the character because of how he sounded, in fact he sounded like a prepubescent teenager more than the worlds greatest defender. I also noticed that at the pivotal moment when Goku tells Gohan to leave the planet he wasn’t as angry in the subbed. It really amazed me how this one little change really effected the way I viewed Goku as a character. I wasn’t as drawn to Goku like I was when watching the dubbed version. In the dubbed I found that Goku was a lot more enthusiastic in portraying his mood. The subbed version did have some advantages to it, In the subbed version you do see a lot more dialogue being portrayed and lines have changed from the original scripted when it got dubbed. Check out the pivotal scenes below.

So in the end, I guess the debate does come down to personal preference. Both sides of the argument have valid points for and against the other opinion. For me I think I will stick to watching the dubbed version of most anime, unless it doesn’t exist then of course I will suffer through reading the subtitles.

Reference list:

Off the great wall (2013) Subbed vs Dubbed, Online video, 26th August, Youtube, viewed 4/9/2014, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7xNCy9NhFE&gt;

redmario73 (2011) Goku goes super sayian for the first time (1080p HD), Online video, 26 November, Youtube, viewed 4/9/2014 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwrHGO7ljR0&gt;

Ден Романовский (2013) japanese] Goku goes super sayian for the first time HD, Online video, 28th July, youtube, viewed 4/9/2014 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kkMO4yjjXE&gt;


  1. In my opinion, I like subbed version better but I also don’t mind dubbed version. I think it is depended on the anime and how good the voice acting is. Moreover, I can learn more about culture by watching it in it original language. It not just anime that I prefer to watch it with subtitle, I also usually watch movies with subtitle. Most of the movies that I watched in Thailand is with subtitle. There is usually 2 version of the same movie in cinema in Thailand, with Thai subtitle or everything in Thai.


  2. I normally only watch Anime subbed. However, since I grew up with the dubbed Dragon Ball & Dragon Ball Z I just can’t get used to Goku’s Japanese voice. Like, what even is it??? XD


  3. I prefer the subbed version as I feel if I’m going to watch something foreign I want to experience it as authentically as I can, and subtitles are how that can be achieved. The dubbed version is okay in this example, but often they portray the characters differently making the media completely different to how it was originally supposed to be and not so authentic. I often watch subbed movies and don’t mind reading subtitles, so I suppose it is also a matter of preference. Also, I liked how you included the videos in your post and split up the reflection part, however you need to be more mindful of your grammar.


  4. Your reflection of the subbed version of this anime is interesting, as it highlights the cultural biases ingrained in us. When you say that the main character sounded much “girler” in the subbed version? Do you think conversely those who watched the show in its traditional context would find the main character strangely masculine? Perhaps these slight alterations in characterisation would give different meaning to the series as a whole


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