Subbed And Dubbed Anime Explained

Subbed vs dubbed anime? Many anime fans have a clear preference towards one or the other. We will talk about the pros and cons of both mediums in detail, so after reading this article you should have an idea, if you prefer to watch your anime subbed or dubbed. If you are just starting anime, however, You might be hoping that we will explain dubbed anime meaning from the beginning? Fear not, that is exactly what we will do.

What is Dubbed Anime

In dubbed anime, the original audio is replaced with newly created voice acting in one’s native language. Watching dubbed anime can be less of a culture shock and might be good for newbies just starting out with anime. On the other hand, there are people who do not enjoy reading subtitles and prefer to focus on the video and audio only. Dubbed anime can be helpful in this way. For example, in an action packed scene with more than enough going on, you might be more immersed in the dubbed anime due to not having to focus on the subtitles! Dubbed anime meaning in short, then is an anime with a native language voice-over.

What is Subbed Anime

In subbed anime, the original audio is not changed, but subtitles are added to the bottom of the video in your preferred language. Arguably, subbed anime is more diverse since it comprises more high-quality vocal actors, as anime originates from Japan. The Japanese voice acting is also more authentic towards the original, as compared to the western counterpart. This is especially apparent in fighting scenes, as the original voice will tend to sound much more realistic. Subbed anime also has less censorship, as many of the producers of dubbed anime censor out the more brutal scenes to avoid age-restricting their content. Due to this censorship, they can skip scenes, or even whole episodes at times!

Subbed vs Dubbed Anime

Some people prefer watching either subbed or dubbed anime and passionately dislike the other medium. You might be wondering, why do people generally prefer subbed anime? For starters, some people prefer subtitles, because they feel that the dubs do not portray the true emotions of the character as intended by the original Japanese authors. In fact, there are many other problems with it. We will talk about them one by one. The battle between subbed vs dubbed anime rages on!

Why Is Subbed Anime Better Than Dubbed?

Subbed anime has a number of advantages over dubbed anime since it can avoid the following problems.

Changing the Meaning of Sentences

Dubbed anime creators localise/americanise the content to make it more appealing to children and people who prefer their local culture. This process can go too far however. Sometimes a lot of jokes and character traits go missing, as it is not that easy to bring over traits specific to Japanese culture into another language. If you have asked yourself, “should I watch dubbed anime“, then this might be a reason to prefer subbed.

Informal Speech

Dubbed anime creators remove honorific’s. Japanese people mind informal speech and skipping them in the dubbed versions can make some scenes less authentic. For instance, dubbed Naruto skipped honorific’s like “san, Kun, chan” which is quite rude and too informal for the Japanese audience.

Skipping ending particles

Subbed anime retains ending particles . This is good, because they can often change the meaning of sentences quite drastically. For example, Sakuta (from Bunny Senpai) says Mai san kirei desu-yo which translates into “Mai san is very pretty”. The yo (よ) particle can be added to the end of any sentence to emphasise it as opposed to regular spoken sentences. Removing these ending particles can therefore leave out clues for the viewer on the importance of some sentences for the characters in the dubbed anime.

Characters’ personality

In addition to the earlier issues, sometimes the dubbed version just fails to live up to the voice acting quality that the original can offer. The fact that this is generally the case is the main reason subs tend to win the subbed vs dubbed anime contest in the eyes of most anime fans. The personality of the characters is distorted in some cases. Fans who watch dubbed anime exclusively might not be aware of this fact, so I encourage everyone to compare both versions in the case of your favourite anime to see what I mean.

Why Is Dubbed Anime Better Than Subbed Anime?

Now we will try to bring out some positive aspects that may swing the scales in favour of dubbed anime in your case.

Removed Explicit Scenes

For some fans censorship of the more brutal and explicit scenes can be a dealbreaker. On the other hand, many people are looking for tuned down versions of anime! Parents want to restrict their children from seeing certain content and some producers of dubbed anime, like 4Kids, guarantee that their content is suitable the younger audience.

Subtitle Free Experience

As mentioned earlier, following subs can take away from the immersion for some people, especially if the Japanese language makes the anime more confusing. If there is no need to struggle with a difficult language and subtitles, the viewer will not miss any scenes in the anime. Not to mention, that there are dubbed anime that are well known for their quality. So much so, that many prefer the dubbed version to the original.

Examples of Good Dubbed Anime

Goku anime voice acting

Goku from Dragon Ball Z has a more “regular”, masculine voice in the dubbed version that sounds quite natural to be honest. Many Dragon Ball fans got into the series by watching the american version and came to associate the character with this voice. When checking out the Japanese version, they will notice that Goku’s voice is high pitched and very expressive. I can definitely understand the appeal of the dubbed voice over the original in this case.

Spike from Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop Dubbed

Spike from Cowboy Bebop has very nice voice acting in the american version, making us doubt are choices in this subbed vs dubbed anime debate. His voice is deep, attractive and fits the character very well.

Tiger and Bunny Dubbed Anime

should i watch Tiger and Bunny dubbed anime

Tiger and Bunny is a heroic Anime that focuses mainly on the partnering of an old veteran with a rookie. The reason why this anime is better dubbed, is that the wide range of cultures in the story are well represented by the dubbed version. The setting for the series is New York and english feels natural for this occasion.

Fairy Tail

fairy Tail subbed vs dubbed

Fairy Tail, a series is about a Magic Guild which is called “Fairy Tail”. It’s about Natsu and his friends going on adventures and saving the world as cliche as that may sound. There are two reasons as to why the dubbed version works well for Fairy Tail. Firstly, the cast is amazing. Each character is fun and unique. Secondly, the dubs make it easier for the people who speak English to binge-watch this show! 


In the Bleach anime, Ichigo’s voice is what makes Bleach better in the dubbed version. Aren’t you curious about how your favorite character sounds in English? Bleach is also a source of nostalgia for many people around the world since it was first broadcasted on Adult Swim in America as a dubbed series.

should I watch Bleach dubbed

Final Verdict – Which One Suits You?

Moving on to the final verdict, if you dislike multi-tasking and prefer your native language, it’ll be better for you to watch dubbed anime. On the other hand, if you are heavily into Japanese culture and want your anime character to “sound right”, just sit back, relax and watch the subbed anime.

 Then again, it is totally up to you to decide who to favour in this battle of subbed vs dubbed anime. There is no need for a holy war between the two! Just enjoy the story and binge-watch your favorite anime. I hope you guys enjoyed this post and can now answer both the questions “What is subbed anime” and “What is dubbed anime” with confidence! See you on the next post.