While my DVD of Kanon sits at the post office waiting for my return home from Christmas, I peeked at the first episode over at Anime News Network.
Given that I’ve only been watching fansubs for a couple of years (and nothing on any large scale for less than a year), and the first fan subs that I watched which were released in the US were Rumbling Hearts, Kashimashi (which didn’t even come with a dub), and Haruhi Suzumiya (i.e., quite recent releases), most of the series I’ve seen have gone something like *watch in Japanese. watch in English soon after.* The point being that I haven’t grown attached to the Japanese voices for most of series that I’ve seen, and there are some series where I actually prefer the dubs or relate the English dubs to the characters more than the original Japanese voices.
When Rumbling Hearts, aka Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, came out on DVD, it was my first experience watching a dub when the sub had been pounded in my head over and over for the course of a year. I didn’t know whether I would like or dislike the dubs based on being thoroughly used to the Japanese voices.
I think at first, I dub sounded weird because of the fact that I wasn’t used to it. However, now that it’s been released here for a year and I’ve watched it a few times, the dubs seem pretty close to natural. Meanwhile, I was able to grow onto the Haruhi Suzumiya dubs pretty easily.
All that said, I’m kind of feeling the same thing with the Kanon dub as I did with the Rumbling Hearts dub – that is, on th first watching, it seemed like a suit that just didn’t fit. However, like Rumbling Hearts, I think this dub has the potential to grow on me.
First off, the voices seemed to feel less awkward as the episode went on, so that’s a sign that I may be getting used to them already. Second, I don’t necessarily find them to be bad dubs ala Ai Yori Aoshi (which I still think has about the worst dub ever recorded). If I hadn’t have seen the Japanese version of Kanon first, I probably wouldn’t have any issues with the Kanon dub at all.
Perhaps if someone was a “IT MUST SOUND EXACTLY LIKE THE JAPANESE VOICES” person, then they may not find Kanon‘s dub to be all that great. But then again, some of the best dubs out there don’t necessarily sound like their Japanese counterparts, partly because if they did, then they would sound really weird.
Just consider Kanon, for example. I’m hardly an expert of what Japanese voices normally sound like, but many of the Japanese voices, I think especially Nayuki’s and Ayu’s, sound kind of cartoonish, so if you want the American voices to sound similar, they’ll sound cartoonish the same way (and then get hammered for sounding dumb instead of being different).
One of the things which I think make me think that Kanon‘s dub is an overall success, at least after listening to one episode is this: can I find anything wrong with them other than being “different” from the Japanese voices, and can I think exactly how I would have expected the dub to sound like anyway? Basically the answer for me is “no” and “no,” so, at least after a single episode, I think the dub seems to pass my own personal test.
I was just reading ANN’s review of Kanon, and while they agree about the dub being good, I ran across this:
The English script is a bit loose but free-flowing, with its only significant flaw coming from actually being too literal at one point. (In one scene it has Sayuri using her own name instead of “I,” which is the way it’s done in Japanese but sounds unnatural and pretentious in English.)
Um yeah, there’s a reason for that as one will find out on probably the 3rd or 4th DVD…