Dubs vs Subs: "OH SHIT!"

Are you a purist otaku who thinks that subs are unconditionally better than dubs? If you are, then you might not want to read any further, because I'm about to wreck your shit. Consider how much the first episode of the Saiyuki dub owns the sub:

What the hell is Nyoi-bou supposed to mean? I either missed the translation note or chose not to interrupt the flow of the episode by reading it. The dub brilliantly eliminates any potential confusion:

For the record, "Nyoi-bou" doesn't translate to craftily dubbed "OH SHIT", but does that really matter? You never actually need to know what Nyoi-bou means, so why complicate things when you can just insert an expletive?

Now let's take a look at Hakkai:

It's a well known fact that any Japanese phrase can be stated in half as many English syllables. This allows dubbers to take boring lines and poeticize them.

That's a beautiful line, but if the fog is really that thick, he'd better say something really badass if he gets into an accident.

Whoops? Are you kidding me? That's what you say to piss off somebody you intentionally smacked in the face; it's not what you say when you're about to crash your Jeep. The dub captures this sentiment perfectly:

Some shows are meant to be watched dubbed. Since Saiyuki is full of one-liners, the flow and phrasing of the dub is siginificantly more important than the "true" overall meaning that you'd get from the subs. You should also watch the dub if the sub gave a girly voice to the male lead, especially if it's a fighting series:

How can you be intimidated by a guy who sounds like a little girl?

I'm not saying that all dubs are good. If you have to make an uninformed choice between a sub and a dub, then it's probably a safer bet to choose the sub, but if you have to opportunity to see both before choosing, take it.

UPDATE: I found these remarkably well made clips that capture the sentiment of this article perfectly:


1105 elitist bastards still refuse to watch dubs