Awards for voice acting? A good idea for improving the quality of dubs!

North by Northwestern has a great article on the difference in quality between American/Japanese voice work in anime and the idea of rewarding quality work in America. In Japan, this is not a question; most seiyu are legacy actors who have done voices in dozens of anime and games (try playing 6 degrees of Romi Paku– it’s easy and fun!). The quality is superb, the voices fit the character, and the performances are emotional. There’s a real reason why so many people prefer the Japanese voice track to the English one- and frankly after hearing the show in Japanese I usually can’t imagine the character sounding any different.

But to be fair, voice acting in America is getting better. Although the actors named in the North by Northwest piece really talk about non-anime roles, I can think of a few anime ones for which the voice actor really deserves credit:

Crispin Freeman as Tsume in Wolf’s Rain: You know, I might not have said this a month ago. But after meeting the man I can really say that he put his heart into that role and on a second viewing it comes off as much more genuine to Tsume as a character. A for effort.

Steven Blum as Roger in The Big O: This show, as a whole, has one of the best English voice casts. Perhaps the characters origins lend themselves better to the English, but however you look at it, it was done right. Steven does a great job with Roger’s voice, and it just feels right. On a whole, Steven has done many good roles (at least by comparison with other dubs) but him as Roger is definitely my favorite.

Karen Bernstein as Amy in Sailor Moon: Yeah, I know, I’m reaching really far back on this one. But Karen was the first voice for Sailor Mercury, and even as a young one watching Sailor Moon after school I could recognize that her voice was right for the character. I can’t say the same about the actresses who succeeded her in the role.

In any case, I can’t think of that many, but here’s hoping that changes! Do you have any you would put out there? Feel free to comment!


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    LB said,

    I used to despise all English dubs on principle, but things really have changed a lot. Compared to the way things used to be, I think most English dubs are at least listenable, even if they don’t necessarily hold a candle to the original Japanese.

    Some of my faves:

    Steven Blum as Spike Spiegel in Cowboy Bebop – actually the entire main cast in the English dub. They’re so good that, for me, they _are_ those characters, more so than the Japanese seiyu.

    John Burgmeier as Shigure in Fruits Basket. There are actually a bunch of people in the English dub for this show that I enjoy, but he especially did a wonderful job. For me, scenes involving crying or near-crying tend to make or break a VA, and he handled a tough scene near the end of the show beautifully.

    Aaron Dismuke as Alphonse Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist. The role just seemed to fit him, more, I think, than anything else I’ve heard him in.

    Victoria Harwood as Sir Integra Wingates Hellsing in Hellsing. It’s been a while since I’ve watched this show, but this is one of the first dubs I can remember watching and liking. I don’t know how she compares to Yoshiko Sakakibara, since I haven’t seen this show in the original Japanese, but Victoria Harwood did an awesome Integra.

  2. 2

    LG said,

    ::sigh:: That’s LG, not LB. Love the blog, btw. I think I’m going to have fun looking through the archives.

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