What I’m watching now

I was delighted to learn that one of my favorite shows 「ケロロ軍曹」 is available on hulu! (May not be available in your region). Of course, you should watch the subtitled episodes and try to avoid reading the subtitles as much as possible. I highly recommend!

It’s shocking how much Japanese learning material is available online now. When I was learning Japanese, I was stuck with just my crappy textbook from my Japanese class. (Going to my Japanese class was uphill both ways, by the way.)

It’s really annoying though that Netflix always streams the dubbed version of animes requiring you to get the DVDs. Personally, I can’t stand dubbed anime. I can’t put my finger on it but it just sounds wrong. I think most anime watchers prefer subtitles, wouldn’t you agree?

17 thoughts on “What I’m watching now

  1. Dubbing is inherently wrong if we talk about movies, but for animated films, it’s actually justifiable. The problem is, that Japanese voice acting is just really high quality with well-defined voices for certain character types; you simply cannot reproduce the same viewing experience in another language.

  2. If you get the chance, compare the dub and original audio side by side. I tried it with evangelion, with humorous results. The characters suddenly sounded completely generic and unimportant, and of course just generally ridiculous. (But then again, maybe I’m just not a good judge of what counts as good Japanese voice acting yet)

  3. This comment is probably a TL;DR.

    SOME dubs are decent. However, most are just so far off it sounds horrible. Most of them sound like they grabbed some random guy at some grocery store and asked him if he wanted a quick buck. Literally, they probably did.

    Ouran High School Host Club – OK (I didn’t actually watch this, but my sisters played it all the time. Still, the voice acting isn’t that bad.)
    Inuyasha – OK

    Rest is 100% crap. BLEACH DUB IS CRAP. Bleach is one of the worst dubs ever. 4Kids One Piece dub is horrible. They even cut out over half a season worth of episodes. They went through the tedious task of changing small amounts of blood into “sweat”.
    (Honestly, that’s not even the half of it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMH5fiPpooc)
    Anyways, enough of my rant.

    Recently, I have been watching some shows without subtitles. (I’m so used to having subtitles so it would be no good to have them on. I would not be able to avoid reading them. I even force myself to read subtitles on English shows if they are on. A habit I suppose.)

    Anyways, it’s actually surprising how much I understood. Most of the words I understood I learned from reading. So that is obvious proof that reading is one of the best sources for new vocabulary. People shunting off kana and kanji will find it extremely hard to learn new words…

    I will say however I did pick up a couple of words by listening, but reading is by far a much faster method. Of course, I didn’t understand it all perfectly. So I just have to keep studying.

  4. I want Japanese shows and movies with Japanese subtitles, but buying Japanese DVDs is expensive (-_-)

  5. I think the reason why a lot of dubbed anime might sound a bit off is because of direction. There’s probably a huge gap in quality between recording the voices with the company that actually produces the show as opposed to localization companies that licenses the show.

  6. I think preferring subtitles over dubbing is characteristic of people who have an interest in learning foreign languages. People with no significant interest in foreign languages (e.g., somewhere north of 90% of Americans) tend to be annoyed by subtitles. They’ll put up with it for short scenes, for flavor (e.g., the Russian scenes in Hunt for Red October, or the Nazi officers speaking German to one another in a lot of WWII movies), but when it goes on for more than a few minutes most people don’t like it. People watch movies in the first place because they don’t really want to bother to read. If they’re going to watch movies with subtitles, they may as well read a book.

    A preference for subtitles over dubbing also occurs in people who are perceptive enough to actually notice that the voices are out of sync with the picture, but that accounts for a surprisingly small percentage of the population (unless it’s completely ridiculous 80s-martial-arts-movie dubbing where the character stops talking and his lips keep moving for several more seconds). On the whole, this is mostly limited to people who spend more time reading than watching movies — a minor niche market as far as Netflix is concerned.

    The preponderance of cheap DVD players has exacerbated the already limited perceptiveness of the population at large by conditioning people to not notice when the voices are out of sync with the picture. A lot of the cheaper DVD players (which are what almost everyone buys) regularly get the video out of sync with the audio by a sizable fraction of a second. It starts out in sync, usually, and the discrepancy creeps up on you gradually. People who watch a lot of DVDs on a cheap player typically become so accustomed to out-of-sync sound that they no longer see it even if you point it out to them, much less notice it independently. Dubbing of course gets the voices out of sync with the picture in a different way (not just temporally shifted, but a mismatch entirely), but such subtle distinctions are lost on most viewers.

    Yeah, I know, I’m cynical.

  7. Just an addition…

    Some of you may already know this site but it has a fairly large amount of anime on it. It also has some Japanese dramas, and if anyone is interested in Korean I believe it has some Korean dramas as well.

    They are all subtitled, but you can right click on the video and turn them off and on as you please. I thought it would be worth mentioning.

    It is all free; the only benefits of a premium account are no advertisements and getting a video release a week early. There are some area restrictions on watching the videos though, but if you live in the US it shouldn’t be a problem for 95% of the videos.

  8. The same site which I mentioned in my previous comment has just launched http://www.jmanga.com/

    It was just launched to the public some hours ago so all the manga it host may not be available.

    I can’t say much about it at this point but from the looks of it you should be able to switch between the Japan version and an English translated version anytime you want. Although right now it does not look like they have much support for it as the site was released only hours ago, it looks like they are going to be adding support for it soon.

    I have come across a couple of manga in Japanese though. So that’s proof they are adding support for it. Apparently it’s not entirely free though. I can’t say what all the benefits are for paying for an account at this point.

    Though one of the features are you can “buy” volumes… now this part does not really seem worth it to me. I haven’t seen the prices but if I were to buy a volume I would rather actually get a physical copy rather than reading it electronically.

    I thought I would mention this as it does have some free content and it looks like you should be able to switch the language to Japanese.

  9. Does anyone know of places on the web to watch children’s shows in Japanese? I mean – it can be very elementary, like a sesame street etc… I’m in some very early stages of trying to learn Japanese. I have never even used hulu until today! I’ve tried to find things on youtube but a lot of those clips are very short.

  10. RAW>Subtitled>dubbed

    http://www.crunchyroll.com/ – no way I am using it. It is just unfair what they did – transformed a free side to a pay site.
    for dramas: http://www.mysoju.com/

    And this makes me wonder why they limit the availability of shows to a specific country. I never get this – it is XXI century and they treat the information entertainment business as it is something to be protected within the borders of some specific country.
    Sorry, but I go to watch anime on e.g.
    or other. I would have paid but not unless e.g. iTunes etc. offers us more media and not restricted to one country and with options to select a soundtrack language. (There is often no way to watch movie in original language (in my case – I am looking for English as well) unless you download it from e.g.
    http://tehparadox.com/ (free registration on the forum)

    • They have to make money somehow. They can’t just release everything equally for all accounts and expect to stay open while still paying staff members.

      Everything is still free. You only have to wait a week for the latest episode. There are only like two shows that are for premium members only.

      Plus, the site you mentioned just rips most of their episodes from these sites. (E.G One piece is a FUNimation rip, Bleach is a Crunchyroll rip, Gintama is a Crunchyroll rip, those are just the ones I checked. I’m sure there are others as well.)

      Also, if it was up to Crunchyroll they would allow the episodes to broadcast worldwide, but they have to make contracts with the people producing the show. They have to abide by that contract otherwise they wouldn’t be able to broadcast the show and be able to make a profit and such.

  11. Netflix is actually increasing the number of anime with subtitles. Some of the more popular ones have subtitles now, including Bleach and Inuyasha. They should have more and more as time goes by. Not sure why subtitles were so “difficult” for them to do. Apparently silverlight has some limitations. Other websites seem to have no problems putting subtitles up though :-).

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