There’s been a tendency in English anime dubs of children’s shows that I’ve noticed for a while now, which is this tendency to imbue characters with ATTITUDE where previously there was none, or at the very least not such an overt presence as such. Basically, what dubs do is turn Doug Funnie, nice average guy with some decent qualities, into a Roger Klotz, a snarkier sort who’s quick to deliver verbal jabs.

After I watched the first episode of toy commercial-as-anime Monsuno in Japanese, I got this feeling that the English dub (which actually premiered months before the Japanese version) would give to characters the voices their character stereotypes expected of them. Sure enough, the nerd was incredibly nasal, and the main character, who isn’t quite Doug Funnie but is the nice sort, is cracking wise at his friends, bits of sarcasm seeping through his dialogue.

A more interesting example comes from Yu-Gi-Oh!, not so much from Yugi himself but from Kaiba. Kaiba in the Japanese version is certainly no Doug Funnie. He’s ruthless and blunt and lives by his own agenda, but what happens is that his Roger Klotz dubbing just takes these qualities to the nth degree. Where he might say something in Japanese like, “Get out of my way. I have no time to waste on you,” in English it would become, “Get your worthless existence out of my way, you dweeb. I can’t have you breathing the same air as me or it might make me sick to my stomach.” Certainly it makes Kaiba memorable in an odd sort of way, but it also gives him an entirely different set of fangs.

Have you noticed this? Is my reference to Doug too old for people at this point? Do people still watch dubs?

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