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Thoughts on VA

The latest post at baccano (and the comments that accompanied) triggered some interesting thoughts on how the voice acting industry should be perceived. There had not been a centralized curriculum for voice acting out west until recent years due to a lack of market shares, therefore we need to give the industry more time to mature. It should also be kept in mind that there are plenty of shows that are extremely difficult to localize. All in all, quality of voice acting should not be judged by the language it is presented in: the whole "Anything Japanese is better by default" is simply ridiculous, even if Japanese is part of my mother tongue.

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
condensation
Oct. 21st, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
I think you're absolutely right, and I've been trying to tell people this for years. Most people don't know that there really is a lot to voice acting; companies nowadays don't just cast actors out of the blue. A good chuck of the best VAs have had years of experience. On top of that, it's not easy to do voice acting for an animation that was originally in a different language. They always run into problems with lip synchronization, translation, interpretation, nuances, etc.

I think, now that I work for that particular industry and deal with people who bring anime to western audiences, I've come to understand exactly how difficult and complicated it is. I mean, I still watch a majority of my anime in Japanese not necessarily for the voice acting excuse, but because I study the language and am learning from it.

Granted, anime with bad voice acting does exist, but there are some pretty good ones out there too. Most "fans" nowadays just happen to turn a blind eye and refuse to give any of it a chance.

Edited at 2008-10-21 07:31 pm (UTC)
lisamio
Oct. 22nd, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
:D *glomp*

Also, the preference thing cannot be ignore either. For example a lot of people didn't like Yuna's English voice, but I actually didn't find it to be that bad, lolz. And the whole "Yuna~n => Yunie" translation was just genius, plus the way Rikku's English VA said it :3

Imagine Japanese VA in the 1970s: they sound as bad if not worse than the "horrible" English VAs there claimed to be now, heh xD
celestriad
Oct. 21st, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)
o-oh my. fanservice, anyone? XD;

it used to be that anything japanese would almost always have better voice acting than english dubs, but now it's not so, considering how much the anime and video game industries are growing over here. anything that was originally in english didn't usually have problems, but once it was brought over, many times the characters didn't sound natural. :/ but, as you pointed out, there hasn't been any really good training system here, and it takes lots of experience for a voice actor to sound more natural.

i do have to say that i can see both sides of the argument... as i said, it really used to be that the japanese originals would be better than the english dubs, but now, that's not necessarily so. i've been loving the english voice acting in recent video games, and i generally avoid importing now unless i have to do it.

...done rambling now. hope that all made sense. ^^;
lisamio
Oct. 22nd, 2008 08:19 pm (UTC)
I think... that kind of spoiler pics just stir the wrong-est kind of fan imagination. OUCH.

And I like how he refers to himself as "Noct". Iono why but I like that better than "Noctis" which still reminds me of some kind of diary product... /hides from spork xD

I always go ".-." when certain people go "ZOMG I'm not gonna watch dub b/c they SUCK" when they don't even understand a word of the show's original language. Seriously, how can you tell? It's almost like when one of my school friends told me that she thinks Japanese sounds like "singing" -- even though I was saying something er, not very pretty on the phone xD
celestriad
Oct. 22nd, 2008 09:08 pm (UTC)
yeah, i really don't understand how people can claim that the japanese is better when they don't even know any japanese. =_= granted, i'm not a native-level speaker or anything myself, but at least i've taken like...5.5 years of japanese classes throughout high school and college. XP

i've actually had people tell me that my chinese sounded like i was singing... i think this is even more because chinese is a tonal language. what's more is this same person asked me how you sing in chinese when just talking sounds like singing. =_= uhh... you just, sing, same as you do in any language? :P
loika
Oct. 21st, 2008 11:25 pm (UTC)
Ditto on the voice acting.

Eva sounds really nice in German. 8D
lisamio
Oct. 22nd, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
I wish I kept up with German, LOL. It's all our university's fault for taking fluent speakers into the beginner's class -- professors nowadays just assume that any language class = students are fluent. WHAT ABOUT US WHO REALLY WANT TO LEARN BUT DON'T KNOW A THING D:
loika
Oct. 22nd, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC)
Oh no no no I can't speak German asides from lines like "THAT IS MY HAMBURGER!" which you wouldn't call speaking at all ahaha. I've just seen bits of Eva in German and really liked it. XD
lisamio
Oct. 23rd, 2008 07:57 pm (UTC)
LOL I THINK, THAT WOULD BE A REALLY HELPFUL LINE WHEN I GO TO GERMANY'S MCDONALD'S :D

Hmm I can't stop typing in caps, roflmao.
misteline
Oct. 22nd, 2008 12:42 am (UTC)
I agree. I don't see what the big deal is. If you don't like the voices don't watch it, but know that a dub you may hate may be a dub someone else may love. It's all about perspective anyway. I just really don't see why people have to so annoying about it. D: It's just voices. Whether you like it or not they're going to grow on you the more you listen to them anyway.

I've personally loved a lot of dubs. Nadesico and Gundam Wing were probably my favorites. Older dubs are so good. XD;
lisamio
Oct. 22nd, 2008 08:23 pm (UTC)
Hell yeah! I mean, sometimes it does take a little time getting used to a voice you didn't hear in its original language, but then the whole point of dubbing is to introduce a work of another culture to people who don't have exposure to it. Not everyone has the liberty (or patience, lol) to watch a show several times in different languages -- therefore dubbing exists, as simple as that. As horrified as I am with some dubs, it's mostly because either the voice don't fit the visual image, or because I'm already too used to the VA in the original language. That doesn't justify the dubbing being "bad" xD

Edited at 2008-10-22 08:23 pm (UTC)
dresstokill
Oct. 22nd, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC)
Wow, they are both hot *_*

I think people just tend to dislike dubs because they find it odd that you're expecting to hear something, but really something else is coming through. This is why some of them put me off, personally.

However, to be fair, I watched pretty much all of the Ranma anime in English, and part of the reason I love Ranma to pieces is his boy-type english voice. So yes, I definitely see your point about voice acting being good in whatever language it's in.
lisamio
Oct. 22nd, 2008 08:26 pm (UTC)
XD Nocty is a Prince so that justifies his hawtness (somewhat, roflmao), and I wonder if Stella is a princess of another kingdom or something -- she does mention in the magazine that "Please come visit my country" blah blah *_* Can't wait to see more spoilers~ /hops around

OMG RANMA ENGLISH VOICE. It so happened that I watched the show in 3 languages (just for the hell of it) and obviously I'm most used to Kappei's version since it's the original, but the English one was really good. It was really similar to the original tone too! The same goes to Nabiki actually -- it sounded like the same VA but speaking in two languages. Awww ♥
(Deleted comment)
lisamio
Oct. 22nd, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC)
Yep yep. I personally think a lot of games nowadays have very good VA in English -- from what I've seen on youtube, anyway lol. FFXII was just gorgeous in English especially after you play it a few times, and I actually liked Suikoden 5 Lyon!English better than Lyon!Japanese ^^

Preference of VA is of course, another big thing, though it still has to fit the visual image a character has. As biased as I am towards Paku Romi, I simply can't bear it when she does a female role... *shudders in horror*

Haha Disney films. I've watched a couple of them in Chinese...? ROFLMAO
(Deleted comment)
lisamio
Oct. 25th, 2008 09:34 pm (UTC)
ROFLMAO What game is that? It looks so cute! *muches on all the waterdrops xD

Hmmm she still sounds more like a "boy" there if you know what I mean xD I bet if she uses her normal talking voice to do her female roles then she'd sound much better :3
soifon
Oct. 22nd, 2008 08:49 pm (UTC)
I was pretty biased on the voice acting issue until I started playing FF12. FF12 has by far the best voice acting I've ever encountered, in any language. It's just so... perfect. ♥

Well aside from my obvious bias of J seiyuu over any other language... I blame the lack of good American voice acting on production companies. They could put more money into developing that area... but they don't. Why not? Anime merchandise is a huge business. And it's growing steadily too. I don't see why they can't put more effort into it =\
lisamio
Oct. 23rd, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
If FF12 is the one that changed your opinion of English VA out of all people -- you know who's the happiest about all this xD

Like I said, I think anime/games still aren't that big here -- at least not big enough to convince more companies to put money into its production quality. Anime merchandise might seem like a huge business to fans like us, but I do think it's not spread enough and as widely accepted as we'd like: kind of like how we regular gamers know PS3 > Wii in terms of specs and quality, yet see how well Nintendo's doing in terms of sales -- with some very pointless games if you ask me. *cough* All because Nintendo is the "more accepted/well-known" platform than anything else... once anime reaches that point, I'm sure we'll get better VAs as time goes by: we now apparently have a much better crew for game VA here because there's a bigger markets with more funds, right? ;)
luna_rainbow
Oct. 28th, 2008 08:32 am (UTC)
Good point. Both English VAs and Jap seiyuus have the ability to make me cry (not for good reason). I've heard some terrible Chinese dubs too, but also some awesome ones.

On the other hand (and I might be presuming about this), Japanese seiyuu market is probably a lot more saturated than American - meaning that most likely the directors in Japan have more of a choice and as a result only the talented and gifted seiyuu get large roles/popular anime.
lisamio
Oct. 28th, 2008 01:15 pm (UTC)
Talking about Chinese dubs, is it just me or do most Korean drama dubs get the same group of VAs? There's always the same tone heard in every other drama, haha xD

Japanese VA market is defeinitely more competitive like you mentioned :3 Which is why we end up recognizing only a few names in the end, but that's kinda natural I guess judging from its size and all ^^
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )