Original Date: March 19, 2015
When it comes to anime and their impending English dubs, people usually would have to wait a year or more to listen to them in English. We have to depend if it’ll air on TV, finding a legal stream or buying the DVD and Blu-ray. However, U.S. anime distributors have developed a strategy of having the newest anime being dubbed into English weeks after airing in Japan.
The idea of producing an English dub for a current-running anime seems bizarre as dubbing something that fast could easily backfire for having a rushed product that’s light on quality or could get easily forgotten as the idea was hatched before in 2009 when Kurokami presented its simulcast dub premiere on now-defunct TV network ImaginAsian TV.
Since then, no one else thought of doing a simuldub run of an anime until in Fall 2013 that FUNimation Entertainment announced that Space Dandy was going to air on Adult Swim’s Toonami in January 2014 with a world broadcast dub premiere that aired before the original Japanese run. The experiment was proven to be a success ratings-wise and how well-acted the dub was and thanks to that, it led to something most of us never thought would happen.
Funimation announced their Broadcast Dub Initiative in October following Dandy‘s run where they stream the dubs of new anime exclusively for those that have the FUNimation EVS service. The first shows they picked for the initiative was Laughing Under the Clouds and Psycho-Pass 2. While trying this may seem like a risk for the company, Funimation has the upper hand as they stated that those dubs are not the final product of its eventual home video release and also have established existing and notable platforms for them to gain attention.
The first round of the simulcast dub initiative worked out so well that in the Winter 2015 Anime Season, the company decided to dub 10 of their new licensed titles including Death Parade, Assassination Classroom & many others. The strategy also birthed a stream talk show in collaboration with ScrewAttack Entertainment called DubbleTalk, where Funimation staffers Justin Rojas & Lauren Moore joined with ScrewAttack’s Chad James gives a recap/discuss the latest broadcast anime dubs.
However, FUNimation are not alone in this new trend. Netflix has delved into simuldubbing new anime with Knights of Sidonia in Summer 2014 and its upcoming 2nd season titled Battle for Planet Nine later this year. There has been a recent development that Aniplex of America has stepped into the simulcast dubbing game as they announced Durarara!!x2 will be getting a simulcast dub run airing on Crunchyroll and Hulu. Since the show has 3 split seasons with the first season airing now in Winter 2015 and the next seasons in Summer and Winter 2016, Aniplex and Bang Zoom Entertainment are in it for the long haul.
The strategy gives English dubbed anime fans a new way to watch their recent favorite titles and don’t have the hassle to wait a year for it or even guess if it’s going to have a dub after all. With companies like FUNimation and Aniplex of America leading the trend, other companies like Viz Media and Sentai Filmworks could follow suit to this if they got enough resources and exposure to do it.
UPDATE – The Mind of the Hybrid One Version / 9/4/2016 : OK, a year and a half has passed by since I wrote this on Another Castle and Broadcast dubs, specifically Funimation’s, have gotten some consistent growth throughout with mostly a few flubs now and then (especially with that whole Prison School fiasco. Oi.) but for the majority of their broadcast dubs, they have been to exceptionally well to great and like they said, it is not the final product of the show. They do fix on a few minor problems before releasing them on physical format. Now when I say ‘consistent’, I do mean mostly performance-wise, but for the quantity, they either put little content on one season like 3-5 shows and then the next season it’s like 10-12 (not 20, you over-exaggerating morons!) but mostly due to what episodes this particular anime have like it can be 12 shows with 8 12-episode series and a few 2-cour anime. They also decided to release them either than before in this current season such as showing Episode 1 of the dub when Episode 3 in the original JPN aired.
Hell, this year, they pulled another Space Dandy by airing one of their Broadcast dubs on Toonami. Sad part is….it was Dimension W. The show isn’t all that great.
(OK, it could’ve been worse. It could’ve been Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash. -Good dub, just not a good show-.)
Now with that said, it looks like only FUNimation is still doing this. I thought Bang Zoom would do more but after doing Durarara!!x2 in three separate seasons, they could use the break and I also see Netflix dubbing less of their newly anime content since Kuromukuro and Magi: Adventure of Sinbad debut on the service sub-only. We know they’ll dub season 2 of Ajin come January but it is unsure of their other anime they have their hands on.
But we do know that. The majority of fans like the broadcast dubs and despite some minor kinks in some of them, they do show some improvement on them.
That is my piece. I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid and…..um…that’s it. I got no clever catchphrase for this one.