Why Local Dub Sucks?

Unamused Sakuya is unamused

Unamused Sakuya is unamused

Most people don’t like Japanese anime to be dubbed into different language. To be fair, some of the Japanese don’t like games or animations from other countries to be dubbed in Japanese like that Modern Warfare 2 being localized in Japan. In Malaysia, we are blessed with many animations like 2D cartoons or even 3D to be dubbed in Malay language. This does not applied only to kid shows. Dramas from Japan, Korea, Philippines, Venezuela and other Latin America countries were dubbed into local language. While we still retain some of the shows to be in its original language, it can’t be help when majority of Japanese anime, that being considered as cartoons for kids, to be localized.

Why dubs are being hated? It is because the elitistfags are the ones who preferred things to be in its glorious original forms. But that’s not all. In Japanese anime industry, producers put heartily effort to make the anime to be in its best ever performance of the show to the audiences. Seiyuu or voice casters are glorified in Japan, unlike in other countries. Seiyuu are idols just like any artist of different categories as they are usually not just providing their voice for the characters but also singing and making albums. Some of them are even acting in real TV drama or making gravure photobooks as people needed to be multi-talented to survive the entertainment industry in Japan. So a cute character in a series of anime that has a cute voice from the original voice actor/actress in Japanese that’s very talented is not replaceable with mere dubs.

In the explanation above, we can tell that anime industry is very expensive. When animation projects were outsourced to outside Japan such as South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand, the Japanese cut a lot of their costs and from here on, most of the production budget will eventually go towards the seiyuu. This is just an assumption but with a basis where we see that people who work as animators and other graphics division are getting low pay. Heck, even mangaka are effected with this. Apart from that, a normal seiyuu might only be lasting for 3 to 5 years as main characters before being sidelined as support or non-important characters with exception of infamous seiyuu. Why? It’s not because newcomers are better but it’s all about payments. Of course that experienced seiyuu are not cheap as they getting more and more jobs to be added in their CVs. So, fresh graduates from voice acting schools are being hunted so that producers can cut cost. Still, it’s a costly production for a series despite of what they’re doing.

Back to the original question, why local dub sucks? The main reason is that local televisions are buying them series cheap. How cheap? Veeeeeeery cheap. Do you know how cheap? For an episode of Crayon Shin-chan that being locally dubbed, the company will pay them RM 500. Imagine that! RM 500 per episode? Well, Crayon Shin-chan might be looked like a cheap cartoon. The best Media Prima can pay for a cartoon series would RM 3000 per episode and that’s Naruto. With such low pays, they would never getting those expensively made anime from Japan with original language dub. So, things go like this. As an episode of anime is originally expensive, the local company will get the license only for the animation (also sfx and OP/ED songs). Without the original voice cast, they got it very cheap. Then they slamp their own local Malay voice actors and then sell it to local TVs. What do you expect from RM 500 per episode? This is where the dub being suck, like some people without motivation. From that RM 500 on an episode, they need to cover for the payment of local seiyuu, voice editor, etc. including license that they pay for that episode.

And you might think why Naruto got bigger portion of payment? First, a shounen series is very popular towards kids. So, Media Prima won’t mind to pay for more so that advertisers, especially confectionery companies, will be rushing to secure the ads slots for Naruto airing. Well, what else will be giving them money other than advertisements? Second, Naruto series has a lot of characters and you wouldn’t want to use the same voice actor for 5 different characters inside. So, they were able to secure higher payment of RM 3000 per episode. Still, the payment is pretty much low in the case of world standards. With this revelation, we can understand that local TV companies are only taking shows around those prices (and slightly more for popular series).

I got to know about this when local 3D animation producers having a deal with Media Prima for their new debut series. Imagine that they acquired grants of millions in Ringgit Malaysia to get the expertise, software and equipments to create 24 episodes of the series only for Media Prima to pay only RM 3000 per episode? How a total of RM 72000 can be compared to the cost of millions? This led to them securing some advertising companies to sponsor that I heard they got a final payment of RM 60000 per episode. It still doesn’t give them much as their original cost are far more than that. For here on, you can understand that why our local series, apart from animations, suckass.

Now, we look at the implications. When local producers are making TV series, they’re doing it half-hearted. In a way, very lame series. People, as in audiences, are craving for better shows from the locals but few knew about how the local industry shows work. When the pays from local TVs are low, some producers usually go for movies and cinemas. But this requires a lot of initial costs. Anyway, if the locals pay so low, why not go global? Well, you need bigger budgets. To get bigger budgets, you need sponsors. But when getting sponsors or grants, usually they will ask the very damn favorite question, “Before you go global, why don’t you try locally?” This is actually what I experienced myself when my proposals were rejected. It’s not entirely their (sponsors and local TV companies) faults for giving low pays. Local TVs like Media Prima and RTM rely heavily on advertisements to survive unlike paid cable TVs. Advertisers rely on their ads to get more people buying their products. Thus, the cycle of entertainment industry itself.

Related Posts

  • Facing the MusicFacing the Music (4)
    Years of anime existence came along with its musics. Various kinds of song and genre. Recently, when I started to join a band that mostly playing anime songs and also going to Yumekukan […]
  • Revolt: Why it’s not possible?Revolt: Why it’s not possible? (12)
    As we all knew, the Arab revolts that are still happening in several Arab countries make some local people wonder. Will it be happen to Malaysia? Tunisian and Egyptians have toppled […]
  • Niche MusicNiche Music (1)
    When it's about time we talk about music, everyone has their own preferences. For me, a person who indulges with a somewhat niche market of music which is anime music, I do find other […]
  • Betrayal of HopeBetrayal of Hope (6)
    I wasn't into local politics much. In most cases, I prefer to be free from association of any kind of favoritism that only gives advantages to certain groups. Looking at how politics in […]
16 Comments
  1. if my memory serves right, seiyuu in japan gets around the same pay, be it you are a senior or a fresh grad, the gap in payment is not as huge as you think
    this is why they go for singing/acting/etc for extra money
    read about this few years ago, so my info might be wrong or not applicable now though

  2. kalau TV station beli dan dub sendiri rasanya macamana agaknya? Ni mesti kes si Nizam (Animosta) tak puas hati ngan TV3 nih…mmg la, org tu da dapat geran berpuluh ribu ringgit habis wat cerita ada ke TV3 nak bayar murah…tak adilll~

  3. Your comment on local dubs is anime-centric, despite the fact that most BM-dubbed shows nowadays are from the West. Maybe it’s because the Japanese anime industry has not been kid-centric of late and the BM-speaking audience badly needs alternatives. Let’s see if you can extend your take on BM dubs in Nickelodeon, Disney and Cartoon Network cartoons; it seems local dubbers perform better with American and British cartoons. Just look at the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy; where Death is supposedly from Negeri Sembilan – that’s hilarious!

    FYI, I have been a cartoon polisher myself. I was told that there are certain ridiculous rules from stipulated by TV stations that also affect the quality of the dub. E.g. ‘aku’ and ‘engkau’ are banned/discouraged in dubs, but Upin, Ipin and Boboiboy use the word so frequently without a hitch. ‘Bodoh’ is also forbidden lately.

    And don’t worry about BoBoiBoy. They’ve secured a deal with Disney Channel Asia!

    BTW, you seem to know a lot. From what I can tell, only a person who works in the dubbing or TV programme distribution business would say those facts with such clarity. Don’t tell me…you’re a dubber yourself?

    • Oh yeah juz one more: do you have any idea why is it only lately that we dub American cartoons to BM? Is it also related to the $$$$ issue as well? Or is it much deeper than this?

      I see dozens of other countries dubbing Disney films into their respective languages yet their kids grow up to speak fluent English, whilst over here we’ve been watching American cartoons in English, yet I cannot see our standard of English improve significantly; hence, to improve our kids’ English is not a valid reason, so to speak.

      to my knowledge, usually the decision to sub or dub is the distributor’s, and the fact that Disney/nick/CN cartoons are aired in BM on astro but not on FTA TV (except TV9). Is there an explanation for that?

      • well, first thing first, I did put this under Anime category, so yeah, it’s anime-centric. also, i wasn’t covering everything tho. about boboiboy, i got to know about those guys a little bit as one of them is a friend of mine from long ago. about things you said regarding ‘aku’ and ‘engkau’ thing, it’s true that their banned and whatnot. but the production team is quite a good team when it comes to make request/pitching their ideas. let say that they’re able to convey to the upper ups that what they bring is something authentic for the audience blabla.

        as for why lately that we have more cartoons to be dubbed in BM it is because astro currently have more channels for locals like ceria, etc., (as requested by government and people) and previously (before being closed) they have maestro production company that have quite a number of local talents from Akademi Fantasia and others. although the company is now no more, the artists are now associated with various companies and also preparing more programme and shows for astro itself.

        anyway, i am not even someone from that kind of business. mostly being as an observer as my specialty is on other field. but let say that i have friends in the area.

  4. Teringatlah masa era tahun 1980 – 1990. Anime yg di local dub yg terbaik bagi aku [tak tahulah yg lain] adalah seperti berikut; 1. The Kickers, 2. Dash Yankuro, 3. Lina Inverse: Dragon Slayer, 4. Macross, 5. Doraemon. Kalau yg American cartoon pulak, hanya sebilangan kecil shj yg berjaya, selebihnya gagal. Tuh jerlah bagi aku local malay dubs yg berjaya. Tahun nie atau era sekarang nie mmg diakui teruk.

    Siapa yg lahir pada tahun antara 1980 – 1995, tahu akan anime local malay dub baik

    • setuju!! masa tu saya masih tadika lagi, tapi saya masih ingat semua tu!! lagi teruk mereka dah tukar semua voice cerita doraemon dulu dan ganti dengan yang sekarang

  5. Pingback: Being Random « Maskawaih.com

  6. Dubbing BM dlm sumer anime mmg x sdp. Lagi menerukkan lagi keadaan ader la. Saye lg suke original version in Japanese.

    Ader lg contoh dlm setiap drama Korea yg on-air kat 8TV di-dub-kan dalam Bahasa Mandarin. Manalah saye tau kn…. Dubbing Cina dalam Drama Korea???? *muntah* Loya tokak den dibuek-nyo. Raso gak tolingo den bornanah.

    Kalo bab-bab dubbing mmg dah out except kalo dubbing tu sodap.

  7. i really regret it when i heard the sound of dubbing jp anime =_=lll
    just subbing the anime was enough but dub?! WTF?!
    less the talking…
    anime in malaysia is a shit…because i have heard it before in astro and hearing it make my ear hurt!!!
    they dub the anime and make the sound like forcing a duck speaking u knw?!

Leave a Reply