Hello again. It's been a while. Welcome back. The holiday season is here. And lots of people are looking for anime. With all the possible ways to enjoy anime, the divide between people who enjoy dubbed anime vs subbed anime has gotten a bit bigger over the years. But still, dubbed anime has been airing for quite some time and while there has been indications that anime is starting to change its game, dubbed anime is still very much a great way to enjoy it. So, I am complied this list of anime that I personally feel are the best English dubbed anime I have ever seen. Now note, this is subjective opinion here so take my choices with a grain of salt. And feel free to comment. So, with the intros done, let us begin.
10 - Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
This was many American audiences first real taste of Gundam. And boy, did it ever catch over here in the states. The Ocean Group took this Bandai baby and did it justice. Our five main pilots had great, very distinct voices as they used their Gundams to fight OZ ... and then the Treize Faction ... then the White Fang.
The multilayered story was given care and respect by the Ocean Group as they guided us through the questions of who is right in war and what is the point of it. Brad Swalie, Kirby Morrow, Ted Cole and Scott McNeil all gave solid performances. As a matter of fact, most of the cast did. Brian Drummond's Zech Marquis and David Kaye's Trieze Kushrenada were hauntingly lovely and were perfection. So much so that I perfer them over their Japanese VAs. But alas, with all this good, there was some bad. Mostly ... Lisa Ann Beley's Relena. While she is a good actress, her Relena was sooooo annoying that I wanted to see her die .. . even after she stopped being so whiny. Her Relena voice was just so bothersome. I understand the character she was playing but I think her Relena was TOO whiny sounding. Something a little more subtle would have worked better. Keep the emotion but bring it down a little. Otherwise ...a solid dub show to see from Bandai.
9 - The Slayers Franchise
Okay. I am cheating here but seriously ... DAMN! I love this franchise. I love the shows. I love the movies. I love the characters. It's fun all around. And Crispin Freeman's first major role was Zelgadis and it does not fight anyone else. From Slayers to Slayers Next, Lisa Ortiz, Eric Stuart, Veronica Taylor ... these were the voice born to be Lina Inverse and the gang. Their adventures are fun. Their antics silly. Their enemies and battles, EPIC.
The smart ass sorceress does it all the time. The BIG problem with this is that ... well, when Slayers had first come over ... the Movies were given to then alive company ADV while Central Park Media got Slayers, Slayers Next & Slayers Try. So we got different voices for Lina in the ADV dubbed movies than those in the Slayers Movies.
Now to complicate things further, not all of the voices stayed the same in the Central Park Media dub. While Lisa Ortiz and Eric Stuart were the fixtures throughout, Zelgadis was original played by actor Daniel Cronin for 10 episodes while Joani Baker was Amelia for only 3 episodes in the first Slayers series and those are just the main characters I mentioned getting voice actor changes. Minor and supporting characters also had changes as Jimmy Zoppi did not take over as Phillionel till the last 2 episodes of the first Slayers series. After episode 14, voices were changed over with Veronica Taylor taking Amelia while Zelgadis got his rightful voice with Crispin Freeman.
And while the voices for the rest of the season were consistent ... between the first season and the movies, which feature Cynthia Martinez as Lina and Kelly Manison as the now infamous Naga, the experience of watching them all will leave you feeling a bit jarred. Even with the new seasons, David Moo did not return to play his signature character Xellos and that was taken over by Michael Sinterniklaas and Phillionel gets his 3rd actor with J. David Brimmer. Rezo gets his own third actor, thanks to Funimation with Liam O'Brien.
That is why it ranks lower. Still, it has, by far one of the funniest episodes of anything I have ever seen in my life in Slayers Next. And it also bolsters some of the best stories I have seen on any anime. Really strong dub thanks to the guys at Central Media ... and ADV .... and now Funimation. Moving on.
8 - Code Geass/Code Geass R2
Ah Code Geass. How I love thee. Seriously ... how I love thee. The mecha look great. The story is engaging. The characters are multi-faceted. It is so much fun watching this show. And dear GOD ... the amount of awesome voices that worked on this show. People REALLY need to look at the list. Johnny Yong Bosch. Yuri Lowenthal. Crispin Freeman. Jamieson Price. Mary Elizabeth McGlynn. Steve Blum. Travis Willingham. Troy Baker. Liam O'Brien. Kirk Thornton. Karen Straussman. Kate Higgins. Michelle Ruff. Lauren Bailey.
This was a phenomenal voice cast on par with Full Metal Alchemist in terms of who they got. The sheer quality of the work in their deliveries were amazing.
So why is this #8. It is because of the reactions to some scenes and the deliveries from the actors to said scenes. Like ... a female student using a table corner in order to masterbate to a picture of one of the chief supporting characters. I understand you are working with what you have ZRO Limit Productions but still .... come on!
On in the first episode when the general was about to shoot himself in the head .... I felt that was slightly under played. There are scenes like that throughout the two seasons. These are great actors and sometimes their deliveries were just spot on and fantastic. Other times ... you facepalmed. And I don't blame the actors. I blame the ADR people. But over all, still a great and enjoyable dub to watch.
7 - Death Note
Death Note is a wild and awesome ride from start to finish ... even though most fans HATE everything after episode 25. Here's what I say. The dub is solid. The deliveries from the vocal cast were strong. Brad Swaile's Light and Brian Drummond's Ryuk were frighteningly wonderful. Particularly how almost spot on Swaile's laugh was to the original VA's laugh while playing Light. It is scary ...and oh so awesome.
The Ocean Group did a tremendous job in bringing to life all these characters. Alessandro Juliani's L was better than his Japanese counterpart. This dub had everything going for it. And then 2 characters which are the reason bring down this anime.
Shannon Chan-Kent's Misa and Cathy Weseluck's Near. It is not that they cannot act because they can. Yet, the voices they chose to perform as Misa and Near were annoying. Misa was especially unbearable at times due to the fact that I figured that kind of voice would go to a more cheery upbeat cartoon .... not to something a dark and messed up as Death Note. And Weseluck's Near never sounded right to me. Acting wise, great performances. It was their actual voices I just shake my head at. That is why they are #7.
6 - Blue Seed
Blue Seed is one of my favorite anime ever. And it is such a great show. Mixing sci fi and Japanese mythology with ecology and realism, Blue Seed is one of those shows that always stood out for me. The story of Momiji Fujimiya, the latest Kushinada, joining forces with the organization known as the TAC to fight the Aragami was compelling, scary and down right awesome.
This is still my favorite Amanda Winn-Lee role as well as her husband, Jason Lee's role. The chemistry between those 2 cannot be denied. Tiffany Grant does a great job pulling double duty in this anime. All of the voices are good.
The problem is ... all of the voices do not seem to hold up over time. For instance, Sharon Shawnessy's Matsudaira is good acting wise but after a while ... you just want to keep giving her a lozenge. And overtime, even if it is a dvd, some of the voices sound ... dated. Otherwise, a great dub for a great show.
5 - Tenchi Muyo In Love
The series I am not even beginning to touch because I do not watch them nearly as much as I have watched this movie! And let me tell you, I am not afraid to admit ... I have cried watching this movie. I cry every time I watch this movie. Yeah. Yeah. Laugh it up.
In all seriousness, the sci-fi aspects are just a part of this great, emotional movie where a son and his friends do their best to go back in time and make sure that his parents get together and so that said son can exist.
One of the earliest anime movies I seen, I have watched it over and over again many times. And I still love watching it. MVP of the movie goes to Grace Zandarski for her Lady Achika. It was multi-layered. It was realistic sounded. It was just so great to watch. And every single time I see Achika active her Jurai blood still makes me tear up.
But, the reason this is #5 because of one, small miscast. Mihoshi. Ellen Gerstell does a decent job but it is not consistent. Sometimes, she sounds bubbly and sometimes she sounds like she's 85 years old in a 25 year old's body. The voice does not fit all the time.
Still, a good job by the cast and crew of this movie.
4 - Cardfight Vanguard
What? Surprised are you? Yep. An anime that was only dubbed this year making it this high on my list? INCONCEIVABLE.
Actually ... very conceivable. Busiroad, the Ocean Group and Blue Water Studios definitely put a lot of love and care when dubbing this series. Each voice fits. The shows emotional resonances with the main characters all developing and growing, not just as Cardfighters but as people, really help make the show stand out to all the other Game anime.
That and the cards look amazing. And it is better written. And the characters are believable. So yeah. I kinda love the show.
Yet, if you watch it more than just the first two episodes, the show will continue to suck you in with the great story telling and character development. Carol Anne Day really shines as Misaki, probably the best female character in any of these game shows ever. She is strong yet vulnerable when needs to be and Day really let's that out in her delivery. James Beach's Aichi is every evolving, just like the character and really dives into Aichi's multi-faceted mind well. But definitely the two best voices on the show right now are Ryan Luhning's Kai and Roger Rhodes' Ren. Their voice are filled with emotion. Luhning's Kai turns up the very guarded Kai quickly and with ease. Rhodes' Ren is downright sexy and full of angry and resentment. Don't believe me? Watch episodes 57 and 58 on youtube for free right now. Luhning and Rhodes really get into the emotional meat of their characters and show great range of emotion This was perfect casting for this group.
The voices are fresh cause these were not voices we heard often and they were a joy to listen to. What is wrong with this dub?
Honestly, the only issue I have is a slight one. Melissa Dorsey's Kamui is fun and energetic, like the character. Yet, there are times where Kamui sounds awesome and sometimes just sounds off. Usually if he's yelling for something other than being excited. Just feels ... a little wrong. Maybe it is the tone. Yet, Dorsey's performance is good otherwise. All this is why it is #4.
3 - Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood
I know what are you thinking. Why not the original FMA anime? There are several reasons behind that but let me boil it down to this ... NEAR PERFECTION. Honestly, Brotherhood took the FMA and turned it on its ear. While many of the same themes are there, there are some great changes to the story that make it more engaging than the original anime including the edition of Olivier Mira Armstrong, Ling Yao and more.
And while the voice cast for the original FMA was great, Brotherhood's voice cast is phenominal! We have returnees Vic Mignogna, Travis Willingham, Christopher Sabat, Lauren Bailey, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Sonny Strait & more with new voices such as J. Michael Tatum, Todd Haberkorn, Kent Williams, Stephanie Young, etc.
Bit and supporting cast parts were being taken up by vets such as Greg Ayres, Chris Ayres, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Rob Mungle, Tiffany Grant, Jaimie Marchi, Chermi Leigh, John Burgmeier, Justin Cook, Chuck Huber. Even though Hohemheim had a change of voice in this series, played this time around by John Swasey, the younger version of him was played by FMA's original Alphonse, Aaron Dismuke. And while Aaron's voice no longer fit for Alphonse, Maxey Whitehead sounds almost exactly like Dismuke did when he performed the role in the original FMA. Maxey's Alphonse carries the same emotion depth and resonance as Dismuke's Alphonse did but a slight more excitement.
You can hear it in every single episode how important this show was to Funimation when they dubbed it. They went all out for this show and you can hear it. Every single line. Every single sentence ... FMA: Brotherhood was not just a show but an experience. Why is it #3? Because the 2 top contenders are Just that much better.
2 - Cowboy Bebop
Oh. Come on. You knew this was gonna show up on here. And EVERYONE knows about Cowboy Bebop. Your friends know about it. Your kids know about it. Even your grandparents, teachers and all their friends know about Cowboy Bebop. Having been and still is re runned on Cartoon Network for over a decade now, Cowboy Bebop is one of, if not, the most rerunned anime in televised history. Cowboy Bebop took hold of fans all over the world. And it's English dub is superb.
The dub was directed by Melissa Williamson, who also played Julia with a voice cast including Wendee Lee, John Billingsea and, of course David Lucas. But you all know who David Lucas and Melissa Williamson are right? NO? Um ... actually you do. They are better know as Steve Blum and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn. Ah. Now you know it.
The amount of praise on Cowboy Bebop is now legendary with its awesome, stylish story telling and soundtrack. And McGlynn delivers with the English dub a flawless dub that is worthy of being on the shelves of ANY tv watcher. Cowboy Bebop is just that good. Steve Blum's Spike Spiegel is the stuff of manly legends now. It is fun. It is emotional. It is frightening. It is awe inspiring. But that is just the power of Bebop. The only reason why this is #2 and not #1 is because of two factors that I will get into when I talk about #1. But overall, this is just a show you have to watch and can over and over again.
1 - Yu Yu Hakusho
I know I am in the minority here. I know I am getting cursed at somewhere right now. But ... before you go off on all 4 cylinders on me for picking this dub over FMA, Cowboy Bebop and a plethora of other shows ... allow me to get into why.
First, this show bolsters a few historic things in my anime viewing mind. It is the first show that has a first episode that openly weep to. Yes. I am not afraid to admit that. But every single time I watch the first episode of the Yu Yu Hakusho dub, I cry. The funeral for Yusuke Uremeshi just hits a bit too close for home for me and the way it was done was magnificent. It also has, to date, my single favorite story arc in Anime history, Chapter Black. I can tell you that I RELIGIOUSLY watch the Chapter Black arc each and every year. RELIGIOUSLY! There is no ifs, ands or buts. I watch that arc and still love it the same way I did when I first watched it years ago. It also has one of my all time favorite heroes in Yusuke Uremeshi. So, it has a lot going for it already.
The characters are multi-faceted. The missions always getting larger and grander. The protagonist continue to test our heroes physically, mentally and even in the case of Chapter Black, philosophically These test were fun to watch. Sure, it is a fighting anime. But most of the fights do not last longer than 2 episodes. And those fights that do, they make sure it is worth the extra time. There is always some kind of development which really makes me enjoy the show over and over again.
Then there is, of course, the voice cast. Chuck Huber's Hiei has forever been burned into my brain and enjoyed his performance. John Burgmeier's Kurama is smart, thrilling and presents himself with regal poise ... even if he's whipping flesh from you with his vine whip. Christopher Sabat's Kuwabara is probably his second most known role as he is a manly character who grows up from his naivete to be a great hero in his own right while still give great comedic moments. Justin Cook's Yusuke profoundly changes during the course of the show while still staying true to the heart of the character. Yusuke is entertaining to watch no matter the situation. From his arguing with Keiko to his battles against Tougoro or Sensui, Yusuke just continues to entertain us on this ride we are on with him.
The voice cast also bolsters great supporting performances from Laura Bailey, Linda Young, Cynthia Cranz, Sean Michael Teague, Travis Willingham, Eric Vale, Kasey Buckley, Robert McCollum and more are among the best acting I have EVERY seen in anything. Justin Cook directed like he was in love with it cause it really shows. You watch it and you really feel brought into their world.
And another reason why this anime is my #1 English Dubbed show is because the creator of Yu Yu Hakusho himself, Yoshiro Togashi, stated on more than one occasion that he prefers the English dub of his anime over the original Japanese and that it captures the true spirit of what he was going for with Yu Yu Hakusho. When you have the creator of the manga that spawned the anime say this about an English dub.
The ADR work from Funimation was simply perfection in this. And with all of that, that is why this dub takes the #1 spot on this countdown.
Well, I am glad you got through the countdown. Don't agree with it? Feel free to comment. Thank you again for reading and see you again soon. Till then ... if you are on the side of evil, say goodbye.