Here’s why you should watch Attack on Titan subbed or dubbed:
Really, you should watch Attack on Titan or any other show in the way that you enjoy it best.
If you prefer subs, that’s great.
If you prefer dubs, then watch it that way.
If you don’t have a preference or all other things are equal, the subtitled content usually has a slightly higher production value.
So if you want to learn all about why you should watch Attack on Titan subbed or watch it dubbed, then you’re in the right place.
Let’s get started!
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First, a Disclaimer
Ok. I gave you the quick answer, but I’m going to take you all the way down the rabbit hole on this one.
Before I really get into it, I have to give you a disclaimer.
I’ve been a huge anime fan for decades.
I’m deep in the culture and what some of you would call a weeb.
I have a lot of fun with this, but I also have strong opinions and biases.
I’m going to do my best to really represent both perspectives here.
Despite my biases, I understand that dubs are better for some viewers while subs are better for others.
But, I haven’t watched a dubbed anime in 20 years, and I hope to never watch one again.
That’s where I stand.
It is my clear bias, so keep that in mind as you go through the rest of this.
I’ll still explain why dubs are sometimes better, but since you know where I’m coming from, you can take my advice for what it’s worth.
Also, the sub vs dub debate is purely opinion.
There are no facts to win you over with here.
It’s a matter of preference, and that’s why I’ll reiterate the quick answer one more time.
Watch it the way you enjoy it the best.
What Is Attack on Titan?
The disclaimer is done, so now we can get into the substance.
First, I’ll make sure everyone is on the same page.
If you aren’t already familiar with Attack on Titan (called Shingeki no Kyojin in Japanese), I’m not sure why you’re reading this, but this overview is for you.
It’s one of the most popular anime of the last 10 years.
It’s the one with the giant human-looking creatures that attack a walled city.
I’m avoiding tons of spoilers, but it’s an anime known for intense storylines, amazing art, one-of-a-kind action sequences, and plot twists that will blow your mind for years.
Am I a fan? Yes.
Did I spoil the ending by also reading the manga? Also yes.
If you haven’t watched any of Attack on Titan, here are the two things you need to know.
First, it’s not finished yet.
There is no announced release date for the final season, but there should only be one more season left in the series.
Second, it is not kid-friendly or safe for work.
There are some pretty brutal violent depictions in it.
They might be animated, but they’ll still get your attention.
Now that we’re on the same page here, let’s talk about the debate.
Should you watch it subbed or dubbed?
Why Should You Watch Attack on Titan Subbed? (4 Reasons)
All things being equal, I’m a firm believer that subtitles (watching it subbed) provide a better viewing experience.
The main reason for that is that I’m of the opinion that the Japanese voice acting is much, much better than the English voice acting (or the voice actors who dub in any other language).
That’s not always true for every anime, but I think it’s true for this one.
Aside from that, there are a few other compelling reasons to watch subtitles, and I’ll go through each of them.
#1 Voice Acting
First, let’s talk about voice acting.
The reason Japanese voice acting is usually better than English voice acting comes down to money.
In Japan, anime is a form of mainstream entertainment.
Some of the best, most-loved, highest-paid, most-prolific actors in all of Japan do voice acting for anime series.
As an example, Mayumi Tanaka has been the voice actor for Monkey D. Luffy (from One Piece) for over a decade, and she is one of the most beloved people in the country.
The voice actors for Attack on Titan are arguably just as loved.
Meanwhile, you have probably never heard of any of the voice actors for the English dub of Attack on Titan.
They are nowhere near being A-list actors by English or American standards, and that shows up in the quality of the work.
I’m not trying to pick on anyone, but the best voice actors in English media simply aren’t working on anime (usually).
#2 Original Art
Another reason why dubs usually miss the mark by at least a little has to do with direction and production teams.
The English dub actors don’t work with the original production team at all.
That means the director of the anime has no input on what the English voice actors do.
More often than not, this leads to artistic mismatches, and in extreme examples, it can really detract from the viewing experience.
One reason a lot of people in the West are still resistant to anime is because of this problem, and it absolutely impacts Attack on Titan.
This anime has one of the most dedicated production crews in anime.
To dub voices over it without including any of that original passion is just asking for inferior work (there’s my bias again).
#3 Monetary Support
Outside of quality, one good reason to watch subs is to support the original creative team.
There are a lot of unlicensed subs and dubs out there.
If you watch unlicensed work, the show creators aren’t compensated, and that ultimately hurts the quality of the production.
If you watch the official subbed releases, then you are monetarily supporting the creative team, and that leads to better production value in the long run.
If you want the final season to be as good as possible, supporting official releases is important.
Now, why subs over dubs in this case?
Well, subtitling a work is a lot easier than dubbing it, so sub releases siphon less money away from the original production team when all is said and done.
This isn’t game-breaking.
You shouldn’t feel bad if you prefer dubs, but dubbing does impact the money.
To keep it simple, a lot of studios have volunteer or low-paid translation specialists who create subtitles.
When you watch those official releases, it’s all run by the original studio.
A lot of dubs are produced by secondary production companies.
When you watch those releases, you’re supporting the secondary production company, which then pays a licensing fee to the original studio.
Adding the middle man usually translates to a little less money for the original studio (but that really depends on the licensing contracts)
#4 Translation Quality
This is a big one.
Even when you have excellent voice actors for the dubs, the translations typically suffer, and the reasoning is simple.
You want the dubbed voices to line up with the animation of speaking characters.
To do that, you can’t always use the most precise translation.
So, a lot of dub translations are a little less reliable, and it impacts your understanding of the original intent behind the content.
On top of that, subtitles can include translation notes that help you really understand what is being said and what is happening in the show.
Why Should You Watch Attack on Titan Dubbed? (3 Points)
For all of that said, there are plenty of people who watch Attack on Titan dubbed, and they aren’t wrong to do so.
If you enjoy dubs more, then watch it that way.
Don’t let someone like me detract you from enjoying an amazing show.
But, if you want to get a little deeper into the ideas, there are a few reasons why you might be enjoying the dubs more.
#1 Reading Challenges
There are a lot of things that can make reading a little more challenging for a person, and if it’s a little harder to read, then you’re probably not going to be able to enjoy the animation part of the show as much.
For a dyslexic person, reading subtitles might be a nightmare.
The dub is probably going to lead to a better experience.
This could be as simple as eye strain.
Sometimes, I don’t watch anime because my eyes are too tired to read subtitles.
I could just watch the dub, but I’m obnoxiously stubborn.
If you aren’t up for reading while you watch a fun anime, then don’t.
Watch the dub and have a great time.
There’s also an issue of distractions.
In a literal sense, you have to engage more of your brain to read subtitles while you watch an anime, and Attack on Titan has plenty of moments that are designed to make you think.
If you’re in a distracting environment, then you might miss content and enjoy the show less because your brain is being divided in a bunch of ways.
A dub sounds like a great solution to that.
#3 Supporting Your Anime Community
Lastly, we can get back to supporting the community.
As I said before, production companies usually dub anime in their native language.
So, an English dub probably comes from a U.S. company while a German dub is probably produced in Germany.
You get the idea.
If you support official dub releases, you’re directly supporting anime production in your own country.
If these production teams grow and succeed, they might be able to invest in better actors, more outreach, and anime in general.
You are supporting the anime community in your country when you watch licensed dubs.
Take that subbed-only snobs!