“Yona of the Yawn,” Christian has been calling my latest obsession, Yona of the Dawn. I had watched it a couple months back in subtitle, hoping it would help my ear for the Japanese language, and I loved it. Christian won’t watch sub so when we found out it was to be released in dub on Funimation, I was super excited to share my love for the show with him. We watched the first few episodes the weekend after the release and it was…. slow.
I did not remember it being like this! I remember being caught up in the whirlwind of emotions Yona had experienced at the death of her father, the betrayal of her close childhood friend and potential lover, and the terror of being hunted by those she had considered loyal. What happened?
My first thought was that Christian’s cynicism had dampened the excitement I had for watching the show with him. Now, he had already been calling it “Yona of the Yawn” for a couple months just to annoy me. I really wanted to prove him wrong and I didn’t think my expectations were too high. You know how you feel when you’re excited to share something and the person you try to share it with is just not open-minded about it? It’s a downer to say the least.
After that initial night of watching the first few episodes, I had a hard time convincing him to finish it. We did eventually, after a few weeks’ break. It bothered me to think that maybe I had been wrong about the show, so I went back and watched the sub again. I still had all the same feelings as the first time I watched it in sub. Nope, it was definitely the dub. Something was off about it.
Now, I’d like to point out that I have not watched a whole lot of sub/dub versions, and certainly not with the purpose to compare the two. Typically I watch anime in sub if they seem really interesting to me and maybe would not appeal to Christian. That way, I know I won’t get an ear full for watching something cool without him. Hey, I need something to do while he’s playing some Blizzard game or another on his PC.
Snow White with the Red Hair was a great example. I binged that one in one weekend and really enjoyed it. When it released in dub, we watched it together and it was a winner. I liked both sub and dub equally. Alternatively, I watched part of Wolf Girl and Black Prince in sub, rage quit, and now I won’t have to watch it with him because I told him – or more accurately, ranted- on how awful it was. So Yona of the Dawn is the first that I was actually disappointed in the dub version.
The only other explanation left is the voice acting. Right off the bat, we recognized voices and familiar names in the credits. They really sought out some well known voice actors for this show! Christopher Sabat, Eric Vale, Monica Rial, Ian Sinclair… those are BIG names, some of which are in our favorite anime.
I don’t think it is so much the voice acting that was off but maybe the fact that I was so hung up on deciding if the voice matched the character based on what I already knew- sub and manga. I didn’t think Yona’s voice matched, she was just way too whiny. Of course, she’s supposed to be whiny at first, as a spoiled princess, but as her character developed, I still found her voice grating on my nerves. Yoon did not match either, but I could get over that. My love with the show and my love for the main character Yona, were one in the same. If I had a hard time relating to her in the dub version, it did not have the same emotional effect it had on me from the sub version.
As for Christian, he also found it lacking, but not in the same way. Sadly, like many of the new anime out there, it’s a teaser for the manga series (which is awesome, I must add!). There is no word on a season 2 and the last episode of season 1 is far from a closing to the series. Season 1 seemed more like a prequel leading up to something greater than an actual storyline. Final verdict from Christian: It was okay.
There was a OVA that he has not seen, which centers on Kija, the White Dragon. It has not been dubbed that I know of. Just announced is a 2nd OVA, in 2 episodes to be released on DVD August 18-19, 2016, featuring Zeno’s story arc. That’s nice since he only got about 30 minutes air time at the very end of season 1. But I digress.
So while I still can’t put my finger on the exact reason that the dub was disappointing, perhaps it’s a little of everything I’ve mentioned above. Perhaps Christian is partly right, that the ending is not an ending but a beginning (season 1 ends around chapter 46 of the manga, there are currently 126 chapters). And the best is yet to come, if it comes at all.
What do you think? I know we all have our personal preferences when it comes to sub/dub, and while I don’t want to get into which is better, etc, I’m curious to know if any of you have watched an anime in both sub and dub and what conclusions you came to on it.