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What Are You Listening To?

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  • What Are You Listening To?

    Widgets Magazine
    Replacing the monthly format, this is now a permanent and ongoing thread. (Now more than ever deliberately copying the Manga forum's long-running original concept!)

    Writing as little or as much as you like, this is a quick catch-all for thoughts on whatever dub or dubs you are listening to at the moment, or have recently listened to, or want to listen to. No format, no minimum requirement.

    This does not trump dedicated discussion or review threads for any dub, old or new or upcoming. One is encouraged to make or participate in those threads, even building on comments or discussions made here.
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  • #2
    Re: What Are You Listening To?

    Planetes (eps. 1-5)

    This is the latest of my overarching and now long-running effort to selectively, yet alphabetically, re-watch my collection. Something I do in-between watching new stuff or streaming, and which is going on a couple years, I think. (Kind of lost track.) But I'm in the "P"s now! Last one in the queue was Paranoia Agent, but in Japanese this time. And I figured I'd watch Planetes in Japanese as well, which I don't think I've done, at least for the entire show, but at the last moment I went for the Bang Zoom!, Tony Oliver-directed dub again. Balanced against a half-dozen streaming shows I'm on right now, I realized I needed a "break" back to some English dubbed material. And this is not a bad choice: it may not be my favorite BZ dub, or even my favorite one from Oliver (at least from what I recall going back into it), but it does have some real nice elements to it that are fun to revisit. Julie Ann Taylor's Ai Tanabe being foremost.

    I had not remembered how she has this character fully charged from scene one. (She has to, of course: the test comes right near the beginning as Ai bursts into Control Section to announce herself.) She singularly propels this dub forward the first few episodes as everyone is fitting into their roles. More great stuff from her to come. (It's been at least six years, since this came out, that I last listened to any good size part of this dub.)

    Kirk Thornton I always liked in this show, as Hachi. It's one of his most memorable and finest performances. He finds his legs about as quickly as Taylor and their interplay, so crucial to this dub working at all, is excellent. Jamieson Price takes a few episodes to get into Yuri better, but that's because he doesn't have much to work with. Wendee Lee, too, with the Toybox captain, Fee, slowly comes into better focus by the third or fourth episode, but if I remember right, she makes Fee a backbone of this dub as it progresses, fitting for the role of the character. It's worth mentioning, of course, Lia Sargent as the ever formal Claire Rondo (though her best work here is much later on). But the reason I mention her is that this is one of her last great roles before she stepped back from anime work. I had forgotten that until I heard her again. It's bittersweet. But I'm always happy hearing Lia Sargent.

    I've said in the past a number of times that I feel like Tony Oliver's dubs, while being overall strong works, take several episodes in the beginning to warm up, almost predictably. That may still be true here, but I'm not sure if I notice it as much. What always colored my memory of the first third of this dub, however, was episode five, where Ai, Hachi, and Fee are on their way to the Moon for vacation. I had the memory of some really hackneyed acting with the supporting cast in this episode--but now I realize it was never the dub at all (or at least not its fault). It's just a really bad episode. It stands apart like bad sweeps week filler from the storylines of the main characters' usual life collecting trash or having interesting or comical character-building encounters with one another or peculiar strangers (like a certain girl coming up in episode seven). It forces together three contrived and conventional "storylines" into a situation where our heroes can save the day (while not wearing EVA suits!). Where I recalled the bad acting was the storyline that ruins it, the parents on a suicide pact with their annoyingly cute young daughter, who knows none of it. But the actors (the excellent Lex Lang and Karen Strassman) have no choice but to go along with the haminess and do their best, given the context. Though one role I did still find a little unnerving: Michelle Ruff's usual little girl voice for the couple's daughter, Shia. Something happened over the years, and it came out after I re-watched Last Exile several months ago, but I don't much like Ruff's precociously cute little girl voice anymore. I don't think she was ever able to act nearly as well in that range as she could and can with her older characterizations. It's just cloying, now.

    But it's interesting how, over time, a dub and the content become so interwoven that it can be hard to tell the faults of one from the other.

    Oh, and I also almost listened to Summer Wars finally last night, from Funimation. Not bad, but I only got in the first half an hour before it crapped out because, even after almost 30 years, people still don't know how to take the most common care of laser media discs. Besides the usual scratching that comes from people dragging the disc across a surface, this one effectively had both a small gouge and some speck of some sort melted into the disc coating. When I get a replacement from Netflix I should have more to say.
    Last edited by bctaris; 08-15-2012, 06:12 PM.
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    • #3
      Re: What Are You Listening To?

      Originally posted by bctaris View Post
      Oh, and I also almost listened to Summer Wars finally last night, from Funimation. Not bad, but I only got in the first half an hour before it crapped out because, even after almost 30 years, people still don't know how to take the most common care of laser media discs. Besides the usual scratching that comes from people dragging the disc across a surface, this one effectively had both a small gouge and some speck of some sort melted into the disc coating. When I get a replacement from Netflix I should have more to say.
      Ugggggghh. I guess a caveman rented it before you did?

      It's a good dub. You'll enjoy the rest of it…when you can.
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      • #4
        Re: What Are You Listening To?

        R.O.D. the TV. Re-watched with a friend for the first time in years and the first time in English. Fantastic dub that embodies the spirit of the show and it's characters to a T. I thought the OVA dub was solid but I ended up liking the voices in the TV series more, especially JB Blanc as Joker-- his inflections are perfect. And of course there's Anita, whose acted very strongly by Rachel Hirschfeld. Very satisfying way to re-experience one of my favorite shows from the last decade.

        Rumiko Takahashi Anthology. 'Nother great dub. The script adaptation makes the stories palpable to a western audience while still coming across as a distinctly Japanese show. The casting is spot on and features performances that I found genuinely interesting, such as Wayne Knight playing a recent widower. Also loved Alfred Thor as Mr. Dohmoto, probably my favorite character in the anthology. Not only is the dub well written, the line delivery is directed very well. It's funny, heartbreaking, sweet, sincere, whatever it needs to be for the scene in question. Not all of the stories have been a hit with me (making light of family suicides? Really?) but none of the misses have been because of the dub.
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        • #5
          Re: What Are You Listening To?

          Originally posted by Legion View Post
          R.O.D. the TV. Re-watched with a friend for the first time in years and the first time in English. Fantastic dub that embodies the spirit of the show and it's characters to a T. I thought the OVA dub was solid but I ended up liking the voices in the TV series more, especially JB Blanc as Joker-- his inflections are perfect. And of course there's Anita, whose acted very strongly by Rachel Hirschfeld. Very satisfying way to re-experience one of my favorite shows from the last decade.
          I'm almost surprised you hadn't heard that in English before, Legion. One could have hardly escaped the fervor for it in the ET back during its release, but I guess you managed to. (But in a couple months I'll probably be doing just the opposite, watching it for the first time in Japanese.)

          Rumiko Takahashi Anthology. 'Nother great dub. The script adaptation makes the stories palpable to a western audience while still coming across as a distinctly Japanese show. The casting is spot on and features performances that I found genuinely interesting, such as Wayne Knight playing a recent widower. Also loved Alfred Thor as Mr. Dohmoto, probably my favorite character in the anthology. Not only is the dub well written, the line delivery is directed very well. It's funny, heartbreaking, sweet, sincere, whatever it needs to be for the scene in question. Not all of the stories have been a hit with me (making light of family suicides? Really?) but none of the misses have been because of the dub.
          Hey, at least one other person who has seen RTA! A record!

          The content for whatever reason never moved many copies, but what was lost was some major exposure to probably the best anthology and ensemble dub put to market. It's effectively 13 separate NGP dubs, at the top of the studio's game, by a sort of Super Group of directors: Andrew Sullivan, Reiko Matsuo, Klein, Seitz, O'Brien, Regal, and McFarland. The content does vary in depth, as you note, but it's sometimes almost beside the point. Where a good story collides with some pitch-perfect casting and acting, there are some absolute gems here, and you mentioned my favorite of the series: Knight's Ichiro Tadokoro, the widower in Living Room Love Song, directed by Patrick Seitz. That remains probably my favorite performance of his.
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          • #6
            Re: What Are You Listening To?

            Recently got the BECK rerelease. Was pleaseantly surprised at the quality of the dub and some of the song covers. So much so I wished that as an extra, they should have FUNI should have released an OST with the orig. songs and the covers (full versions of course). Of course the language barrier between the douche Yoshito and Koyuki is lost which I think contributed to a greater feeling of NTR when I watched the series. My own old middle school insecurites flared up lol.

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            • #7
              Re: What Are You Listening To?

              Originally posted by bctaris View Post
              I'm almost surprised you hadn't heard that in English before, Legion. One could have hardly escaped the fervor for it in the ET back during its release, but I guess you managed to. (But in a couple months I'll probably be doing just the opposite, watching it for the first time in Japanese.)
              I march to the beat of my OWN drum! I watched the show back at the height of it's popularity in the AOD days but I chose the subtitled version for the first viewing. The passionate response the dub was getting let me know that, whenever I get around to re-watching it, I've got a good dub to look forward to. I just didn't anticipate it would take 5-6 years.

              Originally posted by bctaris View Post
              Hey, at least one other person who has seen RTA! A record!
              One of many shows I got during the Geneon and ADV firesales that has been languishing in my backlog. I actually watched Mermaid's Forest, technically the second half of the Takahashi Anthology, first. The dub on that is good but to me not as memorable since it's a more conventional dub whereas RTA felt like a successful experiment for the reasons you noted below. (Not to mention I found Mermaid's Forest to be kind of average overall, so that's undoubtedly a factor.)

              Originally posted by bctaris View Post
              The content for whatever reason never moved many copies, but what was lost was some major exposure to probably the best anthology and ensemble dub put to market. It's effectively 13 separate NGP dubs, at the top of the studio's game, by a sort of Super Group of directors: Andrew Sullivan, Reiko Matsuo, Klein, Seitz, O'Brien, Regal, and McFarland. The content does vary in depth, as you note, but it's sometimes almost beside the point. Where a good story collides with some pitch-perfect casting and acting, there are some absolute gems here, and you mentioned my favorite of the series: Knight's Ichiro Tadokoro, the widower in Living Room Love Song, directed by Patrick Seitz. That remains probably my favorite performance of his.
              It kind of feels like 13 short plays put on by one theater group, where an actor who plays the lead in one short play will show up as a supporting character in another play and then handle directing duties for the next play, etc. Since many of the actors who lend their voices have their background in theater, they sound very comfortable with the approach. That's how it came across to me anyway, I might be talking outta my ass here. Regardless, it's definitely among the most underrated dub's ever produced. Really good stuff that I wish we'd hear more of.
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              • #8
                Re: What Are You Listening To?

                Originally posted by Legion View Post
                (Not to mention I found Mermaid's Forest to be kind of average overall, so that's undoubtedly a factor.)
                Yeah, that show never grabbed me, despite the solid dub. Bought, watched, and sold.

                It kind of feels like 13 short plays put on by one theater group, where an actor who plays the lead in one short play will show up as a supporting character in another play and then handle directing duties for the next play, etc. Since many of the actors who lend their voices have their background in theater, they sound very comfortable with the approach. That's how it came across to me anyway, I might be talking outta my ass here. Regardless, it's definitely among the most underrated dub's ever produced. Really good stuff that I wish we'd hear more of.
                No, you have your finger on it. That's just how it feels. And the theater connections ring true. One of the most memorable performances for me in the dub was Kirsten Potter's flustered housewife, Hanako, in a Liam O'Brien-directed episode, Large-Sized Happiness. O'Brien brought Potter in from his theater work for her first role here (she went on with NGP with better known roles in Daphne in the Brilliant Blue, DearS, and Kristeva in Ergo Proxy).

                And this is absolutely near the top of any underrated dub list.
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                • #9
                  Re: What Are You Listening To?

                  Here is a list of stuff that I have watched in English since the start of July.

                  Infinite Stratos - While this show is a typical harem that doesn't really separate itself from the rest, the dub made this show very enjoyable to watch. The accents were just well-executed and it is because of them that I was drawn into the show. Josh Grelle did an excellent job with Ichika.

                  Princess Jellyfish - Here is another great job done by Chris Bevins in directing this. Maxey Whitehead was just perfect as Tsukimi, and Monica Rial was funny as Mayaya. And then there is Josh Grelle who had the tough task of voicing a guy who can convincingly cross-dress as a gal. Normally, such a role would go to Mike McFarland, but I absolutely like the way Josh handled it.

                  Deadman Wonderland - While the show itself was mediocre, the dub was excellent. Greg Ayres is absolutely spot on as Ganta while Monica Rial is a natural fit for Shiro. Then there was Patrick Seitz as Seiji and Jason Douglas as Genkaku who stole the show. Unfortunately, the anime adaptation of the manga wasn't so good, but at least the dub was very good and if only those swear words were not bleeped out that it would really be something.

                  The World God Only Knows II - Chris Patton and Luci Christian pick up where they left off in the first season and it is great. Patton acts like someone who only cares about the 2D world with authority, while Christian's Tenma voice continues to make Elsie fun to hear. Then there is Jessica Boone added to the mix doing a great job with Haqua.
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                  • #10
                    Re: What Are You Listening To?

                    So back to Summer Wars. (With a disc now that had not taken a detour to the paleolithic period.) Yeah, good stuff. A lot of crossing dialogue, with a large and very distinct cast, but McFarland (in the ideal position of both director and line producer) and Patrick Seitz on script, pull it all off with aplomb. (Don't think I've ever used that word with a dub. Think I'll start.) And Sinterniklaas is just the king with teen male leads, especially those that are fish out of water. Pam Dougherty as the matriarch was really quite excellent. (Just to think of something, the only slightly off-sounding, but hardly detrimental, deliveries the entire dub may have been the TV baseball announcers--a type of role, for some reason, which rarely sounds authentic enough in voice acting. Only noticed because I've had that subject on my mind recently with dubbing.)

                    On the subject of the movie itself, I was amused by the fantastic exploration of something like the StuxNet situation (especially with the US DoD as the "villain"). And the virtual world aspect rang truer than otherwise for me since I'd only a couple days before read the 80s-fetishizing, MMORG sci-fi novel, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (which, going off topic, also put into deflating perspective the truly lighter takes on the subject of online virtual reality vis-a-vis real life, like Sword Art Online and its brethren of light novels and shows the past few years). But what I appreciated with Summer Wars, unlike any of those other works, was the way in which it made such a strong case for grounding a virtual life in the stronger and more lasting bonds of the real one, especially the real one represented by family (and even a family not one's own). That's what makes this movie so good: its championship of real life community over the solitude and even exile (given Wabisuke's story) of the virtual; but also the way a strong real life community can positively reinforce and compliment an online existence. The fine dub only reinforced that, which is all I could have asked and am so then appreciative for.
                    Last edited by bctaris; 08-18-2012, 01:15 PM.
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                    • #11
                      Re: What Are You Listening To?

                      What dubs am I listening to right now? Well, I've been eager of late to get through some of the shows that have been sitting in my backlog for awhile, so that maybe I can get said backlog down to a manageable level.

                      Master Keaton - As of today I've watched the first third of the series and plan to get through the rest in the next couple weeks. This 2003-ish dub comes from Ocean. This is usually a good thing. However, the dub—directed by InuYasha alum Teri Snelgrove—is disappointingly weak. I guess it just comes with the territory for her. The dub is still listenable, but wholly unremarkable. Ted Cole turns in a decent performance as the titular Keaton, but the supporting cast is largely middling to bad. For whatever reason, several incidental characters in this show are played by actual expats (judging by the credits). Not all of them can do ADR. Many of the standard Ocean stable also show up from time to time, and their acting quality is noticeably better. I particularly enjoyed Chantal Strand's poor little rich girl from an early episode (but then, she's always fun to listen to). As is typical of an Ocean dub, Kelly Sheridan appears in a major role, this time as Keaton's teenage daughter that looks a lot like Yawara. Sheridan plays the part well, naturally, but it's a wholly unmemorable role from her—which I hate to say since she's one of my favourite Canadian VA's. Maybe it's the script, maybe it's that Snelgrove is a bad director, maybe it's the show's odd pacing, I don't know. MK is nowhere near bad enough to make me want to switch over to Japanese, but it's not a good example of what Ocean is capable of.

                      Ranma 1/2 (Season 5) - Since buying all 7 boxsets during TRSI's xmas sale last year (shortly before it went OOP), I've been slowly working my way through it. Despite its age, this dub holds up surprisingly well, and it's probably because they played it a bit loose with the script, thus allowing the actors to give more natural performances. It's just proof that Ocean CAN do good work when they try. This is a long show that was at one point very popular so I can't really say anything that hasn't already been said. Essentially, I like this dub. That may fly in the face of the old contemporary reviews, but screw them.

                      Panty & Stocking - Has not been in the backlog very long, obviously, but I wanted to watch it. Made it through the first third of the show so far. A new dub from Funimation. Given its episodic nature, there aren't too many recurring characters. The only ones that matter are Jamie Marchi's Panty, Monica Rial's Stocking, and Christopher Sabat's Garterbelt, all of which are perfect. Funimation made the right choice by pulling a Shin-chan on this dub and making it even more vulgar. Yeah, yeah, getting laughs by putting in cursing is cheap, but at least the cursing is backed up by very good acting. Compared to the Japanese, the English dub isn't nearly as memetic, but I think it's funnier. Unfortunately, given the subject matter, just getting to this point has been a chore, so it'll probably take awhile to get to the end.

                      That's all for now.

                      PS: Count me as another fan of Rumiko Takahashi Anthology. HIGHLY underrated show with a great dub.
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                      • #12
                        Re: What Are You Listening To?

                        Originally posted by Soufriere View Post
                        Master Keaton - As of today I've watched the first third of the series and plan to get through the rest in the next couple weeks. This 2003-ish dub comes from Ocean. This is usually a good thing. However, the dub—directed by InuYasha alum Teri Snelgrove—is disappointingly weak. I guess it just comes with the territory for her. The dub is still listenable, but wholly unremarkable. Ted Cole turns in a decent performance as the titular Keaton, but the supporting cast is largely middling to bad. For whatever reason, several incidental characters in this show are played by actual expats (judging by the credits). Not all of them can do ADR. Many of the standard Ocean stable also show up from time to time, and their acting quality is noticeably better. I particularly enjoyed Chantal Strand's poor little rich girl from an early episode (but then, she's always fun to listen to). As is typical of an Ocean dub, Kelly Sheridan appears in a major role, this time as Keaton's teenage daughter that looks a lot like Yawara. Sheridan plays the part well, naturally, but it's a wholly unmemorable role from her—which I hate to say since she's one of my favourite Canadian VA's. Maybe it's the script, maybe it's that Snelgrove is a bad director, maybe it's the show's odd pacing, I don't know. MK is nowhere near bad enough to make me want to switch over to Japanese, but it's not a good example of what Ocean is capable of.
                        I suppose I'm simply more of an Ocean fan, and particularly one of Ted Cole, but I find MK to be a pretty good dub--given the material. It's a pretty low-key affair, and while there are a few very intriguing ones, most of the stories are not scripted (originally, let alone into English) very complexly. It's certainly not the best work out of Vancouver, but the dub fitted very well with the material, which I don't hold in the highest regard anyway (Naoki Urasawa work I always find overrated, though one day I should check out the less dramatic Yawara) but which I enjoy without taking too seriously. What the dub combined with the show actually reminds me of is a similarly stiff and low key British drama, especially of that time setting (current to post-Cold War). Given the sprawling cast, and taken as a whole--not stand-alone episode to episode--it's a decent effort. I'd agree some episodic performances are middling at worst, but not really bad. Stick through and I think there are a couple notable episodic performances later on, like Venus Terzo in ep. 32.

                        The one thing I do really love about this dub, though, is Michael Kopsa as the narrator, every episode.
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                        • #13
                          Re: What Are You Listening To?

                          Originally posted by Soufriere View Post
                          Master Keaton
                          Have to disagree with you on this. I think you're selling Ted Cole woefully short by calling his work as Keaton just "decent". Cole nails that role; the inflection and subtle nuance of his delivery is sublime at times. It's one of the best individual performances ever recorded for an anime.

                          When it comes to the supporting cast, there's more room for me to agree with you; Ocean cast a lot of the international characters authentically but their actual voice acting ability varies. Some are good, some are flat, and the use of accents is a little inconsistent; Ocean got Chinese people to voice Chinese characters or German people to voice a German characters, but characters of other ethnicities such as Middle Eastern or French speak in plain English. Recurring characters such as Keaton's family and friends are solid, however. I remember liking Scott McNeil as detective Charlie Campbell.

                          It was an ambitious dub in some ways and there were times it bit off more than it could chew but I liked how Ocean capitalized on the international flavor of the series and again I gotta reiterate just how good Ted Cole is as Taichi Keaton.
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                          • #14
                            Re: What Are You Listening To?

                            Originally posted by Legion View Post
                            Originally posted by Soufriere View Post
                            Master Keaton
                            Have to disagree with you on this. I think you're selling Ted Cole woefully short by calling his work as Keaton just "decent". Cole nails that role; the inflection and subtle nuance of his delivery is sublime at times. It's one of the best individual performances ever recorded for an anime.
                            I misspoke when I called Cole's take on Keaton just "decent". It was late and I was tired (I keep weird hours ). Sorry. Ted Cole is in fact very good as Taichi Keaton. I guess it didn't come across in my original post, but I do enjoy listening to him in this dub. It actually speaks to his capabilities as an actor that both Ocean dubs I mentioned had him in major roles, yet I had no idea he was Keaton until I saw his name in the credits. My quibbles about the dub were never with him, but more with Snelgrove's not being one of Ocean's better ADR directors, and also with Sheridan sounding a little off - though that could easily be more due to the character than to her.
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                            • #15
                              Re: What Are You Listening To?

                              In regards to Master Keaton :

                              I never finished this (took a break and inertia whomped me), but I remember being really pleased with Cole's work BECAUSE it was so low-key and feeling like he'd mastered that. The rest of the dub was meh, but he stood out for ... well, not standing out.

                              I should go back to that sometime soon.
                              Last edited by Bibulb; 08-28-2012, 11:06 PM. Reason: context, context, context.

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