Why Japanese Fans Are Still Nerd-Raging About The Avengers

Why Japanese Fans Are Still Nerd-Raging About The Avengers

For years, anime fans have been complaining about crap dubs. It’s either the result of amateurs or celebrities who simply don’t fit the role. Now it’s Japan’s turn to nerd rage.

“It’s just as everyone says, the dubbing is horrid,” wrote one individual on Amazon Japan. The Avengers didn’t exactly have a smooth rollout in Japan, but it did go on to dazzle audiences. Those who skipped the subtitled version in favour of the dubbed version were not happy campers, however.

Up until The Avengers, Hollywood comic book movies like Iron Man, Thor, or Hulk all used professional voice actors. They’re pros for a reason — they’re very good at their jobs. And in Japan, there are fandoms surrounding voice actors, with fan clubs and glossy magazines dedicated to them.

For some characters in The Avengers, pro voice actors were replaced with actors. Not every actor is a brilliant voice actor. Naoto Takenaka, a fantastic performer, voiced Nick Fury and was joined by actor-comedian Hiroyuki Miyasako as Hawkeye and model-turned-actor Ryoko Yonekura as Black Widow. They are also quite popular as celebrities in Japan, appearing in commercials and on variety shows, as well as TV dramas and films.

Online in the Amazon Japan reviews, the hatorade was less directed at Miyazako (many said he did a good job with Hawkeye), than the other two. The feeling was that they poisoned the water, clashing with the pro voice actors, such as Keiji Fujiwara as Tony Stark.

“Those celebrities they got to do the dub were friggin’ awful!” wrote one comment. “For the best movie, I wanted the best voice actors,” wrote another. People wrote that they cancelled their Blu-ray pre-orders, and much of the blame was also directed at Disney Japan, which released the flick, for bringing on these celebrities abroad to do the voice overs and — probably more importantly — promote the film. These are the folks that appear on the red carpet (see the below photo, courtesy of TimeWarp).


Japanese fans might be rather strict about voice acting, seeing how there often seems to be a tremendous appreciation for what professional voice actors do in movies, video games and anime. The irony is that Naoto Takenaka, who does have a powerful voice, has done numerous voice acting gigs for some time, such as for the Ice Age movies and even voicing Bruce Wayne for the Tim Burton Batman flicks. Earlier this year, he did voice acting work for Sega’s sci-fi game Binary Domain.

The reason for this backlash is probably connected to another voice acting uproar from summer. Ayame Goriki, one of this year’s most popular young female performers in Japan, voiced the lead role in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. In the eyes of fans, she wasn’t a trained voice actor, and this seemed like the film’s Japanese distributor cared more about doing PR than doing a top notch dub.

The next time you silently rage about crap dubs in a game or anime you love, realise that there’s somebody in Japan still seething about how Nick Fury and Dr Elizabeth Shaw were ruined.

アベンジャーズ ブルーレイ


  • I find it hard to feel bad for them when games like xenoblade saga and countless others and just about every anime ever have such poor dubs. At least they can watch the subtitled version with no problems because its a movie. So many games won’t let you switch to Japanese easily. Want to play persona 4 with the original Japanese dubs because Rises and Teddy’s voice drive you mad? Too bad unless you want to mod the iso. Same for suikoden for ds. So many others.

    Anyway. Basically boo hoo they got one bad movie dub.

    • Rise’s Japanese VA will drive you more mad haha Persona 4 has one of the best English dubs for a Japanese game in my opinion.

  • Seriously, suck it up princess’. One anime in ten has half decent Dubbing and it has gotten to the point where most people just don’t even bother and stick to subs anyway in order to not deal with the terrible localisation.

  • Subs always win for me. But having a dub version can be handy for introducing a new person to foreign shows and games.

    • Amature. I actually plan to watch subbed anime while I eat for convenience sake and it’s part of my routine.

      • You’re an ‘amateur’ at spelling it seems.

        I like looking at the art, not the words on the bottom of the screen, but sometimes it can be useful to check the subs to actually understand what the english actors mean, due to weird localisation dialogue.

  • I’ve always gone for subs because it represents the producer’s original vision. That, and the biggest thing that really irks me about dubs is not the fact they have three people that seem to always do all the voices, or that dubbed voice acting is generally pretty meh compared to Western Animation where the voice-work is the original voice. It’s the fact that most of the time, the actors don’t bother to learn how to pronounce names, and don’t even decide on a consistent pronunciation amongst themselves… It’s why I like Persona 3’s voice acting so much, they actually put noticeable effort into making sure they pronounce everything correctly.

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