Anime

That Thing Called Dubbing (and Why Some People Hated It)

[Requester: Albert Brian Gimao (2nd time). Before introducing the article, personally and seriously, this topic may have been familiar to everyone and The Turf won’t budge further into it.]

The Legend of the Blue Sea is a K-drama that is currently on the air on ABS-CBN since yesterday. It airs every weekday at 5:00 p.m. (Metro Manila) and the following 9:30 a.m. (for RNGs).

AS WE are in the final three-and-a-half weeks of summer vacation*, most of the children who are done with their summer workshops are trying to find some entertainment back into the living room.

When somebody had an interesting show to look forward to, he or she will tune the TV. However, after watching for a few minutes, they feel uncomfortable, scratch their heads and ask themselves: “Bakit Tinatagalog ang palabas ko?”

That thing is called dubbing.

Currently, on free TV, the genres that commonly employ that form of include:

  • cartoons (including anime) (Big 3),
  • Koreanovelas (Big 2 and PTV),
  • US TV series (TV5) and
  • Foreign flicks whether Hollywood (Big 3) or Eastern (GMA) films

However, this annoyance is further summoned to the social media battlefield with two major camps – those who are in favor of dubbing and those against it. Those who are in middle ground are deemed in the backlash zone and whatever side one belongs, they will always lead in the wantonness of civility through trade of tirades.

Japan’s dorayaki and our hopia may taste good but they are obviously not the same delicacy.

If you fit in the requester’s shoes, you will definitely gnash your teeth with a common motive. They accused the Filipino (Tagalog) dubbing for “dumbing down” the integrity and culture behind the program. Languages, indeed, define and distinguish the cultures of different group of people. For example, do you remember watching the anime classic Doraemon and find stumbled of what his favorite food is? In its original Japanese, it is called dorayaki (a pastry filled with red beans) but here in the Philippines, we translated it as hopia — a rough counterpart when it comes to texture and taste, but it is not the same.

What will happen if you switch on the defender’s shoes? Their counterclaims dared the rival to answer the questions such as “Paano mo yan maiintidihan ng mga tao?” (How can people understand it) or added with a rebuttal like “Hindi kakagat ‘yan ng masa.” (It will not be consumed by the masses). Sometimes, they also make anti-intellectual and irrational backlash such as “nosebleed.”

Last January, James Ty III already made an entry on his blog Streak Shooter, detailing this issue expounding his favorite topic, particularly on films that aired on his favorite day, Sunday, over the Big 2 and later nag such things on his Twitter to one user. He observed that other countries, aside from USA using Spanish, have done the same method.

His justification is elaborated and excerpted:

“In the past, these networks would air their movies in original English audio but dubbing them has been a way for them to attract viewers especially with the proliferation of locally produced soap operas…

Networks like GMA and TV5 air these dubbed movies as a way to save money especially with their locally produced shows not rating well and getting cancelled, resulting in huge financial losses. Dubbers are also paid the same rates as those who dub the Korean, Spanish and Japanese anime shows.”

He concluded that if “they can’t beat them, join them…” but that will not do for those who persistently resist.

Is there a solution to subside the hatred of dubbing?

Well, yes. There is already a closed-captioning law that took effect last July — Republic Act 10905.

However, without its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) that needs to be crafted by concerning associations and relatable government agencies — in this case, those from Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT)  —  they cannot be materialized at once.

If the IRR is ratified, there will be in-house layoff on dubbers and/or transfers into subtitle typists. In financial perspective, it will improve their networks from being economically burdensome; such an upshot will mean more dividends for shareholders and more investment for their maintenance and expansion.

Until that day comes, better watch it on an online streaming site for the original language but if you don’t have one, tough luck. Perhaps, we should not be surprised if some network has the guts to acquire and dub the sensational and controversial Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.


*The dating is based on the academic calendar for Academic Year 2017-18 released by the Department of Education (DepEd). Their classes begin on June 5. Private schools may not need to follow the required date to open their classes but they mustn’t start after August.


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[Photos courtesy of BoxAsian/SBS/Wikimedia Commons]

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