Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Subs Versus Dubs

The issue of anime subs versus dubs rages on. From my perspective, it seems foolish to argue in terms of quality; good subs and good dubs are not mutually exclusive. A modern codec or DVD is easily capable of accommodating both. The relevant issue, however, involves cost and speed. Dubbing requires more time and money than subbing. It is this issue that the debate should be focused upon.

Fans of subs do not find dubs agreeable because dubbing inevitably raises the delay and cost of a release for limited (in their view) benefit, whereas supporters of dubs consider such delays and costs bearable. Viewed in such a primitive framework, the two options become mutually exclusive if there is to be only one type of release.

However, I wonder why things must be so. If it is not possible to accommodate everyone in a singular release, then having multiple releases may be sensible. Admittedly, the economics of having a early subs-only release and a subs+dubs release later on may be dubious, but the subs-only release, by virtue of greater speed and lower cost, may yet prove to be profitable. Alternatively, it appears that the major economic limiter is the cost of production and distribution with physical media; this seems to suggest that a digital mode of distribution is preferable.

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