I was wondering if you actually miss out on anything from watching the dubbed version of a series (E.g. Magi- Labyrinth of Magic over watching the subbed version of it)?

Everytime I watched dubbed animes, my friend in particular use to moan about a lot of things such as the voices sound horrible and you miss out on more of the storyline through improvisation and other stuff such as cuts on certain lines and sayings. Ever I was oblivious or just plain blind but I actually never noticed this before (besides the voices of course) and since I have never actually watched the same of an anime series in both dubbed and then re-watched it in subbed to compare it, do you actually miss out on anything important or paramount?

Is there any difference in terms of the story, how the characters are developed or how the storyline runs when you watch a dubbed anime over the subbed version of it which is in Japanese? Do you miss out on anything or is this just my friend trying to persuade me to only watch it in subbed which I highly suspect.

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    Sometimes cultural and language references are changed from Japanese to English and it may seem completely out of context. I can't remember cases where some significant plot point was changed though. – Hakase Jul 7 '14 at 16:28
  • @user1306322- I think my friend may be just exaggerating. Lol. – Izumi-reiLuLu Jul 7 '14 at 16:37
  • As someone who was raised bilingual, I feel some nuances and small things are changed because theirs no other way to translate it. I'm probably just being biased, but I feel that the original voice acting always feel much more real, crisp, and fitting to the character. – user6517 Jul 8 '14 at 3:31

Short answer, it depends.

Long answer, some change a lot more than others. The major thing is whether you are watching just a dubbed version of a show or whether you are watching an Americanized version of a show (assuming you're talking about English dubs). Some shows are changed because of censorship, and some of it is because of other changes. You can check out the censorship for at least some of the shows at this website. A lot of that ends up being differences in blood, violence, and sexual content. Sometimes the changes are based on the animation, including making colors brighter or slightly changing positions of things.

On the other hand, you get shows like Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura/Cardcaptors. In Sailor Moon, for example, entire relationships are changed, such as making characters cousins instead of being in a relationship (which ends up just looking like incest). That's done because the relationship was between two women, something which wasn't really accepted in the US when it aired. They also skipped entire episodes.

Sometimes you also just lose subtleties because English is a less subtle language than Japanese. That ends up happening with subs, too, so it's pretty much unavoidable unless you know Japanese.

Some shows don't really change anything at all.

The major changes tend to be related to nudity, violence, sex, and homosexuality, though there are other changes. If you want to check out the differences, you can look at websites like the one I linked too, as well as this for Sailor Moon, this for Pokemon, this for Cardcaptor Sakura, etc. You have to be careful if you're worried about spoilers, but for most popular shows you can find someone talking about the differences.

For Magi- Labyrinth of Magic, which you mentioned, I can't find anything talking about the differences, though only the first season has been released in English, so that might change later.

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  • I don't get what you mean by dubbed version of a show or an americanized version. Is americanized just a whole lot of scenes and episodes censored? – Izumi-reiLuLu Jul 7 '14 at 16:44
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    Pretty much. Sometimes (and I guess I forgot to add this to my answer) they also change words from Japanese to English, as opposed to just dubbing over the spoken words. – kuwaly Jul 7 '14 at 16:47
  • Americanized anime also often change the music or sound effects, or remove or change scenes entirely. I'm looking at you, Digimon. – Killua Jul 8 '14 at 3:36
  • There also seems to be occasional censorship to avoid potentially religiously offensive material - e.g. the renaming of 666 Satan, or the conversion of the post Greed in FMA:B was tied to from a crucifix shape to a normal pole. – Maroon Jul 8 '14 at 6:45

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