Long time ago the English anime dubbing companies used to dub anime songs. But now they don't dub them. Is there a reason?

  • 6
    Keeping costs low and avoidin bad reputation? I mean, sometimes the songs weren't even dubbed, but totally destroyed and changed, and that was very badly received by very vocal fans on the internet. Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 19:35
  • 2
    Can you give some examples of songs that were dubbed? I know it happens (e.g. Ouran's OP), but I don't recall it being a common practice.
    – senshin
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 0:19
  • Actually, some still do. Though it happens almost only to films and happens extremely rarely. The most recent one that I know of is Teru's Song from Tales from Earthsea(2006). Its obviously not as good as the original so why bother.
    – DarkDestry
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 3:55

1 Answer 1


My guess is to save themselves money. Dubbing a song in English always seemed to be a rare thing anyway. Anime licensing/dubbing companies here in the US are always trying to skimp as much as they can, to keep themselves in the black. (EDIT: Rephrased less cynically, these companies focus on the aspects of localizing where they get the most potential profit against the expenses they occur, and not all anime releases are expected to make enough profit to risk "pulling out all the stops". Source: Answerman column on Anime News Network, which is a great resource about the dubbing/localizing process.)

It takes them extra time and money to find a singer to sing the song in English, get access to the instrumental version of the song (unless they decide to create their own instrumental, which is even more expensive), give the singer time to learn and practice the song, and then get them in to record said song. (EDIT: It may also be the case where even if the dubbing company wanted to dub over the song, the song's distributor/rights holder may not have allowed it.)

The alternative is just leaving the song as it is, in Japanese, and slapping on subtitles for the lyrics.

For these companies, it just isn't worth the hassle. When they do it, it's because they believe the show will sell better this way.

  • Even adding subtitles to the song is skipped sometimes. Someone unable to understand the lyrics can appreciate a catchy tune without being distracted by the (often unimpressive) lyrics.
    – Paul Rowe
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 16:56
  • Indeed! Usually you'd see companies subtitle the songs, since they're subtitling the rest of it anyway, but, yeah, it may save themselves that tiny bit more money by doing that. It may also be a case that the song's recording company in Japan, for one reason or another, disallowed the English company from subtitling the song, or providing them the lyrics for the song.
    – JaykeBird
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 20:38
  • 1
    Heh... I remember watching fansubs of Bleach and seeing them change the subtitles on the theme song when they realized they misheard something. What I remember is "G-O-O-D-Y" became "G-O-O-D-Bye".
    – Paul Rowe
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 20:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .