I was wondering if it's legally possible for an anime to be spoken in the English language only. Sure a Japanese dub can be optional, but in terms of main dubbing, can anime have English as the main dub?

I know such anime may not even exist, but I'm wondering if there's any law or regulation preventing anime from being dubbed in English only. And when I say anime, I mean actual made-in-Japan anime, not anime-styled cartoons produced anywhere else.

  • I don't think there's any law, but I'd imagine it would be met as wildly confusing and possibly offensive. After all, most anime series come out of manga, which has text bubbles written in Japanese. Maybe if it was an original work, not based on any manga. That would avoid the potential disrespectful perception. But in any case, anything is possible, you just have to think of the implications in public opinion.
    – Hakase
    Jan 1 '18 at 3:01
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    Can I ask why you think it's even possible that there would be a law that would prevent the creation of a Japanese anime whose audio is in English? Japan is a modern first-world country with at least some semblance of freedom of expression. A law that would prevent the creation of animations with English audio seems like the sort of thing that would be very much beyond the pale.
    – senshin
    Jan 1 '18 at 9:50
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    It would also be just a very weird law to have. What would be the point of legally banning making something in a foreign language?
    – kuwaly
    Jan 1 '18 at 12:43

There is absolutely no law that specifies that an anime can only be in English.

I will state that this is incredibly rare, given that most anime are actually made in Japan for a Japanese audience (hence why they're in Japanese), but given that the Afro Samurai anime was released in English-only, and it and its original manga source work was originally made in Japan, this only goes to demonstrate that there can be no law against this.

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    There's also the Blade Runner anime where they have English as the main dub.
    – Gao
    Jan 1 '18 at 5:03
  • Don't forget Avatar: The Last Airbender . It is one of the few (the only? ) American show to truly capture what makes good anime.
    – pojo-guy
    Jan 1 '18 at 10:49
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    @pojo-guy: The Last Airbender is 100% American though. It wasn't made in Japan. It just borrows themes from Japanese anime.
    – Makoto
    Jan 1 '18 at 16:50
  • More to the point, unlike other US based attempts at anime, it captured the essence of what makes anime stand out from american animations. The Asian themes help, but Japanese anime are not Asia centric. Eurpo-centric themes abound. Take SnK, where the names are all German and Mikasa's claim to fame is that she is (possibly) the last asian in the world.
    – pojo-guy
    Jan 2 '18 at 18:37

Afro Samurai, Akira, Blade Runner Black Out 2022, and Space Dandy are all examples of anime that were produced and dubbed in English during their production overseas. Some of these titles listed have Japanese Dialogues, but all of these were released with English Dialogue as a priority for those areas that will receive them.

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