Fictional Fridays #21 – An Open Letter

Life

I’ve never written an open letter before, but I’m going to do it now because a dubbed version of a show just came out and I literally almost died watching the first episode. Cue my angry rant.
Dear Free! Eternal Summer Dub,
Why? I must open with this simple question. It’s not that I hate all dubbed versions of shows, while I do prefer subbed versions, there are some good dubs out there. A lot of the Ghibli movie dubs were pretty swell, in my humble opinion. But you, dear Free! Eternal Summer Dub, you are very much not. You see, I can handle the weird slang speak of bros when it is placed somewhere that it belongs. Say a (terrible) MTV show.  You know where it doesn’t belong? Anime dubs. 
I’m sorry, but I know the show is being translated into English and all, but I don’t think you NEED to change the original lines to such a degree that they change the entire character types. I think that fans of anime, dubbed or subbed, know that these shows are supposed to take place…IN JAPAN. There is NO need to make it seem like these shows are taking place in America…we know they aren’t. The banners are written in Japanese for Pete’s sake! 
Why? Why did you do what you did to this dub? I know the show was outrageous to begin with, but it was outrageous in the normal outrageous anime way, now it’s outrageous in a “What happened? The roof is on fire and their are chickens running around in the yard and suddenly everyone is speaking French and I don’t know what is going on anymore.” Here, in case you’ve forgotten what it is you have done, let me highlight one of the worst line changes for you:
Makoto, the shy, tall, and mellow guy of the group says the most out of character line I have ever heard in my life. Let’s look back together and compare, shall we?
The Sub: “My specialty is backstroke! And my charm point is….my back muscles” 
The Dud I mean Dub: “I got backstrokes for days…and traps just as long!”
Ahem. Please inform me, Free! Eternal Summer Dub…WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?! 
I’m going to take a step back here and really tell you, to the point, where you have gone terribly wrong…and it isn’t all the “bro”, “dude”, and “man”s that you’ve added, nor all the swearing. Well, it is, but maybe not for the reason that you’re thinking. You started out as a sports anime, a sports anime where all the boys are half naked (unlike most sports anime). You were a wonderful oasis for girls to oggle and squeal about adorable/hot swimmers that were totally borderline gay for each other. (It’s all in the subtext, I could talk for days about the doujin culture in Japan surrounding this subject, but I’ll spare you that because you clearly are trying a little TOO hard to Americanize this show) This anime was made for us girls….and you know what us girls do not want? BOYS TALKING LIKE STRAIGHT UP DUDEBROS! 
I like the adorable “E-Excuse me!” stutter. Not “Hey Bro it’s me, Coming in.” That’s not cute. That’s not what I remember watching when the sub first came out! Maybe I’m over reacting, but Free! Eternal Summer Dub, you have let me down for days. (Whatever that means) It wouldn’t have killed anyone keeping most of the lines close to the original and would have kept the original fanbase, well, fans! 
On a final note Free! Eternal Summer Dub…I’m curious how you are going to handle the whole Haru and Rin (Reen, sorry) going to Australia, when Haru struggles to speak English. 
Sincerely, 
A disgruntled and confused fan
*Also a side letter to Crunchyroll, 
Please don’t let them get their hands on season 1.
Sincerely, 
A disgruntled and concerned fan
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By Jess

A bookworm since the tender age of whenever I stopped chewing on books and started actually reading them. A cat-mom, graphic designer, and introvert originally from Pittsburgh, but now resides in the humid, hot, state of Texas. Cheers!

  • Wow! I guess it's pretty bad, hahah. I don't know much about the anime, but with the little I did know I thought it sounded fun. I'll be sure to stay away from the dub, though 😉

  • Sarah

    Irresponsible absentee sub author(?) Sarah here! I had to make a disqus profile literally just to comment on this LOL. We both know I 100% agree with you. I'd just like to add that for a person who has not watched Free! or Free! Eternal Summer this dub will seem good and enjoyable. BUT for the fans of the show that is the big problem, because as you said, the dub completely changes the characterization and the atmosphere of the original show. The original was a thought provoking and sentimental slice of life (with complimentary fan service) while the dub has reduced it to vapid humor, bro-lationships, and fan service. :((

  • I mean, if you are super into swimming bros saying "bro" and "man" and "dude" all the time, then you can totally watch the dub…but I would suggest watching the sub first to see the anime in it's original, non-bro glory! hahah!

  • Yeah, you said it! I was so engulfed in my fangirl rage that I completely forgot to mention that if someone knew nothing about the show, then it would be funny to watch…BUT IT TAKES AWAY EVERYTHING AND EVERYTHING HURTS (for us original fans)!

  • Kay

    Anime dubs are sometimes the absolute worst. Though I agree, I can handle sub versions!

  • That is hilarious. I guess I never realized how bad English dub is!

  • I totally agree! Some can be good, but most of the time they just make me so angry! Especially back in the era of 4Kids when they changed character names!! (I'm looking at you Tokyo Mew Mew)

  • They can be all right, like Disney handled the dubs of Ghibli movies pretty well, but some companies just totally ruin shows with dubs!