Hey everyone, it’s AJ from the Cartoon Cipher and a lot of you seemed to like the last bit of coverage we did for Anime News Network where we broke down what we considered to be solid English dubs for some weekly seasonal anime. We know that those behind the scenes are still working hard to catch up and do the best job they can for us as quickly as possible, so we’ll do our best to highlight the attention that we think they deserve. However because a lot of shows are still lagging behind per season we decide to do things a little bit differently this time and instead talk about dubs that we watched in the past two months that have either wrapped up or are still airing. So with that said, what have we gotten a chance to see since last time?
The Quintessential Quintuplets (S1+S2)
The Quintessential Quintuplets was honestly a show I was very surprised by when the first season started airing. While it does still fall into the typical trappings we tend to associate from other shows in the genre, I think what helps Quintuplets stand out from other harem anime is its desire to put character growth and relations over cheap wish fulfillment. Apphia Yu and her team understood this while they were working on season one, while still managing to play up those looser moments of levity. But now that season two has come around, there seems to be a stronger focus on that character growth and the relationships between the main girls as they all struggle to figure out who they want to be. All of these dub actresses bring forward performance’s directly inspired by the unique characteristics of each sister while still sounding like they are all genuinely part of the same family, from the momentary passive aggressiveness, to the more intimate moments of connection brought out by a few choice words. At the center of all of this is Josh Grelle, who’s no doubt playing a more serious harem protagonist than what we are used to seeing from them, but they still manage to insert the usual goofy charm that feels right at home here.
Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle
Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle makes it very clear what kind of show it’s trying to be within the first five minutes. In the past year, FUNimation has outsourced quite a few of their simuldubs to other studios in order to meet consumer demands after the pandemic caused understandable delays. Sleepy Princess (and a few others) were actually done by Sound Cadence Studios who some of you might recognize as the group behind the Kemono Friends dub (which as a bonus, is also another dub that we highly recommend). If I had to describe this particular dub in one word, it would most definitely be FUN as I end up walking away with a handful of genuine laughs and a dopey smile on my face after almost every episode. Some of that comes down to just how serious everyone plays their respective archetypes in an atmosphere that doesn’t call for it, from Alejandro Saab as the constantly frustrated demon king to Kira Buckland‘s dedicated-sounding obsessiveness over just wanting a good night’s sleep (trust me, I can relate). Other times, the humor comes from the blink-and-you-miss-it moments of punched-up character reactions to the sheer absurdity of a hostage that is as cute as she is threatening. Combine all of these things with a very playful script that manages to add in some clever moments of funny wordplay, and what you’re left with is a pretty good time that I could recommend in my sleep.
MARS RED seems to be a show that FUNimation is putting a lot of stock into and I can certainly see why, as the show does use a particular style that seems all its own, with a slow methodical pace accompanied by gorgeous music. Every word in the dub feels very deliberate with not a single one sounding out of place or unimportant. Even when a character is being playful or seemingly insane, the script writing feels very tight and in some ways equally methodical. Then when certain characters speak you can just feel this implied history and weight to the way that they present themselves. Hands down the stand out being Sean Schemmel as Yoshinobu, who sounds borderline unrecognizable compared to his other well-known roles like Goku from the Dragon Ball franchise. It’s honestly the kind of acting range that makes me hope he pops up in more anime dubs regularly moving forward because he honestly feels right at home with the rest of the cast who makes up a decent mix of L.A. and Texas talent. The use of distinct accents and certain phrase usage could feel out of place for the setting and time period, but I think it works well enough when you consider how heightened everything is trying to feel. If you found the pacing for MARS RED a little too slow and drawn out for your liking then it’s possible the dub might be able to help you get through a lot of those scenes easier but even if you haven’t checked out the show at all, I do think the dub is a good place to start.
Sk8 the Infinity
I’ve seen a lot of people want to check out the Sk8 the Infinity dub based on clips that have been shared around online, but I honestly don’t think they do the whole dub justice. This is a sports anime with such a kinetic, style and personally all its own. I can’t help but be drawn into how passionate everyone sounds, portraying characters from different walks of life that can all come together in order to share their love for skateboarding. Whether it’s Matt Shipman with Howard Wang or Jonah Scott with Daman Mills, the Sk8 dub lean into the natural chemistry that was present in the original with just the right amount of punched-up slang. Yes some word choices might not be for everyone, but not once did I feel like anything said was out-of-character and the reverence for skating, the feelings the sport can potentially elicit in us, it’s communicated here beautifully. Definitely one worth recommending.
The dub for Jujutsu Kaisen has some big shoes to fill as is usually the case with shows that are already exploding in popularity. I wouldn’t call the setup for Jujutsu Kaisen the most unique but everyone has such large personalities and such confident dynamics with each other that it’s kind of hard to not find myself getting sucked in. The dub cast is absolutely stacked with well known L.A. talent and while they might not always match the original Japanese in vocal texture, every actor finds their own way of slipping into what gives the characters so much presence. There’s Kaiji Tang‘s sheer overwhelming yet laid-back confidence or Ray Chase‘s insidious monologues that are just dripping with evil. However, the surprise stand out may actually be Adam McArthur as Yūji, making his anime debut as someone who primarily did prelay animation and is probably most well known for his role as Marco Diaz in the Disney animated series Star vs. The Forces of Evil. I know a few people that had trouble adjusting to his specific efforts and reactions but there’s just a lovable goofy charm to the performance that I can’t help but find genuinely endearing. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of what I love so much about such straightforward shōnen leads. I may be alone in that sentiment but at the absolute least the dub for Jujutsu Kaisen is solid across-the-board and the show is definitely worth your time no matter what language you decide to hear it in.
And that’s all we’ve got for this go around! But what do you guys think about the dubs we talked about here today? Do you think these anime dubs are worth recommending? What other dubs have you been watching since the last time we talked?
We know there’s a few that are still coming out as we were writing this, but for now, we’re very curious to hear your thoughts in the comments down below and don’t forget to subscribe for more anime content. Anime News Network puts out a new topic video every Friday at 1pm EST/10am PT and you can catch our ANN After Show LIVE every Monday at 9pm EST/6pm PT.
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