Friday, March 26, 2010

Haruhi Suzumiya, Season 2 English Dub -- Doomed to Fail

Anyone who has ever watched the dubbed version of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya can probably guess why I really, really don't like most English dubs. In fact, when I tried to watch Suzumiya in the English dub, I was cringing so much from the terrible voice acting performances that I literally had to switch over to the original version with subs. It was literally impossible for me to watch that anime. "Why?" some may ask. "Was it really that terrible?" All I can say is, "Yes, yes it was."

The main reason that Haruhi's dub was so terrible was the fact that the original performance was so amazing. Those of you who know me know that I'm very partial with Aya Hirano -- she's probably one of my favorite seiyuus. That aside, Hirano's performance as Suzumiya was (and is) absolutely stellar. Not only does she perfectly capture the spirit of Haruhi's character, but her ability to play the challenging role absolutely shines. Suzumiya has to act overbearing, demeaning, depressed, eccentric, excited, bored and hyper, slightly show a crush on Kyon while still being tsundere, and (oh, yeah) sing. Hirano really comes to the table with these challenges and completely aces every single one. Her American counterpart? Oh right, not so much. Watch Episode 12 of the English dub and you'll see what I mean -- they actually redubbed Hirano's singing with new singing by Wendee Lee. Oh, and by the way, Wendee Lee really can't sing.

Lee isn't the only one of the American counterparts that doesn't rise to the challenges of their role in the same manner the Japanese did. Michelle Ruff (who plays Nagato) fails to capture the same calm, calculated awesomeness that Minori Chihara brings to the table during the Asakura fight scene. In that same scene, listen to how Crispin Freeman says, "Nagato" as Nagato enters the virtual world to save him lacks the same amazed feeling that the original had. Crispin Freeman's Kyon is generally less emphatic and snarky, something I miss about his character from the original. Even Mikuru lost much of her ultra-innocent voice that Yuuko Goto did so well.

This morning, Bandai Entertainment posted this video (the original was actually removed, most likely due to the fact that it sported a rather NSFW ending). The cast will be the same as season one. I'll still take a look at a few of the episodes, but given the fact that the Endless Eight troll arc was unbearable even with Hirano and the Japanese cast, I doubt I'll make it past the first repetition.

The only good thing I have to say about this preview is the opening theme song's English Adaption. "Super Driver" actually is rather pleasant sounding in English, unlike "Bouken Deshou Deshou" was in the first season's dub. In any case, it will be interesting to see how this adaption turns out, even if it most likely will fail.

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