I’ve read here and there about Bandai planning on a subtitles-only region one release of Gurren-Lagann in 2008, with a dub release
by ADV Films in 2009. With Gonzo studio’s The Tower of DRUAGA and BLASSREITER series being released with subtitles alongside a Japanese airing (to my understanding), this is a chance for region one English DVD subtitled releases to come out at the same time as region two Japanese DVDs are released. Personally, I’d like to see full-series box sets come out soon after a series has finished airing, rather than individual DVDs.
There have been many dubs I’ve enjoyed, a good lot of them from ADV Films. I wouldn’t want to see their dubbing be replaced by subtitle-only releases, but I wonder what subtitle-only releases will mean. Not only can a series be released sooner, but it could be sold at a lower price. After all, there’s no cost of voice actors, and all the people invovled in ensuring the script fits mouth movements close enough to use, as well as making sure various sayings make sense to a non-Japanese knowledged viewer, and ensuring the scene is fairly true to the original.
Will this be the emergance of a dual-market, for lower-priced subtitled releases, and higher-priced subtitled and dubbed prices? And if this happens, will that create a new type of post for bloggers to write: dub reviews? Sure, there must be dub reviews at many sites already, but if you get the Japanese and English audio tracks, then it doesn’t matter which you choose to watch. If the decision is whether to save money and buy Japanese language only, or spend more to have an English audio track, then it’s important to know whether the English track is good enough to justify the increase in cost. And what if the dub release were to (perish the thought) keep its price down by leaving out the Japanese track altogether, along with the licensing costs to use it (assuming that can be separated out)?
If the dub is decent, I’d have no problem paying extra for a set of DVDs in both Japanese and English (whereas “extra” is the current region one box set or thin pack price). If I watch the series in full in both languages, then I’m getting at minimum two viewings of the series for what I paid. If, on the other hand, the dub is like the dub to Saint Tail, which thankfully came with Japanese language tracks, I’d prefer to save money and go Japanese with English subtitles only.
How will subtitles-only releases affect sales of anime DVDs? I know a lot of people who will watch an anime, but only if it’s in English. It’s not that they have anything against Japanese, but watching a foreign show with subtitles is less comfortable than sitting back and relaxing to a series you can understand; it’s better than trying to read the dialogue during a battle scene. But, what percent of buyers, on average, buy anime DVDs to watch in English for series not shown on television?