The Worst English Dubbed Anime (Discussed)

Anime is enjoyed by everyone be it a Japanese otaku or a western geek since there is no language barrier to it all thanks to subs and dubs.

Although a big chunk of the fandom prefers subbed Anime, English dubbed versions are also pretty famous among fans. 

Although dubbed Anime is made for the convenience of fans, they are not considered likable among most fans, especially the English ones due to a number of factors.

Like the breathy voice-over and clean, commercial-Esque pronunciations they picked up from the commercial voice-overs.

English dubs often distort the creative meaning behind an original dialogue. The continuous attempts to match every dialogue and lip movement often shift the emphasis from the characters to the dialogues.

Not only that, some English-dubbed Anime ruin the script by completely changing dialogue or even removing the whole thing from the scene. 

Sailor Moon's English dubbed version
Sailor Moon’s English dubbed version was highly criticized among fans for too many censorships.

For example, when a girl says ore instead of Watashi, it generally denotes a tomboyish attitude but dubbed Anime viewers don’t have a clue about it since in English it just says ‘I’, which makes dubbing unauthentic.

Many fans believe that Anime is made in Japan therefore it should be kept in its original Japanese language.

Here is the list of the worst English dubbed Anime in the history of Anime:

One Piece English Dub By 4Kids Got Canceled

The voiceovers were an absolute turn-off since the voice actors were given tasks that they were terribly bad at like Robin’s voice actor Veronica Taylor had to imitate a southern accent, despite being a creative English voice artist she did not do a good job. 

Besides that, a terrible amount of scenes and plot points were removed from the series.

For the sake of censorship, weapons were replaced with stuff that made no sense, and cigars and cigarettes were replaced with Lollipops. 

The scripts were altered entirely which resulted in the non-sense script and the execution of scenes.

Like the flashback from Luffy’s childhood in which Shanks’ group battles the mountain bandits In the original, Lucky Roo shoots and kills a robber menacing Shanks with a gun, shortly after Shanks warns him that guns aren’t toys.”

However, the dub makes a strange assertion that Lucky Roo was using a cap pistol and the victim simply fainted, thereby giving the opposite message that guns are completely okay to shoot wherever and however you want, as long as they’re firing blanks or anything that makes it appear safe on the surface.

And the worst of all was that 4Kids did not include the original songs of the series and replaced them with their own theme songs which were not even near the level of the original soundtracks

Sailor Moon Was Subjected To Heavy Censorship By DiC

To prevent seeing the Sailor Soldiers being slain, DiC significantly edited episodes, and also censored some aggressive elements, such as people physically beating other characters, including cats.

Not only that, but they constantly referred to Darien’s Prince form as Prince Darien, which makes it exceedingly awkward when he says he doesn’t go by that name despite the fact that he was almost going by that name in the same episode.

In the Japanese episode, his Prince form is known as Endymion in the future. Fortunately, the series has improved since DiC Entertainment’s mid-90s edition.

Viz Media bought the rights to Sailor Moon in 2014 and dubbed every episode, including those omitted by DiC and the Stars season.

They stayed closer to the original Japanese script this time, and the characters retained their original names.

Ghost Stories Have A Highly Offensive Yet Hilarious Dubbed Version

Ghost stories completely diverted from the original script
Ghost Stories completely diverted from the original script.

Since this Anime was a flop in Japan, Animax asked ADV Films to develop the Ghost Stories English dub, and the English voice actors were granted complete creative control over the screenplay.

The official dub is as dull as the animation itself. It’s a drab, uninteresting, and poor Anime that failed almost immediately.

ADV opted to create a comic dub to replace the original content, resulting in comedy without detracting from the core plot. Aniplex, the Japanese owners, gave its official approval.

As an obscure, sub-par Anime series for kids became a humorous, self-aware, and very insulting fan favorite, the original English dub of Ghost Stories has now become a cult classic.

During a Q&A in 2007, voice actor Greg Ayers (who plays Leo in Ghost Stories) acknowledged the show’s spontaneous nature.

The tone for a scene was apparently decided by whichever actor arrived first at the studio, and the rest would just follow in their footsteps.

The scenarios were based on broad general observations of what was expected to happen in the scene, with minimal properly written language.

Greg Ayers QnA about Ghost Stories

Yu-Gi-Oh! Did Not Get The Right Direction

The dialogue and continuous one-liners were inconsistent with what they were doing, especially while attempting to explain card effects.

The soundtrack in the dub also doesn’t do them creditit lacks the intensity that the sub does. I’m not sure why they have to alter character names all the time, especially for people with already English-sounding names, for example, Pegasus J.

Crawford to Maximilian Pegasus and Austin O’Brian to Axel Brodie.

For the most part, the Anime’s directing was poor, and there was some poor voice acting as well (Yuma especially).

Yuma sounds whiny and irritating in the dub, however, Yuma fits better in the sub. While Yu Gi Oh’s plotline was obviously watered down, turning it into a self-aware comedy also worked well on its own.

Speed Racer Did Not Use ADR

The production team probably didn't realize that anime language doesn't necessarily have to match the lip movements of the performers.
The production team probably didn’t realize that anime language doesn’t necessarily have to match the lip movements of the performers.

Because it was one of the first English Anime dubs, the crew probably didn’t recognize that Anime language isn’t always required to correspond with the actors’ mouth movement frames on the screen.

Plus, There was no such thing as Automated Dialogue Replacement, or “ADR,” when Speed Racer was created.

ADR, for those who are unfamiliar, is what lets performers dub over scenes to fix poor or uninteresting audio. Modern Anime also uses it for performers to dub over sequences from the original language or audio.

Because ADR did not exist at the time Speed Racer was recorded, the performers had to speak very quickly in order to keep up with the lines.

They attempted to squeeze in every line as soon as a character spoke, which meant they frequently had to speed through their lines and sync them so that each word matched what was seen.

Later on, I imagine dubbing firms realized how to make Anime dubs sound more natural by not needing to match them to every frame.

Here are some best English Dubbed Anime to binge-watch!

Anime TitleRelease Year
My Hero Academia2016
Assassination Classroom2015
One-Punch Man2015
Hunter x Hunter 2011
Naruto Shippuden 2007
Fairy Tail2009
Anime series with the best English dubbed versions.


  • The Dubbed voiceovers are entirely different from the original subbed.
  • Dubbed voiceovers can create a bias for a person who started to watch the series in subbed first (developed a liking for it) and then switched to dubbed. 
  • Fans also consider dubs as lazy since English dubs usually have a refined voice, unlike the original versions.
  • Since the phrases in the dub are different are the subs and are pronounced differently if the Anime is not modified for the dub, the lip movements and expressions may not entirely match or be on time with the words spoken.

Other Articles

Click here to view the visual Story version of this article.

Scroll to Top
Skip to content