Tue 29 Jul 2008
Well, since the cool kids are doing it, I think I’ll talk about the Gurren Lagann dub as well. Got little better to do while Dio is at work and my only other possible duty is to prepare for going to grad school.
Watching the first two episodes dubbed marks my estimated 19th and 20th times (yes, I watched them twice. Once with loud friends while playing Mutants and Masterminds and the other recorded off TiVo for me to watch without distractions,) and I’ve come to this conclusion: Gurren Lagann is timeless. No matter how many times I watch it, I can’t get bored of it. Even if I don’t find something new, it’s a blast and a half regardless.
Because it’s in a whole new language, there is something new to find, though. Namely, how different people interpret characters, and how being broadcast on American television impacts the flow of the episodes. Check it after the more.
So first, thoughts on the Bang Zoom! voice acting crew.
Simon (Yuri Lowenthal): How many people know Yuri Lowenthal as solely being Sasuke from the Naruto dub? Because comparing Sasuke to Simon is like comparing Night to Day, and if that’s your only base point, many people might find it hard to believe that he can do hot blooded. Fortunately, my first encounter listening to Lowenthal was not through Naruto, but rather through a little gem of a fantasy series called Scrapped Princess, where he did a bang up job as the hot blooded idiot wannabe knight, Leo.
So when I heard he was voicing Simon, my heart actually skipped a beat, because I knew how perfect he would be. The guy has a decent range which will allow him to go far in this role. Don’t believe me? That is most definitely him in the first minute of the show. He does a great Garlock, and moments later he impresses as the young, still immature Simon. From the slight whine to the terrified squeaks to the excellent show of rage in episode 2, I can’t think of a VA who would do Simon better. Here’s looking forward to episode 11, when Yuri’s true test begins.
Kamina (Kyle Hebert): When I first heard that Teen Gohan would be Kamina, I knew I had to do one thing. I had to tell my Dragon Ball Z fangirl friend that he was Kamina just to get the inevitable squeal. Then I had to listen to the voice. And you know something? It really works. He’s not HOT BLOODED ALL THE TIME like Katsuyuki Konishi, but he seems to be making a different Kamina. He’s playing up the side of Kamina that’s more subtle, the side that really depends on Simon’s tenacity, in the sequences where he’s not letting the manliness flow. When the scene calls for GAR, he’s been building it up, with each speech getting more GAR than the last. His first fight in Episode 2 was therefore the shining moment for this VA this week.
And his “JUST WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM?!” is fantastic. (Unlike Jason at DbD, I have no qualms with lightened swearing. Besides, since more fansubbers used this line, it seems more natural to me anyhow.)
Yoko (Michelle Ruff): Ruff does tough. That really should be her personal catch phrase, since while she’s fairly typecast into the tough girl roles she always does a good job of it. (Her Nagato Yuki from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is sort of a variation rather than an outlier.) So she’s a natural as Yoko, there’s no question about it. I have nothing major to say about her, but she’s doing great.
Boota (Julie Ann Taylor): Awwww, such adorable pigmole noises! Will have to see how she does later, but she’s doing fine thus far.
Leeron (Steven Blum): Spike Spiegel. Mugen. Zabuza. BlackWarGreymon for those who remember Digimon Adventure 02. Those that only know Blum’s badass roles might be surprised to find him playing (and succeeding beyond expectations) an extremely gay mechanic.
But he’s also been Guilmon, for those who remember Digimon Tamers. The guy has one of the most astounding comedic ranges in American dubbing. In other words, once you think about it for a bit, there’s no reason that Steven Blum as Leeron should confuse anyone. Only one way to describe his performance.
Other Characters: Whoever the hell does the various beastmen are great. I think at least one of them was also Blum.
Dayakka and the other Littners were all just fine.
The Jiha village chief was surprisingly well done for being such a bit character. That guy must like his role. *Checks who it is* Stupid ANN is down and Wikipedia doesn’t have it. Grrrr.
Commentary on the Dub itself: “Boota, behave yourself!” I think this little line was the final sell point for Lowenthal and Bang Zoom’s dub for me. His delivery was comedic perfection in a new spin on the first boota breast-dive joke. The dialogue was always true to the spirit and meaning while flowing well in english while still paying attention to lip flap, a trait shared by all of Bang Zoom’s best dubs.
However, I’m not sure if I’ll continue to watch it on Sci Fi. I’m starting Grad School in a few weeks, and my schedule will likely be shot to hell and I doubt I’ll have a TiVo in Florida.
Hey, wait! You can grab the dub off iTunes! SCORE!
(Dear gods I’m buying this series twice. Maybe even thrice.)