Log Horizon (English dub)
I love me some “Log Horizon”, it’s a great show with fun and engaging characters and an interesting narrative. Now that Sentai Filmworks has released the first part, the English dub is available to watch. How is it?
I think it falls into a “your mileage may vary” kind of bin. Overall, I think the voices are a REALLY good fit (especially Akatsuki). But unfortunately, the scripters decided to either vent their feelings of online gamers or make it more “hip” to today’s youth. The result is a cacophony of slang that detracts from the better aspects of the show. For the purpose of making a point I’ll focus on two key examples, but I’ll make note that it’s true for pretty much ALL the characters.
Naogutsu is straight-up “dudebro”/frat guy in the English dub. I’m wondering if that will be proven out as a problem in the second season since he’s (based on dialogue) actually a salaryman (ie. young(ish) professional). I’m well aware that people probably get dumbed down by at least a few years (if not decades) when communicating online, but one of the key points about Log Horizon is that the “players” are NOT online. In fact, unlike in “Sword Art Online”, ‘Elder Tales’ (the Log Horizon game) was a monitor & mouse game, not a fully immersive gaming experience. That’s a key reason WHY many players view and treat it as a different world. Some things that one might’ve done “online” are simply not done in the world of Log Horizon which isn’t exactly a game. In the end, Naogutsu IS a “pervert”, but he’s not a “bro” or a “l33t gamer”.
But even if you can accept all the slang, I can’t reconcile Nyanta’s voice. If reddit is any indication this may be an example of exactly what Sentai was going for since sevral redditors are already claiming to “love” what is being called his “pimp” voice and claiming they will purchase the discs for that alone. Again, the VOICE is fine, but I can’t bring myself to accept the scripting, which again, makes him sound like a deep voice guy “acting cool” rather than a 40+ year old man who is a mentor to most of our heroes. In the sub, Nyanta comes across as a Dumbledore kind of character, in the dub he sounds more like Shaft. Whoever he is in “real life”, Nyanta projects an air of calm maturity in the sub, and that’s what makes his character work. He is Alfred, rather than Batman.
In the end, I think my main disappointment with the dub is that it’s clear it isn’t “for” me. One great thing about Log Horizon is that most of the characters are (and behave like) adults. Even though they are in a “game” world, they’re grappling with larger societal and personal issues and give these issues adult consideration. The dub, unfortunately, chooses to throw it all back into “gamer-land” and gives it a feel of a bunch of college kids playing a game rather than adults dealing with what is (in Shrioe’s words) their new reality. In the end, I think the show is a little lesser for it.
Make no mistake, the release is still worth buying; the show is entertaining and the characters are engaging. I personally would just recommend sticking with the sub.