The Summer of Love II: The English Dub of Date A Live

The Summer of Love II continues! Like last year, we will be spacing out our look at the anime with some discussion on various parts of the series. Things like characters, music and of course, the English version. So join me after the cut as we take a look into the English dub of Date A Live.

Miku Voice
Let your voices sing!

I’ve spoken about English dubs on this blog many times, and I’ve stated before that I am an overall fan of English dubbed anime. Even as a child of the 4kids Era, where anime was horrible, brutally and cruelly edited and dubbed by that company, I’ve always maintained that dubs have gotten better and better each year. I also accept that I am in the minority on that front. In a way I get it, people want to see the purist form of the anime, and several of the dubbing companies (Funimation mostly) have been known to play loose with several of their dub scripts. I get that I do, and while I do love Funi’s take on some series, including High School DxD, I understand why people don’t.

I also acknowledge the fact that the wounds inflicted on anime during the 4kids era may be irreparable for some people. Many, MANY shows were done dirty during that time, and while things like YU-GI-OH have grown to become “so bad it’s good” classics, much of what is there is frankly salvageable.  Yet I still love English dubs, and I love the Date A Live’s English version so much, that until this point, I had only ever watched the first two seasons with the English voices. Done by Funimation, the performances on display here are some of the best I’ve heard for a harem story like this, and I want to talk about just a few here today.

The Good

The first of course, is Shido Itsuka who is dubbed by the legendary harem king himself: Josh Grelle. The man responsible for so many harem leads, from the great Issei Hyodo of High School DxD, to things like Majikoi’s Yamato, Infinite Stratos’s Ichika, Quintuplets’ Futaro, and Smartphone’s Touya. Josh Grelle has done them all, and remains a staple of the entire genre. His performance as Shido is no exception, and while the role isn’t the most intense one, he is able to land both the comedy and the dramatic moments like here.

And here

 

Tohka’s voice actress, Michelle Rojas is also excellent, and ties with Kurumi as one of the best performances in the entire anime. Michelle’s talent for comedy is absolutely perfect for Tohka, and she is also able to carry the serious scenes, but again, it is the comedy where she shines, and boy does she shine bright.

 

Then of course, there is Kurumi, and it isn’t surprising that the most loved character gets the strongest voice actor. Alexis Tipton absolutely is perfect for the yandere antics of Kurumi, and her seductive and sexy voice just oozes every single time.

Or when she is trolling Yoshino, and really starts to lay on the sexy.

 

The Not so Good

If there is one voice that feels weaker than most, it is probably Michelle Lee as Origami. While it isn’t horrible, and does improve over time, Origami’s dull and quiet voice really doesn’t transfer well over into English, and too often Michelle seems flat and uninterested, though like I said there are moments that make you chuckle, and when she does have to show emotion, it works well enough. I of course don’t lay blame on Michelle, it’s a tough character to voice, and frankly there isn’t much to work with.

 

Brynn Apprill as Kotori Itsuka is another strange choice, and runs into the English dub problem of having the younger character sounding far older than they should. While Brynn is able to make White-ribbon and Black-ribbon Kotori sound completely different, her performance in Black-ribbon form feels like she’s playing 28 year old compared to a 14 year one.

 

Everyone Else

The rest of cast is overall pretty decent, with no one really standing out or being anything awful. Tia Ballard is excellent as both Yoshino and Yoshinon, able to deliver both voices, though her performance as puppet Yoshinon is the best. Brittney Karbowski, who I absolutely ADORE in her role as Miyako in Majikoi is a good fit for Kaguya Yamai, but feels under-used compared to some of her more famous performances. The same can be said for Jad Saxton, whose role as Miku couldn’t be more different than her role as Koneko from DxD, or Hana from Fruits Basket, again feels underused. Finally Kaitlyn Barr, finds great success in the role of Natsumi in the third season, and is able to switch between her two forms quite well.

Then of course there is Jamie Marchi, Leah Clark and Monica Rial, all heavy-hitters in the dubbing world voicing the three high-school girls: Ai, Mai, and Mii. They all do wonderfully, especially Monica Rial, whose only line for three entire seasons is just repeating “That’s so Lame”

 

Overall, Date A Live’s English dub is well balanced, with some great performances, and some average ones. There isn’t anything overtly bad, and it still remains my go-to each time I watch this series. It may not be for everyone, as all dubs are, but the work and effort put in by the voice actors is evident, even though many of them have clock in better work elsewhere. Give it a look if your so inclined, and you might find yourself enjoying it. Either way, join me next week as The Summer of Love II tackles the second half of season 1 with Kurumi Killer and Itsuka Sister!

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