Heroic Age Re-watch 2
Princess Dhianella has a stronger character in the English dub vs the Japanese language audio of Heroic Age. That’s very rare. The English voice actor does an exceptional job of making use of the background music (BGM) to magnify her persona. The Japanese seiyuu for Dhainella (spelled differently but phonetically the same as Hercules’ wife) is more subdued and softer. In general, I would have rated the English dub superior except for the fact that not all of the support voice actors did as good or better a job than their Japanese counterparts. The priest from Fate Stay Night did the job of system leader for the minor tribe, the Daedas, which was an interesting surprise. He has an interesting and deep voice.
In terms of sound quality, for some reason the English audio remixes always ramp up the sound effects. This isn’t just true for Heroic Age but for other dub conversions in anime. On one hand, this means sometimes the sound effects drown out the voices causing babbling or static interference while on the other hand it also adds greater suspense and drama if the BGM and SFX suit the atmosphere. Episode 5 The Nodos, gives a good example of this. When the main satellite defense array fires, you can feel it in the English audio but in the Japanese audio it is very much more subdued. They also may be using a lower sample bit rate. From hearing things on this side of the Pacific, Americans really love their “sample rate”. Although I only notice it for really loud sound effects or complex sound effects. Generally speaking, I like the heightened music volume for tense or battle situations in HAge. The music is good enough that making it louder actually enhances the mood.
The captain of the Argonaut (get it, Argonaut, Heroic, Hercules) is very noticeable in the difference between the English personality vs the Japanese personality. The Japanese tend to view their captains as being outspoken, yes, but calm in times of crisis. This is analogous to US Navy standards for captains, also seen in David Weber’s Honor Harrington. Don’t let them see you sweat. In American tv, however, the leader is often “angry” or noticeable because they are yelling out commands. That’s actually contrary to command doctrine for ships. On a battlefield you may have to shout out commands if only because the background noise is going to cancel your voice out if you don’t. But in a ship, that’s just not so. I think this tradition actually makes sense, even though the Japanese take is more accurate for the modern world or for science fiction. The Japanese only started a professional naval tradition after around 1900, when their industrialization phase started. On the other hand, Britain and America started their industrialization around a century earlier. Back in the days of muscle powered ships or battles, yelling out commands was the norm. That or using something high pitched like a bugle or a base like a drum to send out commands. But once you entered the day of electronic communication, that was not nearly as necessary. Especially for ships. When radios came into military use, it became far more important to clearly and concisely describe the situation, rather than drop into emotional yelling. There was no need for loudness as what mattered was how clear your audio came through, not how loud it was. Given static and interference, loudness would just make the static distortion louder as well.
I usually prefer the Japanese audio version because they’re more detailed and consistent plot/character wise than the English dubs. I’m willing to let English voice actors apply their own philosophy and take on a character but that’s not the same as giving free operation on changing things necessary to understand the plot or character interactions. It gets especially important in a science fiction story because if you change an explanation of a sci fi concept, it may end up getting really garbled. Generally speaking, there wasn’t any real noticeable differences between the English and Japanese versions for the first 6 episodes.
Btw, in episode 5, there was a fundamental mistake on the reaction on the part of the Titarrasos’ supreme commander. An English language mistake. From the Japanese version, it was apparent to me that Titarros decided to provide a defensive line because they were defending themselves. The fact that this helped another entity was part and parcel of the “plausible denial” factor. Yet n the English factor, they explicitly said “they had the right of self defense”. They meaning the other entity in question that was helped by the Titarros military defending themselves. It’s things like this that make you wonder what the voice actors are actually given to help them understand what is going on with the plot and events. For Japanese seiyus, they are given pre-production drawn cartoons depicting events in the anime, then their voice is integrated and the characters are fully animated. Visualization is of great aid to a voice actor. You can see this phenomenon in the US given how horrible the acting for the Episode 1-3 Star Wars movies came out to be. The actors mentioned that it was incredibly hard to properly project their character reactions when all they see is a green wall room around them. In the movie, we see them traveling through beautiful and stunning scenery but the actors act bored and unimpressed. Obviously because to them they’re just in a green room. Visualization is very important for actors, of any kind, for them to properly utilize their skills of illusion crafting.