Howl and Sofie in 'Howls Moving Castle'

The Best Dubbed Anime of All Time, Ranked

Anime dubs get a lot of hate.

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Most of the time, it’s warranted. Top-tier voice acting talent in the anime dubbing industry is hard to come by, mostly because major anime streaming companies make it a pretty shit industry to get into in the first place. More often than not, voice actors work non-union in the dub industry, which means that they get paid less and have less protections from industry bullshit.

As such, many voice actors choose to work union gigs where their talents are better respected. Nevertheless, good anime dubs do exist, marvelous dubs in fact. These dubs are a labor of love to the anime community and deserve all the respect in the world. To celebrate all the good dubs out there, I’ve come up with a list of the ten best anime dubs of all time.

Here’s to you, Kase-san and Morning Glories voice actors. We love you. We really do.

15. My Hero Academia

Deku looking alarmed in 'My Hero Academia'
(Viz Media)

My Hero Academia has become the prestige shonen anime of the 21st Century, and the voice cast is equally top-notch. It is an EMOTIONAL series, and the English voice cast acts like the rent is due. Each voice actor for every character delivers.

14. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

David from 'Cyberpunk Edgerunners' being cool
(TRIGGER)

The cast of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners took the original Cyberpunk 2047 world, whose characters often deliver lines like 12-year-olds still learning to cuss, and gave it an emotional depth. Cyberpunk Edgerunners breathed life back into a franchise that for all intents and purposes should have flatlined, but was saved by the sheer talent of the anime adaptation’s cast and crew.

13. Death Note

Light Yagami from 'Death Note'
(Nippon TV)

The over-the-top antics of the Death Note cast have become legendary on the internet. TikTok is chock full of audio clips from the cast, from Misa-Misa threatening to kill any woman that Light tries to date, to Light declaring his “perfect victory” to L. Who could forget the just-gargled-gravel voice of Ryuk and the playful elegance of L? This cast is carrying the weight of anime memes on their backs.

12. The Devil Is A Part Timer

Characters from 'The Devil Is a Part-Timer'
(White Fox)

Humor is all about timing and tone, but it’s hard to really be surprised by a joke when you’re reading it in the subtitles. The cast of The Devil Is A Part Timer joins this vaunted list of exceptions for continually going above and beyond to make a series laugh-out-loud funny.

11. Dragon Ball Z

goku ready to fight in 'Dragon Ball Z'
(Funimation)

These voice actors aren’t going to win any Oscars for grounded dramatic performances, but the thing is they aren’t trying to. Dragon Ball Z doesn’t call for realism, it calls for over-the-top vocal performances. And these voicer actors nail it. Goku is voiced by a guy named Sean Schemmel, and I am amazed that this man hasn’t completely fried his vocal cords. Listening to this man yell without breathing for the better part of a minute is an adrenaline rush all on its own.

10. Full Metal Alchemist

Edward Elrich and Roy Mustang in a promotional image for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
(Bones)

Full Metal Alchemist—arguably the greatest anime of all time—naturally has a phenomenal dub. Every single character in the series is putting in work. From the bone-chilling scary grandpa voice of Fuhrer Bradley, the badass bass tones of Colonel Mustang, to the tenderhearted and childlike Alphonse, nearly every member of the series is PERFECTLY CAST.

9. Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
(Production I.G.)

Flawless dub. Alison Matthews delivers as the cool-headed Motoko Kusanagi and the rest of the members of Section Nine shine bright as well. My personal favorite voice actor on this show is Russell Roberts as Daisuke Aramaki. He has such a one-of-a-kind vocal tone and is the perfect casting choice for a tough old man who refuses to take shit. The series also features my favorite voice actor of all time, Steve Blum, as The Laughing Man. The man’s velvety voice is sexy and he does a phenomenal job in every role he’s given.

8. Attack On Titan

Attack on Titan Characters Lev Ackerman, Eren Yeager, Armin Arlet and Mikasa Ackerman
(Wit / MAPPA)

Jessie James Grelle, the voice of Armin Arlert, deserves an Academy Award.

I can’t even think about Armin’s harrowing “I am a soldier” speech from Attack on Titan without getting chills. The performance is masterful. This anime is lousy with glorious dub moments. Let’s not forget the legend J. Michael Tatum’s performance as Commander Erwin Smith. That man has brought me close to tears multiple times while I was watching the series. Watching the show feels like listening to people die. It is genuinely hard to stomach at time. The entire cast of this series, from nameless soldier to main character, deserves an Emmy.

7. Ouran High School Host Club

The cast of 'Ouran High School Host Club'
(Bones)

I tend to watch the Japanese sub in most cases. I prefer it because it feels closer to the image of the character the creator of the show intended. HOWEVER, I make an exception when it comes to comedy. Particularly one of my favorite anime comedies, Ouran High School Host Club. Due to the language barrier, it’s hard for humor to be communicated effectively in a sub (Kill La Kill being the exception), and so it’s often up to the dub actors to make the comedy of a series really shine. Ouran High School Host Club‘s English cast does this impeccably. The series is laugh-out-loud funny.

6. Trigun

Vash the Stampede in 'Trigun'
(Crunchyroll)

Another series where comic chops are key, and veteran anime voice actor Johnny Yong Bosch knocks it out of the park voicing Vash The Stampede. Mostly known for more serious-minded “angry young man” characters like Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach. He’s really good at sounding like he’s always on the verge of kicking your ass. I still haven’t gotten Vash’s scream of despair after killing a man for the first time out of my head. Tragic.

5. Samurai Champloo

Characters from Samurai Champloo
(Funimation)

Steve Blum is back as one of my favorite anime characters of all time—Samurai Champloo’s Mugen. Blum gives a masterful performance as the murderous young vagrant and is somehow able to simultaneously make Mugen feel likable and dangerous at the same time. Meanwhile, Kirk Thornton is the perfect choice for the cool-headed Jin, and his vocal performance is a masterclass in the art of subtlety. This is another anime where I actually prefer the dub more than the sub. Mostly because I have a voice crush on Steve Blum, but also because I believe each actor perfectly captures the world weary ennui of the characters themselves.

4. Cowboy Bebop

spike vs vicious in Cowboy Bebop
(Sunrise)

In Cowboy Bebop Steve Blum plays the effortlessly cool Spike Spiegel in what is arguably the best vocal performance of his entire career. Blum is able to capture Spike’s complex character beautifully. Spike shifts from happy-go-lucky, to dangerously debonair, to emotionally distraught throughout the entire series, and every side of his personality feels earned. This role solidifies Blum as more than just man blessed with genetic vocal talent, but as an actor with real chops.

3. Howl’s Moving Castle

Howl and Sophie in Howl's Moving Castle.
(Studio Ghibli)

Studio Ghibli has the budget to hire some of the best actors in the world to voice their characters. Howl’s Moving Castle is no exception. The reigning King Sexyman of Anime, Howl, is voiced by none other than real-life Sexyman Christian Bale. His American accent is flawless like we all knew it would be. Billy Crystal plays the sassy little fire demon Calcifer and cinema legend Jean Simmons voices the elderly Sophie, while her younger counterpart is voiced by Emily Mortimer. And THEN Lauren Bacall is the Witch of The Waste? What more could you ask for?

2. Spirited Away

An animate young girl sits on a train surrounded by ghost people, one is wearing a mask in "Spirited Away"
(Studio Ghibli)

This star-studded cast features some of the voice-over industry’s best and brightest. Jason Marsden plays Haku, the spirit of the Kohaku River. Meanwhile, Rodger Bumpass is Bandai-gaeru, the foreman and Tara Strong voices the giant baby. Perfect.

1. Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke, a Studio Ghiblil film
(Studio Ghibli)

The casting directors of Princess Mononoke didn’t have to go so hard picking this cast, but they did, and I’m really hyped about it. Billy Crudup does a beautiful performance as the heartthrob young warrior Ashitaka. Claire Danes has the perfect “rough around the edges” voice to play San, who was quite literally raised by wolves. The effortlessly classy Minnie Driver voices the posh boss lady Lady Eboshi, and voice acting legend John DiMaggio voices her bodyguard Gonza, you might recognize him as Jake the Dog from Adventure Time and Bender from Futurama. Meanwhile, Billy Bob Thorton came out of nowhere to voice the affable yet terrifying monk Jigo. I personally think that this is the finest assemblage of voice actors to ever grace the big screen. There’s something magic about the voice acting in this film, that only adds to the greater majesty of what is, in my opinion, Hayao Miyazaki’s best film to date.

(Featured image: Studio Ghibli)


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Author
Image of Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.