During the Sentai Filmworks Panel at Anime Expo 2013, an audience member asked whether or not the characters in the Girls und Panzer English dub (for NA localization) would be getting accents. The asker even preferred “horrible accents” as opposed to a regular dub. Much of the crowd chuckled while some cheered at the prospect. In response David Williams, the host of the panel and license producer, said he’ll relay the message to the dubbing team (a.k.a. the ADR staff). He added that if demand is high enough (whether through emails or a petition) then they may consider it.
But is it necessary to have accents? No, not really. Accents can make for a good laugh, if not adding another layer of immersion to those native to the English language. But for the most part, they could be disregarded. It really depends on a case by case basis though. The ADR team likely faced a question similar to “How prevalant will accents be used?” Recent examples that got the go-ahead for accents include Infinite Stratos and the Hetalia series. Watching and hearing the characters with accents is funny but it could just as well work fine without them.
But sometimes it may feel unnecessary, if not undesired. Case in point, the Strike Witches dub clearly had the opportunity to give the cast accents for their representative countries but instead went with a regular dub. Why so? A primary reason could be that the main character, Yoshika, is Japanese and would therefore get an accent. There could have been localization issues when doing this. But that borders on the topic of “whose English is the right English?,” something tricky to define that I don’t want to get into. Again, it really depends on the anime in discussion.
*Spoilers to Girls und Panzer Discussed*
I myself would love to hear accents in GuP but I believe they will omit the use. For one thing there will be an issue with the Nishizumi sisters. What with Maho being the commander of the Kuromori school team, up until which Miho was a member of before joining Ooarai. Would they have German accents? Not likely.
Sure, full accents could be used for the British, American, French and German teams. And I think it will be a must for the Russian team, especially as they get ready to sing Katyusha. Oh, and there’s another issue, will Sentai obtain the license for that song? Crunchyroll sure didn’t for their stream.
*End of Spoiler*
At best, accents would be used on the spur of the moment, sparsely in dialogue or as a catch phrase. “Panzer Vor!” as some would say. But I wouldn’t mind a “horribly accented” version as well. Maybe do a Kickstarter for the additional audio track? It works for anime, just ask LWA2. They did really well actually.
What do you think? Do accents add to a dub? Would you be fine with accents for Girls und Panzer? Please comment below and participate in the poll.
Thanks for reading!
Looks like Sentai went with a straight, no accented, dub. No extra tracks either!