While most anime shows are better in subbed format due to various reasons (Westen censorship, faulty translations, dubbing errors, continuity issues), there are some – mostly adult anime – dubs that are actually on par with the original. Cowboy Bebop is a very mature anime series and a cult classic, loved both in Japan and in the West. So, is Cowboy Bebop dub better than the original?
While the dub of Cowboy Bebop is not better than the original, it is one of the rare examples where the dub is actually very good and can be considered as being on par with the original version. In the case of Cowboy Bebop, it all comes down to personal preferences, as both versions are really, really good.
The focus of this article is going to be everything you need to know about the differences between the subbed and the dubbed version of Cowboy Bebop. We are going to bring you all the necessary information you need to compare these two versions and finally give our verdict on which one is better.
Why Is the Subbed Version of Cowboy Bebop So Good?
The Cowboy Bebop anime series debuted in 1998. It aired just 26 episodes, 14 of which were originally aired from April 3, 1998 to June 26, 1998, with 12 episodes remaining unaired because of their mature content. The whole series, including the 12 previously unaired episodes, aired from October 24, 1998 to April 24, 1999. A tie-in movie was released in 2001.
After finishing its 26-episode run, Cowboy Bebop came to an end. A lot of people thought that the show was canceled, but as we have explained in an earlier article, the authors’ intention was to have a small-scale show and not a whole franchise. While we might have gotten a few additional episodes, they wouldn’t have changed much on the grander scale.
As is the case with everything related to Cowboy Bebop, the original voice cast was simply great. The voice actors did a great job and the whole project felt very authentic and with a satisfactory level of quality. The production team behind Cowboy Bebop put a lot of heart and emotion into the project, and the voice is just one of the aspects where the show was absolutely amazing and is one of the reasons why we love it so much.
Before we continue, let us see the actors who loaned their voices to the characters:
- Aoi Tada as Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV
- Kōichi Yamadera as Spike Spiegel
- Megumi Hayashibara as Faye Valentine
- Unshō Ishizuka as Jet Black
- Gara Takashima as Julia
- Hikaru Midorikawa as Lin
- Miki Nagasawa as Judy
- Nobuyuki Hiyama as Shin
- Norio Wakamoto as Vicious
- Takehiro Koyama as Bull
- Tsutomu Taruki as Punch
- Ai Uchikawa as Announcer / Murial
- Akio Ohtsuka as Whitney Hagas Matsumoto
- Arisa Ogasawara as Meifa
- Aruno Tahara as Chief
- Asako Dodo as Announcer 2
- Atsuko Tanaka as Coffee
- Ayumi Kida as Cain
- Banjou Ginga as Tongpu
- Bin Sasaki as Elroy
- Chafurin as Harrison
- Chiharu Suzuka as Manley
- Chikao Ohtsuka as Londes
- Daisuke Gouri as Fatty
- Dia Suhart as Gate Announcer
- Eiichiro Suzuki as Nero
- Fumio Matsuoka as Donelly
- Hidetoshi Nakamura as Otto
- Kappei Yamaguchi as Rhint
- Maria Arita as Twinkling Maria Murdoch
- Mika Doi as Arisa
- Miyuki Ichijou as Annie
- Rintarou Nishi as Asimov Solenson
- Ryūzaburō Ōtomo as Abdul Hakim
- Takaya Hashi as Teddy Bomber
- Takeshi Watabe as Chessmaster Hex
Why Is the Dubbed Version of Cowboy Bebop So Good?
As it is generally with anime, Cowboy Bebop was broadcast, and later offered through various streaming services, in the rest of the world. Some streaming services offered the original version with subtitles, while others offered their own, original dubs, depending on the country.
The English (i.e., American) dub is what interests us here and we are going to talk about that version of the show in our article. As far as the quality of the dub is concerned, Cowboy Bebop, because of not having to go through many edits and censorship, has one of the better (if not the best) dubs you’ll find. The voice cast was great and the overall direction was good, reaching the original in terms of quality and authenticity.
Unlike most anime dubs, Cowboy Bebop has a really great dub. The voice actors did a great job and a lot of people who’ve seen both versions agree that the English voices might even be better in some way. We wouldn’t be so bold, no, but we can state that the show is on par with the original, subbed version, which is a great thing if you know that anime dubs are most often a lot worse than the original, subbed versions.
This is due to the fact that the show was never heavily edited, so the ambiance of the original was kept even in the dubbed version. Lets us see the voice actors behind the project:
- David Lucas as Spike Spiegel
- John Billingslea as Jet Black
- Melissa Charles as Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV
- Wendee Lee as Faye Valentine
- Bo Williams as Shin
- David Umansky as Lin
- George C. Cole as Punch
- Henry Douglas Grey as Vicious
- Lia Sargent as Judy
- Melissa Williamson as Julia
- Mike D’Gard as Laughing Bull
- Ray Michaels as Van
- Abe Lasser as Teddy Bomber
- Axel Roberts as Dr. Londes
- Bull Whizins as Tongpu
- Carol Stanzione as Annie
- Debbie Derosa as Alisa
- Devon Michaels as Chessmaster Hex
- Joe Romersa as Abdul Hakim
- Melissa Williamson as Twinkle Maria Murdock
- Sparky Thornton as Asimov Solenson
- Steve Cannon as Rhint
Verdict: Which One Is Better?
You rarely come across such anime series where you can, with absolute certainty, say that the dub is good. As we have analyzed in an earlier article, dubs are usually much worse than the original versions, with cuts, edits, and errors that you just cannot ignore. Plus, Japanese is a language that is not very easy to translate because of its specific structure and nature. This is why most dubs are not that good.
Now, mature anime series are an exception. This is due to the fact that the content doesn’t have to be censored or edited, because it is made for a mature audience. This is why such anime series often have good dubs and Cowboy Bebop is one of such shows.
The inherent maturity of the show, as well as the fact that it wasn’t heavily edited for Western markets, allowed for the dub to be so good. We cannot state that it is better than the original, but it is certainly on par with it and this is one rare example where we can say, with absolute certainty, that you can enjoy the dubbed version.
Basically, there is no difference between the two and it all comes down to your personal preferences, but if you want to hear the anime characters speak English, unlike in most cases, you can watch the dubbed version of Cowboy Bebop without fear of missing out.