Notes about voice acting in anime
There are Subs vs. Dubs threads, but I think there needs to be a thread where someone actually breaks things down and talks about the technical side of things...
So, there are many who say that subs are the best, and the only way to go. Many who say that that's how the anime is SUPPOSED to be, and there can be no better... Let me clear these little misconceptions up.
Japanese voice acting is no better, in most cases, than American voice acting. They over-act the majority of the time. I believe that most of the people who seem to think that the Japanese voice actors do a better job at acting are those who are not familiar enough with the Japanese language or how native speakers talk. They do not talk like characters in anime. At all. The anime characters are cheesy and overly dramatic in Japanese the vast majority of the time. It's part of its charm, I suppose...
Also, there are many instances of poor casting, where the part is played by someone whose voice does not match the character. This happens just as much in Japanese as it does in English. And, actually, the guy who plays Ed in FMA said something in a panel at AWA about how they (meaning the Japanese creators and producers) had originally wanted a more male-sounding Ed (Ed is played by a woman in Japanese). And, you know what? It seems that a lot of the time, the ones who made the show in Japan have to OK the English voices. Meaning if they didn't want that American voice actor to do that part, he or she would not be doing that part.
It's true that very early on, dubs were far from great. But a lot of the dubbing industry has improved greatly over the years. To bash on something without even understanding that the acting you are defending is just as bad (or worse) is rather ignorant, and tiring to hear.
I have never been a sub snob, but there are shows that I prefer to watch in the original Japanese. There are also, however, shows I would prefer to watch in English. Really, though, people should avoid making blanket statements about how all dubs are horrid and all subs are perfect... It's just not true.