How to play Final Fantasy XIII in Japanese with English subtitles!

Whether its movies, anime, or videogames, I always prefer subtitles with the original spoken language over English dubs. I don’t want to watch Run Lola Run in Spanish. I don’t want to hear English actors in my anime. And if I had a choice, I totally would have played Final Fantasy XIII in Japanese with English subtitles and menus.

That’s why I was frustrated that the option to select the original Japanese voice acting was missing in my copy of Final Fantasy XIII – and that’s why I’m kicking myself for not knowing that the Chinese version of Final Fantasy XIII for the PS3 lets you do just that. According to Japanator, the Chinese version of the game works with the North American/PAL save game feature – and lets you play the game with the original Japanese voice work, English subs, and English menus.

Above: This is how Final Fantasy XIII was supposed to sound

I know I’m right for preferring subs to dubs every time. But I know that there are tons of fans out there who prefer English dubs. So which camp do you fall in? Do you like your anime and games subtitled with the original Japanese voice acting? If so, you’re totally right.

Or maybe you’re the type of person who prefers to hear everything in English. If that’s the case, feel free to explain why you’re totally wrong in the comments below.

Source: Japanator

Jun 23, 2010 

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  • Clovin64 - June 24, 2010 5:06 p.m.

    FF13's English voice acting varied, I think. It wasnt nearly as good as the voice acting in FF12, and neither was the dialogue. FF13's dialogue was the real crime IMO, not the voice acting.
  • LeoZeo - June 24, 2010 4:23 p.m.

    Always subs! ...Except from DBZ, have you heard Goku's japanese voice?!
  • MikelRapearse - June 24, 2010 2:33 p.m.

    When i watch anime, i slightly prefer subs over dubs, but when i can't find a subbed version, i watch the dubbed version, and enjoy it just as much. Thus, i can not understand why people are afraid of, and hate, english dubs so much.
  • ThePrivateDick - June 24, 2010 10:37 a.m.

    I prefer spoken English in video games only because it helps me to identify with the characters, and so I'm not distracted by reading the bottom of the screen while something else is going on.
  • joeleblin - June 24, 2010 7:45 a.m.

    I definitely prefer dubbed over subbed. Most often than not when a game, anime, or whatever is dubbed, a major part of the original meaning is lost. This happens because the translators not only have to transfer the meaning but also put it into the same time frame. I want the original story, because there are less plot holes and more fluidity in the story.
  • Dragonflame - June 24, 2010 6:37 a.m.

    I generally prefer Japanese spech with English Subs, but once or twice have i gone with Dubs instead, most noteably the anime Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann which i dont feel lost anything in the English Dub.
  • darnell7979 - June 24, 2010 6:26 a.m.

    My wife and I played Uncharted with Portuguese dub. My wife is from Portugal and she really got into the game with the (Portugal)portuguese voice acting, which was done very well. I always check the options menu to see what languages are available and I am excited when Portuguese is available.
  • ArmTheBomb - June 24, 2010 5:41 a.m.

    I believe that it's the talent of the voice actor, not the language he/she is speaking in. Some characters just don't sound "reasonable in Japanese, which can sometimes hinder how believable they are. For instance, I just can never believe that Sazh sounds like a his Japanese voice acter, for obvious reasons.
  • axelgarcia1 - June 24, 2010 5:37 a.m.

    i'll stick to the english... exept for Ratchet and clank, and jak and daxter games, i play those in spanish lol. wonder why they stopped doing spanish for some of their games :P
  • AnonymouZ - June 24, 2010 5:35 a.m.

    my brother absolutely HATES reading, and i had seen Death Note on dubs, where i thought the voice acting was actually pretty good, since there wasn't as many "kawai" moments. But as soon as i lost the source of them dubs, and watched the rest in SUBS, it made a HUGE difference to my bro and somewhat, even me. since you're READING stuff, instead of paying attention to the things you're supposed to be listening to/watching. then again, when there's dubs that can't stand, i switch to subs ftw. xD
  • Gobblemeister - June 24, 2010 5:32 a.m.

    Anime is one thing but FFXIII is a project on a rather large scale by comparison. While I don't expect Liam Neeson or Christopher Lee in the games I do expect a little bit more effort and dedication to go into the project. Especially when the voice actors know the target audience is over 12. The only Anime that I think had exceptionally good English voice acting (Better than the Japanese by far) was DBZ). I actually like the English dub of FFXIII and wouldn't want to hear it any other way. Subtitles don't covey the tone of the words themselves. As far as I'm concerned they just yelling gibberish and I'm supposed to try and follow along with the subtitles. That works fine with Anime where most of the time I don't even care for the dialog but in my big budget Final Fantasy games I actually care to understand the characters as deeply as I can. And in English.
  • ChipTheExecutioner - June 24, 2010 4:40 a.m.

    The issue I have with subs is that I don't think you can notice the performance at all. You can pick up and discern general emotions such as anger, happiness, or sadness, but a lot of the more subtleties of a voice actor's performance such as the emphasis an actor places on certain words is lost due to an inability to comprehend which word is what. I think that english voice actors for dubs are being generalized too much. ya, some voices are annoying but they're some quality ones out there too. I particularly liked the english voice actor for Asuka in Evangelion for example, I believe someone mentioned Spike from Cowboy Bebop as well before. Edward from FullMetal Alchemist was pretty good. well some voices might be annoying, like Shinji, but I still think that in that particular case especially it was a good fit for the character.
  • Starplatinum - June 24, 2010 4:15 a.m.

    You know where I stand with this T-Nag. I've pretty much come to the point that if there is a option for Japanese voice acting with english subs, I'll choose it and think of it as a bonus. FFXIII's english voice acting decent enough (especially Sazh) But yeah maybe its all the subtitled anime and asian films I seen I'm just used to it. Granted i think for Anime, the voice acting used be atrocious back in our days which kinda made us prefer english subs, but the quality of dubbing I think has gotten better?
  • RamenDragon - June 24, 2010 4:08 a.m.

    Overall, I'll usually watch English dubs, just because they usually aren't all that bad. But for FFXIII, I would gladly play the one with subtitles, mainly because I don't like the voice actors for Snow or Vanille at all. I would miss Szaz's voice acting, though.
  • RebornKusabi - June 24, 2010 2:14 a.m.

    I know it's hokey to say but every single thing that Carolyn Gudmundson said was spot on with how I feel about the whole "Dubbed vs. Subbed" debate. I still have a goal of learning Japanese (and Spanish...) but that doesn't mean that just because something's dubbed from it original language, that automatically means it sucks which isn't true. The voice acting in FF13 was fairly great and while it has some of the issues that plague the genre (female grunting and moaning while doing physical actions just sounds weird for people who are playing and especially for people who are not playing... and are in the other room >_>), the actual dialog and delivery of said dialog was actually extremely well done. I might not have BEATEN FF13 but I have seen all of the game's cut-scenes online and read a plot synopsis (and visited TvTropes as well) just because I loved the story so much and wanted to know how it ended. Great find though; I honestly don't understand why the other two consoles are not as region-open as PS3 is.
  • Corsair89 - June 24, 2010 2:05 a.m.

    As a rabid anime watcher, I regularly watch them with subtitles more often than with dubs. But I think everyone praises original subs too highly and unfairly beat-up english dubs. I think that people that subs over dubs is because they don't know what good or bad voice acting is in languages other than one(s) they are fluent in. Remember the scene in Inglorious Basterds when the British spy was questioned by the German soldiers about his weird accent? When I saw that I was thinking, "Wait, he had a weird accent?" I couldn't even tell because I don't speak German. It all just sounded like German to me. Another example would be one of my favorite animes, Azumanga Daioh. In Azumanga, the character "Osaka" has an Osakan accent because she's from... guess where. If the other characters hadn't pointed it out and thus nicknamed her Osaka, I never would have noticed her accent at all, let alone tell if it was a good or an atrocious one. So, I think that the standard for what is considered to be good for original voice acting is much lower than for English dubs because while an atrocious Brooklyn accent will cause physical pain in the ear, an atrocious Osakan accent will probably go right over our heads. Also, when I watch an anime in Japanese or English for some time, the sound of the voice is fixed to a certain character and I usually can't listen to them with other voice actors because it just doesn't sound right. Sometimes I can listen to both subs and dubs. And very few times when I can listen to English dubs and English dubs only because that one voice is what I'm accustomed to. One example is Cowboy Bebop. To me, Steve Blum IS Spike Speigel and I refuse to accept anything other than his voice coming out of Spike, even the original Japanese voice actor, which I'm sure did a good job with Spike. Had I watched it in Japanese first, I probably wouldn't think that. Or sometimes I start off hating a certain voice, but over time, I learn to accept it and identify the character with it. Like Vanille's voice, for instance. TLDR: English subtitles with Japanese voices do indeed sound better most of the time, but not all of the time. And frankly anyone who only watches subs or only watches dubs is seriously missing out. If you're a sub only person, I suggest watching Cowboy Bebop or Black Lagoon in english, which IMO are better than the Japanese version. English > Japanese happens rarely but when it does the voices are incredible. OR if you only watch your Naruto in English, please realize that Japanese versions are often better than English and Naruto doesn't say "Believe it" every 5 seconds. Wow, that one hell of a rant...
  • Siion - June 24, 2010 2:03 a.m.

    I can remember having that issue where i would miss a scene because i spent time reading the subtitles instead of actually watching the scene itself. After awhile of watching subtitle based things though you just learn to read allot faster and take in multiple things at the same time. I can agree with your point though, sometimes its better to not have to worry about subtitles at all and just watch what your watching. I can also agree with what Carolyn said on both parts somewhat, when i watch something in Japanese with subs i also tend to take a different view point to things, such as if i heard someone say something that i couldn't take seriously in English instead in Japanese it takes the edge off, i feel more removed from it and tend to see the meaning behind those words more.
  • allstick - June 24, 2010 2:01 a.m.

    I choose to believe the characters were intended to speak some language we've never heard here on Earth.
  • MetalGearFlaccid - June 24, 2010 1:47 a.m.

    Oh, Tnag, you troll you... I love the logical fallacy of poisoning the well; very classy. Telling us that whatever we say, we're wrong if out opinion is different than yours. I'm sorry, I LIKE to hear my words in English. Even with anime, I'll watch it dubbed if it's not too bad. Narrow-mindedness is a negavite trait, but... I guess the internet is the best place for people like you, huh? (I konw you were joking, but that pissed me off some.)
  • Cyberninja - June 24, 2010 1:22 a.m.

    when i watch anime i like watching subbed but for everything else like it in english so i dont have to pay as much attetion to the screen during diffrent things

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