Due to the spread of the novel coronavirus and the greater efforts to help keep everyone safe, people are spending a lot more time at home. The silver lining here is that there is a lot more opportunity to catch up with some of your favorite anime series, but there's admittedly a language barrier for many. Your life is probably much busier than you would initially expect, so sitting down to watch an anime in Japanese with English subtitles might not always be a great option when you need to multitask.
Thankfully, there are a ton of great English dubbed anime releases spread across popular streaming platforms (and many that you can check out for free). English dubbed anime tends to get a bad reputation from some fans of the medium, but there are tons of classics that are much better in their English dubs that are cruelly looked over!
Here's a guide to a few great English dubbed anime that you should check out if you're looking for a new way into the world of anime or wanting to experience your favorite in a brand new way! Let us know your favorite English dubs in the comments or talk to me directly about all things anime and other cool things @Valdezology on Twitter!
Yu Yu Hakusho
Where to Watch: FunimationNOW, Hulu
When thinking about some of the best English dubbed releases over the years, the first action series that many think of is probably Dragon Ball Z. But while that series is certainly a great choice (that you should check out even if it didn't make this list), one that is on par with that in terms of nostalgia for the dub specifically is Yu Yu Hakusho.
Taking on Yoshihiro Togashi's original manga of the same name, this anime follows a young delinquent named Yusuke Urameshi who dies at the beginning of the series. But finding out how much his death has an impact on others, he soon comes back to life and takes on the role of "Spirit Detective" to fight monstrous anomalies on behalf of the Spirit World.
The English dub release of the series features fantastic performances from Justin Cook, Christopher Sabata, Cynthia Cranz, and more who add a fun tone to the series. There's a playful nature to go along with Yusuke's rough and tumble personalities, and these grounded performances help to further differentiate it from the sometimes operatic nature of the Japanese version. There's no better gateway to the world of action anime dubs!
My Hero Academia
Where to Watch: FunimationNOW, Hulu
While Yu Yu Haksuho serves as a great gateway to older action anime series with dubs that have aged well, My Hero Academia's dub is a great current dub that will continue to age well as the years roll on. The first three seasons are complete, and the fourth is currently in progress, so the only major drawback here is that there will be an abrupt stopping point once you catch up with the latest release of the series. It's well worth the effort, however, as the English dub release of the series currently serves as one of the main suggestions when trying to get non-fans into anime.
My Hero Academia follows Izuku Midoriya (Justin Briner), a boy born without any special powers in a world where they are commonplace. Striving to be a hero just like his own icon All Might, the series follows Midoriya as he attends a hero school in an attempt to be the number one hero someday. Given its Western superhero comic influences, the English dub release often plays out more smoothly in English than it would in the original release.
This is especially true with All Might, as non-Japanese speakers can better parse the nuances Christopher Sabat puts into the performances between his powered and non-powered forms. If you're looking for a fun hero series to follow up your Marvel and DC Comics movies binges, here's a great choice!
Where to Watch: FunimationNOW, Hulu
If you're talking about classic English dubbed anime, you can't go very long without bringing up Cowboy Bebop. This anime has one of the rare dubbed releases that fans often praise more than the original Japanese release, and it's because of the cultural blend offered through its futuristic landscape.
Anchored by Steve Blum (who's currently holding it down as the voice of Toonami's T.O.M. among many other things) as Spike Spiegel, Cowboy Bebop follows a group of completely different individuals living their lives as bounty hunters as they occasionally crossover into one another's lives over the course of the 20 plus episode anime.
The episodic nature of the series' narrative means there are plenty of standout characters and performances that only appear once (my personal favorite being Melodee Spevack's VT in the seventh episode, "Heavy Metal Queen"), and each new episode provides a whole new look into the expanded universe of the anime. With some action heavy set pieces, some comical, others otherworldly, and a new Netflix live-action series in the works now's the time to jump in!
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Where to Watch: Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll (free with ads), FunimationNOW, and Amazon Prime Video
Hiromu Arakawa's Fullmetal Alchemist got a rare opportunity as the series has had two great adaptations with two equally as great English dub releases. There is plenty of debate over which of the experiences is superior, but many are drawn to the latter effort, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Not only is the second series more available in terms of streaming services, but Brotherhood also adapts the original manga much more closely than the first series.
Fullmetal Alchemist follows two brothers named Edward and Alphonse after an attempt to bring their mother back to life with alchemy leaves their bodies permanently damaged. Now searching for the fabled Philosopher's Stone as way around the laws of equivalent exchange, the two brothers soon find themselves in a much darker world than they realized was possible.
The English dub cast carries over from the first series for the most part with the most notable change being Maxey Whtiehead replacing Aaron Dismuke as the voice of Alphonse Elric. This means there's a great amount of familiarity the cast has with their characters, and it results in some great performances across the board.
Where to Watch: Netflix, Hulu, and Crunchyroll
If you want a less action focused anime that still packs a lot of punch, then you'll want to check out Death Note. Unlike many of the other Shonen Jump anime released in its heyday, Death Note eschews traditional fights and instead makes the series an entirely mental cat and mouse mystery game. Light Yagami is a bright high school student approached by the death god Ryuk and given a notebook that allows him to kill any person as long as he writes their name in it.
Developing a god complex as a result of this power, Light soon targets the lives of criminals around the world. This gets the attention of the mysterious detective L, who seeks to punish the killer for these major crimes. Because of the mental shenanigans in the series leading to long inner monologues and soliloquies, there's an operatic nature that comes through in the performances of the dub cast.
The obvious stand out is Brad Swaile as the central antagonist Light Yagami as he perfectly portrays the highschooler with a chip on his shoulder, and eats the scenery with every single instance of Light's self-satisfaction. It's an experience that's best taken like a stage play with tons of twists and turns. Definitely binge friendly too!
Where to Watch: Hulu, HIDIVE
If you want something far less intense than the other series on this list, but just as edge of your seat entertaining, then you'll want to check out Haikyuu!!. If you have never seen a sports anime series, then this one will serve as the gateway to that exciting world. Following Shoyo Hinata and Tobio Kageyama, two middle school rivals, as they join the volleyball team at Karasuno High School, this series sees each of these boys test their mettle against increasingly tougher opponents as they aim to be the best in Japan.
Incredibly animated with an extended cast of hilarious personalities, the English dub release of the series adds just a little more pep to the proceedings. It's already plenty fun thanks to the Karasuno boys' love of goofing off in their time away from the court, but the dub scripts add a little extra flavor text with teenage boys that speak like teenage boys. It's never at the expense of the content itself, and only helps to characterize these boys further. If you need a constant source of joy with someone to root for, then Haikyuu!! is for you!
Konosuba: God's Blessing on this Wonderful World!
Where to Watch: Crunchyroll
This one is a shot in the dark, but shows just how great English dubs can be under the guidance of a great team. Konosuba: God's Blessing on this Wonderful World! follows Kazuma Sato as he gets transported to a fantasy world with a mystical weapon of his choosing. But after meeting the Goddess Aqua and being ridiculed by her, he decides to bring her along with him on his journey to defeat the Demon Lord. Thus the two find themselves in this fantasy world up against strong enemies that they are nowhere near ready to face.
It's one of the most memorable comedic action series released in the 2010s, and what's even more impressive about the English dub release is that it adapts the original's often high speed dialogue. There are tons of jokes through around with exaggerated deliveries, and the dub cast is not only able to keep up with this but interpret them in a way that they don't lose impact in English.
If you're looking for a less intense experience full of goofy characters who love each other despite having some terribly selfish tendencies, Konosuba offers one of the best English dub releases in recent memory. Check it out along with every other series on this list if you haven't yet!