Sunday, March 11, 2007

:anime: First Impression:: STUDIOPOLIS, Inc.'s English Dub for Blood+ Premiere Episode

Blood+ finally made its long-awaited (and stealthily/barely advertised) debut on Adult Swim, showcasing an equally long-awaited (and stealthily/barely/unreliably noted) English dub. After enduring the lack of news on the series from distributor Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, viewers finally got a look--and hear--at a pretty good first effort by STUDIOPOLIS, Inc. (Afro Samurai, Naruto). Saya's VA (Kari Wahlgren; Witch Hunter Robin, Wolf's Rain) was, like most of the cast, near spot-on for her respective role. There were a few times where her voice was too high, but overall, she kept it on an even level, on par with the Japanese VA's depiction of the heroine. Even more on-target with their overseas counterpart was Kai's VA (Ben Diskin; new talent, much like a good portion of the cast?) who, considering the distinctive voice provided before, was surprising similar, yet in the same, brought his own style and attitude to the character. The voice actress for Kaori (Amber Hood) also did very well, retaining that innocent personality and high-pitched vocal of hers. One of the biggest surprises was Crispin Freeman (Hellsing, Read or Die OVA) ably playing two major roles in the series. The weightier of the two, Hagi, remained in the quite, soft-spoken tone that many fans of the show clamored to hear Freeman do, which he succeeds in doing well in the few lines he has. The other, as Van Argano, was a true surprise, as he pulled off a believably authentic French accent. It was very well acted and nearly indistinguishable from his Hagi voice (even more impressive when you consider the types of roles he has done which are normally akin to it in tone or style). George's voice wasn't too bad, if a little too light, while David's and Riku's seemed suitable choices (though the latter sounded slightly older than he should). The VAs for the secondary characters also sounded well.

Overall, a very nice premiere episode with the English dub cast, which in spite of its majority of unfamiliar vocal talents managed to formulate one close in spirit with the Japanese cast, which is good when you consider the rather sizable diversity of that one. The apparant use of accents will go a long way in giving Blood+ the sense of international authenticity that can further supplement the show. The better gauge for the cast's performances lies in the ensuing episodes, as more of its large group of characters become present and more speaking lines are given, as this episode was lite in that department. Still, a very good job by STUDIOPOLIS in this starting salvo.

(Link Courtesies: Anime News Network)

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