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Fandubs are a type of fanwork that involves fans creating a soundtrack to replace the voice track of an existing piece of media. The term dub (sometimes dubbed) can refer to both dubs created through official channels, such as officially licensed dubs by companies such as Funimation and Viz, or dubs created by fans. The term fandub specifically refers to a dub created by fans, usually without authorization from the copyright holders of the original source. Fandubs have a long history, dating back to at least Laputa II: The Sequel, which was made in the late 90s on a VHS player with dubbing capabilities.[1] Prior to the rise of YouTube making video sharing easy, fandubs were primarily traded among people "in the know" in the same way that fansubs were often distributed.

A fandub can be an alternative to a fansub, but more often a fandub is intended to be some kind of transformative content rather than a strict translation from one language to another. This is because anime has become easier to obtain through legal channels and fandubs stopped needing to fulfill the specific function of making sure the anime in question could be understood by the people watching it. Now, thanks to anime-specific streaming sites such as Crunchyroll and HIDIVE, fandubs range from parody such as an Abridged Series to amateur voice actors showing off their chops. Even when dubs or subs were necessary to understand an anime, fandubs never gained the popularity of fansubs as a means of making anime understandable. This might be because of the amount of technical knowledge and equipment involved to create a fandub being a high bar to entry, or it might be because a fandub can quickly veer into embarrassing territory since the people involved are usually amateurs.

Like many anime fandom terms, the usage of fandub has spread to other types of fandoms through the popularity of using social media sites such as YouTube.

Live Dubbing

Now that fans have more freedom of expression in their fandubs, more artistic forms of dubbing such as the live dub have started to appear. A live dub is, like the term implies, a dub that's done without editing and (often) without rehearsal.[2] The practice is closely related to video game fandoms where a person making a Let's Play will often dub over unvoiced text in a game so a listener can follow along,[3] but also has roots in anime conventions where professional voice actors were often asked to say things in character voices[4] which resulted in live dubbing panels.[5] Live dubs tend to be humor-focused, rather than serious, and often involve running jokes or memes being inserted into the normal dialogue.


  1. ^ Laputa II: The Sequel, Tiny Liner Notes by Peter. Accessed 18 Sept 2019.
  2. ^ #1 Unrehearsed English Dub In One Take - Real-Time Fandub - Ouran High School Host Club. Posted 4 Dec 2016. Accessed 18 Sept 2019.
  3. ^ Was I Put in this "Dating Game" WITHOUT MY PERMISSION??. Posted 25 July 2019. Accessed 18 Sept 2019.
  4. ^ Quinton Flynn: Axel Giving Dating Advice to Sheldon. Posted 9 April 2014. Accessed 18 Sept 2019.
  5. ^ [Crunchyroll Expo 2018] My Hero Academia Mix-dubbed Voice Acting. Posted 2 Sept 2018. Accessed 18 Sept 2019.