Short version: Subs
Like many English speaking otakus, I suspect, I used to only watch dubbed anime because I just couldn't follow subs. I have since evolved, and now I tend to prefer subs for that extra bit of cultural enrichment and context. I think that's the best short, concise answer I can give, but I recommend diving into the full juicy story of how my preferences formed and changed!
Full story with all the gory details!
Like I said, I started out watching strictly dubbed anime, turning away from any series without an easily accessible dub (I was also pretty much strictly on Netflix at the time). After binging a handful, I decided to rewatch Soul Eater, as it is one of my first anime loves, but I didn't remember much of it. Since I'd already seen it, I decided to try subbed. I didn't get halfway through the first episode before I gave up and switched back!
So Early Reasoning for Preferring Dubs
+ It was just more natural to me + If I wanna read it (which I often do), that's what the manga is for + I'd rather commit my attention to appreciating the animation + I wouldn't be able to appreciate the seiyus because I had to be so focused on keeping up with the subtitles + If I was already in the middle of a series, I'd already gotten attached to their English voices, so switching would make me uncomfortable.
Easing into Subs
I think the first anime I watched subbed was Kill La Kill. This happened because my roommate (not the one I usually complain about, a different one) informed me that the Hellsing Ultimate finale was coming up on Toonami. When I watched it, there were commercials that they were throwing SAO II into rotation, so I decided to start tuning in for that. Kill La Kill was on before SAO, but it was already a few episodes in, and my curiosity go ahold of me. I decided to check it out, even though Netflix only had the sub, and I fell in love with it! I started a system where I kept pace with Toonami, watching the next episode on Netflix, then rewatching with the Toonami dub. There was a week where I missed SAO, so I started to do the same with that. I liked seeing how they compared, and I actually found that I tended to prefer the subs.
Debunking my Dub Preference Reasons
+ There's no shame in pausing or rewinding, so you can still enjoy every detail! + Particularly if you start something subbed, that voice you use to read in your head will take on the inflection and character of the seiyus. + I actually tend to find it quite easy to switch from sub to dub and back, without much discomfort from changing voices, so that argument is kinda bs
Growing on Me
Over time, I've become liberated by subs. For a time, I still watched dubs if they were available and I hadn't heard anything bad about them (*cough* Attack on Titan *cough*), but I no longer had an issue if that wasn't an option. I still like checking out both, but I've been disappointed by dubs more than once. Akame Ga Kill! completely changed the essence of some of the characters such that I couldn't stand it. Assassination Classroom doesn't really work without the context of it being in Japanese (particularly Irina Jelovich; if you've seen it, you know why), plus the version I was watching didn't translate Nagisa's notes, which I love! Now I watch almost strictly subbed, with a few exceptions, such as Fairy Tail, because I started dubbed, and I have enough other stuff to watch that I can be patient for those to come out (I plan to start over subbed at some point), and Hellsing, because it takes place in England, so contextually it makes sense for it to be in English, plus Crispin Freeman <3.
Why Do I Prefer Subs Now?
+ It's sad, but not everything gets dubbed, so they're pretty limiting + Due to setting, it usually makes more sense, contextually + Authenticity/Cultural enrichment: I actually find myself picking up little bits of Japanese, plus a lot of translators sprinkle in enlightening notes for things that don't quite translate well + ^That! Not everything translates well! I also like to believe that subs keep a closer translation than dubs because they don't have to match flaps or anything like that + I used to think the argument that Japanese seiyus were just better than English VAs was bs, but I actually think I tend to prefer the original voices (Naruto comes to mind as a prominent example. They did a pretty good job with the dub, but some of the voices annoy me) + If you live in a noisy environment, like with barking dogs, like I do, it's not as much of an issue with subs! + They come out quicker, so less waiting for that next episode you're craving!
As always, hope you enjoyed! If you wanna learn more about me/ be my friend/ be tagged in these, please don't hesitate to ask! I'm nice, I swear (mostly ;p)! Or I guess you can follow my 100 Days of Anime collection, or both if you feel so inclined! Until next time! Tagging @SAMURXAI @NikolasSatterwh @assasingod @KurosakiJess @KennyMcCormick @JessicaFerrier @JasmynAnchondo @kouvarisb @alliepetey @fairydemon15 @msfancysunshine @kazam98 @ovvhr @midnitestar421 @SimplyAwkward @HiwaRasul @HunnaBallue