Madoka Magica (English Dub) – Episode 5 Impressions
Considering how popular Madoka Magica has been in the past year, I decided to give the English version a go. It’s currently airing on NicoNico live, so if you have an account and want to support Aniplex America with their localization, check it out.
The simulcast is up to Episode 5, so I’ve missed out on hearing Mami’s English performance, but just a few quick tidbits about the localization and such:
So far, the English voiceovers seem very well-cast. Madoka sounds as spineless as ever, and believably so. I usually find wimpy English performance extremely unbelievable, but I think that Christine Cabanos handles it very well. Her voice is also cute as a button, which lends a bit of credence to the super moe-moe look of the overwhelmingly pink protagonist. I have similar praise for Sayaka’s English performance. It’s believably soft but tomboyish, and since this episode was overwhelmingly about Sayaka and I had nothing bad to say about any of her scenes, that probably says a lot. I think I prefer Sarah William’s performance of Sayaka over her Japanese counterpart.
I was also very taken aback by Cristina Valenzuela’s performance as Akemi. Now, I love CristiVee and all the work she’s done with videogames and other independent pieces of otaku culture, but she’s been pretty typecast for me as either a tsundere or extremely naggy character (she’s the English voice of Louise de Valliere and Haruhi Suzumiya) so I really went in with the idea that she would be best suited for the voice of Sakura Kyoko. I was definitely wrong, because Cristi gives a very suave performance as Akemi. Definitely looking forward to see how Cristi will handle the voice in the later episodes when she has to portray a more shy and insecure Akemi.
Actually, I still wouldn’t mind Cristi taking on Kyoko’s voice while still playing Akemi. Just make her do the rough personality with a bad attitude and it would be perfect. Kyoko’s English voice seems a lot more inexperienced and amateur compared to the others. Her MAL profile seems to reflect that perceived inexperience.
Kyuubey sounds perfect. I love that Aniplex was able to give the cute little contractor a wonderfully gender-neutral voice. It’s a shame pronoun use sounds awkward in English — I think this version officially refers to Kyuubey as a ‘he.’ Either way, the voice works.
As a last note, there were a few confusing scenes thanks to a certain homonym: “Mami/Mommy.” Without a typical Japanese suffix at the end of Mami, I found myself thinking that the characters were actually referring to their mothers and not our (now) headless musketeer of a magical girl. Just thought it’d be interesting to point out.
Overall, it looks like a very solid localization. I’ll definitely be tuning in every Friday until it finishes airing.