Really, it is.
What alot of people in the “Subs only” crowd don’t get is there ARE alot of people who like English Dubs. Attack on Titan was the first Anime I watched subbed in its entirety around this time last year. It was awesome. That said, the dub just ran its finale on Toonami this past weekend. It was awesome.
On the one hand yes, it does cost (alot of) money for an Anime (or Video Game) to be dubbed from Japanese. You have to hire a cast of voice actors, linguists and localization specialists to make sure the dub both makes sense to the intended audience but still stays true to the source material.
On the other hand, opinions on English dubbing in particular have dramatically shifted compared to 16 years ago. In the late 1990s, Anime wasn’t as mainstream as it is today. What little Anime did make it to the West was heavily censored (Dragonball Z and Sailor Moon) and “Americanized” (Yu-Gi-Oh) to appeal to Western audiences.
You wouldn’t be wrong if you said the white-washing of Anime at that time was what turned Anime fans off to English Dubs in general. This is one of the two theories I consider acceptible for being anti-dub (the other being you are fluent in Japanese). This great disservice to Anime was ill-timed, as Cartoon Network launched a dedicated Anime block (first weekday afternoons but later moved to Saturdays starting at Midnight) in an effort to cater to hardcore Anime fans.
That period from 2002 to 2007 was like a golden age for Anime Fans in North America. For the first time ever, Anime currently airing in Japan was being brought to the U.S. so that fans on both sides of the Pacific could both enjoy it together. Funimation really deserves alot of the credit for that. They’ve been dubbing Anime since the mid-90s and didn’t deserve the hate they got back then just for trying. Yes, they were part of the problem at the time but later they became part of the solution.
I’ve been going to Anime Boston for 5 years now and longtime voice actor Greg Ayers is staple every year. One thing he and other English VAs have in common is they don’t do what they do for the money. They do it because they love what they do and they understand how important their role in making Anime accessible to many people are. They also know that there are alot of folks who may consider pursuing a career in voice acting themselves and like it or not, they’re role models in that regard.
Some idiots like to throw around phrases like “Anyone can do voice acting” when they know this is far from true. It takes quite a bit of skill and hard work just to become an American voice actor. For those who dub, alot of good luck is needed as well. I believe I mentioned this after AB2013: Those who dub Anime be they union or non-union will always makes far less than their counterparts who do American cartoons. Marketing has alot to do with it as does the fact they’re subcontracted for their work.