Gundam SEED and SEED Destiny to receive new English dubs

Is this a common thing?

During its panel at the ongoing Otakon, Sunrise dropped a surprise bombshell that Mobile Suit Gundam Seed and its sequel Seed Destiny will receive new English dubs for their HD remasters. The new dubs are being recorded at NYAV Post, which is where the second season of Gundam Thunderbolt is being recorded as well.

This feels weird. I’ve never watched the dub of Seed or Seed Destiny, but this definitely feels like it shouldn’t be a thing.

The cast for the HD remasters, which is described as a mix of new and old, includes the following so far:

  • Max Mittelman as Kira
  • Chris Hackney as Athrun
  • Stephanie Sheh as Lacus
  • Sandy Fox as Haro
  • Cherami Leigh as Cagalli
  • Erica Mendez as Flay
  • Lucien Dodge as Sai
  • Cassandra Morris as Miriallia
  • Colin DePaula as Tolle
  • Eddy Lee as Kuzzey
  • Daman Mills as Yzak
  • Johnny Yong Bosch as Dearka
  • Casey Mongillo as Nicol

In addition, Carrie Keranen will be the director for the dub. Carrie has been in the industry for a while, and is still active to this day. Some of her roles include Casca from the original Berserk anime, Caroline & Justine from Persona 5, and Satsuki Kiryuuin from Kill la Kill. I’d say it’s in good hands for the time being.

So why is the new dub happening? Well, according to what I can find, there is no clear reason for the cast changes. Some are speculating that some became unionized while some aren’t, which in turn messes with the entire production due to union demands. Others think that some may not have wanted to reprise their roles, while others think there might be something up with Ocean Productions, the studio that did the original dub. Without an official statement, there’s no way of knowing why.

However, the HD versions of Seed and Seed Destiny are actually more than just increasing the resolution. Scenes were touched up with effects added, others were redrawn entirely. In addition, Seed was somehow shortened from 50 episodes to 48, and not only were scenes shuffled, scrapped, and shortened, but scenes from the compilation movies were added as well. In addition, the mouth movements for characters were altered to better fit the Japanese audio. All in all, it would require a large amount of editing as well as new voice work to fit the changes, resulting in potential inconsistencies between new and old material, or a new dub entirely.

Overall I can’t say I’m exactly heartbroken over it. I don’t watch any Gundam dubbed, with the exception of G Gundam, partly because some series never received an English dub and I like consistency for viewing pleasure. In addition, Gundam games have reached the point where they aren’t dubbed for international release so may as well get used to the Japanese cast. If the old dub matters enough to you, then track down the DVDs now before they start having their price increased by scalpers. We’re likely not going to see that original dub again, and even I, someone who doesn’t really like either one, am contemplating grabbing it as a result.

Characters and mobile suits from Gundam Seed are set to appear in the upcoming Gundam Versus, which releases in North America and Europe on September 29.

Mike Sounders