Dubbing Death Note: Framing the authentic text | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2051-7084
  • E-ISSN: 2051-7092



This case study stems from an article written in 2005 by Laurie Cubbison, titled ‘Anime fans, DVDs, and the authentic text’. In her research, she states that English-speaking fans of Japanese animation (anime) pressured distributors to use the DVD medium to its full potential. This meant providing the choice of viewing anime with either a dubbed soundtrack or subtitles. However, this has not lessened the influence of distribution companies that affect how anime is viewed outside of Japan. This article will focus on this influence by looking at the extra features on anime DVDs, specifically using the English-language release of the Death Note TV series (Araki, Nippon Television Network, 2006–07) as a case study. Very few of the series’s DVD special features refer explicitly to the Japanese origins of the story. Interviews and making-ofs are included, as is the case with many DVDs of audio-visual media. But the Death Note series’s extras mostly illustrate the work of the cast and crew that recorded the dubbed English-language soundtrack. Applying approaches and concepts specific to the analysis of DVD special features means the intentions behind these decisions can be thoroughly explored. The extras for the Death Note series do not just provide an intriguing insight into the voice-recording process (for the TV series, as well as the media industry in general). They encourage viewers to see the value and work behind the dubbed version, meaning that the distributors are not just providing viewing-option choices for the anime. They are providing a frame which indirectly suggests how a media text should be viewed. The evidence presented in this case study will demonstrate how such frames, concerning dubbed translation within DVD media, can be used by the discs’ distributors.


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