Sub or Dub?
It depends on the person and it depends on the series.
There are some people who never feel comfortable reading text and watching the action at the same time, whether it’s on a small computer or a large movie screen. They will probably prefer dubbed versions.
Other people can't stand watching dubs of live action because the lip movements never quite match up. But they’re fine with dubs of animation where characters only have a few distinct mouth shapes and the voice actors can match the timing and the lip movements exactly.
I’m lucky to be the kind of person who is always writing in a journal, typing, or doing a craft while watching a movie. People ask me “Are you really watching the movie?” I am. I like doing stuff with my hands and can look back and forth between two places quickly. So reading subtitles isn’t hard for me.
You should go with the language version you’re more comfortable with.
Sometimes dubs add something really unique and creative to an anime series. For example, Baccano!, which takes place in 1930s America, all the characters have appropriate Chicago, New York, or Southern accents. And it’s hilarious. The regional dialect is lost in the Japanese version.
However, sometimes the dub is simply not up to quality. Characters sound robotic and wooden, or voices just don’t match characters. If a good dub isn’t available, you should go with the original even if that’s not your preference. Listing to grating voices won’t enhance your enjoyment of a series.
There are also some benefits to watching the Japanese version of a series. Language isn’t just utterance. It’s also facial expression and body language—and the gestures unique to the animation style. Japanese body language is not the same as American body language.
For example: as one friend pointed out to me, most Japanese vocalizations come from back in the throat and don’t require detailed lip and cheek movements. This is why Americans seem “expressive” to Japanese, while Japanese seem a bit “wooden-faced” to foreigners. The difference translates into animation style. You’ll notice that in ordinary conversation character faces don’t tend to move much—until they explode into overdramatic chibi style!
So for me, when characters have what seems like an obviously Japanese expression or pose, hearing English coming out of their mouth gives me this weird feeling of disconnect. Seeing a character say “I’m in your hands” feels wrong when I know they should be saying よろしくお願いします. Some things just can’t be translated. However, I also know Japanese and have lived in Japan, so for someone else these moments might be invisible.
Whether people prefer subs or dubs is determined more by how they process information and their language background than whether or not they are a “real fan.” If you like dubs, you are still getting the real experience of anime and you’re appreciating the hard work of the English-speaking voice actors. No reason to kill your eyes for a hobby. If you like subs, you get to experience a medium in a different language from your native one. Go you!
This is my opinion on subs and dubs.