Zephyr wrote:Dragon Ball thrived in spite of how shitty Funimation treated it.
Here, here. See: FUNi's "immaculate" early production methods and "Season 3" onward media presentation.
Regardless of my general feeling on FUNi's practices with their treatment of the original product, the "creative" team, and in-house talent pool (who I have much respect for), the whole "history of English dubbed DB" is an interesting, yet very
odd story in itself. FUNi lucked out (again) by having the talented Ocean cast do the heavy lifting in selling that butchered product to the English-speaking audience early on. By the end of that heavily censored 53 episode run, the (dragon)ball had been set in motion, and everyone wanted to see where the series was going to go (some not even having a clue that OG DB existed!), voice and soundtrack quality notwithstanding. People got invested, the series built up a momentum, and a massive viewing audience came to be. Leading into and during the battle with Freeza, I'm convinced that by that time character dialogue could've been reduced to just nonsensical dubstep noises every time, or something else ridiculous, and people in English-speaking regions were going to buy it up and continue to tune in to see where that story and characters were going to go (like I did with my muted "Season 3" experience until the bilingual DVD's released :p). It's crazy to say that, but maybe
not unbelievable (
). The "what-if?" had Pioneer got the rights to the brand and teamed up with a fully committed Ocean Group from the beginning for the franchise...
In time, I feel that Dragon Ball
's popularity would find its way no matter who secured the English dubbing rights. It sells itself - many many fans of DB/Z that had never experienced the story with original audio/subtitled have been tuning in to watch Super
with original audio every episode. There's a charm and universal appeal in its characters, concepts/themes, and story that could've only been contained for so long no matter where on Earth you live. It's something
that goes beyond whatever way it was re-presented, imo. Honestly, I think that if DB/Z had been introduced to NA in its original form (including soundtrack) with just english subtitles first, it would've eventually hit just as big (maybe not as fast... ?) and been more respected as a work by casuals. But, the early internet/pre-Youtube era was vastly different. I'm not trying to put DB/Z on the highest pedestal, but in its original form it is at the very least a unique experience, very memorable, and definitely highly influential. There's nothing else like it as a whole out there, flaws and all. The FUNi re-version is probably some of those things for entirely different reasons. :p
I think the question here could be switched around: "Did FUNi REALLY need Dragon Ball
to thrive?". It did single-handedly
lead to the FUNi empire that we've seen over the years after all.