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Published by VegettoEX
19 January 2001, 3:30 PM EDTComments Off

Having problems playing some of your DragonBall Z DVDs from FUNimation? According to e-mails and posts by many fans out there, you are not alone. Phillips Magnavox players are confirmed to spit the discs back out after being unable to read them, while visitors are reporting that Oritron models run the gamut from playing poorly to simply not working at all.

Published by VegettoEX
18 January 2001, 1:48 PM EDTComments Off

As further confirmed by Planet Namek and re-posted by Anime Nation, FUNimation’s DVD release of the third DragonBall movie (entitled “Mystical Adventure”) will indeed be “hybrid”, meaning it will include both the original Japanese language track as well as an English dub.

While we could not announce it ahead of time, a scan of the original Japanese lyrics for the movie’s closing theme (“DragonBall Densetsu”) was provided by us to Steven J. Simmons for accurate translation in the movie’s subtitle track.

Published by VegettoEX
02 January 2001, 12:45 AM EDTComments Off

Anime Fringe has posted their regular list of “must-visit” anime websites, and Daizenshuu EX (editor’s note: one of the two prior sites later incorporated into Kanzenshuu) has been placed in the #18 spot:

The second appearance of a DragonBall web site on this list gives us a site filled tons of original multimedia and information. It’s easy to see why this site is one of the best because it is updated virtually everyday with something new to download or read. There are even DragonBall reviews and editorials about anime as well as tons of other DragonBall oriented content that’s helpful for any fan to use.

Thanks go out to the Anime Fringe staff for the spotlight!

Published by VegettoEX
18 November 2000, 6:20 PM EDTComments Off

Suncoast lists the DVD of “The History of Trunks” as being released on 29 November 2000, while RightStuf lists the release date as 12 December 2000. We will let you know when we are able to confirm a release date with FUNimation.

Thanks to the folks on alt.fan.dragonball for noting these conflicting release dates.

Published by VegettoEX
15 October 2000, 12:00 PM EDTComments Off

Adding to the whole Ocean cast “thing” comes a reply from Ian James Corlett, the first voice of Goku in FUNimation’s English dub of DragonBall Z. We asked Ian if he had gotten any offers concerning recording new DragonBall Z episodes or movies — FUNimation seems to be saying that nothing is going on with Ocean, while Ocean says there is definitely stuff going on with them and the franchise. Corlett responded:

I heard of this. It’s a weird anomaly of distribution rights or something… I think IPP/Ocean sound has the Canadian rights to record shows, so it’s independent of Funimation. But alas I won’t be doing them if IPP has anything to do with the production.

This is certainly a strange situation; we have no idea why actors associated with Ocean would be recording anything for the series at this point.

Published by VegettoEX
27 August 2000, 8:30 PM EDTComments Off

The 26 August 2000 edition of the San Jose Mercury News ran an article about Viz, the translation of manga into English, and release concerns.

ENVISIONING A POP-CULTURE BRIDGE COMPANY SAYS ANIMATION IS KEY TO UNDERSTANDING JAPAN
MIKE ANTONUCCI, Mercury News

People once fretted that the world was becoming unified under an American framework of McDonald’s, Hollywood and Air Jordans. But the winds of trendiness now blow across the oceans in all directions, with none stronger than those swirling around the Pacific Rim.

And no enterprise defines pop culture’s internationalization better than Viz Communications, a Japanese-owned company in San Francisco.

Viz was created in 1986 as a tiny publisher for U.S. versions of Japanese comic books. “I thought I could contribute something as a bridge between the United States and Japan,” said Viz founder and president Seiji Horibuchi.

Today, the company is an elite center for the redesign and translation of Japanese entertainment. It features videotapes of dubbed and subtitled animation, news and anthology magazines, soundtrack CDs from TV series and video games, a slew of books and a warehouse of merchandise such as T-shirts and posters.

Just in recent years, the Japanese influence on U.S. life has ranged from the mania over Tamagotchis — “virtual pet” devices — to popular tattoos and logos of “kanji” writing symbols. At Viz (www.viz.com), the emphasis is on art and storytelling that vast numbers of Japanese adults embrace, but which traditionally have attracted only cult fans in the United States.

Viz’s ongoing target is consumers of all ages. Yet the company has soared in prominence because of licensing tie-ins with the kid-based Pokemon craze.

Revenues jumped tenfold last year to more than $100 million, said Horibuchi. He projects a leveling-off this year to $40 million — still huge compared with a few years ago.

Land of the rising profile

As dramatic as those figures are, they obscure Viz’s long-term goal of generating broad U.S. understanding and appreciation of all genres of Japanese comics and animation.

Even as the Pokemon phenomenon was going into overdrive last summer, it was easy for Viz employees to maintain perspective. Jaime Starling of the marketing department gave a series of library talks to children about anime and manga — Japanese animation and comics — and the kids’ reactions epitomized Viz’s cross-cultural challenges.

The young collectors in her audience, for instance, were stunned to hear that many Japanese throw away comics after reading them.

“One girl stared at me and said, ‘You lie,'” said Starling.

The ultimate payoff for Viz would be a much deeper blending of Japanese and U.S. cultures. American kids would grasp why Japan’s black-and-white comics are so disposable (it’s because the paper is cheap and quantities areenormous). If Americans could adjust, Viz wouldn’t have to reverse layouts on comics that read from right to left in Japan.

Still, the company has made obvious headway. Japan’s imprint, and Viz’s, has become increasingly prominent in any store with books, videos, comics, toys or games.

One of Viz’s newest efforts is a comic based on the “Gundam” space-battle stories. With luck, it will piggyback on the success of “Gundam Wing” on cable’s Cartoon Network, which carries a four-show “Toonami” lineup from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays — programming that exemplifies Japanese animation’s growing U.S. prominence.

Gilles Poitras, author of “The Anime Companion,” says anime conventions seem to be drawing more middle-aged people in addition to kids, teens and college-age fans.

Viz staffers are highly conscious of the chance to capitalize on that expanding curiosity. “The trick, after Pokemon and all the other exposure, is to maintain the interest these things generated,” said Dallas Middaugh, Viz’s new senior marketing manager.

Shared eccentricities

Jeff Yang, co-author of a guide to the Asian impact on American life, suggests that Japan and the United States are surprisingly alike in profound but subtle ways.

“When Japanese people take off their external masks, they display an individuality and eccentricity that matches American eccentricity,” said Yang, who’s also publisher of A. Magazine. “That shows up in their fantasy life — in things like comics and animation.”

Viz’s Horibuchi, slim and soft-spoken, describes being “shocked” by his first encounter with U.S. pop culture: the taste of Coca-Cola when he was a boy in Japan. “I liked it so much,” he recalled.

Horibuchi, 48, responded with the same type of intense fascination when introduced to other American experiences over the years. Moving to the Bay Area in his 20s, he said he tended toward a “hippie” lifestyle, lacking any steady career direction.

He eventually met a young executive of a major Japanese publisher, Shogakukan, and they decided to create Viz as a foothold for their trans-Pacific vision. By the spring of 1987, Horibuchi and a skeletal staff had three comics ready for sale.

There are now 50 employees at the open-studio offices south of Market Street. Of late, Viz’s growth has been stoked by glitzier Japanese material that’s becoming almost mainstream U.S. entertainment.

More than anything else, that means Pokemon. Viz publishes Pokemon comics, helps market the video compilations of TV episodes and puts out specialty items that include Pokemon origami, paper masks and a sticker book.

Other high-profile content ranges from Dragon Ball Z comics and Sailor Moon soundtracks to movie-length animation such as “A Chinese Ghost Story.”

But Viz has stretched U.S. imaginations in more formidable ways, too. Niche titles have accrued loyal followings, seeding the market for increasingly diverse genres and wider American acceptance of black-and-white comics art.

Among the leading examples are the extensive sets of “Ranma 1/2” videos and trade paperbacks. It’s an action-comedy about a teenage martial artist who is transformed from a boy to a girl when splashed with cold water, then back again with hot water. It originated as comics and was adapted for animation.

A customer magnet

“Ranma was the meal ticket for a decade,” said Oliver Chin, the Viz sales director until recently joining a Redwood City Internet company.

Joe Field, owner of the Flying Colors Comics store in Concord, credits “Ranma 1/2” and other Viz publications for “bringing in people who don’t come to the store for any other reason.”

Ann Palmer, 43, is a Field customer who discovered “Ranma 1/2” through her 15-year-old niece.

“It delves into issues that American comics don’t deal with, such as sexual orientation and misadventures,” said Palmer, an office manager. “It’s a hoot.”

Viz’s material, said Field, offers a distinct alternative from the U.S. superhero comics aimed at adolescent boys. Viz buyers, he said, are often men, women and girls.

Even in the case of Pokemon, Viz publishes a lesser-known comic adaptation, “Magical Pokemon Journey,” that focuses on the adventures of a girl. It’s a reflection of the large girls manga market in Japan.

It’s not easy summarizing the rest of Viz’s products. Many are mature-rated videos and novelized comics, which have varying degrees of sex and violence. Others include art and reference books. The defining factor is the breadth of subjects and the serious literary aspirations.

The trade paperback comics, known as “graphic novels,” span politics and romance, crime and magic. Among the most sophisticated titles is “Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American President.” It’s a tale of politics and relationships, tracking the U.S. presidential campaign of a Japanese-American.

Viz is not the only U.S.-based anime and manga publisher, but the head-to-head competition among companies is tempered by a common desire to expand the overall American interest.

Horibuchi says his bridge-building efforts won’t be successful until that larger U.S. market has evolved.

“There’s still a cultural barrier to overcome,” he said. “But I think we have a chance.”

Thanks to Chibi-chan on alt.fan.dragonball for the heads-up!

Published by VegettoEX
09 August 2000, 12:00 PM EDTComments Off

Kidmark (the distributor for FUNimation’s dub of the original DragonBall series) will be releasing a DVD (possibly a set of DVDs?) that contains English-dub-only versions of the first thirteen DragonBall episodes, as well as the first movie (called “Curse of the Blood Rubies” by FUNimation).

Special thanks to Hasmukh Patel for the heads-up on this one.

Published by VegettoEX
28 July 2000, 12:00 PM EDTComments Off

Steven J. “Daimao” Simmons of toriyama.org has been under contract with FUNimation to provide the translations used for the Japanese version in the DVDs of DragonBall Z episodes, and has posted up his own opinions about how the DVDs are turning out.

EDITOR NOTE: toriyama.org is no longer available, so the text of the article has been retrieved from archive.org and pasted below.

Concerning the DVDs (07/26/00)

Well, now that the first two DVDs are out in circulation, I figure it’s safe to give my own two cents about how things turned out, as well as address a few things that have come up.

Concerning the Names

The names on the Ginyu discs are spelled the way they are in FUNimation’s English version. Thus you get “Krillin” instead of “Kuririn,” “Guru” instead of “The Grand Elder,” “Goku” instead of “Son-kun” (as Bulma calls him), and so on. This also meant that Japanese name suffixes, such as “-san” and “-chan,” were taken out as well. These were changes from the script that I provided that I had not been warned about until I saw them in the subtitles for myself. I am assured that after the Ginyu discs, name spellings will remain as scripted.

Concerning the Subtitles Themselves

I urged FUNimation on several occasions to use a yellow-on-black color scheme for the subs. Apparently, they tried it first, but it didn’t work out for them. They told me “the yellow on black was way too hot and blurred beyond the border. A mute orange was pretty good, but kind of overkill. The [light] gray was the best color for not blurring.”

I wasn’t very satisfied with the typesetting for the subtitles either. One line would stretch out the entire length of the page, then wrap around to finish a sentence with a single word, without any regard for keeping the lines looking balanced (examples). I brought this up after seeing the discs for myself, and my boss agrees that it should be addressed. I’m anxious to see how that turns out.

Concerning Translations

Right from the start, Gen Fukunaga made it clear that he did not want any swearing on these discs. When the time came to finally translate, however, there was no list of taboo words in place for me to reference. There are two words frequently used as mild curses in the original language, and for the more severe of the two, I left it up to the producer’s discretion how strong a word they wanted in English. The other curse I translated variously as “crap,” “crud,” “shoot,” and so forth, depending on which I felt fit the situation best. As far as that goes, crud was the strongest among that list in the neighborhood I grew up in, but I’ve heard otherwise from many of you, and the point has been taken.

After three or four episodes had gone by with these holes in the script as to how strong a curse I was allowed to use, someone within the production suggested that curse-substitutes be used, such that the subtitles would read like “Get out of here, you @$#! scum!” Of course, that idea went over like a lead balloon with me, so after reminding the powers that be that DVDs had some parental lockout functionality if it were that big a problem, I started scripting appropriately strong words and submitted them, thinking that if some producer somewhere disapproved, he could very well change it himself. But, nobody seems to have had any problems so far, and you can see the changes start for yourself part-way through the “Ide yo Shen Long” episode (the second one on the Double Cross disc).

Concerning Typos

There are a few of them. For some reason, dashes (—) and double-quotes (“) from the script did not appear in the subtitles where they belong. Moreover, there doesn’t seem to be any way to create italicized characters. If you can get past the fact that not all the sentences ended with periods, here are the more confusing typos and their corrections.

Then my transmitter gets all
broken—nothing is going right.

I know, even if it is Vegeta, I’ll just say, “Send
me back to Earth” first, and I’ll be fine!

It appears you cannot regenerate your energy as
well—your battle power has dropped.

Goofing-off, she says.
“Gouge, gouge.”

Concerning Timing

I didn’t find out until seeing the discs what kind of line width and character spacing was going to be used. As you might expect, some of my longer lines were too long to fit on the screen, and had to be split up into two lines, or otherwise spread out. In other places, two short scripted lines were joined together into one line, for whatever reason. Since I time the scripts as I translate, and those times correspond to the lines I submit, breaking up those lines naturally affects the timing involved. There are a few places where this happens, and you might notice the subtitle comes in really late, or doesn’t stay on the screen as long as it should. It doesn’t happen too often, but we are working together on coordinating the lines better in these cases.

Concerning Anything Else

The theme songs will be subtitled after the Ginyu discs. I’m not even sure why they weren’t subtitled this time around. Also, starting with the Trunks discs, expect animated menus and extras of some form or another, including the episode recaps that appear before each episode. The previews that appear after each episode are a bit more problematic, as I’ll explain. The episode masters that were provided by Toei apparently include the video footage for each preview, but not the accompanying voice-over soundtrack. The sounds that are present are those that accompany the video being used in the preview (sample in rm format). I don’t know why this is exactly, but I suspect they were left this way so that Fuji TV could arrange to have the voice-overs recorded so as to reflect whatever programming changes may arise. At any rate, without the voice-over soundtrack, there’s nothing for me to translate, and thus we probably won’t be seeing them (except with an English voice-over) on any upcoming discs.

Overall, things turned out generally well, I thought. The small glitches are being worked out, and certain precedents have been set, so hopefully it will be a smoother ride from here on out.

—Steven “Daimao” Simmons

Published by VegettoEX
16 July 2000, 12:00 PM EDTComments Off

Toriyama.org has officially announced that Steven J. Simmons (who online fans may be familiar with as “Daimao” from various boards and his own website) is indeed the translator for FUNimation’s DVD releases of the DragonBall Z series. Thanks for the heads-up goes out Brian Real.

Published by VegettoEX
11 May 2000, 12:00 PM EDTComments Off

For the first time, Irwin Toys is breaking away from the mold (pun intended!) of simply using the original Japanese and European molds of the Super Battle Collection and AB figures. Irwin is now making completely new, never-before-seen figures, premiering them with their brand-spankin’ new “Series 14”. The first set of figures includes Bulma with Ginyu Frog, Chaiotzu, Freeza in his second form, Garlic Jr., Kame-Sen’nin with Umigame, Nappa, and Raditz.