Bardock dub analysis

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Bardock dub analysis

Post by Herms » Mon May 16, 2011 6:54 pm

This week I’m going to be writing a detailed comparison between the original Japanese version of the Bardock TV special and the Funimation dub of it. I’d been hearing for a long time how different the two were, even more different than is usual for Funi’s DBZ dub, so my curiosity finally got the best of me and I watched the two side-by-side this weekend. And lo and behold, they did in fact turn out to be really, really different. There’s multiple significant script changes in every scene, sometimes virtually every line is different, and many characters have completely different names. So I’m going to look at it all conversation by conversation, adding my own notes and thoughts. I’ll be breaking it up into multiple posts, just to keep it from getting too long and to make things easier on me.

You might ask what the point of all this is, since Funi’s Bardock dub came out years and years ago. What’s it matter today? Ultimately I’m just doing this because I really like the Bardock special; it’s debatably the anime’s best contribution to the DB franchise. Bardock remains a very popular character among fans, and even Toriyama liked the special so much that he inserted Bardock into the manga, the only time such a thing happened. And while Funi went on to improve the overall quality of their dubbing and has redubbed several of the movies for various reasons, they still haven’t retouched their Bardock dub, despite putting out several different DVD editions of it. So in that sense, Funi’s dub of the special continues to be an important piece of their dub, so why not analyze the living shit out of it? At least, that's what I started thinking after that fifth Red Bull.

I’m ultimately going to be posting the entire scripts of the Japanese and English versions up here, piece by piece, and for that I’m simply copying the subtitles for the Japanese version and dub (my DVD is an old one from back when Funi still included a “dubtitle” track). I’m marking who says each line, and for that I’m using whatever name or spelling they have in that particular version (so “Burdock” in Japanese and “Bardock” in English, for instance), but outside of that I’ll use my own personal naming preferences. Also, I’m too lazy to get around the forum name filter, so I’ll just use “Freeza” even for the dub dialogue. But for Selypa's dub name I'll use "Fa'sha", since talking about it is pretty central to the point of this topic.

Anyway, without further ado let’s look at the first few scenes:

[1. Opening]

The special starts off showing the newly-born Goku on Planet Vegeta, with some doctors attending him:

Narrator: On Planet Vegeta, a baby boy lets out his first cry.
Doctor A: Kakarot? So this is Burdock’s son, then?
Doctor B: Yeah. He sure is the kid of a lower class warrior. He’s barely got any potential abilities at all. I guess all we can do with him is send him off to one of the frontier planets.
Doctor A: I suppose so.



Narrator: Planet Vegeta. Many years ago, a small child was born. Unheralded, and unattended by its father or mother, the baby cried out, making its lonely plea to the Universe! The Saiyans were a people of war, and like all Saiyan babies, the child was destined to fight!
Planthor: My goodness, that’s one loud kid! Yes, he’ll be great, watch!
Melakka: That’s a bold prediction for the son of a low-class soldier! Let’s see, Bardock’s son, huh? Planthor, I wouldn’t stake my reputation on that prediction if I were you!
Planthor: Hmm…you just wait. Come here, Melakka! Do you hear that? That’s the cry of a great warrior! Let’s see…Kakarot! Remember that name!
OK, first up: in the dub, Goku is born “unattended by [his] father or mother”. He was born without his mother in attendance? How does that work, exactly?

Next, some cosmetic differences: originally when Planet Vegeta is shown, the planet’s name is written on the screen in Japanese, but this was understandably taken out for the English dub, and instead the narrator starts off announcing “Planet Vegeta” (which is said in the Japanese narration too, but in the middle of a longer sentence). They do the same thing later with Planet Kanassa. In Japanese the narrator is Jouji Yanami, who narrates the entire DB/Z/GT anime, and also plays Doctor A here, the first character who speaks after the opening narration. I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but this made it sort of seem like the opening narration was just the doctor thinking to himself or something, like JD from Scrubs. In English the narrator and doctor have completely different voices, so you don’t get the same effect (which like I said probably wasn’t intentional anyway). I should say though that the dub narrator here is horrible. Funi’s later Z narrator was OK, and the one they got for DB was pretty good, and the Kai one is great, but this guy here is pure crap. Although for all I know these could all just be the same guy, and he’s gotten way better over the years. But I doubt it.

Anyway, this brief opening scene is a conveniently typical example of the sort of differences between the Japanese version and the Funi dub. First off, notice how much more is said in the dub. The dub writers liked to put in more dialogue at every opportunity, so whenever characters have their backs turned to the camera or a talking off screen, it’s a safe bet that the dub will be adding in extra lines. Here, I guess Funi wanted to add in some…conflict, I guess you could call it. In Japanese, both doctors agree that Goku is pretty much garbage and will never amount to anything. In the dub though, the first doctor insists despite all evidence that Goku will actually grow up to be something special, whereas his partner just thinks he’s low-class trash. And of course we the audience know that dub!doctor guy is absolutely right, so it’s supposed to be amusing in that way, like in movies set in the past where one guy is all “I’m telling you, this new-fangled TV/internet/dry-cleaning/indoor plumbing thing is really gonna take off!” and everyone else just thinks he’s crazy. Which is actually kinda something we get with Bardock later on, only in a less humorous light. We also see later on in the dub that this doctor here who thinks Goku is going to amount to something is also particularly concerned about Bardock, so I guess they were trying to characterize him a little.

The next thing that jumps out is that the doctors are nameless in Japanese, but are given names in the dub: “Planthor” and “Melakka”. It’s no secret that most of the character names throughout DB are playfully derived from food, musical instruments, and things like that, so to have two names like this that are just generic sci-fi alien names consisting of apparently random syllables is really jarring. Unless there is some word play here that I’m just missing (“Planthor”…Planter Nuts? Nah). Granted, many of the name puns in DB come from Japanese words unfamiliar to English-speakers. The most prominent example is probably the Saiyans (from yasai, “vegetable”), but in this TV special we’ve also got Planet Kanassa, a pun on the Japanese word for fish, sakana. If you don’t know Japanese then names like this probably do seem like just random gibberish, so I guess the dub writers thought they were simply playing along. There are also a few names in Japanese DB that really were just randomly created without any pun in mind, such as Popo or Polunga (for some reason they always seem to start with ‘p’), so it’s not like the dub writers are doing something totally unprecedented here. But even so, to me at least “Planthor” and “Melakka” just don’t sound like DB names (though one of them starts with ‘p’!), but your mileage may vary.

At any rate, the main point is that the dub writers just took it upon themselves to name two characters who didn’t even have names before. This has happened with more than a few characters in the dub, such as the girl Oolong tries to kidnap, the Cell Games TV announcer, or the guy who shoots Boo’s puppy. Admittedly this is something DB really leaves itself open to. Throughout the series there are many characters who aren’t named despite being around a long time or otherwise being somewhat prominent, like the Tenkaichi Budoukai announcer or Bulma’s mom. So what’s the harm in Funi giving names to these people, if only for convenience’s sake? Well, in the case of people like the TB announcer I’d probably be more included to view it charitably, since he is around an awfully long time. Or the guy who shoots Boo’s dog: he’s only around briefly, but has a big influence on the plot. It is rather odd that they don’t have names in the original. But these doctor guys? These are the sort of one-shot characters who generally don’t get named. They only appear in this TV special (though the scaly guy is based on the doctor who takes care of Vegeta in the main series), and while they are around for a few scenes, they never do anything but deliver a few bits of exposition. “Doctor A” and “Doctor B” sums them up perfectly.

After we get our first good look at baby Goku, the title screen appears and the main story begins.

[2. Drunken Oozarus vs the Kanassa Planning Committee]

At this point I should probably bring up the music. This is one of the ways in which this is a rather unfair comparison, because the use of music in the Japanese Bardock special is some of the best in the entire series. Meanwhile, the dub music is…OK. In fact, all in all the dub music is a whole lot better here than the dub voice acting. For the most part it’s simply there, and while it never really adds much to the scenes, it also doesn’t really detract either, with some rather notable exceptions. It’s average background music in other words, and if I were comparing it to something from an average Japanese DBZ episode maybe this would be a halfway legitimate contest, with the dub music coming out on top at a few points. But unfortunately this is the Bardock special, and the dub music just can’t hold a candle.

Take the title card sequence, with that great dramatic pause between notes and perfect transition into the scene on Kanassa. Meanwhile in the dub we’ve got…I don’t know, something. I can’t remember it as I’m writing this, despite having just watched this stuff just the other day. I’m sure it was perfectly decent, but it’s quite literally unmemorable compared to the Japanese music here. Actually, maybe it’s not the music itself that’s so great here (although it is a good piece), it’s just the way it’s used that really makes it stand out. But it’s hard to describe and I’ve got no audio clips, so maybe I should move on to stuff I can at least transcribe.

On that note though, the main reason the dub music feels lacking here compared to the Japanese side of things is that the dub dialogue is allowed to step all over it. As the scene switches to Planet Kanassa, in Japanese the music takes center stage and builds up the drama, but the dub inserts a tremendous amount of dialogue here where originally there was just music or silence, and so to go along with that they just come up with some competent piece that can play in the background as people talk. And just what are they talking about? Well, behold:

*Saiyans attack Kanassaians. One cuts Pumbukin, but they all get wiped out anyway*
Pumbukin: *touches scar* That bastard.



Narrator: Planet Kanassa
Dimitreous: Sir, it’s the full moon…just like in the vision!
Commander: Yes Dimitreous. Indeed, it is about to begin. This is the hour for which we have prepared!
Dimitreous: Yes, Commander!
*Saiyans attack Kanassaians*
Commander: Don’t lose heart my faithful Kanass. This is our duty! We must see it through until the end.
*A Kanassaian cuts Shugesh, but they all get wiped out anyway*
Torah: That was a heck of a party, wasn’t it.
Fa’sha: If you say so, I don’t remember any of it!
Torah: You’re a typical ape Fa’sha.
Fa’sha: Aaah, shut up! I don’t see how you guys remember, anyway! It’s elephants that aren’t supposed to forget, not apes!
Borgos: I’m with you Fa’sha! To me it’s like waking up from a dream! You kind of remember it all but then it just slips away!
Shugesh: I don’t remember much either, but I remember the crusty, little devil that game me this! *touches scar*
No, I didn’t accidentally leave out the Japanese dialogue for this part: that’s all the dialogue there is! To get back to music for a bit, basically what happens during this scene in the Japanese version is that the dramatic music from the title card keeps playing as the scene changes to Kanassa and continues on for a bit, setting the mood. Then that piece stops and a new more fast-paced bit of music starts up as the Oozaru Saiyans appear and start wrecking the place. Then that piece goes away as the battle winds down, and the scene transitions to the morning after the battle. The scene surveys all the dead bodies, wrecked buildings, and other wreckage left in the wake of the Saiyans’ rampage, all in silence. Slowly our view zooms in on the Saiyan group, and Pumbukin complains about his scar. The dub inserts two entire conversations between the start of the Kanassa scene and Pumbukin’s complaint. There’s so much to talk about here that I’m going to break it down into sub-sections.

The Kanassain Resistance

The first thing we hear in the dub is a conversation between two people of Kanassa, discussing how it is now the night of the full moon “just like in the vision” and that the thing they have been preparing for has finally come. As we see later in both versions, the people of Planet Kanassa have psychic powers, and the idea here is that they knew the Saiyans were coming ahead of time and prepared to fight them, kind of like the Z Warriors did for the androids over in the main series. As far as expanding on the original goes, this isn’t a bad idea. After all, the entire plot of the special is that Bardock gains the ability to see the future from the Kanassaians and tries to prevent the things he sees from happening, so why wouldn’t the Kanassaians have done something similar? However, since Funi obviously can’t add in new scenes of their own, they can only add in stuff like this by either altering the original dialogue or, as they do here, by putting it in where there was originally silence. And while it’s not that bad an idea, I don’t think that it’s good enough to justify wrecking the dramatic scene-setting music of the original. I also don’t think that it’s the place of dubbing companies to try and improve the original by making drastic changes like this, even when the ideas behind the changes are OK.

There are also obvious problems with trying to expand the story by adding in new dialogue like this, because no matter what they have the characters say, it can’t be reflected in the visuals. So in the dub the Kanassaians talk about having prepared for this attack, but as in the Japanese version all we see is them standing around shooting at the Saiyans. This doesn’t really seem like the well-honed strategy of a precognitive race. We also never get to actually see these two guys having this conversation (one of them kinda shows up later, but I’ll get to that), making it seem odd and disconnected. And it leads to some confusing moments: we hear these two disembodied voices talking about the full moon and how they’ve prepared for this, then suddenly an Oozaru Saiyan looms into view. If you didn’t know better you might think that it was the Saiyans we heard talking. Then later on when the commander guy is telling his fellow “Kanass” not to loose heart, the actual visuals are of dead Kanassaians everywhere with an Oozaru Saiyan standing above them, his mouth wide open. It seems kind of like he’s the one talking, since he’s the only living person is sight and his mouth is open.

Which brings us to the two Kanassains in this conversation. One of them is named “Dimitreous” (as the dub subtitles spell it), another dub-only name for a character not named in the original version. In fact, not only is this character not named in the original, he’s not even in the original at all, since this whole conversation is only in the dub. So here we have a named, speaking role that did not exist in the original version in any capacity. That’s actually sort of impressive, in a perverse way. Like the other dub-only names, “Dimitreous” is a very un-DB sort of name, and seems like it was just chosen at random. Demetrius is a real name, so I don’t know if the dub subtitle guy spelled it “Dimitreous” to make it seem more alien, or just as a mistake. Either way, it really doesn’t fit the fish theme of Kanassa, but I guess it’s understandable that the dub writers wouldn’t pick up on that theme, since it involves puns on Japanese words.

And then there’s the commander. I think the idea is that the commander who talks here is the same guy who later gives Bardock psychic powers, since in the dub that later guy talks about “his troops”. If that’s the case then this guy actually does have a name in the Japanese version, whereas in the dub he’s not given one. How’s that for a switcheroo? This Kanassaian who gives Bardock psychic powers is named Tooro, a pun on toro, fatty tuna meat used in sushi. However, like several names in the Japanese version of the special, this name is only given in the Japanese credits and not spoken in dialogue. And even then, you kind of have to go to the guidebooks to determine that this name refers to this character, unless you’re just intimately familiar with voice actor Banjou Ginga and can effortlessly remember which character he voiced. So it’s not strange that the dub writers wouldn’t know this guy even had a name, but it’s (pleasantly) surprising that they didn’t make up a name of their own for him like they did half the other characters. Though they did make up a background for him. In the Japanese version there’s nothing said about who Tooro is, other than just being a Kanassaian, but in the dub he’s some sort of military commander.

Getting back to more “in-universe” stuff, the dub dialogue implies that the Saiyans just suddenly show up with the full moon and wipe out all the Kanassaians in the course of a single night, but later on in the Japanese version Zarbon tells Freeza that Kanassa has been conquered a month earlier than expected, which would seem to indicate that Bardock and the gang spent a good deal of time there and the attack we see in the special was just the climax to a long struggle between them and the Kanassaians.

Meet the Crew

After the Kanassaians are wiped out, the dub then inserts a conversation between Bardock’s crew (whether or not “Bardock’s crew” is an accurate way to describe them is kinda up to debate, but I’ll get to that later). Before I get to the conversation though, I should probably go over the issue of the crew’s names. As you can tell from the dialogue quoted above, all of the Saiyans here except for Bardock have a different name in the dub. Bardock himself is named after burdock. His name is spelled exactly the same way the English word “burdock” is written in Japanese (as バーダック/Baadakku), so that’s why the Japanese subtitles spell his name that way, whereas the dub spells it “Bardock”, another possible way of Romanizing his name (which is what I like to use too). It’s a little different, but still just alternate ways of spelling the same name, as opposed to what we get with the rest of the crew.

First off is Toma, the guy who later on tells Bardock about Freeza’s betrayal, and provides Bardock’s trademark red bandanna (dyed in his own blood). His name is a pun on “tomato”. The dub though calls him “Torah”. Why, I dunno. The Torah refers to the 5 Books of Moses, the first books of the Bible, but I really doubt that’s what the dub writers were going for. It’s notable that Toma’s dub name is so close to his original name, unlike the rest of Bardock’s crew as we’ll see below. And Toma is the only one of the crew besides Bardock whose name is spoken in dialogue, as opposed to only being revealed in the credits. So did the dub writers just mishear his name as “Torah”? Or did they change it on purpose, and if so why, since Toma’s name pun is easily understandable to an English-speaking audience?

The rest of the crews’ names are completely different in the dub. Like I said, all these characters’ names are revealed only in the credits, so more than likely the dub writers didn’t even know about them and just made up ones of their own. First there’s the only female member of the crew, Selypa, whose name is a pun on “parsley” (parsely: パセリ/paseri; Selypa: セリパ/Seripa). In the dub she is called “Fa’sha”. Again, I have no clue what if anything “Fa’sha” is supposed to be a pun on. If the dub writers are going to make up their own names for these guy, I wish they’d at least stick to the whole Saiyan vegetable theme. I can understand them not picking up on Kanassa’s fish theme, but surely after dubbing the show for so long they should have noticed the theme to the Saiyans’ names, what with “Vegeta”, “Kakarrot”, and “Raditz”.

Next up is the short fat guy who gets his cheek cut by a Kanassaian. His name is Pumbukin, a pun on, well, “pumpkin”. In the dub he is “Shugesh”. Then there’s the tall partially bald guy with scars on his forehead, named Totapo after the potato. His dub name is “Borgos”. Once again I don’t know what if anything these names are based on, so if I’m missing something please let me know.

Drunken Oozaru

With that out of the way, let’s finally move on to the conversation itself. Toma/Torah says that it was “a heck of a party” wiping out the Kanassaians, and this leads into a discussion on which of them can or can’t remember what they do as Oozaru. We see in the main series that Goku can’t remember his actions as an Oozaru and is even unaware that he transforms at all, whereas Vegeta clearly remembers, since he knows it was Yajirobe who cuts off his tail. So delving into this issue isn’t that bad an idea if you want to expand on the story, but it’s a poor replacement for the eerie silence in the original as we see the carnage the Saiyans have left behind. And as I’ve said before, I don’t think it’s the place of dub writers to expand on the story; the purpose of an English dub should be to reproduce the original dialogue in English, warts and all. Not that I think the silence here is a “wart”: silence can often add a lot to a scene and convey far more than words, something the dub writers don’t seem to realize. But even if the original scene had been crap I don’t think they should have tried fixing it, if only because they don’t seem competent enough to write decent dialogue.

Take this dub scene: not a bad idea at heart, but they way its executed is middling at best. Toma/Torah starts off says that was a “heck of a party” and Selypa/Fa’sha says she doesn’t remember it. The makes it sound like it’s the morning after some drunken kegger party, which is the sort of mental association that might work in a fan parody but is distracting in what is supposed to be a rather serious story by DB standards. Selypa/Fa’sha’s line about elephants rather apes never forgetting is pretty dumb. Totapo/Borgos’ line comparing his memories of being an Oozaru to memories of a dream is interesting, but ruined by bad delivery. For whatever reason, they saw fit to give him a voice like Barney the Dinosaur. Or if you don’t know who that is, let’s just say he has this cartoony stuffed animal type of voice. It’s worth noting that in the original, Totapo never speaks. He’s described as “silent” in most of his guidebook profiles, so this was probably an intentional choice rather than an oversight. Meanwhile, Selypa/Fa’sha’s dub voice sounds like a bee. So two of the four characters in this dub-only conversation have distractingly bad voices (Toma/Torah and Pumbukin/Shugesh’s voices are OK).

Besides giving more details of the Oozaru transformation, I’d assume the reason they added this conversation in the dub is so that we can get to know the crew a little better, since they’re not really around for all that long. Bardock’s reaction to their deaths is supposed to be one of the special’s key scenes, so the dub writers probably wanted to flesh out their personalities and relationship with Bardock. Which is again maybe a noble idea, but isn’t pulled of so great. I can’t say that we get to know much more about them from this conversation, at least nothing much worth knowing. And the conversation distracts from the images of the destruction they caused, which I think really tells you all you need to know about these people and their way of life. One last point is that while Selypa, Pumbukin, and Totapo’s names are only given in the credits, their dub names are all mentioned repeatedly in dub dialogue, as we see here with “Fa’sha” being called by name whereas Selypa never is.

Well, I’ve probably gone on long enough for now. I know I’ve written a whole lot about relatively little dialogue on both the Japanese and English sides, but there’s a lot of stuff to note at the beginning here, and I should have a much smaller dialogue to comments ratio from here on out.
Last edited by Herms on Mon May 16, 2011 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by jjgp1112 » Mon May 16, 2011 7:06 pm

One of the main problems with the Bardock dub was the fact that they didn't even have the Japanese version for it. All they had was the Mexican dub. So they basically just had to make a bunch of bullshit up and go by whatever prior knowledge they had.
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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by MarcFBR » Mon May 16, 2011 7:32 pm

Herms wrote:Planet Vegeta. Many years ago, a small child was born. Unheralded, and unattended by its father or mother, the baby cried out, making its lonely plea to the Universe! The Saiyans were a people of war, and like all Saiyan babies, the child was destined to fight!
Just to comment on this one- It doesn't actually say it was unattended at birth. Just that it was unattended as a baby.
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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by Zestanor » Mon May 16, 2011 7:41 pm

jjgp1112 wrote:One of the main problems with the Bardock dub was the fact that they didn't even have the Japanese version for it. All they had was the Mexican dub. So they basically just had to make a bunch of bullshit up and go by whatever prior knowledge they had.
Is this true? I was under the impression that the Mexican dub was very accurate. Since it would probably be easier to translate from Spanish, shouldn't they have ended up with a better English dub? Maybe you meant one of the European Spanish dubs. And why wouldn't they have Japanese version for it?

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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by roidrage » Mon May 16, 2011 7:59 pm

"Shugesh" sounds like it might be a pun on "squash", which would be all right, seeing as how pumpkins and squash are pretty close, but you never can tell with the dub. I also hate (and I do mean hate) Kid Vegeta's English voice in this special. It sounds like Tom Tucker's kid from Family Guy.

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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by jjgp1112 » Mon May 16, 2011 8:00 pm

Zestanor wrote:
jjgp1112 wrote:One of the main problems with the Bardock dub was the fact that they didn't even have the Japanese version for it. All they had was the Mexican dub. So they basically just had to make a bunch of bullshit up and go by whatever prior knowledge they had.
Is this true? I was under the impression that the Mexican dub was very accurate. Since it would probably be easier to translate from Spanish, shouldn't they have ended up with a better English dub? Maybe you meant one of the European Spanish dubs. And why wouldn't they have Japanese version for it?
Well, they likely didn't have a Spanish translator and didn't feel like paying for one. They had to make things up because they had no clue what was being said.
Yamcha: Do you remember the spell to release him - do you know all the words?
Bulma: Of course! I'm not gonna pull a Frieza and screw it up!
Master Roshi: Bulma, I think Frieza failed because he wore too many clothes!
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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by Puto » Mon May 16, 2011 8:09 pm

Actually, the European Spanish dub of the Bardock special is one of the few accurate dubs of Dragon Ball stuff in Spain.

And they only had the Mexican dub, for some reason didn't want to translate from that, so they just made up the entire script from scratch.
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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by Cipher » Mon May 16, 2011 8:26 pm

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, Herms (you probably are), but Steve Simmons' "Burdock" spelling was later changed to "Bardock" on the double-feature release.

Anyway, this is a pretty cool dissection. To be honest, I've always thought the conversations about oozaru memories was one of the more interesting FUNimation changes. If only it were better executed, I'd say it could actually be a good contribution. It's pretty eerie.
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Eh. "Best" as far as quality, or in terms of franchise importance? Because if it's the latter, no matter what you think of it, it would inarguably be GT. But that's neither here nor there.

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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by Budogenkai » Mon May 16, 2011 8:59 pm

They completely made up the script?

Wat.. :?
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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by Codarik » Tue May 17, 2011 12:35 am

Wow FUNi changed a lot, but I do like how they made Bardock care more about Goku and during one of Bardock's visions, he is on Namek and sees Goku, the dialogue about "Not too late to be different" I really liked. Other than that everything else was bad. IMO.

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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by KaiserNeko » Tue May 17, 2011 12:58 am

Codarik wrote:Wow FUNi changed a lot, but I do like how they made Bardock care more about Goku and during one of Bardock's visions, he is on Namek and sees Goku, the dialogue about "Not too late to be different" I really liked. Other than that everything else was bad. IMO.
You're totally allowed to enjoy the changes they made, I am not calling your opinion wrong, however...

Those changes are -unacceptable- in terms of the story, the character, and the overall pathos of the series. Bardock's character is just another Saiyan, he cares more about his son becoming a powerful Saiyan who will defeat Freeza, and that's that. Any of these changes to his character and the script are -ridiculous-. I hated those changes almost more than any of them.
Last edited by KaiserNeko on Tue May 17, 2011 12:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by Herms » Tue May 17, 2011 1:09 am

Alright, on to Part 2. I’ll have responses to comments at the end.

[3. Father of the year]

So to pick things up again, it’s the morning after the Saiyans finished off the people of Kanassa, the group is talking amongst themselves, and Pumbukin/Shugesh just complained about the scar he got during the battle:

Toma: That’s what you get for dropping your guard. So Burdock, don’t you think you went over the top there, even celebrating your son’s birth and all?
Burdock: Celebrating my son’s birth? What a ridiculous farce!
Selypa: We’re finished on this planet. Why don’t you head back to Planet Vegeta and meet him?
Burdock: To see a lowest-class warrior without any promise at all? What kind of fool would make that trip? And who asked you what I should be doing anyhow?
Selypa: I see.



Fa’sha: Bardock says he remembers everything!
Torah: Right, don’t make me laugh, Fa’sha! Bardock might remember every second of every battle but he remembers nothing of his personal life! Allow me to demonstrate…Bardock, do you remember what day your son was born?
Bardock: No, but that was a long time ago!
Fa’sha: It was not, you lazy bum! Yesterday? Come on! You need to go see the little tike! You have enough time to stop in before our next assignment!
Bardock: Visit him, huh? How nice. Father-son bonding! Why should I? They’ll just send him away! What’s the use? Tell me that!
Fa’sha: Hmmm…Bardock! You’re too much!
First off is how in English the whole “Oozaru memories” dub-only conversation serves as a transition into this conversation, whereas in Japanese Toma is chiding Pumbukin for getting scarred, only to suddenly start talking to Bardock apropos of nothing. So that at least comes off more natural in the dub, but I still don’t like all the memory-related talk they added in to go along with it. Speaking of naturalness, Toma’s “don’t you think you went over the top there, even celebrating your son’s birth and all?” is one of those times the Japanese subtitles phrase things somewhat awkwardly, an unfortunate side effect of keeping things as close to the Japanese dialogue as possible. The idea is that Toma thinks Bardock was purposefully going over the top in his rampaging, to celebrate his son’s birth.

In Japanese, Bardock doesn’t want to see his son because his son is a low-class warrior without any promise. He’s not worth seeing, in other words. In English though Bardock dismisses the idea of going to see his son because “they’ll just send him away”, which is odd because if anything that sounds like a reason to go see him, while he’s still there. Unless the idea is that Bardock thinks Goku will be sent off before he can make it back to Planet Vegeta, so why bother going? If so, I think it could be phrased better. Also odd is how Fa’sha calls Bardock a “lazy bum” for not remembering when his son was born. Is the idea that he’s too lazy to properly remember things? I don’t really think of memory as requiring strenuous effort like that.

All in all though, I guess this bit of the dub is pretty close to the Japanese version, compared to the rest of the special’s dub.

[4. Psychic powers]

Pumpkin: We ought to be grateful to Freeza-sama. He’s been putting us to work for him quite often.
Burdock: So what does Freeza-sama want with a crummy little planet like this?
Toma: You know what I heard? This Kanassa is supposed to have some kind of energy that grants you psychic abilities. I don’t know whether he believes that rumor or not, but apparently Freeza-sama has been thinking of taking this world for a long time.



Shugesh: Hey, guys…why did we fight for this dump anyway, huh? Is Freeza out of his tiny little mind or something?
Bardock: Yeah, but not in this case. I think this planet has special energy, so I heard!
Torah: Yeah, I heard the same thing! You’re supposed to be able to develop psychic powers if you live here! Like being able to read minds and see the future and stuff like that!
Bardock: Freeza is such a paranoid freak! He’d jump at the chance to be able to read minds!
Borgos: That’s a scary thought, Freeza reading minds. I…
At this point the conversation gets cut off as Tooro attacks.

Mind-reading and energy

This is the start of a major change in the dub. In Japanese, Planet Kanassa’s mysterious energy is supposed to grant people “psychic abilities”, specifically the ability to see the future. As a result, Bardock becomes able to see the future of the Saiyans and his son. Maybe other varieties of psychic powers can be gained on Kanassa, but they’re never specifically mentioned or discussed. In the dub though, they specifically single out mind-reading powers as why Freeza is interested in Kanassa, and Bardock actually gains the ability to read minds, which he uses throughout the rest of the special, reading Goku’s mind and Freeza’s. He still has visions of the future like in the Japanese version, but for some reason they keep going on about his mind-reading powers, despite this not being a part of the original plot at all.

Also, in both versions these psychic powers are supposed to come from some sort of energy found on Kanassa, but the dub says you can get psychic powers if you live there, whereas originally it’s vaguer. The dub makes the energy sound similar to background radiation, but it could be something very different in the original version. In fact, as we soon see, Tooro is able to instantly give Bardock psychic powers by striking him, so it seems like this energy can be directly manipulated. So for all we know, in the Japanese version perhaps you can only gain psychic powers there by learning to manipulate it like this (or getting hit by someone who can), and simply living there isn’t enough to do the trick. This is all very nit-picky and speculative I admit, but it’s just something that occurred to me.

It’s notable that in both the Japanese and English versions, there’s no follow-up to the idea that Freeza wants psychic powers. I guess it naturally takes a backseat to the main plot of Planet Vegeta’s destruction, but it still feels like something of a loose thread. Then again, in the main series we see Freeza telling Zarbon how he has a “premonition” that a powerful Saiyan will soon appear, so maybe Freeza actually did eventually go to Kanassa and gain a measure of psychic ability. I doubt that’s an intentional connection though.

Everybody loves/hates Freeza

The Saiyans’ attitude towards Freeza is extremely different between the two versions. In Japanese, they respectfully call him “Freeza-sama”, and Pumbukin even says they should be grateful to him for sending so much work their way. You see this kind of attitude with all the Saiyans throughout the special. In some of the TV filler, the Saiyans (or at least King Vegeta and his elites) are portrayed as hating Freeza’s rule and finally rebelling against him, but there’s none of that in this special. Here the Saiyans seem more or less fine with their relationship with Freeza, and that’s why they’re so shocked when Freeza betrays them.

In the dub though, rather than feeling grateful for Freeza, Pumbukin/Shugesh asks if Freeza is out of “his tiny little mind”, to which Bardock replies “yes” and goes on to call Freeza a “paranoid freak”. This is another thing that continues throughout the special, with Saiyans talking smack about Freeza and even talking about not taking orders from him any more. It really lessons the impact of Freeza’s betrayal. After all, in Japanese the Saiyans are fine with Freeza and working faithfully for him, so the fact that he decides to wipe them all out just because they’re starting to get too strong makes him seem like a, well, paranoid freak. Whereas in the dub the Saiyans are already giving him ample reason to suspect that they’ll all about to turn on him, so it’s pretty logical that he’d decide to get rid of them.

Bardock knows all (or not)

An offshoot of the above is that because they get rid of Pumbukin/Shugesh’s line about being grateful to Freeza, the entire conversation shifts around. Originally after Pumbukin/Shugesh’s line, Bardock asks why Freeza had them conquer this planet in the first place, to which Toma/Torah gives the exposition about psychic powers. But in the dub, Pumbukin/Shugesh’s original line is replaced by him asking about why Freeza had them conquer this planet, rather than Bardock. Bardock then supplies part of the exposition himself, before Toma/Torah takes over. It’s a minor thing, but interesting in how it changes the group dynamic. Think about it: Bardock doesn’t even know why they’re on that planet in the first place, and Toma does. It puts them on at least equal footing, and calls into question whether Bardock is actually the leader here (but I’ll get to that later). And Toma gets to deliver major exposition all on his own, which increases his importance to the story. But in the dub Shugesh’s the one who doesn’t know and Bardock’s the one who answers, with Torah just filling in the details.

[5. Tooro]

*Tooro suddenly attacks Burdock*
Burdock: Wha-?
Pumpkin: Rotten scum!
Burdock: Looks like I dropped my guard too. You lousy rat!
*Toma blasts Tooro, who catches fire*
Tooro: Listen to me! I just struck you using a technique giving you knowledge of the future through visions!
Burdock: Knowledge of the future?
Tooro: You will see the future fate of your own people.
Burdock: What is this guy talking about?
Tooro: I will warn you now, that you have no future, save that which is cursed! As it is with my own people, there will be nothing but destruction for yours! I condemn you to see your own future, and agonize over the form it takes!
Burdock: Enough!
*Burdock blasts Tooro to pieces*
Pumpkin: That’s pretty funny. What do us invincible Saiyans have to watch and agonize over, I ask you? Right, Burdo-?
*Burdock collapses*
Everyone: Hey, Burdock! Burdock! Hey Burdock! What’s wrong? Shake it off! What’s the matter? Hey Burdock! Hey! Burdock!



*Tooro suddenly attacks Bardock*
Tooro: I wish you baboons could read minds, so you could have heard the thoughts of my troops as you slaughtered them!
Bardock: Huh?
*Torah blasts Tooro, who catches fire*
Somebody: What in the heck is going on?
Torah: Huh?
Tooro: I have transmuted your destructive force into a more tolerable energy! Soon, you will all die!
Bardock: Yeah? We’ll see about that…goodbye!
Tooro: Wait! You have come here seeking psychic power. Well, I have given it to you, Bardock!
Bardock: He reads minds!
Tooro: You can too now, Bardock! You have the power now, too!
Bardock: Me? What are you talking about?
Tooro: The one who seeks the power, Freeza, will never have it! But I have given it to you as a gift, Bardock! So that you could see!
Bardock: See what?
Tooro: See the horror of your end, just like we had to!
Bardock: Shut up!
*Bardock blasts Tooro to pieces*
Shugesh: Instant bar-b-que! You never know what you’re going to find under a rock these days! Pretty freaky creature, aye? Hey! Yo! Hello?
*Bardock suddenly collapses*
This is a pretty long chunk of conversation compared to how I’ve been breaking things up so far, but I couldn’t see any good cut-off points to split it up further. I’m going to use “Tooro” to refer to the Kanassaian here for both the Japanese and English sides of things. Technically it’s only used for him in Japanese (and only in the credits and guides), but he’s not given any specific name in the dub other than “commander”, which I really don’t want to use.

Mind-Reading Redux

In the dub, as the Saiyans are talking about mind-reading, Tooro picks up the conversation thread and says how he wishes they could read minds, to improve their empathy. Then later he calls Bardock by name and Bardock responds “he reads minds!”, the idea being that Tooro learned his name telepathically. Then Tooro says that Bardock can do so too now. Like I said before, there’s nothing about mind-reading in the Japanese version, but they keep going on about it in the dub. The way the conversation in the dub flows, it makes it sound like Tooro has given Bardock the ability to read minds so that he can see the future, which doesn’t make much sense. Technically though Tooro just says he has given Bardock “the power” (though this is directly in response to Bardock noting how Tooro can read minds), so I assume “the power” is supposed to refer to psychic power in general, from mind-reading to precognition. In Japanese, right off the bat Tooro simply and explicitly says that he has given Bardock knowledge of the future.

Also note that in the dub Tooro mentions Freeza by name and knows that his desire for psychic power is why the Saiyans are here, something he doesn’t originally talk about. It might be intended as another thing he learned via telepathy, but maybe he simply overheard it, since he was just a little ways from where they were sitting. For that matter he could have just overheard Bardock’s crew calling him by name, but Bardock takes the fact that he calls him by name as a sign that he can read minds. While we’re on the subject of Tooro, I have a slight problem with how he just so happens to be within a stone’s throw of where they Saiyans are sitting, but I can forgive it as simply being for the sake of narrative economy. Or maybe he was actually originally somewhere far away and just tunneled to them underground. Yeah, that’s it.

Burning Man

After Tooro attacks, Toma/Torah fires a ki blast at him. In Japanese, after firing the blast Toma looks surprised, then Tooro steps forward, now on fire, and begins talking about how he gave Bardock the ability to see the future. In the dub though, Tooro says he has “transmuted your destructive force into a more tolerable energy”. I guess the idea here is that the flames surrounding Tooro are the “more tolerable energy” in question, and that he’s someone survived the attack through this weird method. Whereas in the original he’s just supposed to be on fire because, well, Toma lit him on fire, and the only reason he’s still standing and talking is because he’s just that frikkin’ badass. I don’t know if the dub dialogue is intentional censorship or if they simply didn’t understand what was happening in the scene. It is admittedly a little odd, in as much as I don’t think we ever see anyone lit on fire through ki alone like this outside of this one scene, though Gohan does light a fire with a ki blast at one point.

Show and tell

Here’s a reversal of the usual formula: in Japanese, when Bardock collapses we hear the other Saiyans calling to him in concern, but in English this part is silent. It’s a shame, because I think the dub writers were trying to develop the crew and their relationship with Bardock beyond what was done in the original, such as by adding more dialogue with the crew like we saw before, but this brief bit where they all repeatedly call out to Bardock in concern does a lot more to demonstrate that relationship than anything the dub throws in, in my opinion at least.

Nothing to fear

Originally after Tooro finally bites the dust, Pumbukin laughs at his warnings about the Saiyans having a terrible fate in store. What do they have to worry about, he wonders? This bit gets replaced in the dub by Shugesh making a joke about bar-b-que and saying you can never tell what you’ll find under a rock nowadays. It’s another small thing with some interesting implications, which gets left out in the dub. Basically, Pumbukin is told that the Saiyans have something to be afraid of, and his mind doesn’t instantly go to thoughts of Freeza betraying them. So apparently their relationship is pretty good at this point, something this special at least consistently shows. Either that or Pumbukin is just completely Freeza’s dupe; he was the one saying earlier that they should be thankful to him. But none of the other Saiyans seem to have any concerns either, though Bardock’s collapse does cut the scene short.

jjgp1112 wrote:One of the main problems with the Bardock dub was the fact that they didn't even have the Japanese version for it. All they had was the Mexican dub. So they basically just had to make a bunch of bullshit up and go by whatever prior knowledge they had.
I've heard something about that before. I'm not sure how much of the dub's problems it explains though. After all, there's lots of parts where they added dialogue to what was originally silence. Obviously that's not a case of them not knowing what was being said. Also, there are parts where the dub dialogue actually is pretty close to the original, like when the doctor guy notes that Bardock is physically OK but mentally problematic due to having odd brainwave fluctuations. It seems strange that they'd be able to get something as complicated as that right but not other things, whatever the circumstances were.
roidrage wrote:"Shugesh" sounds like it might be a pun on "squash", which would be all right, seeing as how pumpkins and squash are pretty close, but you never can tell with the dub.
Interesting. I guess it's possible, but it seems like a bit of a stretch; the sounds aren't quite close enough. Actually, what "Shugesh" keeps reminding me of are the Shoggoth from the Cthulhu mythos, but I guess the names aren't all that similar either.
Cipher wrote:I'm not sure if you're aware of this, Herms (you probably are), but Steve Simmons' "Burdock" spelling was later changed to "Bardock" on the double-feature release.
Ah, I totally didn't know that, thanks. I think I'll keep on using "Burdock" for the Japanese subtitle transcriptions though.
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I meant "quality"; sorry if I didn't make that clear. My point was that while the Bardock special is a mere 45 minute piece and just one of numerous DB movies and specials, it's one of the highlights of the entire anime and so I think it has importance disproportionate to its length, so the fact that it has such a crummy dub is a real shame.
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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by DBZ Mick » Tue May 17, 2011 3:13 am

This movie is one of the reasons why I 'converted' to the Japanese version... I watched the English version for a few moments and after having an enjoyable experience seeing Movie #13 in Japanese I switched over. Loved it so much, especially the music.
It is in his character to be rude and a bit crass. He's a hick, with no formal education. That is Son Goku. That is who he is.

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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by Deimos » Tue May 17, 2011 4:02 am

I would love a redub of the two specials. They definitely deserve the "Kai" dub treatment with the script, the acting, and some recasting (more of Chris Ayres as Freeza wouldn't be a bad thing).

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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by Eire » Tue May 17, 2011 11:16 am

The Saiyans’ attitude towards Freeza is extremely different between the two versions. In Japanese, they respectfully call him “Freeza-sama”, and Pumbukin even says they should be grateful to him for sending so much work their way. You see this kind of attitude with all the Saiyans throughout the special. In some of the TV filler, the Saiyans (or at least King Vegeta and his elites) are portrayed as hating Freeza’s rule and finally rebelling against him, but there’s none of that in this special. Here the Saiyans seem more or less fine with their relationship with Freeza, and that’s why they’re so shocked when Freeza betrays them.
The special and filler doesn't rule out each other. In special we see aristocrats who meet him directly and can judge from his words and behaviour. In special we see low class who can judge only from second hand sources, so for them Frieza might be seen as a "good uncle". Nice nuance for my inside history nerd :wink:

Analyse great as always:)
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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by kaialone » Tue May 17, 2011 1:09 pm

Herms wrote: Torah: Allow me to demonstrate…Bardock, do you remember what day your son was born?
Bardock: No, but that was a long time ago!
I always thought this was a little reference to Radditz.

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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by Akumaito Beam » Tue May 17, 2011 3:35 pm

This is a really fascinating read. Thanks for the analysis. Despite slowly being weened off the dub for a few years now, I just got around to watching the sub of this special (properly) about a few weeks ago. This side by side comparison really helps show off how altered it is.

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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by Taku128 » Tue May 17, 2011 4:30 pm

jjgp1112 wrote:Well, they likely didn't have a Spanish translator and didn't feel like paying for one. They had to make things up because they had no clue what was being said.
They didn't have to do anything, they could've not been cheap lazy assholes and actually shelled out some money for a translator so they could actually translate the damn show they're dubbing instead of just writing an entirely new script. Not having a translator is entirely inexcusable when you're translating something.

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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by Drabaz » Tue May 17, 2011 4:42 pm

kaialone wrote:
Herms wrote: Torah: Allow me to demonstrate…Bardock, do you remember what day your son was born?
Bardock: No, but that was a long time ago!
I always thought this was a little reference to Radditz.
I can't believe I've never thought about it like that before :lol:. It makes me not dislike that dub line a little less. Thanks for the indepth review Herms. I was reading it at work little by little, and it really made the day go by quick. Now I want to rush home and watch the Bardock special!
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Re: Bardock dub analysis

Post by Herms » Tue May 17, 2011 4:52 pm

On to Part 3. After Bardock collapses, the scene switches to one of Freeza’s worlds, where we’re introduced to a young Vegeta and a still not quite bald Nappa. For the longest time I had mistakenly thought this scene was set on Planet Vegeta, but it’s clearly someplace different. There’s no information on exactly where though.

[6. Vegeta versus the Saibaimen]

*Vegeta fights some Saibaimen*
Mook: He’s avoiding every one of their attacks! He’s incredible! U-unbelievable! He finished off those strength-enhanced Saibaimen in a matter of seconds!
Nappa: What’s so incredible? Vegeta-sama wasn’t even giving them his best!
Mook: What a fearsome kid!
Vegeta: I’m done! Hurry and open the gate!
Mook: Roger!



(Elite Training Center)

*Vegeta fights some Saibaimen*
Mook A: Holy rings of Korbeesha, Did you see that?
Mook B: Yes, I see it all the time! That’s Prince Vegeta. He’s the best!
Mook A: There’s no waaayyy!!
Mook B: Not for any kid you’ve ever known!
Mook A: Unbelievable!
Mook B: I told you!
Mook A: My gosh! What’s he going to be like when he’s full grown?
Nappa: Nobody knows that, yet! But take my advice and stay on his good side!
Mook A: Shoot, yeah!
Vegeta: Open up, you fool! I’m done!
Mook A: Ahhh! Yikes! Sorry, sir!

At the start of the scene, in the dub the building where all this takes place is labeled as the “Elite Training Center”, but we don’t get any information like that in Japanese. This is the first of many uses of the term “elite” in the dub, but it’s not something that ever comes up in the original. The fact that Bardock, the rest of his group, and Goku are all “lower-class warriors” is brought up several times, but elites are never actually directly mentioned. In the main series though Nappa says that he’s a member of the elite (and the nobility), while Vegeta refers to himself as “super-elite”. These seem to be designations used for Saiyans specifically though, and don’t directly relate to Freeza’s army. Nappa’s Daizenshuu 7 bio for instance points out that Nappa was a part of the Saiyan elite but held no particularly high position among Freeza’s forces.

Mad about the boy

In this scene, we see two random mooks monitoring Vegeta’s fight, while Nappa stands by their side. In Japanese though only one of these guys actually talks (the green one), while in the dub the two have a little conversation. In both versions the talk is about how darn strong kid Vegeta is, and in both Mook A (the green guy) seems terrified at Vegeta’s strength. In the dub, Mook B is more familiar with Vegeta and seems to admire rather than fear him. It seems like another example of the dub writers trying to give some more characterization to random one-shot characters like this. We saw before how originally the two doctors who attend to baby Goku both think he’s got no future, while in the dub they disagree with each other about whether or not the kid has any potential.

I think it’s another case of “OK idea, bad execution”, because here it really goes against narrative economy. The dub essentially adds in a new character who does nothing but reconfirm that yes, Vegeta is really strong, something that in the original they just needed one nameless character and Nappa to establish. In fact now that I think of it, Mook B in the dub takes most of the role Nappa had in the original conversation. In Japanese, Mook A is astonished and scared of Vegeta, while Nappa has seen it all before and calmly says Vegeta isn’t even going all-out. In the dub Mook A has the same role, Mook B is the one who’s seen it all before, and Nappa simply chimes in about how they should all stay on Vegeta’s good side. Also note that in Japanese they devote 7 sentences to going over how strong Vegeta is, while in the dub this expands into 14. Even the Japanese version is a little excessive here for my tastes. Yeah, we get it, he’s amazing. Can we move on now?

Mook A, by the way, has what I think may be the worst voice in the entire dub of the special. He sounds like the Crypt Keeper from Tales from the Crypt, only much more over-the-top (try rolling that idea around in your head for awhile). I take all my dub dialogue transcriptions from the original Funi DVD dub subtitle track, and when Mook A goes “there’s no waaayyy”, that’s exactly how they write it in the subtitles, and it perfectly matches that line’s delivery. I’ve had that line stuck in my head since Saturday, and it’s starting to drive me mad. Meanwhile, Mook B is alright but sounds overly wooden and detached. It’s actually pretty hilarious hearing these two talk to each other, since their voices are just completely on opposite sides of the scale.

New and improved Saibaimen

One thing that drops out of the dub is how Mook A notes that the Saibaimen Vegeta is fighting are no run-of-the-mill models, but “strength-enhanced”. This gets expanded upon in Daizenshuu 7, where it says that the type of Saibaimen which Vegeta and Nappa use in the main series are actually the enhanced models first introduced not long before Planet Vegeta’s destruction. In the dub they don’t mention the Saibaimen at all, though we do get Mook A invoking the “rings of Korbeesha”, so I guess that’s one thing we can add to the dub’s canon.

[7. Nappa and Vegeta]

Nappa: Impressive, as always.
Vegeta: Cut out the ridiculous boot-licking! *they go on the moving walkway* As long as I stay on this world, I won’t ever get stronger. Maybe I should ask Freeza-sama about letting me have another one of his worlds slated for conquering.
Nappa: Again?
Vegeta: You’d rather I didn’t?
Nappa: Of course not!



Nappa: You’re the best, Prince!
Vegeta: Hm! Stop kissing up, Nappa! *they go on the moving walkway* This place bores me! I want another combat assignment, no more drills! Man, Freeza! The day will soon be here that we won’t take any more orders from him! You watch!
Nappa: Huh? You think so?
Vegeta: I know so!
Nappa: I’d love that!
This brief scene starts out the same in both versions, then the two veer off into completely different directions. Both start with Nappa complimenting Vegeta, while Vegeta calls him a brownnoser and complains about being stuck on this planet. In Japanese, Vegeta then says that he should go ask Freeza to let him go conquer another world. When Nappa shows the slightest hint of objecting to this, Vegeta calls him out on it and Nappa instantly denies it in an over-the-top way. The point being that Nappa is absolutely terrified of Vegeta and wants to avoid giving him any reason to be angry. We see this in the man series too when Nappa doesn’t want to wait 3 hours for Goku to arrive but instantly cowers and changes his mind once Vegeta yells at him. When saying “Of course not!” here, he has this overly happy expression on his face, and brings his hands together in this weird cutesy gesture. It’s this purposefully over-the-top way of reassuring Vegeta: “Oh no, I’ve got no problem sir. See, see! No problem here!”

In the dub, after Vegeta complains about being stuck on this planet, he starts saying that soon the Saiyans won’t be taking orders from Freeza anymore. In response Nappa says “I’d love that!” and gives what was originally the over-the-top reassuring gesture. So it comes off looking like Nappa would really, really love not working for Freeza anymore. I’ve gone over before how originally none of the Saiyans in the special seem to have any real problem with Freeza, which is why his betrayal seems to come out of nowhere for them all. But in the dub we’ve got Vegeta talking openly of rebelling and Nappa responding to the idea with unbridled enthusiasm. This makes it seem like Freeza already had perfectly good reasons for getting rid of them, without having to think ahead to what might happen down the road.

In some of the TV filler, we actually do see King Vegeta and other Saiyans hating Freeza’s rule and forming a rebellion against him shortly before Freeza destroys their planet, but nothing like that is hinted at in the Japanese version of the Bardock special. Eire pointed out that the difference in Saiyan attitudes in the special and TV filler could be attributed to a difference between the upper class like King Vegeta and rank and file soldiers like Bardock and co. After all, to the average joe Saiyans it might not matter too much whether they were being ruled by King Vegeta or Freeza, but to King Vegeta himself there’s obviously a big difference. Although if that were the case you might think that Prince Vegeta here and Nappa (who in the main series identifies himself as part of the Saiyan nobility) would be part of the upper crust who hate Freeza’s rule. But all we really see is that Vegeta wants more orders from Freeza, or at least more orders to go off and fight.

Kid Vegeta also has what may be the worst dub voice in the special. I can’t decide between him and Mook A. Objectively I suppose kid Vegeta’s voice is a lot harder to listen to, and he’s around a lot more, but I’ve had Mook A’s voice stuck in my head for days now so I think I’m biased towards him (or against him, I should say).

[8. Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans]

Zarbon: Freeza-sama, we have just received word that Planet Kanassa has been conquered. We have acquired it fully one month sooner than had been forecast.
Dodoria: Who was it we sent to take over Kanassa?
Zarbon: Some nameless lower-class Saiyan warriors.
Freeza: Saiyans?
Dodoria: These latest guys have been working pretty hard, don’t you think?
Zarbon: There’s certainly something remarkable about them.
Dodoria: Particularly when it comes to Vegeta, their prince, with whom Freeza-sama has taken such an interest. I can’t hardly believe a kid like that has such a battle power.
Zarbon: It’s more than just him. Individually, there’s nothing special about them, but when they team up, they demonstrate incredible power.
Dodoria: What are you afraid of?
Zarbon: Nothing. I just think that if we leave the Saiyans alone like this, it will mean a lot of trouble for us later on. You never know when another guy like Vegeta may appear. Let’s suppose they were to team up against us.
Freeza: You think they might become unpleasant, then?
Zarbon: Aye.



Zarbon: Pardon me, Lord Freeza, Sir! Interesting news! Planet Kanassa has been occupied as of last night, Sire!
Freeza: Oh?
Zarbon: Yes, sire! The Kanass have been eradicated! The planet is yours!
Dodoria: Kanassa! That job has been in the pool for months! I thought we’d have to handle that one ourselves!
Zarbon: No! A band of Saiyans took it!
Freeza: Saiyans…
Dodoria: Wow! Their elite teams are becoming comparable to our own!
Zarbon: Actually, it was a band of their low-level soldiers!
Dodoria: No low-levels could take Kanassa! No! These are standouts! The Saiyans are quickly becoming our best fighters! Am I right?
Zarbon: Yes, Dodoria! Without a doubt! They’re much stronger now! It’s amazing! In a small group on a full moon, they’re hard to beat!
Dodoria: What? Are you scared of them, Zarbon?
Zarbon: No, certainly not! I’m just saying that we need to keep an eye on them, that’s all! Like this Bardock who led the assault on the Kanassans! What if he and his group teamed up with young Vegeta and a handful of other great fighters! How would you like to tangle with that bunch on a full moon, Dodoria?
Freeza: Only a fool would welcome that scenario!
Zarbon: Yes Sire!
The Saiyan with no name

Here we’re introduced to another running theme of the dub: everyone knows Bardock, by name. In Japanese his crew knows him, his doctors know him, the guys who work at the landing/launching station where he comes and goes know him, random Saiyans in a bar know him, and that’s about it. To the higher-ups like Zarbon or Dodoria though, he’s just another mook, one of several “nameless lower-class Saiyan warriors”. And in the main series, we see that to Freeza he was just some Saiyan who “resisted until the very end”. But in the dub here we see that Zarbon knows of Bardock by name and regards him as a “great fighter” who stands out as posing a threat, and later on it’s said that Freeza himself is scared of Bardock in particular.

There’s also a lot more hype for Bardock’s crew too in the dub. In Japanese the fact that these “nameless lower-class Saiyan warriors” took Kanassa just leads into a discussion on how the Saiyans in general are remarkable, but in the dub Dodoria says that Bardock’s team in particular must be “standouts” and Zarbon worries about what would happen if Bardock and his group teamed up with Vegeta. Originally Vegeta is the only specific Saiyan they mention as standing out, but in the dub he only gets mentioned here at the end, after they’ve brought up Bardock.

Bardock: leader?

In the dub, Zarbon describes Bardock as “leading the assault against the Kanassans”. This isn’t something I ever realized until I started this analysis, but in the Japanese version there’s really nothing to indicate that Bardock was the leader of his group in any way. It’s easy to think of him as the leader, since he’s the central character of the special, father to the main series protagonist, the strongest guy in his group, etc, so I guess that’s why the dub writers thought of him that way, and why I did until just now. But think about it: he’s never said to be leader (in the original version), he’s not shown giving orders to the others, he doesn’t even know the reason for their mission on Kanassa (whereas Toma does), and after he’s incapacitated by Tooro the group just moves on to the next planet without a second thought. I looked through the guidebooks a little bit and couldn’t find anything identifying him as the leader. The closest thing I can find is that Toma is said a few times to be a “sub-leader type figure” for the group (which I shortened to simply “sub-leader” when translating Daizenshuu 7 for Kanzentai, since at the time it didn’t seem like an important difference). So if Toma is a “sub-leader type figure”, that makes it sound like he’s not actually any sort of official sub-leader, just someone who serves that general function. And if the group doesn’t have an official second-in-command, it doesn’t seem like they’d have any real organized chain of command, so maybe they don’t have any leader at all. They’re all just taking orders from Freeza and co. anyway. But though there doesn’t seem to be any proof that Bardock is leader, there’s also no real bullet-proof evidence that he’s not, so I guess it’s a matter of debate.

What’s the matter with Kanassa?

Besides Bardock and the group which he may or may not command, Planet Kanassa itself gets more hype in the dub too. In Japanese Zarbon notes that the planet has been taken over “a month sooner than had been forecast”, and that’s really all they say about it. So they’re surprised that the Saiyans have taken it over quicker than expected, implying that the Saiyans are stronger than they thought. But while they’re impressed by the speed of the job, nothing is said about the act of conquering Kanassa itself being impressive. Over in the dub however, Dodoria says that the Kanassa job has “been in the pool for months” (apparently Zarbon’s original line about it being conquered a month sooner than planned somehow got transmuted into this Dodoria line) and that he thought they’d have to conquer the planet themselves. He then goes on to say that “no low-levels could take Kanassa” and thinks that the Saiyans who did must therefore be standouts. So the dub makes Kanassa sound like an extraordinarily difficult planet to conquer, something you don’t get in the original.

Freeza’s motives

This scene sets the stage for the central event of the special, Freeza’s destruction of Planet Vegeta. It’s notable that the concept of the “legendary Super Saiyan” is never mentioned once in the special, despite this being set up as the main reason Freeza wants to wipe out all the Saiyans over in the main series. This is probably a result of the special’s timing. It first aired on October 17th, 1990, right between when manga chapters 294 and 295 came out, which feature the wishes to Polunga and Piccolo fusing with Nail. Meanwhile on the anime side of things, the special aired between DBZ episodes 63 and 64, the end of the fight with Gurd and the start of the fight with Recoom. So the “Super Saiyan” concept had already been properly explained in the manga but not the anime, while the idea that Freeza destroyed Planet Vegeta specifically so that a Super Saiyan would never arise isn’t really introduced until chapter 303 when Freeza decides to reach his final form, and not really flat-out stated until Vegeta’s death in chapter 308. Even then, the series is a little ambiguous over how much Freeza was motivated by the legend of the Super Saiyan. Vegeta says that he was, while Freeza keeps denying it, while still saying that he should kills off every last Saiyan just to be sure.

At any rate, all that stuff was still a little bit off in the future when the Bardock special aired, and so the reasons given here match what was said by Dodoria and Zarbon earlier in the series. Compare what Zarbon and Dodoria say here to what Dodoria explains to Vegeta in chapter 257:
Th…the power of individual Saiyans is absolutely no match for L-Lord Freeza, but…If many Saiyans joined together, they would be-become quite troublesome…F-furthermore, among a small portion of Saiyans, outstanding warriors such as yourself were born, and had begun to increase…Since you weren’t a race who would obediently listen to orders if you started gaining power, at that point Lord Freeza thought that he needed to take steps…So he personally wiped out Planet Vegeta and the Saiyans along with it! But Vegeta! You should thank Lord Freeza! Since you, the prince, looked to have genius talent, he purposefully targeted the planet when you weren’t there!
And later, in chapter 262, Zarbon tells Vegeta:
What Lord Freeza feared was the Saiyans uniting into a unified faction! On your own you can’t do anything!”
So like in those quotes, the special portrays Freeza as turning against the Saiyans because of the idea that they might all team up against him, rather than because one of them might become an all-powerful Super Saiyan.


An interesting thing about the dub conversation is that Zarbon and co. specifically mention Oozaru Saiyans as a threat, rather than just Saiyans in general. It’s notable that this never gets mentioned in the Japanese version, despite how the special begins with Bardock and the others rampaging as Oozarus on Kanassa. Instead they only specifically mention the Saiyans uniting. Later on we see that Bardock has a battle power of almost 10,000, which is much weaker than Dodoria or Zarbon, but as an Oozaru that would put him at 100,000, making him much stronger all on his own than any of Freeza’s army besides Ginyu and Freeza himself. It seems like kind of an odd thing not to bring up. Maybe they don’t know about Bardock, but there must be other Saiyans around that level of strength. In the main series too, we see that the Ginyu Force go after Vegeta without showing any concern about him becoming an Oozaru, though as an Oozaru Vegeta would be much stronger than even Ginyu. Maybe we’re just supposed to assume that Freeza and his men all know about how you can revert Oozaru Saiyans back to normal by destroying the moon or cutting off their tail, and so aren’t very scared of them. After all, even Oozaru Vegeta got taken down by flippin’ Yajirobe, so it makes sense that the likes of Zarbon or Dodoria would be able to make short work of any Oozaru.

While I’m on the subject, I might as well note how back in the early Funi dub, when Vegeta uses the Power Ball technique to create an artificial full moon and turn into an Oozaru, he says that Goku’s father was a “brilliant scientist” who invented this technique. Obviously this doesn’t jibe with what we’re shown of Bardock in this special here, both in the Japanese and English version. Part of me kind of wishes Funi had thrown in a reference to that in their dub of the special. I mean, it’s not like their dub script is accurate anyway, so they might as well try to make it consistent with what they’ve previously said in their main series dub, if nothing else. For that matter, in the dub Nappa is said to have been the leader of the Saiyan army (which doesn’t make much sense since all the Saiyans were warriors and they don’t seem to have had a distinct army as such), but their dub of the special doesn’t reference this when we see Nappa. I mean, I guess that’s a good thing: they shouldn’t have included that stuff in the dub in the first place, so in that sense they shouldn’t keep repeating it. But on the other hand if they’re just going to keep making stuff up, the least they could do is make sure all their inventions are consistent with each other and have strong continuity. That way they’d be creating an actual alternate version of the series that’s internally coherent, rather than just a big mess that contradicts both itself and the original version, which is pretty much what we get.

[9. Vegeta and Freeza]

*Vegeta enters*
Zarbon: What do you think you’re doing?
Dodoria: Why are you here? This isn’t the sort of place where you belong!
Vegeta: I’ve just come to pay my respects to Freeza-sama as I depart.
Zarbon: There’s no need for that. Just worry about clearing your assigned planet for now.
Freeza: It is quite all right, Zarbon-san.
Zarbon: Freeza-sama?
Freeza: Vegeta, please do a thorough job.
Vegeta: Thank you very much.
Freeza: There is no need to thank me so.



*Vegeta enters*
Zarbon: Prince Vegeta? What do you think you’re doing?
Dodoria: Freeza didn’t send for you, kid! You know that no one sees Lord Freeza unless he calls them first!
Vegeta: Look, I’m bored! This is lame! I need an assignment!
Zarbon: Hm! Who do you think you are? I oughta teach you a lesson in etiquette, Prince!
Freeza: Give him an assignment Zarbon, immediately!
Zarbon: Lord Freeza!
Freeza: That boy doesn’t mean any harm, Zarbon! He just hasn’t learned how to control his passion! Give him the hardest assignment that you have, and Vegeta…do come back alive!
Vegeta: I will, Sire! Thank you very much!
Freeza: You don’t have to thank me, Vegeta! You certainly earn your keep around here! You might want to min your manners a little better though!
Vegeta: Sire!
The dub of this part is pretty close to the Japanese version. The only real thing to note is how much more Freeza talks in the English version than in Japanese. In Japanese he speaks 3 sentences, all of which are short and to the point. In the dub though he says 7 sentences, some of which are quite long. In the Japanese version of the special Freeza is portrayed as a person of few words, one who sometimes even gets his point across simply by remaining silent, but we don’t get that in the dub. And he’s much calmer in Japanese too. In the dub, all of Freeza’s sentences here end in exclamation marks (or at least that’s how the dub subtitles transcribe them, but I think this accurately reflects Linda Young’s reading of the lines). In Japanese Freeza is still a menacing figure no doubt, but not one who needs to resort to raising his voice or making explicit threats. This all leads up to the climax of the special, where he suddenly goes mad with delight as he watches Planet Vegeta’s destruction. In the dub the change in his demeanor during that scene is much less pronounced, so it’s not as effective.

There have been mountains said about Linda Young’s Freeza voice, so I don’t think I really need to go into that too much here. It’s not really that bad of a voice in and of itself; Young’s voice for Selypa/Fa’sha is much worse, for one thing. But it simply doesn’t suit Freeza one bit. On the flip side, Zarbon’s dub voice fits the character but is a bad voice on its own, or a bad version of that sort of voice…if that makes sense. Basically, they wanted to give him a snooty, upper-class kind of voice, which is OK (I wouldn’t say his Japanese voice really falls into that category, but it’s not a bad voice for the character to have). However, rather than give him a straight-up snooty voice, they gave him what sounds like a parody of a snooty voice. So he sounds like a caricature rather than a character, you could say. Some fans say the Funi dub sounds more like a fan parody than a legitimate dub, and while I don’t agree with that on the whole, in the case of Zarbon’s voice here it’s an apt description.
Kanzenshuu: Is that place still around?
Sometimes, I tweet things
We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

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