Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by kemuri07 » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:13 am

Thanos wrote:I think that, in comparison to other dubs, the Dragon Ball franchise was altered in some pretty abominable ways. FUNimation made decisions with Dragon Ball Z's English dub that have had lasting ramifications to this day in North America. How do I mean? Just look at YouTube comments. People still seem to think that the "Hope of the universe" speech was something actually said by Goku instead of a script alteration. I don't think really anything needs to be said about GT's initial U.S. release back in '03, it speaks for itself.

Also, I have bitched about this in the past, and this will certainly solidify my position as overstated, but this is a HUGE point of contention for me: The Faulconer music. The voices... Vegeta is a raspy-voiced automaton, Goku is the heroic everyman, and Yamcha is a totally cool bro, dude.

And finally... the demographic it's been aimed to, which has soiled the series' name basically forever. The most maddening part is, all of the aspects people complain about are issues with the dub--The parts where it sounds like characters are taking shits, the music that sounds like it was recorded for one of those toddler toy guitars. "YEAH! HEAVY ROCK 'N ROLL! OH YEAH!" For all intents and purposes, my family is convinced I am a diehard fan of a kid's Saturday morning action cartoon. While completely accurate with respect to Japan, this is certainly a negative when talking about the United States. Saturday morning action cartoons are generally things boys grow out of when they turn 13.

FUNimation has essentially brainwashed fans who think the Japanese version is "gay" because Goku sounds like a girl and everyone sounds stupid... oh, and there's none of their beloved Faulconer music! I don't know what it is about this that really pisses me off, but FUNimation took something and made it their own, which either shouldn't have been legal or it should've been called "FUNimation's Dragon Ball Z".

And you know what, I used to be a dub fan. I watched it every day on Toonami like all the other kids. The difference was, once I found out that this wasn't what the show actually was, I "defected". I actually felt deprived and cheated, in a way, liked I'd missed out on a lot. My point is, I think FUNimation went way too far with how they handled the series. Questions? Thoughts? Concerns? Comments? Fire away.
Sometimes, I think you guys operate under a bubble when discussing the topic of the effect the Funi dub had on the series, and whether or not they should have gone with a more "faithful" adaptation from the very beginning. I'm not condoning the dub--watching it now, it is absolutely amazing how cheesy it is--but I think it's important to understand why Funimation did what they did. I've said it before: I don't think Funi would have done the series any good if it had attempted to stay completely faithful to the original translation. Would it have been a much better show? Hell yes. But I don't think it would have reached the national level of success had they had done so. As embarrassing as their translation is, I do believe it made it completely accessible to the people funi was directing it towards to:American children (and I stress the word, "American.").

And before anyone starts with the whole, "WELL ME AND MY FRIENDS WATCH THE ORIGINAL JAPANESE VERISON AND..." well, congratulations; but, you weren't the majority of viewers. And considering that Funimation started their own dub way back in 2000, I can only imagine how small that fan-base. Hell, I remember how difficult it was even trying to watch any of the original japanese episodes (without spending money of course. I was like, ten), and I considered myself somewhat a fanatic back then.

Also, I do think it speaks of a level of ignorance when people just assume that if Funi left DBZ untouched, it would have done just fine in the states. That's severely overestimating the American people's tolerance for heavily foreign shows, because let's face it: DBZ is a "japanese as fuck" television show, and ignoring that there's significance differences between eastern culture and western culture is just, well, silly. The thing that always gets brought up is "WHY DOES GOKU SOUND LIKE A SUPERHERO, BLAH BLAH BLAH DURR HURRR." Was it stupid? Hell yes, and it's one of the reasons why I will forever defend Kai's existence--but, it's also understandable. The ideal western hero sounds nothing like how Goku sounds in his native language, so it would be easy to see people label Goku as a "homosexual" if Funi had tried to get a VA to sound like that. Also, on the violence:
jjgp1112 wrote:. Like it or not, it does fall into what I'd categorize as your typical action cartoons that kids ages 9-13 would like to most.

For Japan. Key word here is "Japan." I think we can all agree that the United States is currently one of the most uptight countries in regard to both violence and sex. It's also important to note that when Funi's dub was released, we would soon be a post-9/11 nation, and I do not think anyone parent would have been fine with the level of violence (decapitations, broken limbs, blood, etc) featured in the show.

Let me reiterate: I am not in anyway saying that the original Funi dub was of any quality; all I'm saying is that it was a product of its time, and a window to what anime was in the states back then. I think it's more important to understand, rather than ranting and raving at how Funi "sullied" DBZ (come man, seriously? Hysterical much?).
Last edited by kemuri07 on Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by Adamant » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:13 am

AgitoZ wrote:
Pokewhiz7 wrote:And they skipped the original series because it was too violent!
I always thought it was because that series was done by Toei who did not own the license anymore. Not to mention it wasn't the hot new thing and had a popular card game going with it.
Correct. There's a lot of people online talking about how "dark" and "violent" the Toei series was without having seen it, but... it wasn't. It really wasn't. If anything, it was "lighter" than the Duel Monsters anime, far more dumbed down, and incredibly inaccurate to the manga.
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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by Majin Buu » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:28 am

Super Sonic wrote:Some do depending on how you consider "good" especially from an economical sense. Thanos, Majin Buu, I don't know if you guys were around in the 80s but back then a company called WEP had a series called Space Musketeer Bismark and released it to the US under the name Saber Rider and the Star Sherrifs. They went further than Funimation did, and changed the main character from the Japanese version to a supporting character and vice versa. They also cut around death and skipped various episodes replacing them with eps made for America. Though a difference from DB was that while Saber Rider wasn't as big as its sister-series Voltron, it still was more popular in America than Bismark was in Japan. And it had competition unlike its sister series in the States at the time.
It may have come out well for them, but they did overstep their bounds there too.
Adamant wrote:Also, I do think it speaks of a level of ignorance when people just assume that if Funi left DBZ untouched, it would have done just fine in the states. That's severely overestimating the American people's tolerance for heavily foreign shows, because let's face it: DBZ is a "japanese as fuck" television show, and ignoring that there's significance differences between eastern culture and western culture is just, well, silly.
If people can't accept that this is a Japanese show, then they probably shouldn't be watching it. That may be an extreme view to take, but I have an extremely low tolerance for people that can't accept foreign tv shows or movies just because they're foreign. It has always seemed like a xenophobic point of view to me.

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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by Rocketman » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:32 am

If DBZ had been dubbed as accurately as some people on here want, it would've never gained the explosive popularity it had in the US.

Just look at how poorly original Dragonball fares over here.

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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by El Diabeetus » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:43 am

Rocketman wrote:If DBZ had been dubbed as accurately as some people on here want, it would've never gained the explosive popularity it had in the US.

Just look at how poorly original Dragonball fares over here.
I don't know. I see where you're going with it; but, Z has mostly fighting and SUPER SAIYANS OMG. If dubbed accurately I feel it would've made no difference. People don't seem to like the original Dragon Ball because it lacks the OMG INTENSE FIGHTING, even though that starts in the Demon King Piccolo stuff.

I remember changing the audio on a single DVD, the Freeza episodes (the Super Saiyan ones); listening to how different the voices sounded and loved the Japanese BGM. This was when I was around 8 or so. I wanted that BGM with the dub. Finally got it years later. It may sound slightly ignorant on my part. But, I feel like a dub automatically feels a little more accurate if they don't touch the BGM at all. And with Kai being on, I don't think kids mind the Japanese BGM. It would've fared fine. But, that's simply my opinion.
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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by Gaffer Tape » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:44 am

kemuri07 wrote: And considering that Funimation started their own dub way back in 2000... It's also important to note that when Funi's dub was released, we would soon be a post-9/11 nation...
FUNimation started dubbing DB in 1995... DBZ in 1996. By the time we we entered a post-9/11 world, Z was practically over.

But I do honestly think it would not have made a difference if it had been dubbed faithfully or not. I doubt it would have been more successful, but I doubt it would have been less successful, and all that for the sole reason that enough essential Dragon Ball got through to make it worth it, despite the rest. In 1999, when season 3 began, I had no knowledge of censorship or the original version or anything. I was just a stupid 13 year old kid who liked DBZ. But suddenly I had new episodes... and man, the voices sucked, the music sucked, the dialogue sucked, the acting sucked... even at 13, I realized that... but I kept watching because I was already a fan and wanted to see what happened, quality be damned.
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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by Majin Buu » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:46 am

Rocketman wrote:If DBZ had been dubbed as accurately as some people on here want, it would've never gained the explosive popularity it had in the US.
Yeah, I don't think that's an absolute fact like some are claiming.

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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by Gaffer Tape » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:49 am

Considering how well Kai is doing in the states, I would say that weighs heavily against that assertion.
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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by Rocketman » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:52 am

SSJ4 Furanki wrote:I don't know. I see where you're going with it; but, Z has mostly fighting and SUPER SAIYANS OMG.
A muscley Super Saiyan going BRRAWWWKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK

Dubbies don't hate Nozawa because of Funi indoctrination, they hate her because she sounds godawful.


As for Kai, it's 2011. Not 1996.

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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by Gaffer Tape » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:57 am

Rocketman wrote:Dubbies don't hate Nozawa because of Funi indoctrination, they hate her because she sounds godawful.
And obviously a dub, accurate or not, would not have her voice in it, so it is an entirely moot point...
As for Kai, it's 2011. Not 1996.
And this means...? Sure, times have changed, but it is not as if the kids of today know that at all. They just see a cool action cartoon... the same exact video footage that American kids saw in 1996. So that much cannot have changed.
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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by Super Sonic » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:11 am

Majin Buu wrote:
Super Sonic wrote:Some do depending on how you consider "good" especially from an economical sense. Thanos, Majin Buu, I don't know if you guys were around in the 80s but back then a company called WEP had a series called Space Musketeer Bismark and released it to the US under the name Saber Rider and the Star Sherrifs. They went further than Funimation did, and changed the main character from the Japanese version to a supporting character and vice versa. They also cut around death and skipped various episodes replacing them with eps made for America. Though a difference from DB was that while Saber Rider wasn't as big as its sister-series Voltron, it still was more popular in America than Bismark was in Japan. And it had competition unlike its sister series in the States at the time.
It may have come out well for them, but they did overstep their bounds there too.
Perhaps, but they didn't think of that sort of thing back in the mid-late 80s. And I hope this doesn't make me sound like a greedy person, but folks tend to think long as it's successful and makes money, it's ok to overstep bounds.

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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by Savage68 » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:18 am

If I want accuracy to the source material (and I always do in this series' case), I would strictly stick to the original version of the show. The English dub of Dragon Ball Z wouldn't be able to replicate that sort of authenticity even if it had a completely 100% faithful script and cast to go along with it. So I'm not really bothered by how they chose to localize it in North America, nor do I think they overstepped anyone's bounds, since there obviously were none put in place for them. I was familiarized with their old version of DBZ from a young age and eventually I found something different because I had access to the Internet.

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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by Levlik » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:51 am

I sincerely doubt Dragon Ball Z's popularity would have shifted in any way were it dubbed from the get-go exactly as it was by Pioneer for the first three Z movies (Which, along with Kai, are exactly what I imagine when I think of "Dragon Ball dubbed respectfully"). Its immense popularity I think is wholly due to, well, it being Dragon Ball Z, which is ridiculously popular worldwide, NOT just in Japan and America. If you ask me it just goes to show how good the show as a whole is for it to be dubbed in such a manner and still manage to be arguably the most widely known anime in North America. I suppose there's no way to know outright, but that's just my hunch. After all, what got you into DBZ? Do you truly think it was the way it was dubbed or the show itself? And for us folks who started watching before the 1999 dub, did the new dub change the way you felt about not the dub but the show itself? If you ask me the dramatic shift in quality between then puts more points in the show's favor and not the dubs. We were watching a show that went from recognizable voices to people who had absolutely zero experience (And it definitely showed in those early days) and yet we still watched it.

From a strictly personal standpoint, when I first saw the Pioneer dub of Dead Zone air on TV at the age of 11 or 12 in 2001 or so I found it incredibly hard to go back after seeing what I was missing out on. Matter of fact it always annoyed me that every other anime on Toonami at the time (Outlaw Star, Rurouni Kenshin, Tenchi, Gundam, etc.) had accurate dubs that kept the original BGM.

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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by Akumaito Beam » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:16 am

Rocketman wrote: Just look at how poorly original Dragonball fares over here.
To be fair Dragon Ball is a pretty different show to begin with. From the word "go" Z was more or less off being...not Dragon Ball no matter what version you were watching/reading ( depending on your taste this may or may not be a good thing.) I don't think it would be a far cry to claim the audience going into DB expecting DBZ babbies hurt the show more than its dub did.

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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by Rocketman » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:33 am

Akumaito Beam wrote:
Rocketman wrote: Just look at how poorly original Dragonball fares over here.
To be fair Dragon Ball is a pretty different show to begin with. From the word "go" Z was more or less off being...not Dragon Ball no matter what version you were watching/reading ( depending on your taste this may or may not be a good thing.) I don't think it would be a far cry to claim the audience going into DB expecting DBZ babbies hurt the show more than its dub did.
DB failed all on its own a year before DBZ aired.

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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by Akumaito Beam » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:43 am

A butchered Pilaf arc (which by the by I'm not entirely sure why we're calling accurate to begin with) is a rather strange measuring stick to see if American kids would watch a proper dub of Z.

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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by jpdbzrulz4sure » Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:11 am

Akumaito Beam wrote:A butchered Pilaf arc (which by the by I'm not entirely sure why we're calling accurate to begin with) is a rather strange measuring stick to see if American kids would watch a proper dub of Z.
Make that a butchered Pilaf arc with a damn-near-the-crack-of-dawn timeslot, which inherently gets far less views than say...a 5 or 6 pm timeslot.
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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by GizmoKSX » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:05 am

jpdbzrulz4sure wrote:Make that a butchered Pilaf arc with a damn-near-the-crack-of-dawn timeslot, which inherently gets far less views than say...a 5 or 6 pm timeslot.
Agreed. I watched it back then, and only one of my friends remembers watching it too. Later, I caught Z during its Saturday morning run, but I didn't know about it until the Namek arc, and I still didn't have many people to talk to about it. A bit after that, "season 3" started, and all of a sudden everyone in my middle school knew about the show.
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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by MarcFBR » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:30 am

I'm of the opinion that we need more edited for kids dubs.

That's how you get a wider range of fans, having a way to introduce them to it.
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Re: Did FUNimation overstep their bounds?

Post by KiddoCabbusses » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:40 am

GizmoKSX wrote:
jpdbzrulz4sure wrote:Make that a butchered Pilaf arc with a damn-near-the-crack-of-dawn timeslot, which inherently gets far less views than say...a 5 or 6 pm timeslot.
Agreed. I watched it back then, and only one of my friends remembers watching it too. Later, I caught Z during its Saturday morning run, but I didn't know about it until the Namek arc, and I still didn't have many people to talk to about it. A bit after that, "season 3" started, and all of a sudden everyone in my middle school knew about the show.
I never caught the original Dragon Ball on TV until CN aired it, myself.

I caught Z in syndication during the Namek/Ginyu stuff, though. Unfortunately my local station never went back into the Saiyan Invasion. It seemed in general that the local networks treated the show very meh, which may be why FUNi struggled with it and the fanbase was mostly cult, up until Toonami.

In fact, Toonami is probably the biggest factor in FUNi's success with Z. CN made a block for action shows, decided FUNi's show fit in, and put it on... and there, it took off, going from being stuck in 2 seasons of syndication for years, to airing movies, and then dubbing the rest of the series. DBZ more or less aired to some extent at any point in Toonami's life when it wasn't considered to be dying. Nostalgics tend to think of DBZ as being the very definition of what Toonami was.

DBZ, especially "seasons 3" and onward, performed in spite of all sorts of factors, major changes and internal dramas that would've killed lesser productions.
Based on this, the answer to "Were the changes necessary?" would probably be "No. The changes weren't necessary. FUNi didn't need to change anything for it to succeed. On the other hand, they could've also theoretically changed whatever the heck they felt like, as long as it had Super Saiyans screaming and fighting each other and firing blasts from their hands, and it would've still succeeded."

More or less, FUNi did what it thought was the best action to get the show on the air within it's budget constraints.

Also, two major things to consider when talking about Z vs. TOS or Kai:
1) Dragonball has a completely different feel from Z, original music/script or not. You'd have a much better comparison with Yu Yu Hakusho, which is a show that actually -is- similar to Z in mood, but FUNi themselves dubbed much more faithfully than they did Z.
2) Kai gained a good amount from cutting the filler - reruns of FUNi's "Ultimate Uncuts" on Toonami lost ratings during the year-long training arc, and Toonami responded by reverting back to the Saban version. Said arc is hardly even more than a few episodes in Kai. I think FUNi actually gained a good amount more of an audience by trying to "quicken" the earlier portions of Z, especially the dragged-out training and early Namek.

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