Regarding Goku's character in the dub...

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Kunzait_83
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Re: Regarding Goku's character in the dub...

Post by Kunzait_83 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:01 pm

KBABZ wrote:Interesting, any examples? For self-explanatory reasons it's a bit hard to watch that dub and get a feel for it.
Its very similar to the old Saban/Ocean dub of Z (which followed almost immediately after the Pilaf dub). Same voice cast (with the same actress who voiced Gohan in Z voicing Pilaf-era Goku, as well as all the same voices for Oolong, Muten Roshi, Bulma, Yamucha, etc), as well as the same heavy use of 90s digital effects to redraw and censor various scenes, particularly any involving sexual humor (which in the Pilaf arc is beyond plentiful). One particularly infamous shot showing Oolong (transformed into a fish) biting onto Bulma's panties on the end of a fishing line was redrawn to turn the panties into a dollar bill.

Also the Kikuchi score was likewise junked completely and replaced with similarly generic crap along the same lines as what was in the Saban/Ocean Z dub.

All kinds of stuff along those lines.

I'm sure you can dig around online and find clips if not whole episodes from this dub. Or hell, even pick up a DVD set off Amazon or ebay if you're somehow THAT curious. I can't imagine it fetches especially high prices.
ABED wrote:
What makes the Androids different is that he knew for an absolute fact that they can and will slaughter millions of people, because from Trunks's perspective they already have.
Morally speaking, it's bad. But it's not real. It's a story and so it's okay to enjoy a story with morally questionable characters or even outright evil characters. Elmore Leonard made a whole career out of writing bad guys who you love in spite of their moral failings because they are so damn entertaining. Why would it take you out of the story? It only would if you see it as a superhero story or at least a story of good vs. evil.
You keep saying that, and you keep being wrong.
Do you have a problem watching movies like The Godfather or TV shows like Breaking Bad?
There's those, there's Bad Lieutenant, there's The Sopranos, there's Oz (the HBO show), Mad Men, A Clockwork Orange, Taxi Driver, Citizen Kane, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, The Limey, Fight Club, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, A Better Tomorrow, Ichi the Killer, Gozu, Man Bites Dog, The King of Comedy, Unforgiven, Thief, To Live and Die in L.A., American Psycho, Natural Born Killers, No Country For Old Men, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Lost Highway, Gone Girl, Nightcrawler, I Tanya, I Stand Alone, Election, Thank You For Smoking, Cannibal Holocaust, Men Behind the Sun, Ms. 45, William Lustig's Maniac, close to every movie by directors like Todd Solondz or Neil LaBute, virtually everything ever written by Marquis de Sade as well as a vast swath of J.G. Ballard's books, Richard Stark's Parker series, and on and on and on and on down an endless list.

A great many of the greatest and most compelling and challenging films, plays, TV shows, and books ever written or filmed center their stories around protagonists and central characters who are utterly repugnant and reprehensible monsters; and they're all the more richly rewarding and invaluable as narratives for them (not that I'm in any way remotely comparing Dragon Ball or Goku to any of those kinds of works, which are generally speaking of course on a WHOLE other level for incredibly obvious and self-evident reasons).

I'm gonna say it again though (since I've now been bringing it up more and more lately): a vast majority of people in this community, going back many years now, are most often people who don't engage with very much media (filmed or written) that isn't specifically made for children. ABED's a relatively RARE outlier example of a notable Kanz user who regularly references and clearly consumes a lot of more challenging adult media (which is always greatly refreshing and welcome to see here); but the OVERWHELMING majority of the userbase here, on average, very much generally does not. So I don't doubt that a giant chunk of the examples he or I could bring up here (even some of the most ubiquitously well known) will likely be all but totally lost on a depressingly large swath of anyone reading this.

So by and large, the vast majority of stories that are most familiar to the average, typical user here and are used most overwhelmingly often as points of critical reference are children's action cartoons and TV shows as well as summer blockbuster films like the Marvel movies, Harry Potter, Star Wars etc. Which is in itself a MASSIVE part of why a LOT of folks here in many of these discussions seem to have a great deal of difficulty parsing certain aspects of narrative media that are generally uncommon to most children's television shows or films, including anything that involves moral ambiguity, abstract symbolism, subtextual themes, or political/social commentary of any sort that's beyond a very after school special level.

I'm genuinely not intending or aiming to be a condescending ass here (though I'm more than fully aware that there's almost NO way to talk about this issue directly without sounding very much like one, which is a BIG part of why its been generally so difficult to bring it up and discuss it): its just a VERY key, underlying aspect of the reality of this place as an overall community (going back since quite a number of years ago now) that I've found over a long period of time now acts as a LOT of the reason for the disconnect in some of these discussions that we often end up having here.
Last edited by Kunzait_83 on Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Come to naught at last he surely will!
Zephyr wrote:And that's to say nothing of how pretty much impossible it is to capture what made the original run of the series so great. I'm in the generation of fans that started with Toonami, so I totally empathize with the feeling of having "missed the party", experiencing disappointment, and wanting to experience it myself. But I can't, that's how life is. Time is a bitch. The party is over. Kageyama, Kikuchi, and Maeda are off the sauce now; Yanami almost OD'd; Yamamoto got arrested; Toriyama's not going to light trash cans on fire and hang from the chandelier anymore. We can't get the band back together, and even if we could, everyone's either old, in poor health, or calmed way the fuck down. Best we're going to get, and are getting, is a party that's almost entirely devoid of the magic that made the original one so awesome that we even want more.
Kamiccolo9 wrote:It grinds my gears that people get "outraged" over any of this stuff. It's a fucking cartoon. If you are that determined to be angry about something, get off the internet and make a stand for something that actually matters.
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Re: Regarding Goku's character in the dub...

Post by KBABZ » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:09 pm

Kunzait_83 wrote:
KBABZ wrote:Interesting, any examples? For self-explanatory reasons it's a bit hard to watch that dub and get a feel for it.
Its very similar to the old Saban/Ocean dub of Z (which followed almost immediately after the Pilaf dub). Same voice cast (with the same actress who voiced Gohan in Z voicing Pilaf-era Goku, as well as all the same voices for Oolong, Muten Roshi, Bulma, Yamucha, etc), as well as the same heavy use of 90s digital effects to redraw and censor various scenes, particularly any involving sexual humor (which in the Pilaf arc is beyond plentiful). One particularly infamous shot showing Oolong (transformed into a fish) biting onto Bulma's panties on the end of a fishing line was redrawn to turn the panties into a dollar bill.
Oh yeah I remember that last one from my Dragon Box! Goku says "Well whaddya know, it's a fishful of dollars!" -rimshot- The editing wouldn't be as hilariously awful if it weren't for the fact that the money clashed pretty heavily with the existing art style.
Kunzait_83 wrote:Also the Kikuchi score was likewise junked completely and replaced with similarly generic crap along the same lines as what was in the Saban/Ocean Z dub.
Is that the Peter Berring score? That's up on Spotify for some reason, I kinda like the intro music to it despite not fitting the tone at all. The general score though does sound generic yeah, for me Kikuchi wholly embodies that era of the show and is much more appropriate.

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Re: Was the dub right to alter Goku's character?

Post by GTx10 » Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:52 am

ABED wrote:
DragonBallFoodie wrote:
ABED wrote:How did it work out better in the west?
Okay, that was me giving my opinion with no real support.

But speaking for myself, I believe Goku would get on well with Western animation fathers like Fred Flintstone, Homer Simpson and Goofy, all flawed but somewhat likeable characters; I do not think he felt out of place.
Homer for all his faults loves his family. He's a good family man who is in love with his wife and cares about his children and would never leave them. Goku's a horrible husband and an okay father. Plus, it seems like such an odd comparison to make.
I love the Simpsons but let's not forget that Homer physically abuses his son as does Son Goku in both dubs. (Training it was yes, but still harsh from my perceptive) Also yes Son Goku was and is a likable character but I say the Uncut Funi Dub aided in filtering out some of JPN Dub Goku's "one sided-ness."
Take the hug with Ultimate Gohan for example: in JPN Goku gives Gohan a pat on the back and pretty much says "Go get em' kiddo." Sweet and to the point, nothing wrong in and of itself.
Now in the Uncut Funi Dub we get a whole "I'm proud of you son. You grew up into a fine man." Is it mushy? Yes! But the same "message" gets access which is Gohan is old enough to take care of things. As a Western the Uncut Funi Dub clicks with me more due to circumstances in my life and how I believe a father should talk to his son.
Biased? Of course! But the scene clicks better for me. That is just one example I have for you all.
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Re: Regarding Goku's character in the dub...

Post by Zephyr » Thu Mar 01, 2018 5:25 am

I just want to preface my reply by pointing out that Goku isn't as solely-responsible for this as the common adage seems to imply. Goku saying "no, I wanna fight them!" isn't stopping anyone else from going to snuff Gero out, especially when Bulma later is shown knowing where his lab is. Goku's inaction doesn't automatically poof Trunks' prophecy into actuality. Vegeta is the only one actively threatening anyone getting the idea, but still, it's not like he can be everywhere at once. Tenshinhan likewise wants to fight them. And, as Krillin candidly points out, having a common enemy is good with people like Vegeta around, who would otherwise likely be enemies.

Regardless, let's look more deeply into this as if it indeed were all on Goku:
johnboy1 wrote:It isn't that I need all my protagonists to be squeaky clean: It's the sheer magnitude of "dirtiness" involved in this one instance. I shrugged when he let Piccolo go. And Vegeta. And Freeza. What makes the Androids different is that he knew for an absolute fact that they can and will slaughter millions of people, because from Trunks's perspective they already have.
I don't think the Android example is any more dirty than the earlier cases. The trio's moral crimes don't warrant an exhaustive recap, but it's at least worth remembering that these include several isolated instances of genocide and planetary destruction. What makes the Androids different is that you have a guy from the future saying that they will do these terrible things, while it's known, established, and oftentimes witnessed first-hand that Piccolo, Vegeta, and Freeza did do these things. You could easily make the case that letting those three go is actually morally worse.

Moreover, Trunks and his soothsaying comes with a built-in catch 22: his perspective doesn't serve as any sort of word of God because he came from an unaltered timeline, while the timeline of the main series is now an altered one. What happened in the unaltered one isn't guaranteed to happen in the altered one. The reliability of his intel decreases by mere virtue of his having come to deliver it in the first place. And, speaking of God, Kami himself is later apprehensive about powering Piccolo up just to kill some kids who hadn't yet done anything substantially vile.

Alternatively, as Kunzait has observed relatively recently:
Kunzait_83 wrote:The way that Goku's "...but he (Gero) hasn't done anything yet." line comes across in the manga seems more like its an example of Goku's rural/naive dimness as opposed to him trying to actively dig for any sort of flimsy excuse to fight the Jinzoningen. Its basically a joke at his expense: he legitimately, sincerely doesn't understand why they'd go after someone over something they haven't done yet. He's not the brightest bulb in many instances, particularly when it comes to something as complex and mind bending as a concept like time travel. Its just a throwaway chuckle moment (haha, Goku's so dippy) showing Goku being a dolt with time travel ideas, not a major plot/characterization moment that sheds any insight into his moral compass. He's neither selfishly digging for a rationale nor is he being altruistic in any way: he's just being genuinely dense.
Obviously that's not a be-all-end-all take, but even if you don't buy into it, the case that Trunks provides absolute certainty still remains to be built.
johnboy1 wrote:And unlike the previous instances, there is a (comparatively) easy solution that, as far as he knows, will prevent that bloodshed with minimal risk. For him to not take that option, solely because he wants the thrill of fighting a super-strong opponent, and, more importantly, for the audience to be expected to just go along with it... You honestly don't see the problem with that? You don't see how it might take someone out of the story? You don't see how someone might lose their investment in the plot?

"That's his character!"
Yes, actually. That is indeed his character! For Goku to completely throw this incredible challenge out the window would be insanely out of character, and would better serve to take me out of the story, in a bad way. Especially given that he's now a Super Saiyan, meaning that Piccolo and Vegeta are no longer blips on his radar, and Freeza's dead now. Basking aimlessly in his newfound spot on top rather than rising to this new challenge would be incredibly egregious. Again, as bad as this all is on Goku morally, it's really not to any substantial degree worse than letting Piccolo, Vegeta, or Freeza go. All of those were incredibly selfish and irresponsible, so Goku being incredibly selfish and irresponsible is fully coherent and all but expected; and as he gets stronger, he needs bigger challenges, so his recklessness and irresponsibility ought to scale with his horrific magnification of strength. This is a completely logical progression.

Sure, it can take you out of the story for a second (and indeed, the prior three cases should as well; it's puzzling that the three prior cases elicit mere shrugs, but this case warrants this kind of outrage), but I don't see any real cause for not being able to get right back in. This is indeed who Goku is. I don't think you're meant to be patting Goku on the back for this decision, but rather reluctantly looking on in horror. There should be a tug between wanting to scold Goku for making these dumb calls, while also being morbidly curious to see how he'll rise to the challenge and overcome it. The former is a natural reaction for any reader with a moral compass. The latter ought to be a natural reaction for anyone invested in a martial arts series. A conflict of interest in the reader/viewer is good to have, I think.

Cipher's outlined Goku's character progression in a way I can't help but sympathize with. Particularly in the way his consistently-morally-reprehensible decisions for the sake of a challenge do ultimately lead somewhere:
Cipher wrote:Deciding to train Oob completes his final arc, which runs through the Cell and Boo storylines, and sees his boredom increasingly get the best of safer decisions, an issue that's been building steadily since the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai.
Some words from the author himself are also worth bringing to bear, for anyone else reading along:
Toriyama, in WIRED (1997), wrote:There’s how, basically, Son Goku from Dragon Ball doesn’t fight for the sake of others, but because he wants to fight against strong guys. So once Dragon Ball got animated, at any rate, I’ve always been dissatisfied with the “righteous hero”-type portrayal they gave him. I guess I couldn’t quite get them to grasp the elements of “poison” that slip in and out of sight among the shadows.
Toriyama, in the Akira Toriyama & Masako Nozawa Special Talk, wrote:At any rate, I wanted him to have the sense of being that rare guy who seeks only “to become stronger than before”, so much so that it feels like “there’s no one as pure as this person”. And while he does end up saving everyone as a result of that, he himself at least has a very pure sincerity about “wanting to become stronger”. What I wanted to depict the most was the sense that he might not be a good guy at all, although he does do good things as a result.
In summation:
Son Goku is a country bumpkin who does not grasp the nuances of time travel and moral culpability. Son Goku is not a good person. Son Goku's only goal is to become stronger. The stronger he gets, the more bored he gets, and the more it takes to excite his thirst for battle. As such, he will let evil demons, space barbarians, genocidal warlords, and military-grade cyborgs run amok as potential future challenges for himself. His recklessness increases along with his strength. Sometimes, his recklessness coincides with, and is congruent with, the recklessness of his peers, the inaction of others, and the rationalizations of others still. If Goku acting like himself makes it impossible for you to root for him, Volume 16 might be the best place for you to abandon ship.

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Re: Regarding Goku's character in the dub...

Post by ABED » Thu Mar 01, 2018 6:01 am

I love the Simpsons but let's not forget that Homer physically abuses his son
It's so over the top and cartoony, though. I wouldn't consider Goku abusive at all, just a mixed case. He does leave his family, although they are able to take care of themselves.

The Simpsons is meant to be a sitcom about a family. DB isn't about that at all.
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Re: Regarding Goku's character in the dub...

Post by DragonBallFoodie » Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:36 pm

ABED wrote:Not what I was getting at. It doesn't ultimately matter because the story isn't about white hats vs black hats. It's a story about a martial artist continually trying to surpass his limits.
Yes, a heroic martial artist, whose enemies are villains who are either defeated or acquire redemption and become his allies.

Ultimately I am comfortable with both subs and dubs, and I don't feel the dub made a great difference to Goku's character. That's me speaking for myself. And I hope we can live with each other's opinions on this.
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Re: Regarding Goku's character in the dub...

Post by ABED » Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:40 pm

DragonBallFoodie wrote:
ABED wrote:Not what I was getting at. It doesn't ultimately matter because the story isn't about white hats vs black hats. It's a story about a martial artist continually trying to surpass his limits.
Yes, a heroic martial artist, whose enemies are villains who are either defeated or acquire redemption and become his allies.

Ultimately I am comfortable with both subs and dubs, and I don't feel the dub made a great difference to Goku's character. That's me speaking for myself. And I hope we can live with each other's opinions on this.
But not in the traditional western meaning. He lets enemies go not out of mercy but to fight them later. He lets enemies create killing machines even though he has advanced warning. Do you not see the difference between that and someone like Batman?
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Re: Was the dub right to alter Goku's character?

Post by matt0044 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:07 am

Gaffer Tape wrote:This is the first time I've ever heard people say that Super makes Goku MORE heroic. If anything, I've felt the complete opposite. It seems to me that Super has pushed Goku into an extreme caricature of the "barely functioning manchild" to the point where it's nearly impossible to take any of his struggles seriously.
I know you didn't want to fall into the rabbit hole again in your recent video but what do you think about Goku's overall character changes in the dub. Not just "Hope of the universe" and whatnot.

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Re: Regarding Goku's character in the dub...

Post by DragonBallFoodie » Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:25 pm

ABED wrote:But not in the traditional western meaning. He lets enemies go not out of mercy but to fight them later. He lets enemies create killing machines even though he has advanced warning. Do you not see the difference between that and someone like Batman?
Goku shouldn't be compared with Batman, Superman is a better/more obvious choice.

Goku has always wanted a fight, but he has never been a ruthless slaughterer of enemies. The dub has him yell at Vegeta when he blows up Jeice on Namek that "that kind of violence is pointless!" So he does have standards and lines he can't cross. He's pretty much someone who enjoys a fight, like most fighters do, but he'd never massacre or murder anyone for thrills. He may be simple-minded, but he's not blood-crazed.


Goku, like most people, is flawed enough to not always stay straight and narrow but often make mistakes and errors of bad judgement (which may be part of his appeal). The original Japanese made him a boy who never grew up, like Peter Pan. The dub made him a simple-minded Superman.
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Re: Regarding Goku's character in the dub...

Post by ABED » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:48 pm

DragonBallFoodie wrote:
ABED wrote:But not in the traditional western meaning. He lets enemies go not out of mercy but to fight them later. He lets enemies create killing machines even though he has advanced warning. Do you not see the difference between that and someone like Batman?
Goku shouldn't be compared with Batman, Superman is a better/more obvious choice.

Goku has always wanted a fight, but he has never been a ruthless slaughterer of enemies. The dub has him yell at Vegeta when he blows up Jeice on Namek that "that kind of violence is pointless!" So he does have standards and lines he can't cross. He's pretty much someone who enjoys a fight, like most fighters do, but he'd never massacre or murder anyone for thrills. He may be simple-minded, but he's not blood-crazed.


Goku, like most people, is flawed enough to not always stay straight and narrow but often make mistakes and errors of bad judgement (which may be part of his appeal). The original Japanese made him a boy who never grew up, like Peter Pan. The dub made him a simple-minded Superman.
No one here is saying Goku is blood-crazed, but it goes beyond a flaw. His desire for a fight has VERY destructive consequences that the dub sought to hide.
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