Like frothy mug of water aside Funimator's paint editors were good at what they did.
They really weren't. You can easily tell what's painted.
I don't think the Saban dub cut material for pacing. I think they had to cut due to limited funds and the number of episode that were ordered. Season 1 (the Saiyan arc) had 26 episodes and Season 2 (27-53) is 27 episodes.
They did at least in part cut for pacing as well as to fit in the above episode numbers. There's a bunch of early interviews with Gen and Cindy Fukanaga (and Barry Watson as well I think) where they go into candid detail about changes they made specifically to cater to "shorter attention spans" in American children, per several test audiences they showed the series to. Pacing was indeed one of the concerns for that reason when it came to editing the series back then (and this was also the primary motive for their changing the music: the excuse about paying royalties and whatnot didn't come up till much later on).
Kunzait_83 wrote:either just use Kikuchi or something that's relatively close in spirit to it
If you can't get Kikuchi, don't try to imitate him; you'll just make fans angry, and wish they really were listening to Kikuchi. So, unless they were planning on reusing Kikuchi tracks from the start, going with someone with a similar sound would not be a good idea.
Plus, Kai's whole deal is that it's got a more modern feel to it. Plagiarism aside, Yamamoto's soundtrack did have a "Dragon Ball, but with a modern spin" feel to it, which made him a good choice.
Kikuchi's score, wonderful as it is, was hardly singularly unique: the whole idea was that it reflected a specific style of Chinese-derived music often used in and historically/culturally linked with classic martial arts cinema. DB is basically a Toriyama-ified Shaw Bros./Golden Harvest wuxia movie done at an epic length and with tons of 80s and 90s flourishes thrown in: Kikuchi's score tends to reflect that aspect of the series.
When I said "or something that's relatively close in spirit" I meant close in spirit to that of classic martial arts film scores, not necessarily Kikuchi's take on that style of music specifically. I didn't get a "Dragon Ball but with a modern spin" feel AT ALL from Yamamoto's Kai score: I got a very generic action score feel from it (and considering some of the recent summer blockbuster films he lifted from, that's hardly surprising). And that's all the more frustrating to me because I'm a DIE HARD fan of Yamamoto's Butouden-era DBZ video game music, so much so I put it on almost the same level as Kikuchi's score in terms of both general execution and iconic connection to DB itself.
I walked into Kai when it first began INCREDIBLY psyched as all hell for a new Yamamoto score made specifically for a new cut of the DBZ anime thinking he was the absolute IDEAL choice to replace Kikuchi... and I ended up very
exceedingly underwhelmed with what ultimately resulted. Even now going back to it, the score only seems to get blander, duller, and more non-descript than I last remembered it, with one of the few truly distinctive cues being the various Dragon Soul riffs... and those are mainly distinctive due to Dragon Soul being an unbearably obnoxious song, indicative of the general overwrought and insufferable emotional histrionics of modern Shonen.
Kunzait_83 wrote:make sure to get the best out of the Japanese cast
the depressingly (and very uncharacteristically) phoned-in performances from much of the Japanese cast
They did make sure to get the best out of the Japanese cast.
Given how much people criticise their performance in Kai, I would be pretty shocked Super doesn't get any flak for that...
... Except I'm not, because it's obvious the only reason people get upset about it is because they can compare it to Z.
Ultimately, the Japanese cast did a good job, it just wasn't as good as the stuff they did in Z. And of course it wouldn't be; they're all ~20 years older, and a few of them had died.
(Though, IMO, Ryusei Nakao lost absolutely nothing. If anything, the clearer sound quality of Kai makes his performance even more enjoyable)
I'll agree with you on Nakao for sure: the dude remains a powerhouse to this day. At the end of the day, I don't really want to harp on the Japanese cast too much since 1) as noted, most of them are getting up there in years, 2) even at their worst, they still act rings around most of their English counterparts, and 3) ultimately its a case by case issue.
On the one hand you have people like Nozawa and Nakao who seem to be superhumanly bulletproof no matter the circumstances, on the other you have people like Horikawa and Tsuru, who NORMALLY in even recent video games and in Super have still been doing solid work but for whatever reason were just... not on their A game at various points in Kai (but again, still relatively fantastic actors even at their worst), then you have folks like Yanami who's deterioration is 1000% understandable and excusable, and then lastly folks like Wakamoto, who in some instances just plain seem to not be giving a fuck.
Again, ultimately its among the least of Kai's sins, since even when not at peak capacity, the Japanese cast are all seasoned, class-act professionals, who still bring tons of natural charisma and gravitas to these roles, even when they're not performing to the very best of their abilities.
Kunzait_83 wrote: bite the fucking bullet and straight up re-animate the whole damn thing over from scratch.
Reanimating it all would be a bad idea for so many reasons, there's an entire thread about this.
I haven't seen or read that thread, but that sounds like it'd be an interesting read. If a fully re-animated version was an outright impossibility for whatever reason, then I still maintain that the re-editing of the old footage for Kai could've unquestionably been MUCH better and more carefully handled than it was. As it stands, it comes across like a sloppy cash grab with little thought or care put into its editing and creative choices.
Kunzait_83 wrote:Kai oftentimes would not only leave some bits of filler, it'd even sometimes cut out material from the manga.
Yes, obviously. It's a screen adaptation of the manga. You can't really do a direct 1:1 adaptation from one medium to another, you have to make changes to accomodate the new medium. For a series, a lot of this is to do with the different way a series flows and has to be paced.
Of course its not possible to go exactly 1:1 with the manga. All the more so if you're going to be working with pre-existing footage from the old anime. That wasn't my point or issue.
The issue was that the choices in what to keep and what to edit seem to have been very poorly thought out and done with little care or concern not only with regards to the manga, but also with regards to original directorial intent with the original anime footage. There are countless shots and cuts that aren't at all in the manga, but work within the anime to help establish things like location and geography, dramatic tension and build-up, etc. To lose those robs many scenes of how they're clearly intended to flow as an anime; and thus standout moments from Z that once carried dramatic weight and impact are now neutered and feel hastily rushed through.
Goku and Piccolo vs Raditz is my usual go-to example, but even stuff like the Ginyu fights, Zarbon and Vegeta, Piccolo vs Freeza, etc. while still having their moments, feel thousands of times more lifeless when they're chopped and edited so tightly that nothing has a chance to register and you have such dull, generic action music just sitting there without punctuating or adding anything to the scene. Losing some of the more egregious and pointless cutaways is certainly welcome of course, but that hardly counter-balances against how hobbled everything else now comes across.
Part of what made the original Z anime so effective was that it was framed, blocked, and paced in a VERY cinematic fashion. Every episode felt like you were watching a snippet from the some spectacularly deranged and weird gem of a vintage kung fu movie on a week by week basis. What Kai has in common with English adaptations like the Saban dub is that it makes the anime feel MUCH more in line with a more generic Shonen action show in terms of not only its pacing, but its tone, atmosphere, and so on. And yeah, I get that generic Shonen action shows are the beloved bread and butter to a LOT of folks here: sorry, but I'm just not one of them.
I think the DB anime worked so well in large part because
of how very much NOT like a typical kids action show (of the Eastern OR Western variety) it felt or played out as, but rather how much it resembled its source inspiration of nutty fantasy martial arts films from the 60s through early 90s. The more you homogenize it to resemble shows like TMNT and Transformers and G.I. Joe and the like in a Western sense (as the Saban and FUNi dubs did) or shows like Full Metal Alchemist, One Piece, Naruto, and so on on a Japanese end (as Kai does) the less interested and more put off I am. I'm not here because
DB is a Shonen/kids' series: I'm here despite
it being a Shonen/kids' series. I don't think being a kids' series is part of its inherent charm: I think that's something it OVERCAME and managed to be good in spite of.
Again, that's not to overrate the original Z anime as some untouchable masterwork: it has more than its share of flaws (generally filler-related), flaws that a manga-fied re-edit certainly could've fixed. But Kai didn't fix those flaws in my view: rather it created a whole set of new ones that drain the life out of what made the anime so appealing (even to someone who normally doesn't give a solid flying fuck about Shonen generally) in the first place.
Robo4900 wrote:Though I don't remember any manga material being cut, unless you're referring to the fact some things happen slightly differently in the manga, like the way Videl finds out Gohan is the Great Saiyaman... Though that's in Boo Kai, so it hardly counts.
No I'm not talking about examples like that. I don't have a full list of edits on hand, but there are a number of scenes from the manga that were edited from Kai. Off the top of my head, I remember a bunch of random bits like Raditz realizing he can't break out of Goku's full nelson because Gohan's attack had damaged him too badly, or Goku warning Muten Roshi and Kuririn that they've already been wished back once before by the Dragon Balls, meaning their lives are susceptible if they accompanied him to fight Raditz.
There's a LOT of stuff like that, and it adds up over time and pokes a lot of weird logic holes in the story that were never an issue in the manga or the original Z anime. If you already read the manga or saw Z or just generally know the story very well, then this isn't as much of an issue: but its not exactly ideal for someone who's getting into the series for the first time this way.
Kunzait_83 wrote:For all these reasons (and plenty more), I'm forever dumbfounded as to how anyone can prefer Kai over Z.
Just let people like things.
Do you see me going around door to door and taking people's Kai Blu Ray's at gunpoint?
People are free to like whatever the hell they want to like. But this is a discussion forum, one where people are supposed to express their opinions about DB maters and (ideally) back them up with substance. So that's what I'm doing. If my simply having a different take on a Japanese children's cartoon causes people to get defensive or uncomfortable or feeling like they're somehow personally under attack, then that's entirely on them to take this shit less seriously and not wrap up their personal identity in their favorite anime so much.
I said that I'm at a loss at understanding other's favorable look towards Kai. I didn't say they were wrong, I didn't say they were stupid, or lesser than, or anything of the sort (nor WOULD I say that, because I DON'T think that): I simply said, effectively, "I don't get the love/appeal". That's it.
This hyper-defensiveness over someone saying something even MILDLY challenging (and not even remotely combative) towards someone else's taste has long, LONG ago since gotten immensely tiresome.
Kunzait_83 wrote:both feature entire sequences that are glaringly/poorly redrawn
Saban's dub? No, not really. Several pieces had some digital painting over the top, but no entire scenes were ever really redrawn, just some pieces of the frame here and there.
That's all that I was referencing: that footage had been tampered with in ways that were glaringly obvious and distracting. Kai redrew various cuts entirely, Saban meanwhile added their own touchups for censorship reasons. But the net result of either is obviously-laid-in-after-the-fact newer artwork that badly clashes against the old artwork, and is thus a distracting eyesore most of the time that does the visuals no real favors.
Kunzait_83 wrote:both feature questionable voice acting (outside of the FUNi recasts)
This is where you completely lose me. The Saban/Ocean dub featured exceptional voice acting, and while I would say that Funi's Kai dub seemed to generally be directed to have the entire cast understate their performances to a rather heavy degree, the acting was at least okay within that particular style of delivery. And in the Japanese version, while it doesn't stand up to their old Z performances, they generally did a good/great job.
"Exceptional voice acting" is soooooooooooorely pushing it. There were SOME decent voices. Ted Cole made an affable enough Yamucha. Scott McNeil had some great moments as Piccolo (and some not-so-great moments as well). Drummond had a VERY shaky start, but grew into the role. Kelamis was astoundingly good that one time in that one DBZ movie, but otherwise... gyah. Not so much.
PLENTY of other characters though were just miserably, miserably handled from the jump. Kaio, Muten Roshi, Karin, Gohan, Freeza, and so on.... these were badly cast with horrendous interpretations of how those roles should be played by voice directors who obviously didn't understand the material or the characters in question. Thus you end up with PAINFULLY bad cartoon stereotypes for almost half the cast; stereotypes who's abrasiveness would only be increased tenfold once in-house FUNi stepped in.
If the Ocean cast had anything over the in-house FUNi case, it was professionalism and experience: but the root of the problem ran MUCH deeper than that. The root of the problem was that the Saban dub, from the getgo, was directed to be acted like an over the top silly children's cartoon. Now granted of course, Dragon Ball IS exactly that: an over the top, silly children's cartoon. Here's the thing though: by and large, the Japanese cast NEVER plays it that way. The vocal direction in the Japanese versions skews HEAVILY naturalistic, and with some rare exceptions (your occasional Babidi and Pilaf and the like), the overwhelming majority of the Japanese cast takes these colorful and ridiculous characters and plays them strikingly grounded and organic.
This has a profound
impact on how it balances out the overall tone of the whole thing, both with the comedy and
the drama alike. Taking these broad characters and acting them with natural, conversational voices grounds almost every scene by a VAST margin. You're able to get actual bits of subtlety in some of the humor (sarcastic slyness, deadpan dryness) as well as IMMENSE gravitas in the dramatic moments. When Kuririn first reacts to Yamucha's death against the Saibaiman... that scene is played in a soberingly real way that NONE of the English dubs come within lightyears of approaching. There's countless examples beyond that.
This series, by its very nature, is already PLENTY wacky and weird and wild enough as it is innately with just its core concepts and visual style. It does NOT need any extra "help" in driving home that wacky, zany craziness into the viewer's skulls by having both the music and the character's voices be so obvious, broad, and caricatured. Adding non-stop droning music and obnoxious, over the top cartoon voices dripping with shtick.... its WAY too much. It takes the show from "charmingly weird and demented" into "obnoxiously intolerable and gratingly punchable". The wackiness of the story, ideas, and visuals are offset and balanced out by the (relatively) grounded realism of the general/overall acting style and the heavily
cinematic, genre-appropriateness of the score.
The point is, the earnestness and grounded approach to the Japanese voice acting is instantly disarming to the viewer, and allows you to take these otherwise silly and ludicrous characters with a level of seriousness that its flat out IMPOSSIBLE to have when they're being directed to sound like over the top obnoxious caricatures. Now combine those abrasively obnoxious cartoon stereotype voices with the nonstop droning generic "action" music, the carelessly fast editing (that hacks out far more than just the pointless filler: half the time the pointless filler is LEFT IN anyway), and what you're ultimately left with is a take on DBZ that feels in NO way like a wacky, trippy, vintage Golden Harvest wuxia serial, but instead something that's FAR more in line with much more typical children's action cartoons.
And once more: I get that there are a LOT of people here on this forum to whom that very notion (of DB being packaged and presented to them as a more generic kids' action cartoon) is a SELLING POINT, the feature rather than the bug: but I'm NOT one of those people. I can't stand and detest those kinds of shows generally, and DB/Z was always an exception for how much it thoroughly did not
conform to those kinds of kids' animation norms.
The Saban dub was DBZ as reinterpreted through a lens that was endemic to 80s and 90s U.S. kids cartoons like TMNT or Spider-Man, X-Men, G.I. Joe, or something even like Pirates of Dark Water or Mighty Max. Again, that may be a part of the charm to a lot of people here: but when the whole point of getting into anime is to find animation that's NOT like any of those kinds of shows (as it was for myself and a great majority of other anime fans of my era), then DB/Z resembling less Shaw Bros. and more Fox Kids Network sort of soundly defeats the entire purpose.
So no, by that metric, the acting in the Saban dub was anything but
"exceptional". The Ocean cast, while consisting of seasoned professionals who've taken part in actual legit quality anime dubs elsewhere, took on these roles here in DBZ no different than they would shows like the U.S. cartoon Mega Man and Street Fighter. In other words, this was treated not as an anime dub, but as work on a typical U.S. kids action cartoon series. If you like those kinds of shows, then cool, you're right at home here. If you don't... then this type of shit is generally absolute water torture to listen to.
An ideal DB/Z dub to me, one that's faithful to the source, would have FAR more grounded and naturalistic acting across the overwhelming majority of the characters: where if you closed your eyes, you'd largely think you were hearing performances from a live action film rather than a cartoon show. There's room for SOME more broad caricaturing here or there (certainly characters like Shen Long should sound supernaturally otherworldly, and the Ocean voice for him did a FANTASTIC job at that and is one of the very best and most fitting voices), but that should largely be kept to a minimum. Just have most of the actors, in most cases, talk like regular-ass human beings most of the time, and let their natural charisma and acting ability do the heavy lifting, as opposed to having them put on some silly and stupid kind of overwrought shtick.
And the ONLY way you'd ever get something like that is a from the ground-up recasting from total scratch of at least 98% of the voices from top to bottom. Which I know isn't ever
going to happen in reality: that's just my purely hypothetical "ideal scenario".
Kunzait_83 wrote:End of the day, all Kai amounts to for me is Toei's official version of what Saban and FUNi did to the series in the mid/late 90s
You do realise Saban only cut the episode count down by 14 episodes over the course of the entire first 67? Hell, technically it's only 13, since episode 53 ended only about 7 or 8 minutes into uncut #67's footage, so that episode is only lost by the fact the counting was out of alignment by 8 minutes.
And, remember, the Saban dub was still full
of filler and such, it just cut the show down by about 13 episodes so it could fit better for TV syndication. The cuts were done based on what worked for censorship and pacing, but ultimately there was never an intent to make it fit the manga or reduce the filler.
Yes, and I'm arguing that this is ultimately how Kai's editing comes across: like it wasn't done to better fit the manga or reduce filler, but just to better fill out a specific episode count. I'm saying that whether it be Kai or Saban, the editing done was INCREDIBLY careless, was murder on the pacing (in the exact opposite wrongheaded extreme from the original Z anime's more egregious pacing sins: too rushed as opposed to too lethargic) and had little in the way of respect for the manga or the original anime footage's directorial choices. It was slapdash and done in an artless and mercenary manner so as to fit within a predetermined episode count. Nothing more. Hence why I draw the comparisons between Kai and Saban.
Kunzait_83 wrote:And yet what was once sacrilege and awful back then when a U.S. studio does it is now a-ok when Toei does it?
A dubbing company's job is to translate a show into English, yet Saban had them hack it to pieces to suit more convenient TV deals. Kai was a new product produced by the original production company with the express goal of making a shorter version of the show. The situations hardly compare.
Agree on that first point wholeheartedly.
But ultimately its hard for me to call Kai a "new show" when it relies so heavily on old footage from a preexisting show. This is part of why I said it would've been a LOT easier to accept this as its own separate thing if it were just reanimated from scratch: because the show doesn't really conform itself to the manga per-se (it sees fit to both leave in filler as well as do away with bits from the manga willy nilly) thus sacrificing the whole "manga cut" aspect, it ultimately cannot help but come across as virtually almost eerily identical to what Saban ended up doing to the series. That it was done not by a foreign production company but by the original owners/creators is of incredibly little condolence when the end results are so painfully obviously comparable to one another.
Certain aspects were indeed even WORSE on Saban's end (the script and the censorship especially), but generally speaking... these two edits aren't miles
apart from one another. And yeah, sorry/not sorry, but Toei being the guys behind it rather than Saban doesn't make the net result suck any less or feel any more like genuine Dragon Ball.
At a certain point, the difference that separates Kai and the Saban dub almost becomes one of pure semantics.
Robo4900 wrote:Though, I will say that I enjoy both of these things; IMO, the Saban dub gets an unfairly bad rep from some people. It's a lot of fun, and definitely worth a watch.
Don't think I need to clarify at this point why I couldn't possibly disagree more with this statement.
Kunzait_83 wrote:and who also badly want a version of the English dub where the FUNimation cast "redeems" themselves.
I mean, Kai was
that. Sure, Funi Kai isn't perfect -- in fact, I'd argue it was only a bit more than okay -- but it's Funimation's first actually pretty good dub overall of Dragon Ball that's been faithful to the source material, and only the third time we've had something like that in English Dragon Ball dubbing at all.
Going from "unlistenable" to "meh, passable" is hardly the most winning endorsement. This is something that fans of the FUNi cast have been guilty of doing in almost every discussion of them: grading on a curve. Ultimately I'm not interested in giving them an A for Effort simply because they've pulled themselves up - after what, more than a decade
of voicing these roles? - from absolute garbage to moderately decent-ish. By ANY other objective standards, that'd be seen as pathetic and "spitshining a turd to maximum sleekness".
The only reasons I can think of for why anyone would go so far as to grant them THIS much leeway and grade on such a steep, steep curve is if there's A) strong
sentimental attachment biasing one's view (and lets face it, most FUNi dub fans are hardly shy about admitting up front that this is generally their main driving motive for remaining so loyal to this cast) and B) a strongly held desire to "prove the haters wrong" and show them that these actors - who many here dearly love primarily because "childhood" despite most of them being woefully awful for the VAST majority of their tenures in these roles over countless many years now - can indeed rise to the level of mere mediocrity.
Well, coming from the view of someone who DOESN'T share the sentiment and couldn't give two shits less whether or not these people can "prove" themselves to me or anyone else - generally speaking as someone who has absolutely ZERO dog in this race whatsoever... the fact that these bad performers have gone from "terrible" to "meh, so-so" is in NO way any sort of ringing endorsement that makes Kai in any which way worth its while.
"But its the first time the FUNimation case have ever sounded KIND OF ALMOST OKAY in these roles!" - this presumes up front that I, or everyone that is a DB fan in some unspoken unanimous hivemind, cares one whit about the FUNimation cast enough that we hold any sort of investment in seeing them be "not entirely terrible just this once!"
Throw the bums out, all of them, or else I don't really care.
Kunzait_83 wrote:I see almost no value or merit in its existence outside of I suppose grabbing more new/younger fans into the fold.
If that is the case, then I would say that's a lot of value and merit.
Some mixed feelings about the overall state of the fandom aside, I generally also agree with this sentiment.
Kunzait_83 wrote:Beyon that, all it succeeds in being is a watered down ADHD version for short attention spans.
That's a very insensitive way of phrasing that, so shame on you.
Its an immensely
vanilla, benign, and widely used turn of phrase that is quite clearly and obviously in NO way intended with any real malice or ill will towards anyone who actually has ADHD (unless I missed that part of AP History where there was a concerted, historically and systemically ingrained, and deeply oppressive culture of hate and bigotry against kids with ADHD). That includes myself, since I too actually have ADHD and grew up with it from an early age. So from someone who actually has the disorder, by all means, calm down and don't be a stereotypically oversensitive PC police.
There's INFINITELY worse and more deeply
hideous and grotesque shit being said every single day about people of different ethnicities, sexual and gender orientations, religious beliefs, severe crippling disabilities, etc. and getting carried away and nitpicking at people over milquetoast figures of speech with even the most MILDEST of "edge" to them is genuinely damaging to instances of REAL insensitivity and hate by playing "boy who cried wolf" over even the most microscopically trivial of infractions and thus lending undue credence to the whole "Social Justice Warrior" strawman that actual hatemongers love to trot out.
No sane or reasonable person would be offended by that sentence, and if someone is, I'd advise that person to get way thicker skin.