"Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

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"Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by Yuli Ban » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:24 pm

One of the important events in DBZ history in the West besides its first airing, for better or for worse. Just about everything surrounding how Dragon Ball Z is perceived today in America all truly started on September 13th, 1999. Sean Schemmel as the "true" voice of Son Goku, of Bruce Faulconer being "the" classic soundtrack, of the current known cast being the widely recognized voices, of the names being locked in as what they are, and of the dub script devolving into the realm of parody.
Before then, Dragon Ball Z in America was a somewhat messy affair where voice actors changed constantly and it flopped between Kids WB and Cartoon Network. From this point going forward, at least in terms of the voice cast, there was actual consistency. We can argue all we want about the quality thereof, but you can't deny that it at least remained consistent. Where you wouldn't tune in and discover "Oh, they changed all the voices again".

That's right, boys 'n girls, DBZ got mondo cool with this radical new script delivered to you by some wicked and phat voice actors!

Here are some live reactions from DBZUncensored, way back in 1999:
http://dbzu.3gkai.com/editorial/editorial15.html
http://dbzu.3gkai.com/opinions/index.html

The latter has multiple people discussing the third season, which was released before its September 13th TV air date.

Here are some dialogue changes!
The Lighter Side of DBZ: Most Idiotic One-Liners

And the quality the VAs were bringing in general:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwwTD4ql9ak
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQ2Dv1NNFmQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBn-SyZFykk

GOOD LORD.
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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by TheGreatness25 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:58 pm

In context, it definitely was monumental. It felt like Dragon Ball Z was on Toonami for years as we waited for these episodes. With all the cool advertisement and hype, I must've watched the commercial a million times, just rewinding and pausing it. "Is Vegeta right? Has Goku really become a legendary Super Saiyan?"

And then, it happened... The sharp turn in music, the BLOOD!!! pouring down Vegeta's face, the narrator's voice sounding way off. But it's okay, I can get with it. And then I heard Kurilin's voice. "Uh... Yeah, okay, he sounds... a little deep..." Then I heard Gohan's voice. "Uh... Wow, um... He sounds kinda weird." Then I heard Vegeta's voice. "Oh wow... Uh... He sounds kinda... um..." Then I heard Goku's voice. "Okay, well... He sounds more like he used to, but... okay..." Then I heard Bulma's voice. "..."

And you know what? It took me all of 15 minutes for my 11-year-old brain to adjust and I was fine by the second episode. I loved this series -- absolutely loved it. And no matter how much better the Japanese version was, no matter how corny, cheesy, inaccurate, and downright ear-grating this dub was, I absolutely loved it. Happy 20th!

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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by Robo4900 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:21 pm

"Season 3" was a perfect embodiment of everything that has ever been wrong with Dragon Ball's treatment in the west.

The cast that everyone had grown to love, thrown aside for convenience and penny pinching over paying people for voice-destroying screams, the music and voices replaced with cheap, rushed knockoffs, the already-not-great scripts somehow going down the toilet even further, editing errors that meant not even the censorship was consistent (don't piss off the dragon god of love!), castings as awful as Linda Young's circa 1999 Freeza and Chris Sabat's circa 1999 Vegeta, the home video release was poorly encoded and even on the uncut release, the English track was censored (not a lot of people realise this; when Bulma's thinking about how awful her situation is, Goku and her from the OG DB episode where he takes a bath appears above her head, and on the English track, this was censored to make the water more opaque)...

And has much changed since '99?
The scripts now at least tell the story properly, but the scriptwriters still insert extra one-liners wherever they can.
As many of the old castings as they can possibly keep around have always been kept, even castings like Schemmels King Kai who still remains just an imitation of Don Brown's performance, but without any of Brown's gravitas or charm.
Some things are still censored to certain degrees even though many would argue this is a good thing; Roshi's behaviour in the Tournament Of Power arc was softened by Funi's adaptors.
The home video has got worse, with the latest insult to the fandom having almost 200 pages of thread about this travesty...

And just like in 1999, there are countless fans who'll bend over and take every stupid decision made to the franchise's detriment, even going as far as to lash out at anyone who criticises it. Over 3000 people ordered the 30th anniversary edition, any complaints about any of this, any of the script changes, etc. are met with "hey it's not that bad. stop complaining."
And now people are nostalgic for the crappy Orange Bricks, the awful season 3 dub...

I love Dragon Ball, I have a great respect for everyone at who's currently working to make Funimation's handling of Dragon Ball better, particularly the likes of Chris Sabat, who I imagine was one of the main reasons Funi's dub of Kai 1.0 was actually a really solid piece of dubbing work, and superior to all their other work on Dragon Ball (even its follow-ups) in every respect. Sean Schemmel never stopped trying to hone his Goku, and there is at least a nominal effort to stay true to the original Japanese product...
But 20 years since Funimation gave us the first real, pure taste of just how poorly they would treat the franchise over the next 20 years is nothing to celebrate.

... But if you enjoyed it and still have nostalgic memories that's fine. Don't expect me to be happy about it, though, given how utterly awful every single decision going into season 3 was, and how shockingly much they still haven't learned from their mistakes yet...
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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by SuperSaiyaManZ94 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:38 pm

Robo4900 wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:21 pm
"Season 3" was a perfect embodiment of everything that has ever been wrong with Dragon Ball's treatment in the west.

The cast that everyone had grown to love, thrown aside for convenience and penny pinching over paying people for voice-destroying screams, the music and voices replaced with cheap, rushed knockoffs, the already-not-great scripts somehow going down the toilet even further, editing errors that meant not even the censorship was consistent (don't piss off the dragon god of love!), castings as awful as Linda Young's circa 1999 Freeza and Chris Sabat's circa 1999 Vegeta, the home video release was poorly encoded and even on the uncut release, the English track was censored (not a lot of people realise this; when Bulma's thinking about how awful her situation is, Goku and her from the OG DB episode where he takes a bath appears above her head, and on the English track, this was censored to make the water more opaque)...

And has much changed?
The scripts now at least tell the story properly, but the scriptwriters still insert extra one-liners wherever they can.
As many of the old castings as they can possibly keep around have always been kept, even castings like Schemmels King Kai who still remains just an imitation of Don Brown's performance, but without any of Brown's gravitas or charm.
Some things are still censored to certain degrees even though many would argue this is a good thing; Roshi's behaviour in the Tournament Of Power arc was softened by Funi's adaptors.
The home video has got worse, with the latest insult to the fandom having almost 200 pages of thread about this travesty...

And just like in 1999, there are countless fans who'll bend over and take every stupid decision made to the franchise's detriment, even going as far as to lash out at anyone who criticises it. Over 3000 people ordered the 30th anniversary edition, any complaints about any of this, any of the script changes, etc. are met with "hey it's not that bad. stop complaining."
And now people are nostalgic for the crappy Orange Bricks, the awful season 3 dub...

I love Dragon Ball, I have a great respect for everyone at who's currently working to make Funimation's handling of Dragon Ball better, particularly the likes of Chris Sabat, who I imagine was one of the main reasons Funi's dub of Kai 1.0 was actually a really solid piece of dubbing work, and superior to all their other work on Dragon Ball (even its follow-ups) in every respect. Sean Schemmel never stopped trying to hone his Goku, and there is at least a nominal effort to stay true to the original Japanese product...
But 20 years since Funimation gave us the first real, pure taste of just how poorly they would treat the franchise over the next 20 years is nothing to celebrate.

... But if you enjoyed it and still have nostalgic memories that's fine. Don't expect me to be happy about it, though, given how utterly awful every single decision going into season 3 was, and how shockingly much they still haven't learned from their mistakes yet...
Yeah, i just cannot bring myself to watch the OG in house DBZ dub because that is definitely the part of their work where even their "revised" Orange Brick partial re dub in 2007 wasn't enough to entirely fix it and still left much to be desired, and as such that is exactly why i watch Z exclusively subbed in Japanese on my Dragon Boxes. The only way i can actually properly watch the show in English is with Kai because the cast had refined the performances (some more than others, but that's another story along with some much needed recasts) into something that i could bear to listen to and the script writing got more competent on top of it, without the overload of terrible jokes and cramming wall to wall dialogue every which way over silent moments like before. I'm not overly nostalgic for the 1999 dub as some others are because it's obvious that most if not all of the things about it have not aged very well at all. True, i watched it on Toonami when i was a little kid but that's obviously because i was at a young enough age to where i wasn't able to catch on to all those things at the time. It wasn't until many years later that it dawned on me just how over the top and ridiculous the Z dub really was, and i'm glad that they have made these strides in the last decade or so to stay more faithful to the original version even with not all attempts hitting the mark.

While FUNi has improved to a significant degree from the days when Barry Watson and co were in charge, things like said 30th BD set shows there are still areas within the franchise where they drop the ball tremendously and let the fans down.

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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by Hellspawn28 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:25 pm

I thought this dub was awful even as an 8 year old kid. I remember I was turn off by Dragon Ball for a while because I was like "Why do people like this show? It's so stupid.".
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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by ABED » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:28 pm

It was bad, but after years (felt a hell of a lot longer than 2 at the time) of no new episodes and no news of whether we would get the rest of the series, seeing any new episodes, especially available with uncut footage, was welcome. I watched those episodes over and over that whole summer.

It wasn't the dub, it was the series whose magic showed through even though the dub was abysmal.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nostalgic for that time.
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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by VDenter » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:41 pm

A dark day for the series. I don't think anything has ever done as much damage to the integrity of this franchise as the Funi dub did. In retrospect i feel kind of sad about the people who grew up with this version of DBZ. It robbed so many new fans of a far more accurate representation of the show, not to mention much more enjoyable and well made version of the show. I think Dragon Ball's mishandling in the US couldn't have possibly been worse. Even stuff like airing DBZ before the entire original DB just compounds the issues.

I don't think i can ever definitively say which dub is the worst dub of all time, but i think this dub ranks right alongside 4KIDS One Piece dub. It just did such a disservice to everything DB and anyone who was watching or interested in DB generally speaking.

In some ways i wouldn't necessarily care if it was just a case of it being different. I could appreciate the dub as its own thing separate from the real version of DBZ, if the dub was well made in its own right, but it just wasn't. The dub for the original Dragon Ball was a slight improvement but it was still in the same ballpark.

Funimation is a different company these days but they still find ways to screw things up. Like the home releases or even some unnecessary changes to the Kai or Super dub for example, which just remind me of these early dub DBZ days whenever shit like this crops up.

I don't think Funimation deserved this license and in many ways they still don't. I wish history played out differently.

Oh and even after all these years i still cringe at some of the voices in the dub, even in Kai. I just can't ever get over how unfitting some of these voices are for the characters. Sean for example still sounds completely generic to me and i never think of Goku when i hear him voicing the character. He really sounds like just some random dude.
Last edited by VDenter on Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by ABED » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:46 pm

VDenter wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:41 pm
I don't think Funimation deserved this license and in many ways they still don't. I wish history played out differently.
It's okay to not preface it as opinion. They didn't. They got the license through nepotism.

One of the things that illustrates how low quality FUNi was back then is the cheapness of the product. Season 3 sounds cheap and the box art was screen grabs. It doesn't get much cheaper than that.
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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by MyVisionity » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:38 pm

Definitely nostalgic for it since this was the time I first got into the show. Between watching the new episodes on Cartoon Network, watching the Saban era repeats they would play, hearing about the Japanese version from friends at school, fansub downloads/tapes, and reading about it online, I was instantly hooked. I can still enjoy watching Season 3 stuff to this day, even if 'Dragon Ball' means something completely different in my mind now.

I agree about the cheapness vibe sticking out, especially with the earliest of the Season Three episodes. In the audio particularly.

Does anyone remember FUNimation streaming the Season Three episodes off of their website in 2000 or so? I remember thinking how awesome it was, but now maybe it was just awful lol.

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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by Yuli Ban » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:06 pm

VDenter wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:41 pm
A dark day for the series. I don't think anything has ever done as much damage to the integrity of this franchise as the Funi dub did. In retrospect i feel kind of sad about the people who grew up with this version of DBZ. It robbed so many new fans of a far more accurate representation of the show, not to mention much more enjoyable and well made version of the show. I think Dragon Ball's mishandling in the US couldn't have possibly been worse. Even stuff like airing DBZ before the entire original DB just compounds the issues.
What hurts the most is the number of people who refuse to look past pure nostalgia and instead double down on their insistence that this is peak Dragon Ball. Everything was building up to FUNimation's original dub job between 1999 and 2003, and it's never been surpassed. When FUNimation actually tried to improve on what they screwed up, this same block of fans despises their efforts.
There are plenty of people out there who'll even look at those clips of the original dub I posted and unironically claim that the acting, writing, and music is superior to everything that came before and since. Sean Schemmel half-heartedly saying the word "Ahhhhh" when transforming into Super Saiyan is fifty times more manly and emotional than his actual attempt at a roar of rage in Kai. Chris Sabat sounding like a nasally rip-off of Brian Drummond is vastly superior to Chris Sabat actually putting in effort. Grandma Freeza is how he's supposed to sound (OH, THE IRONY). The correct pronunciation is KAY-oken. It's King Kai, not Kaio-sama. It's spelled Frieza, not Freeza— that instance where we actually saw "Freeza" spelled out in Super was a bizarre misspelling and further proof of Super being a pile. Actually, often these types will even claim that you're being a weeaboo for doing it the right way as a means of excusing their refusal to respect the series.


In fact, there's a nice "Starter Pack" that list the mindset of these types.
Image

Normally when a show has a dub/version/series that bad, it becomes an old shame. Sure, it has its straggling defenders, but most realize that it's complete shit and move on. It feels like it's only in Dragon Ball where not only is the pathetic original dub (it's not even the first English dub!) defended but actually EXALTED to the point it's considered the definitive version of the show by a not-insignificant number of people.
To the point where the "original music" means the Faulconer score and "fanservice" means referencing the shit brought up in that dub.

I wouldn't even be mad about it if most of its fans used it as an introduction to the series and then learned more about it to realize what had been screwed up, sort of like how the 4Kids dub of One Piece was a wretched and rotten butchery but still did collect fans who remain fans to this day. But the opposite has happened, and fans of the original dub treat things like basic aspects of the franchise that the dub got wrong as these monumental "little known facts".
Like, Did You Know?
  • Goku is based on the Monkey King in Journey to the West and his full name is Son Goku?
  • General Tao was actually just a mercenary and only a military leader in a single movie that isn't canon to the series
  • Krillin is a Buddhist monk.
  • Piccolo's special attack is called the "Makankosappo" and the name for Krillin's special attack is the "Kienzan"
  • "Roshi" is actually just the Japanese word for "Master", "Muten Roshi" (his name in Japanese) translates to "Old Master of Heavenly Martial Arts"
  • Cyborgs aren't androids
And so on.

I'm not going to say a lot of the more colorful and cartoonish aspects of the modern fandom wouldn't have been things if not for the FUNi dub, but keeping things faithful wouldn't have hurt. Just look at Avatar: The Last Airbender, an American series with a similar East Asian/Chinese orientation. But since it wasn't butchered by a bad dub (for obvious reasons), its fans seem to respect its wuxia-inspired roots and keep things comparatively grounded. Perhaps due to Dragon Ball Z's extreme popularity, there are indeed some ATLA fans who believe that characters in that series could reach a DBZ-level of power as well as others who want the series to become outrageously dark and edgy. Yet it's still one of the most popular and beloved cartoons of all time. People who want a follow up to Legend of Korra don't want the series to go completely off the rails edgy, even if they would want better writing and direction.

The original FUNimation dub, however, gave us many fans who doggedly believe that this is the direction Dragon Ball should've gone. And I'm not even saying that comic is bad; if anything, I genuinely do prefer it over Super and have heard that some of its edgier moments (like the above) are also parodying/throwing out a bone to the stuff people kept wanting DBZ to become... which naturally was taken completely straight in the minds of people who wanted this in the first place. It's definitely popular with the OG FUNi crowd for exactly the reasons you'd expect.


I could go on, but bah. It's still crazy how that bad dub that lasted a literal tiny fraction of the franchise's life (1999 to 2003) has impacted the wider perception of the mythos so much. It's completely inescapable. Dragon Ball could still be going on in 2039 and you'll still see people putting Faulconer music over whatever new Dragon Ball Heroes fanfic they're releasing or calling people who use "Kienzan" over "Destructo Disk" a weeaboo.
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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by Kataphrut » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:15 pm

Hellspawn28 wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:25 pm
I thought this dub was awful even as an 8 year old kid. I remember I was turn off by Dragon Ball for a while because I was like "Why do people like this show? It's so stupid.".
I'm the same! I watched it as a kid, but I've got no nostalgia for it whatsoever. Even as a kid, it just seemed cheap and dodgy to me. I generally prefer the dub for modern material, but my rule is if it's pre-2010, it's Japanese or bust.

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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by KBABZ » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:54 pm

Yuli Ban wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:06 pm
In fact, there's a nice "Starter Pack" that list the mindset of these types.
Maybe I'm generalizing too much for the sake of a joke but you forgot "con videos aren't evidence"

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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by SuperSaiyaManZ94 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:01 am


That's unfortunately the reality for a lot of fans of the series, quite a few are so attached to the old in house Z dub in a "OMG MUH CHILDHOOD NOSTALGIA!!!!!" kind of way that they are completely ignorant and impossible to reason to for the fact that it's an obsolete, outdated relic from a time in FUNimation's history when it was really starting to come out of the initial start up period of years but well before becoming the giant licensing/dubbing powerhouse of the last decade. These particular fans swear by the 1999 dub and can't be pressed to see otherwise, as such it pretty much shapes their entire misguided idea of how the series should look and sound, and such things as the awful, over the top badly aged jokes as well as the unfitting replacement music score and excessive added dialogue don't affect them one bit.

Basically, the old dub is so ingrained into their fandom in every way like you describe in the above image that they've basically accepted it as gospel. They will not even consider anything else that takes away from their oh so precious childhood memories of watching the show on Toonami in it's bastardized dubbed form.

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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by KBABZ » Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:06 am

Personally I'm fine with people having nostalgia and even preference for a version of a show they grew up with (like me with Funi's dub of OG DB), the problem is claiming it's something it isn't and ignoring the development history behind it in context of what came before. There's a lack of awareness (not just of history but even the actual quality of it) regarding not just the Season 3 dub, but Z in the US as a whole that for me is the root cause of everything shown in the picture.

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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by TheGreatness25 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:06 am

Why is it such a problem that people like the original dub, nostalgia or not? Why is it a big deal that people like it more than the Japanese version? Does that stop anyone from enjoying the Japanese version?

I don't think that it's damaging at all. I think Funimation's outlook on what makes for a good release is much, much more damaging because while every release has the original audio feature, nobody could correct the quality of the video.

I don't think that fans grabbing onto nostalgia for the original dub is damaging at all. I think that for me, the story was strong enough to outweigh how bad that dub was and that's why I loved it. It's not that I loved their terrible voices or music, it's that the story was great and those voices and music accompanied it, which is what created that love in the first place. If certain fans want that nostalgia to overpower the fact that the Japanese version is much more of a masterpiece, I don't mind it. I support as many varied versions of the series as possible because each one adds a new layer. It's also nice to be able to talk to fans of those different versions -- whether it be the Japanese version, Ocean, Blue Water, Funimation, I love how many different adaptations there are.

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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by ABED » Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:46 am

Depends on what you mean by damaging. I get your point, screwing with the footage of the home video releases and making it impossible to get the original unaltered footage is problematic, but the dub made HUGE changes to tone, characterization and arguably genre with their dub which has created a ton of misconceptions about the show. Given how most people watch the series, I'd say those changes were a lot worse.

The adaptations aren't wholesale adaptations. You make it sound like it's the various different versions of Sherlock Holmes (e.g., Sherlock, Elementary, the RDJ movies, Basil Rathbone movies, the Great Mouse Detective, etc.) This is taking existing footage and shoehorning in a vastly different version.
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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by 8000 Saiyan » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:17 am

Oh yeah, this dub. A dub that really makes you wonder: "If a company was unable to afford experienced people and hire nobodies, then they should have never gotten the license to Dragon Ball to begin with."

Sure, Funimation has become a respectable dubbing company in their own right, but whenever I watch clips of this dub, it's all that comes to mind to me. It also makes me remember that Funimation got the license due to nepotism.
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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by Dbzfan94 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:01 am

Well this thread devolved into another hate circle. Surprise.

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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by VegettoEX » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:20 am

The Toonami broadcast date is certainly important, but so was the VHS release date earlier that year!

For its 20th anniversary, we did a podcast episode reviewing that first tape that I very much enjoyed putting together (and we responded to some feedback the following episode that's also worth tuning into).
Dbzfan94 wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:01 am
Well this thread devolved into another hate circle. Surprise.
There are a lot of well-written, long responses here in the thread. You not agreeing with them doesn't make it a "hate circle". Do you have different opinions? Share them. As it stands, yours is the only comment worth condemning thus far: literally all you've done is complain that other people are saying things you don't like(?).
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Re: "Happy" 20th Anniversary of FUNimation's DBZ Season 3 Dub!

Post by superfan2024 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:35 am

To lighten up this thread, here are the promos/bumpers that were leading up to and featured the big premiere on Cartoon Network (Toonami):

The "coming soon" promos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnqQo7HhcSA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8LlX155X6I

The "Z-Day" event promo which was when the new episodes actually aired:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YN55vpxm2w

And the actual "Z-Day" event itself:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9CyXn6NFGE

I am really curious to know how a lot of you here who grew up with the OG Funi dub felt when these new episodes premiered. Was it thrilling because y'all could finally get out of the Saban/Ocean Dub-limbo of those nonstop repeated Saiyan/Namek episodes? Or were you just plain disappointed to hear and see how the in-house dub played out?

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