The franchise that isn't given the luxury it deserves.
Almost 30 years and it seems the progress that has been made with Dragon Ball as a whole is minimal. One can argue that the dub as a whole has been a near perfect representation of the original Japanese, or even subjectively argue the dub surpasses the Japanese. Though, I can't help but feel uncomfortable every time I have to listen to something dub related to Dragon Ball, even quotes from the now more accurate English dub make me feel extremely dissatisfied.
I come here today to ask if anyone knows, why does Dragon Ball STILL get given this god awful treatment, and I say god awful because in my opinion all it takes is a change of a few words in dialogue to rearrange the dynamic of the story and characters. This is god awful because it happens to a franchise I've known ever since I can remember, Son Goku as well as other things in this franchise have spoken to me in more ways than I can express, and the way it's spoken to me has changed over time as I grew up with the English Dub and eventually moved to the original source, and it's hit a part of me deeply, so much it's hard to explain.
A while back I stumbled across a video of Kai where Piccolo uses the correct name for the Makankosappo, and you guessed it, it was Makankosappo. I even found one where Kuririn said Kienzan instead of Destructo Disk, but for some reason, most if not all original names were thrown out as the show carried on. If anyone knows why this is, please let me know. Were they forced to do this? If I'm not wrong, Sabat and others are in charge for the most part of dubbing Dragon Ball, and are no longer under the tyranny of a stubborn business man.
Some people say that the original names sound weird, I don't know Japanese very well, but I don't think Makankosappo is an actual word in Japanese but it's a play(?) on words or an arrangement? Don't quote me on that, if someone could fill me in that would be great. Anyway, even if it does sound weird it's still a foreign word that's coming from the mouth of a then established 'Demon', and either "Demon Light of Death" works for me, as in Viz, since that seems the closest to a literal translation without sounding silly, or even Makankosoppo, which sounds demonic in itself.
Kienzan, 'KI', what they only call 'energy' in the dub, sounds fine if the cast actually said 'ki' instead of energy. Or Energy Cut. I prefer Kienzan, it doesn't sound demonic, it sounds more spiritual, like ki. Not hard to pick up, especially if the characters are already using ki to describe energy.
Ki-Ko-Ho is another one that I feel shouldn't have been changed, if the series already establishes the use of the word 'Ki' as energy (as most people will pick up), then Ki-Ko-Ho sounds fine and to be honest, cooler. Tien strikes me as a strange character that's interesting during early Dragon Ball, and it fits to have him use the original Japanese names, it just makes him all that more mysterious.
Son Goku, now for some reason pronounced SUN Goku. This drives me up the fucking wall for some reason. Okay, I get it, Sun Wukong, the character Son Goku is loosely based on, though why is it that before it was referred 'properly' to Son Goku and now Sun Goku? Not only that, but thanks to a correction by linkdude20002001, I found out Sun Wukong is actually pronounced "Soon"(Sun) Wukong. If they think this is what being accurate is, then why is everything so inconsistent? Son Goku isn't Sun Goku anyway. Speaking of which, why is it that Goku is still not referred to as Son Goku? Because it isn't American enough? How would Son Goku not be appropriate for Western TV? It wouldn't. This whole shit about American audiences being too dumb to understand...I don't buy it.
Genki-dama, I prefer Genki-dama or Spirit Sphere, at least those terms stay in line with what the Genki-dama is. Anyone know where Spirit Bomb came from? Spirit Bomb sounds like more of an aggressive name, and it isn't a bomb. I heard an argument that the West wouldn't understand what Genki is, which my question is to anyone that knows, does the majority of Japanese youth know what Genki is? I mean, Masenko is still used, so why not keep Genki-dama?
Kafla, I'm not going to lie, I only recently found this out, thanks VegettoEX for clearing this up. Kafla is the proper way of saying "Kefura" in Japanese. It hasn't been corrected in the dub and I assume it won't be, unfortunately. For anyone that doesn't know, Kale + Caulifla = Kafla [KAY-FLA], why not 'Kefla'? Because Kefla is just plain wrong, it goes against the puns naming sense. Kale is Keru in Japanese, and Caulifla is Karifura, so the two names join together make "Kefura" ((Ke)ru + Kari(fura)). In English it should be the same, Kale + Caulifla = Kafla ((Ka)le + Cauli(fla)). There's people who call others a "purist" for wanting this to be corrected, which is fair enough, but then you can argue that Dragon Ball should be completely changed from the names down to the story lines to fit "American audiences", you're disrespecting a franchise you claim to love by saying there's nothing wrong with mistranslations and that there's nothing wrong with "Americanizing" the show, changing music, etc. Reality is, growing up with Dragon Ball the way it should be seen, you wouldn't know any better, and the majority will agree that it would be so much better to see the show how it should be seen compared to what it currently is or was.
Arcosian, I take back what I said, this is the term that annoys me the most, people in this fandom need to learn when to drop this shit, because Freezer has never been referred to as an Arcosian, and was only in the dub. I know it sounds like I'm going on a tangent, but this is getting frustrating because when I discuss Dragon Ball with people, they always end up correcting me on things that aren't right, and while I'm fine with that, it just makes it hard to have a decent discussion about Dragon Ball when the Dragon Ball I know and prefer is different from the one they like.
Saiyan, some basic English will tell you Saiyan is pronounced "Sigh-yan", not "Say-yan". I do take issue with this, because it's plain wrong, people say you can say either because both are right, which is far from the truth, and it needs to stop being said cough* geekdom101 :3*. Why is it wrong? Can't Saiyan be said "Say-an" since "Ai" can be a long "A" sound in English? No, it's derived from a pun in Japanese, Yasai, not "Yasay", it's Saiyan, not Sayan. Not to mention it's quite embarrassing it's pronounced wrong yet it's still spelled properly.
Dragon Ball Super hasn't impressed me, in fact it's by far the most insulting, for numerous reasons. They've kept the ancient naming senses, they've taken more liberty for Dragon Ball Super to make it their own, as stated by Christopher Sabat himself (If anyone has the video from Kamehacon or whatever place it was, please link it). What I mean is they've actually misrepresented certain characters in the story, as well as added pointless dialogue to sound more "professional", because more is better, right? Dragon Ball Super has numerous line changes that sound very awkward and unusually fast pasted in an attempt to sound "professional", there's also a habit of using very sophisticated "big" words that serve no point and don't make sense when used by characters like Vegeta or Son.
Here are a few examples of inappropriate dialogue in no particular order;
(Please note these aren't all the subtitles from Toei, Ajay brought up in another thread that I shouldn't use ancient fan subs, though I have checked back on Crunchyroll and the fan subs I've found are more or less the same as the official subs without changing any of the context or meaning behind the dialogue)
JAP: "Now then, time to get to work"
ENG: "Now then, it's time for me to make the donuts"
[Why this is a problem: There's no need for a change of line here, even if it's minute, it's just unnecessary.]
JAP: "Son Goku..."
ENG: "Wait a minute, what are you doing Goku?"
[Why this is a problem: Hit by now shouldn't be startled at some of the things Son Goku does, not as emphasized at least.]
JAP: "I ain't helpin' you. Seeing them gang up on you like that, my body starts itching. Let's fight!"
ENG: "That's good because I didn't come here for that. I saw those guys had you backed into a corner. And you know it made me itch for a
fight too. I say we fight them together."
[Why this is a problem: Son's hick is nonexistent, and he contradicts himself saying he's not helping Hit, while essentially saying he's going to help Hit.]
JAP: "You bastard..!"
ENG: "You killed her!"
[Why this is a problem: Another unnecessary change, why is it they add "bastard" and other cuss words where they aren't needed, yet miss the chance to add it here where it's actually completely accurate to the original?]
JAP: "Finally. It's the day you'll take your final breath... Saiyan."
ENG: "It's about time Sayan. You've been running around making messes for too long and now I'm going to choke the life from you,
I cant wait to watch you die."
[Why this is a problem: Way too long, taking away elements from Goku Black's slow and softly spoken malicious first impression.]
JAP: "You do look just like me!"
ENG: "Man this is freaky, it's like I'm looking in a mirror!"
[Why this is a problem: It isn't really too bad, the main problem would be the delivery of the line, Son's childish attitude towards Black is nullified in the ENG.]
JAP: "Nice to meet you, Son Goku/Good day, Son Goku."
ENG: "How are you Goku? You're looking quite well."
[Why this is a problem: Delivery isn't near as creepy or sinister as it should be, it's too fast paced, it's too loud. It sounds like a generic 'bad guy' from Western shows.]
ENG: "Hehe HaHa!"
[Why this is a problem: Again, takes from his creepiness and mysteriousness, generic bad guy snickering instead of a malicious "Hmph".]
JAP: "I don't know what sorta person you are, but...I heard you're strong. So take me on."
ENG: "Hmph, I can't begin to guess who or what you actually are, but oh well. Trunks down there tells me you're strong. Why don't you show me?"
[Why this is a problem: Son displays cockiness here rather than his immature habit of approaching people and asking them to fight with him, he also sounds off in his dialogue, too much being said. For some reason Son is taking "hmph" lines from Vegeta more and more, this really adds a layer of arrogance that really puts me off.]
JAP: "It's an honor. I always wanted to fight you in this body."
ENG: "That would be an honor. Truth be told, Goku, I've often wondered what it would be like to fight against you in this body."
[Why this is a problem: It's not as bad as others we've seen, but the tone is off from Nozawa's delivery, thus the loss of creepiness and mysteriousness.]
JAP: "There's no need for you to understand that."
ENG: "The answer to that is not something you need to know."
[Why this is a problem: Expression in voice is too emphasized and very obnoxious. I feel it's also unnecessary for the line to be changed up in the way it was.]
JAP: "Hmph. I'm happy. You're evaluating me against you./I'm pleased to have you value my worth."
ENG: "Ha ha ha! This really is a pleasure, Goku, having you of all people seeing and rating my power."
[Why this is a problem: The laugh is unnecessary, doesn't fit the moment or Black's character, the dialogue is too long.]
JAP: "Super Saiyan, huh?
ENG: Jumping to Super Sayan are we?
[Why this is a problem: There is often an excuse brought up for line changes, and that is that the dialogue needs to match the mouth flaps, in which that's understandable, however, this line sounds stuffed in, awkward, and it isn't needed.]
JAP: "Now it's my turn!"
ENG: "It's my turn to show off!"
[Why this is a problem: Again, a small change that with the wrong delivery and dialogue, makes Son sound arrogant, taking away from what he is and represents in the original source.]
JAP: "What?/Unbelievable." 13:11
ENG: "Are you sure?"
[Why this is a problem: Honestly it's nothing that bad at all, if we're going to be nit picky here, I guess "Unbelievable" would be the ideal choice.]
JAP: "What? Was I wrong?" 13:13
ENG: "Well no, it's just a guess..."
[Why this is a problem: It's hard to explain, there's something different when Goku asks if he's wrong when everyone goes silent, as opposed to him just outright stating he's guessing, again, I don't understand why these changes are there when they aren't needed, if you can stick to the original script, STICK. TO. IT.]
JAP: "Honestly... How can you be happy at this? There's a bad guy with the same strength as you!" 13:28
ENG: "This is no time for a victory lap! There's a bad guy out there with the same strength as you and we don't know how to stop him!"
[Why this is a problem: This is another problem with the English Dub, there are times where lines are just way to over the top and completely different from the original source, it's incredibly obnoxious to listen to, Bulma is feisty, she always has been, but this constant over the top attitude she expresses in the English makes her incredibly annoying.]
JAP: "Turn around." 19:29
ENG: "Turn around and face me."
[Why this is a problem: I think a simple "Turn around." is enough.]
JAP: "You're not gonna kill me from behind?" 19:31
ENG: "So you can't kill me with my back to you, huh?"
[Why this is a problem: This doesn't need to be changed, it just doesn't. Goku comes across cocky when in reality all he's meant to say is "You're not gonna kill me from behind?".]
JAP: "By having their backs taken easily, people accept that they're going to die. That's why I stand behind them." 19:34
ENG: "Normally I don't mind sneaking up on my prey, it makes it easier on them they have less time to be afraid."
[Why this is a problem: Hit's character is an assassin, yet not barbaric, yet not quite sympathetic, it really fits for Hit character in the way he words that sentence; "people accept that they're going to die". This could have easily been implemented in the English, yet wasn't.
JAP: "My attack is a single strike from the front. That's my rule." 19:42
ENG: "But you're different, I've decided my single strike to you will be head on."
[Why this is a problem: Hit makes it clear that Son doesn't get any special treatment except for that one chance to disappear. This is changed to Hit giving a speech how Son's different for whatever reason so he breaks his routine to kill him head on.]
JAP: "A single strike." 19:47
ENG: "A single strike? Hmph!"
[Why this is a problem: Son Goku's cockiness is unbelievably disrespectful for a number of reasons, he's essentially having some key attributes of his character rewritten for some reason, my guess is to 'Americanize' the show a bit to fit the audience, which makes no sense logically.]
ENG: "Now I'll show you the Kaioken!"
[Why this is a problem: I feel like a broken record, this isn't necessary. The original line was a great moment, and they did it really well in Xenoverse 2, yet changed it, it fits the mouth flaps, there's no excuse.]
I could go on and on but I thought I'd finish it here. Now you may be wondering, "But there's nothing wrong with the changes! The dub is better than ATTATATATATATA old lady", which to that I have to say:
Firstly, there is something wrong with the changes, let me explain. Characters like Hit and Son are changed not only in the way they're presented, but in the way they talk, and the way their values are held retrospective to their character.
Some of Hit's dialogues are extended, which only takes from his mysterious and cool personality. Like the dialogue I mentioned in the TOP, simple lines like, "Son Goku.." are extended to "Goku, what are you doing!?", the dub takes a lot away from Hit's personality of being somewhat collected even in times of crisis. After all Hit has been through with Son, it shouldn't even be startling him at this point.
Son Goku in the dub is also changed somewhat, for some reason Goku's 'hick talk' or dialect, is almost none existent. My guess is the majority of the western fan base hasn't seen Dragon Ball from the beginning, so for some reason that's a good excuse to leave out that kind of uneducated talk from Goku. Goku just isn't the same character in the dub, he comes off as way to cocky, and extremely 'over masculine', basically, a true "Americanised" version of the character.
"A single strike? Hmph!", was a line in the dub, the original being "A single strike..?", dub Son comes across as overly cocky, way too sure of himself, I'd argue his character at times mimics Vegeta's, while in the Japanese, Son's line is more so him acknowledging what Hit said and thinking about it. Dub Son also has a habit of wanting to "show off", the dialogue list has the Japanese line as "Now it's my turn!", Son wanting to have a crack at Black after being blasted into a mountain, something totally in Son's character, while the dub changes it to "Now it's my turn to show off!", not only the dialogue, but the tone comes off as extremely arrogant, NOT Son Goku.
Son Goku's childish, yet oblivious attitude is not translated well in the dub, in my opinion, this is because Son's character is changed to someone who's way too over confident and "hyper masculine". Essentially what FUNimation thinks Son Goku needs to be in order to appeal to not only new fans, but the older generation as well as hormonal teenage boys who need a Superman that wears a gi and has an enormous, over the top, "manly" scream that's usually drowned in effects. A truly Americanised, better version of Dragon Ball, Goku is all MALE, as all things should be.../s if you couldn't tell.
Android 17's dialogue and delivery in somewhat crucial scenes are altered. If you need more comparisons, this may be a video you'd be willing to check out.
I did summaries in the dialogue list why some lines don't fit/aren't delivered properly, if you still need an explanation then go back to the summaries under each line. If you're struggling to see where I'm getting at, we can have a discussion in the comments.
If you listen carefully, you'll hear a difference in Masako Nozawa's tone of voice compared to Sean Schemmel, Nozawa's tone is a lot more playful with Son Goku, yet serious when Son needs to be, dub Son is, while still playful at times, way too hyper masculine.
Looking at the Goku Black arc, as well as the previous and following arcs, the dialogue is stretched out to the point where it sounds almost like they're rushing their lines. Kind of like the Big Green Dub, but a lot more professional obviously. If you're too lazy to search up comparisons then I'll link a few here, here, and here. Some really noticeable changes are the way they over filter screams, the way they make changes to Black's personality by extending his lines from something like "Super Saiyan, huh?" to "Going Super Saiyan now are we?", not only that, but Masako Nozawa's voice acting during those scenes were very quiet, polite, and sinister, the opposite of Son Goku, whereas Sean Schemmel was an overly aggressive, generic sounding villain, it simply was off point. Look at comparisons between Goku Black and Goku's fight along with the transformation scenes, and you'll see what I mean. Son Goku in the dub is arguably a lot more cocky than the Japanese counterpart, I'd go as far as to say he's got toxic masculinity, which is something Son Goku shouldn't have, but apparently all the males in America can't stand Goku not being your average generic superhero who needs to have his screams filtered and have stupid shit added in to the script.
Goku Black's sophistication is lost as well when he transforms into Super Saiyan Rosé, instead of asking the others how beautiful his form was, in the dub he goes with just a simple "Quite the color, huh?". These all may seem very small but all it takes is one minor change to confuse fans, or even modify the personality traits of an individual.
Many people complain about the sounds Goku makes while in the midst of battle, I can see how this can get irritating, especially in Super, however, Son has always had some kind of vocal presence when fighting, like in Martial Art movies. I think that this opinion is mostly built on the fact many people hate the fact Goku is voiced by a woman. If the Japanese Goku is annoying during battle, then the English is awkward as well as annoying, one could make the counter argument he sounds like guy moaning and groaning trying to sound intimidating.
Last thing I want to bring up is how people say Son Goku sounds like an old lady, now I've watched the series in English, I grew up with it, I eventually watched it in Japanese, and I hear a difference in Goku's child voice, and adult voice. Goku really does sound like what he is meant to sound like, and if this means anything, my Grand Mother who is very old fashioned who happens to also like Dragon Ball, sees no problem with Nozawa as Goku's voice, in fact she prefers watching in Japanese. When showing her comparisons she prefered Son Goku's original voice. From what I've seen, a lot of hate the Japanese gets is based on this idea of what Goku is and what he represents, it's been twisted and while there have been efforts to restore it, these efforts are lost because an old generation of fans is what controls the market. Goku is seen to be a hyper masculine "badass" manly man in the west, while in Japan, he's not seen or portrayed that way. In fact, Goku's character is in many ways the complete opposite of those western ideas of what Goku should be.
I don't know if it's just me, but I don't see many people complain about Luffy or Naruto's voices, I think this is because of some of the points that I discussed above, to 'westernize' and/or even to appeal to the older fans, they've over done certain aspects of Goku's character, specifically the traits that can be hyper masculine-ized such as the screams, and dialogue, this in turn makes the character more arrogant and takes from what makes Son Goku's characer.
In conclusion, these "dub-ism's" are to this very day, tainting Dragon Ball. It's been years and we haven't even gotten a proper dub of the original Dragon Ball, as soon as steps are taken forward, about twice as many steps are taken backwards, this isn't a show that needs to be "Americanized", most of these changes are very unnecessary and change aspects of characters personalities. One of the most baffling things is that Kai was a big step up from Z, however, it begins to fall apart, then when we move onto Super, everything comes tumbling back again, with nonsensical line changes, to adding random lines and references that don't need to be there. I know a lot of people will disagree with me, and that's fine, I'd really like to discuss that, but if you're going to dub a show, the most disrespectful thing to do is add unnecessary changes and keep keeping mistranslations.