|Hi again, everybody! Well, I said that the next editorial would be a comparison of the US version of DBZ with other broadcast anime of the past, but I'm going to have to postpone that one until next time. That's because within the last couple of weeks, some big things have been happening, and I felt they needed to be addressed immediately. So without further ado, let's move on to the first order of business...
Many of you have already heard what I'm about to say, but for those of you who haven't, you'd better sit down. On Tuesday, February 2nd, I received the following message from Adrian Saavedra (who else?):
Boom, so there you have it! Straight from FUNimation, a third season confirmed! And wouldn't you know it? Good ol' Adrian was the first to send me the news. I'm telling you, the guy sold his soul to the Devil to get all the scoops before anyone else. Anyway, he certainly wasn't the last to tell me about this. Within two days, I received over 30 mails with the same forwarded message. It got a little... distracting. A lot like when Cartoon Network aired the "lost episode" 10, at which time everybody and their dog took it upon themselves to let me know. Not that I don't appreciate it, don't get me wrong. I like the fact that when stuff happens, you guys are nice enough to tell me the second you find out. It's just kind of amusing, especially when people say stuff like "So was I the first person to tell you about this??" Heh, yeah. Try twenty first.
But I'm getting a little off track here. What matters is that FUNimation themselves has stated officially that new episodes are being produced. I don't think that there's been a piece of news this big since... well, since it was announced that DBZ was coming to the US in the first place. And the fans are tickled pink about it of course, judging by the responses I am seeing on the Internet.
So what do I personally think about this revelation?
First, I don't believe it. Yeah, that's right, I don't believe it. Now, before you ask what the HFIL is wrong with me, let me say that I define the word "believe" as "to accept as a definite truth." I think that it's quite likely, almost certain in fact, that FUNimation's statement will indeed prove to be the case. But there's always that part of me that insists on doubting, and like I was saying in an earlier editorial, I'm not going to be 100% convinced about this until I'm actually sitting there watching episode 54.
After all, news like this has surfaced before, only to be disproven. Anybody remember the report on Suushinchuu quoting the representative from Cartoon Network that they bought 82 episodes from FUNimation? I sure do. While it seems very unlikely that FUNimation is mistaken about this "new episodes" announcement, a lot can happen between now and this fall. Cartoon Network might change their minds. There could be some sort of licensing difficulty with Toei. FUNimation might just be saying this to get fans to stop barraging them with e-mail, and will later make up some story about why it's not going to happen after all. (OK, so that last one's pretty ridiculous, but you can never be too sure.) But, really, who can predict the future? Hey, the world as we know it could end in July for all we know.
Whatever the case, it's certainly great news, and for all practical purposes, I am confident that season 3 will indeed be a reality.
As if that weren't enough, less than a week after the initial news broke, Adrian's pact with the Devil came through for us again. He asked his FUNimation contact for more details about the news, and the information returned was very interesting indeed. Here is the message, Adrian's words are in italics:
Well, now... what can I say? Lots to absorb there, lots to think about. Basically, it appears that FUNimation is doing everything from here on out. Video distribution will no longer be handled by Pioneer, but by FUNimation themselves. (Sucks for Pioneer!) And then there's the fact that the voices will be done in FUNimation's own studio rather than Ocean Studios in Canada.
Wow... all the characters will be recast! I have mixed feelings about that. In a way, it's great since now FUNimation can correct the mistakes Ocean Studios made the first time around. Pauline Newstone? She's gone! No more will she desecrate the name of Freeza. Peter Kelamis? Well... I was starting to get used to him, but any way you slice it, he just isn't right for Goku. Kaiou and Kame Sennin? Heh, I don't know what the new voices will sound like, but they can't be any worse than they were already.
There's the other side, though. I realized upon hearing the news that I really got used to some of these guys over the years, and (OK, the "purist" now admits it) I'm really going to miss some of them. I finally made peace with Brian Drummond's Vegeta, and really got to like it. Ted Cole's Yamucha will never have an equal. Chichi, Ox King, Ginyu and many others were well done. And then there's Scott McNeil's Piccolo. Of all the NA dub voices, you above all Mr. McNeil, truly did your character justice.
This REALLY sucks for those who know the characters by their NA voices only, though. For me, there's only one Son Goku, and it's not Ian or Peter or anyone else. It's Masako Nozawa, and the same holds true for the rest of the cast. FUNimation can continue its sloppy, inconsistent, and careless productionn of DBZ for as long as they want, it doesn't really matter to me. Change the voices every week, for all I care, there's only one true cast in my book. But this complete voice change will be very disorienting for those to whom Lalainia Lindbjerg is Buruma, for example.
And the prospect of an all-new cast, along with the fact that Saban isn't calling the shots anymore as far as censoring is concerned, means that FUNimation is indeed getting a fresh start with DBZ. Please do it right this time, guys. Right off the bat, "Agent Mai" has insinuated that the music will be changed, which means you're getting off on the wrong foot already. WHY MUST YOU INSIST ON CHANGING THE MUSIC? Oh well. At least it will probably be all-new, since the old music was done through Saban, I believe.
In any case, I'm anxiously waiting to see how FUNimation reinvents the show, hopefully it'll be an improvement.
My only question at this point is HOW? What ultimately happened? You'll remember from earlier editorials that FUNimation, Pioneer, and Toei were all involved in negotiations, which didn't appear to be going too well. And *boom* the next thing we hear is that new episodes are in the works. Looks like some kind of compromise was reached, but what that is we can only guess at. Cartoon Network has never, ever funded production of non-Warner Brothers property. Looks like they made an exception.
And incidentally, this may be the first-ever example of a GOOD decision relating to DBZ's licensing in the US. Think about it, it's absolute genius. The videos will be available this summer, BEFORE the TV airings. Many, many fans aren't going to want to wait until fall to see them, and the videos are going to be selling like hotcakes.
So that's pretty much all I have to say on the subject at this point, since little else is known. The fans can all finally breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the long-awaited new season is finally confirmed and on the way, even though it will be a very different show than what it was before. And I can relax as well knowing that, since FUNimation will continue, my episode comparisons will be back 9 months from now. Whew, I was kind of worried for a while there that my site was in trouble. The fact is, I depend on FUNimation for the material that builds this site. If the English version of DBZ dies, so does DBZ Uncensored.
Onto the next order of business.
It can't all be good news, folks, and unfortunately, I've got a sad announcement to make. Actually, Ed Gorgen does, so I'll just shut up for once and let him do the talking.
Subject: Tired of it all
I think the letter speaks for itself. In my reply, I said that I had seen this coming. If you've been to Ed's page within the last, oh, year or so, you'll see that he had been noticeably getting more and more fed up with many things connected with US DBZ, his site, and the fandom, so it wasn't such a big surprise.
And it looks like "DBZ For the Needy" is no more as well. To be honest, I'm surprised it lasted for even four months, and I am very happy and thankful that Ed took the time and effort to do this wonderful service for the fans. I think a round of applause is in order.
Oh, and censor your letter Ed? Censor what? Ah, you must mean the "fuck"ing and "shit"ing! No, unlike SOME production companies I could name, I'm not going to filter what people have to say. I try to keep the site clean and all for the kids and the easily offended, but I'm not going to make a hypocrite of myself.
Anyway, while I'm sorry to hear all this, I can certainly understand where you're coming from. Thanks, Ed, and good luck. The web just won't be the same without you.
And finally, a tidbit of info that will clear up some confusion for those of you who watch DBZ on the International Channel.
Many of you know that IC recently adopted a new lineup, which included an additional airing of Dragon Ball Z on Saturday mornings at 11 a.m., to complement the existing Sunday 6 p.m. slot. (The same episode would be shown at both times). When I first learned of the lineup change, I e-mailed them with some alternatives to simply showing the same episode twice. My suggestions included that they air two different episodes, start the series over for the Saturday morning airings, or perhaps they would consider airing DBZ daily. I received a "We'll get to your questions later, we're busy now" message initially, and meanwhile the additional airing started on January 23. It also ended January 23rd. I set my VCR for Saturday the 30th, 11 a.m., and played it back only to see some old men talking about politics.
"What the HFIL is this?" I thought. For a while, I simply assumed that I had set my VCR incorrectly, but I went to their web site just to make sure. Lo and behold, the Saturday morning airing had mysteriously disappeared from the schedule! OK, now this was weird. But before I had a chance to fire off a confused e-mail I finally received a reply to my "suggestions" letter:
Subject: Re: More DBZ!
Ah, how I love straight, sensible answers! Well, that really cleared a lot up, even though the implications are ultimately pretty negative. One of my visitors, Emmannuel Okolo, wanted to start a petition on DBZ Uncensored to get IC to air DBZ more often, and with subtitles. Looks like that's out of the question, now that we know Fuji Communications is in control of every aspect of the broadcast. Good suggestion, but it looks like there's nothing we or International Channel can do. Looks like we'll have to take it up with Fuji, and I don't think anybody knows how to go about doing that. Damn, and that Saturday morning airing would have been SO convenient...
Anyway, that's about it for now folks, see you soon.
NEXT TIME: That editorial on broadcast anime I promised last time... No really!