I hear a lot of people complaining about what FUNimation has done to Dragon Ball Z, but no one here seems to really understand. I used to work at an FCC office, so here are a few insights on the changes made beginning with the biggest problem:
DEATH! or "the other dimension"
Sad to say, but there is a specific FCC rule in TV saying that you can't kill people AT ALL in children's television. People can die, mind you, but they can't be killed. Everywhere else in TV, if someone commits murder, more times than not they die or are put in jail. But as far as kids' shows are concerned, you can't kill. So the people who brought over DBZ probably
had this dilemna, either forget about bringing the series to the U.S., edit the series more, or create a plot that makes killing seem like something else, hence the other dimension. I know you're saying, "what about the first five episodes?" Well, my guess is that the FCC warned FUNimation about the above rule and they were forced to make the changes. Even little things
like the halo can't be referred to because it suggests that they are dead. Well, I hope that clears things up on one issue.
This has to do with DBZ's time slot. Because parents were bitching about the level of violence in children's programming, there is a rule stated that no one can be hit in the face, crotch or stomach, especially the face "during a time where children are most likely to view television," a.k.a the morning and early afternoon. A hit in the chest is okay and you can get away
with a shot to the stomach, but the face is a no-no in the morning and afternoon. Remember fans, DBZ was originally aired in the weekend morning slots, so this rule applies.
Other no-no's include "excessive" blood. To put a long rule short, blood can only come from one place anywhere on the person's body. This is why DBZ gets away with a little trickle from the mouth. Batman and Superman get away with this also, "along with a lot of things." Another thing is that realistic weapons, such as automatic handguns and assault rifles are banned from childrens TV. At the very least, they can't be fired at people. This is why the majority of kids' TV shows shoot lasers. Batman has guns that shoot bullets, but these are usually tommy guns that no one uses today, so that's acceptable.
It pains me to actually have to stand up for the god-awful music in this series, but there are two main reasons why the music is the way it is. First reason is that the people in charge want Dragon Ball Z to be more action packed and not dramatic. Even though the drama is really appropriate in some scenes, it is not the direction the writers or whomever want to go
toward. As for it being continuous, well producers don't really like "dead air" in non-dramatic cartoons. It has been the case for decades, these guys are just following tradition and protocol. The voices, well, the thing is... the Japanese voices for the Sons, Kuririn, Yajirobe, and a lot of people are really high. Even the adults have high voices and in America, it just
don't cut it. The bad acting is the partly the actors fault, partly the writers because what they say has to fit their lips. This is the case in several anime gone U.S.. In my opinion, the Japanese opening song (pre-episode 200) got on my nerves. The other one is pretty cool though. So, how can we solve this?
First, convince the writers not to change anything completely unnecessary, as it is much better for a series like this. Second, make DBZ fall into a later time slot like the one it is one now on Cartoon Network. Better yet, get it off Cartoon Network so that less can be edited. Third, oh what the hell, just subtitle the damn thing and put it next to some old Spawn episodes on
HBO. Nobody in the U.S. minds waiting until after midnight for DBZ, do they?
I hope this clears some things up.
- Ransom Taylor