"Kiseki o Okose! Super Saiya-jin Son Gohan"
(A Miracle Has Happened! Son Gohan, the Super Saiya-jin)
|"The Battle Ends"||97-5-24|
The Saiya-jin Saga comes to a close with an episode that wasn't particularly unusual as far as editing was concerned, except for one very, very regrettable loss that stands as one of the most tragic in all of the English version so far. FUNimation utterly ruined one of the most important and defining moments in the entire Dragon Ball saga.
|(10 sec.) Vegeta gives Yajirobe two good punches to the face, then runs over and starts pounding on him while he's on the ground! It's actually kind of nice to see him getting his ass kicked for once.|
Nothing much new to report on the censor situation, everyone is still pretty much just as messy. One odd thing, though, when Gohan goes Ohozaru, he has blood all over his face. Even stranger is that there is one shot where the blood was painted black in the original version, which is left in the dub, and in the next shot, it is painted red in the original and censored in the dub! So, like I have said before, blood is OK as long as it doesn't look red, and a no-no if it does. You can see this throughout the last few episodes.
I must admit at this point that the original animation is actually very inconsistent as far as the blood issue is concerned, just as much as FUNimation is with the censoring of it (which I have mentioned before). In one shot, a character will look OK, in the next, he will be a total mess, and in the next, completely bloodless! This probably has to do with different animators, art directors, etc. working on different shots at different times and places, and not really having strict guidelines as to how a certain character is supposed to look at any given time. I can forgive that I suppose, since TOEI really had their hands full with this series, but it sure does look funny sometimes!
|After Gohan de-transforms, it appears that a scrap of Vegeta's torn clothing just happens to be covering up Gohan's naked butt. Needless to say, this is a FUNimation-created illusion.|
|OK, I can't resist mentioning this one. Any of you out there watch Simpsons? Sure, you all do. Tell me that that one radiation-suited investigator doesn't sound EXACTLY like Professor Frink!|
(3 min.) Well, this is it, the cut that never should have happened. I think of this scene as beginning the second Kuririn picks up Yajirobe's sword, and ending the second he drops it. Within that time, FUNimation uses only a minute and a half worth of footage of a scene that lasts almost 4 and a half minutes in the original.
This scene is, of course, the moment that Kuririn has Vegeta at swordpoint, and Goku is trying to convince him to show mercy.
It is so much better in the original.
In the English version, Kuririn walks over to Vegeta, holds the sword to his throat, then Goku contacts him and says no more than 5 SENTENCES, (show him that we're made of better stuff... I admire his super strength...) and Kuririn is suddenly convinced, drops the sword, Kaiou questions the wisdom of their decision, and that's it. It all seems very simple and straightforward.
This is not how the scene really goes at all, there is much more to it. Kuririn walks over to Vegeta and gets ready to bring the sword down, and while this is happening, Kaiou commends them all for their valiant courage, and then makes a subtle but suggestive remark about a "darkness that still must fall." Kuririn brings the sword down, and Goku stops him at the last second.
They argue at length about the wisdom of letting Vegeta go. Goku says that it would be a waste to kill him at this point, and it wouldn't solve anything. He says that Vegeta deserves mercy, that he's learned his lesson, and also that this is the strongest opponent that he has ever seen, and that he wants a rematch someday.
Kuririn seems to soften, but then he remembers his friends, all of whom died at the hands of the Saiya-jin, and once again turns the sword on Vegeta. Goku continues to plea with him, and Kuririn finally decides that he'll just have to trust Goku this time, and respect his wish. Kaiou lets out a deep sigh, but says nothing. (And by the way, he says SO much more with just this sigh than with the line of dialogue he is given in the English version.)
I can't tell you how much differently this scene feels in the original, how much more of an impression it makes, how much more emotion you feel for everyone involved. The added length has a lot to do with it, stretching it out makes it incredibly tense, and you can feel the agony and difficulty of the decision. It all just seems so easy in the dub.
The music is also a big factor here. The English version continues to go for that threatening, unemotional, low-key, hard edged sound, while the Japanese version uses a calm, gentle, violin-laden piece that expresses every emotion this scene is meant to convey: forgiveness, hope, nobility, honor, sacrifice, and loss.
This is not the kind of scene that you can just "cut for running time," this is the moment that the entire Saiya-jin saga is built around, and one of the most defining moments in all of Dragon Ball, when some of its most important themes are brought to the forefront.
FUNimation continues to be preoccupied with running time and making things "fit," rather than with preserving the ideas that Toriyama is trying to express with this series. And the cutting and rewriting of this scene leaves you wanting so much more. Why didn't Kuririn say anything about getting justice for his dead friends in the English version? Why do both he and Goku seem to have such an easy time making this incredibly difficult decision?
It's too bad that the first season had to end on such a low note, but it did, and in my opinion, FUNimation really needs to be more careful about how they handle critical scenes like this in the future.
English episode 26 continues...