The State of DBZ in America, Part 2
The reruns continue, and so do the waiting and frustration. Thursday, November 12 came and went, and as so many feared, the much anticipated Season 3 failed to show itself. I wasn't surprised, based on the reasons I cited in the last editorial, but not everyone was so well-informed. Just a quick glance at alt.fan.dragonball (and my mailbox!) on "Black Thursday" and throughout the following week showed the explosion of fury that erupted when the fateful day arrived, along with Raditz' spacepod in good ol' Episode 1. Final, conclusive proof that new episodes were not going to be shown.

So what happens now? Well, I wish I could say I've got some good news, (or even some bad news, for that matter) but all I've got is not enough news.

In the aftermath of Black Thursday (heh, I like that!) several individuals have e-mailed Cartoon Network begging for information, any information, about new episodes. The amazing part is that CN has actually been responding! While all of their replies are slightly different, I have now read dozens of these letters in the newsgroups and from e-mails to me, and there seems to be a definite common thread. Each of them contain something along these lines:

"We are waiting for more translated episodes. Hopefully we'll have them soon! Hang in there and keep tooning."

- Cartoon Network Online

Well, that's about the best piece of encouragement we're likely to get for a while at least, despite how vague, nonspecific, and underinformative the statement is. At least it comes directly from what is probably our most important source. (Even that doesn't necessarily mean it's true, but I'll get to that in a minute.)

At this point, let's turn to the now-infamous Adrian Saavedra letters. I'm sure you've all read them by now, or at least seen excerpts in my last editorial or on a number of other sites. Basically, it seems that Adrian has gotten cozy with someone from FUNimation, and this person is giving him a number of extremely valuable bits of news. As a result, Adrian's been able to disseminate all sorts of fascinating tidbits to us knowledge-hungry fans through websites like The Dragon Ball Experience, The Daily Dragon Ball Chapters, and mine, among others. Factoids left and right, everything from the latest about the new DB movie to the long-awaited name of Vegeta's dub voice actor. I'm pretty jealous of his "connections" to be honest, since I know FUNimation won't touch me with a ten-foot pole for, ahem, obvious reasons. I'm probably not their favorite person in the world at the moment, heh heh. Anyway, there are of course those who doubt that these letters are the real McCoy, but I'm not one of them. Sure, as a skeptic I must accept the possibility that they are fake, but Adrian has been more than willing to provide proof of their authenticity, and I've just got an intuitively good feeling about them. Anyway, here are some selected excerpts from his latest letter and response. (By the way, I have chopped the hell out of this thing and kept only the pertinent information.)

Q: I know you've probably heard this before from many "fanatical" fans out there, but are you planning on producing the rest of the Frieza storyline?

A: We still want to produce the rest of the story. I know we were in heavy negotiations to release straight to video. We also are negotiating with Cartoon Network, but the negotiations might take longer than any one wants. We are trying to get Toei to agree to a lower price (Toei is the owner in Japan that we buy the episodes from).

Q: Here's the problem. Cartoon Network originally said that they had episodes 1-60. You clarified this, by telling me that CN had the 53 episodes and the 3 movies. You suspected that CN was going to cut the movies into seven episodes to fit their 60 episode count. [See the last editorial - Chris]

A: I didn't mean they were literally going to chop the 3 movies up. They were probably just telling fans they had 60 eps instead of saying 53 eps and 3 movies. It's rumored that Cartoon Network is going to have a DBZ day in February and play all 3 movies.

Q: Problem two, when fans became outraged that no new DBZ show were shown, they began a campain of writing emails to CN (I chose the more traditional postal letter). So what does Cartoon Network's response mean? Did CN and FUNimation make a deal to acquire new episodes of DBZ or are these still just the movies?

A: I also e-mailed cartoon network from my home account to see what they were telling people. They told me they were waiting for episodes to be produced. I know we don't have a deal with them yet so I don't know what they are thinking. My guess is that if Funimation and Cartoon Network can't come up with a final agreement that they'll blame it on us and we'll be the bad guys once again.

DAMN RIGHT YOU WILL! (heh, just kidding). So there you have it! "Heavy negotiations to release straight to video," "I don't know what they (CN) are thinking," "Negotiations might take longer than anyone wants." I don't know about you, but these kind of phrases don't exactly instill me with a lot of confidence.

But Adrian isn't the only voice out there. Our next tidbit comes from an article on Save Our Sailors:

The network picked-up a total of 61 episodes some of which have not yet aired. In January or February of 1999 the network plans to air some of the two and three part episodes as part of a Friday "Toonami Movie" package (which will probably pre-empt "Sailor Moon"). These will include the following:

English Language Version

54, 55 & 56 "The Tree of Might"
57, 58 & 59 "The World's Strongest"
60 & 61 "Dead Zone Vortex"

And like "Sailor Moon," the network will not pay for any more "Dragonball" episodes to be dubbed, but would be happy to show them. ("Save Our Dragonball?")

Hmm... 61 episoes, eh? Well, that makes a tiny bit more sense than 60. ("World's Strongest" is long.) Sure, I'll go with that. And what's this "CN will not pay for any more 'Dragonball episodes to be dubbed"? According to the FUNimation representative, this isn't definite by any means. They are in negotiations right now, in fact, which means that there is at least a possibility. It could be that SOS is just assuming this is the case, since CN won't pay for more Sailor Moon. After all, we have to remember their SM bias. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to evaluate the validity of the Save our Sailors information since their source is not given. (And by the way, "Dead Zone Vortex??" What's this "Vortex?" Did they change the title? Hmm, probably has something to do with "copyright nervousness." Anybody remember the Stephen King/Christopher Walken movie "Dead Zone"?

And finally, I have heard from several individuals that Cartoon Network's Toonami hotline has a recording that states that "new DBZ episodes are coming in January."

So let's sum up. First, the new episodes are not finished yet, and won't be for some time at least. That's quite clear, and there can be no mistake about it. Both CN and FUNimation confirm it. Second, FUNimation, CN, and Toei are all in negotiations, but those negotiations don't appear to be going too well between any of the parties. Third, since CN is telling everyone decisively "new episodes are on the way," as opposed to a "maybe," we can surmise that they are serious about continuing the series. Fourth, we can be fairly confident now (since all three sources confirm this) that there will be some sort of DBZ movie marathon early next year. This is most likely what the hotline recording is talking about.

We can say, at least, that there is something happening, effort is being exerted on all sides, and that's always a good sign. Better than "We don't know what's going on" and certainly better than "There will be no more Dragon Ball Z."

All we can do at this point is hope, and wait for more information to surface. But please, I implore everyone reading this to NOT jump to conclusions, NOT to spread rumors, and most of all to be realistic. I say this not only for your sakes, but for mine as well. Whenever one of these rumors begins to rear its ugly head, I have to read dozens of e-mails and newsgroup postings about it, and waste time dispelling it. Don't believe me? Well, I'm alerting you to this because I can see the intentional spreading of disinformation happening right now.

On a site called "Dragon Ball Otaku" there is a reprint of an Animerica interview with Barry Watson of FUNimation. Cool, right? What's wrong with that? Problem number one is that the reprint only contains bits and pieces of the interview, and much of it is transcribed incorrectly. That's excusable I suppose, but the following is not. Read this, which is precisely how it appears on the site:

Q: How many epsiodes of DragonBall Z have allready been done in english at this point?

A: We just finished dubbing and editing the third season, having around 80 eps, following our debut of our 13 DragonBall episodes. anda DragonBall movie. Because of the popularity of teh first 2 seasons a third season was created.

"Oh, well isn't that GREAT NEWS?? So there IS a third season after all! I guess that dumb ass from 'DBZ Uncensored' was wrong!" Fraid not. Read what the interview ACTUALLY says:

Q: How many episodes of Dragon Ball Z have already been done in English at this point?

A: We just finished our 53rd episode, plus the movies, so about 56 episodes, currently. Our history goes something like this: Following our debut with 13 Dragon Ball episodes, and a Dragon Ball movie, we made 26 Dragon Ball Z shows. These shows were so popular that we did 27 additional Dragon Ball Z shows, plus the feature movie Tree of Might. This feature was split into three TV episodes, making a total of 30 new shows airing this year. Given the popularity of Dragon Ball Z in its first year, it was decided that it would be best to increase the number of airings, to twice weekly on the weekends. This would give more people a chance to catch on to the Dragon Ball craze as well as to get viewers accustomed to the continuing storyline concept.

HOLY CRAP, BATMAN!! THOSE GUYS DELIBERATELY MISQUOTED THE INTERVIEW!! This is the kind of thing that people get SUED (and rightfully) for. You can see it for yourselves, folks, it's as plain as day. Now, I'm not sure why they did this. They may have had the best of intentions, and just wanted to give fans some hope. Or perhaps they just wanted to get a "scoop" that no other site had. But in any case, it is certain that it wasn't a mistake, and this is the kind of thing that pisses me off to no end. How could anyone call themself a Dragon Ball fan, and then stoop to doing something like this to their fellows, just dying for information, desperate to believe any good news? It's just cruel, and I can't excuse this sort of thing. Particularly because this bogus nonsense is already spreading all over the place.

This site actually asked to be put in my links section, and I was going to do it. I believe, and still do, that it's a great looking site with lots of potential. And don't get me wrong, I don't hate them for what they did. But I'm not going to add the link or review the site until they either remove or correct this interview and apologize publicly for what they did. I'm sorry, but I take deliberate misquoting and disinformation VERY seriously. It makes EVERYONE'S life more difficult.

And the rumors don't end there, of course. They run the gamut from slightly believable to utterly ridiculous. I received an e-mail from a reader that said the following:

i learned from FUNimation that the ORIGINAL uncut DBZ, GT, and DB will be shown on Sci-Fi channel over the course of 2 years starting in 2000.

Well, apparently you, and ONLY you, learned this because there is absolutely no word about anything of the sort anywhere else. I'm not calling this person a liar, but COME ON! This doesn't exactly have a ring of truth to it. (Dammit, why do I have a feeling that I've just started a rumor that's going to be trickling all over the Internet for the next two years?) Anyway, maybe this person is repeating what they heard incorrectly, either because of a misunderstanding, or the "hearing only what you want to hear" syndrome. Or perhaps whoever gave them the information is wrong. Which brings me to my next point:

People make mistakes. People unknowingly report bogus information. People INTENTIONALLY report bogus information. And this includes news that comes directly from the source. At one point, CN was telling us that they had 82 episodes. We know that's wrong. TV stations were telling viewers "officially" that DBZ was taken off of the air due to "lack of viewer interest." We know that's not true either. Viewer interest was as high as it could possibly be, DBZ was one of the top syndicated animated series in the country. It was taken off because Saban decided to leave the syndication business, it had nothing to do with ratings.

The people that answer the e-mail for these companies are human beings too, and don't necessarily know what they're talking about. They could be misinformed, repeating something that they didn't understand, or simply lying to get the fans off of their backs.

So what's the moral of the story? Don't trust anyone, don't believe anyone, don't assume anyone has reliable information until the moment you are sitting in front of the TV actually watching Episode 54. But at the same time, don't dismiss everything you hear, either. Be a skeptic; accept all possibilities, but don't "believe" anything for sure. All I can say is that I've got a feeling that we can expect a lot more from the rumor mill all the way up until the Blessed Day arrives. So stay on guard, and keep your bullshit detector on standby. (It's kind of like a Scouter, only more useful.)

NEXT TIME: Well... I still haven't finished saying everything I wanted to stay on this subject. I still have to get to FUNimation's recent relevations about DBZ's censorship, Irwin's crappy new toy line, and some other odds and ends. I could go on right now I suppose, but I don't like for these editorials to go past a certain length, and I've got a WHOLE lot more to say. Wow, a three-parter! See you in a couple of weeks.

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