I've written once before, thanking you for the work you've put into your site. Once again, thanks.

I saw DBZ in Japanese on the International channel for the first time last night, and wanted to share some of my first impressions with you. I felt that this might be useful to you, as someone who likes to compare Japanese DBZ to the American version. I believe that my impressions, as someone who has very little exposure to Anime, might be representative of a true American Anime fan. (If there is such a thing!)

After having read much of the information on this site, I had my expectations set pretty high as I tuned in to the International channel on Sunday night to watch the authentic DBZ. What I experienced was clearly culture shock.

I'll begin with the theme music that I heard at the beginning of the show. Interesting. Definitely not what I was used to for an action genre cartoon. As an American I was expecting something with an edge, something aggressive - and it wasn't. It was fun though to see the full intro that I hadn't been able to see before. But the music at the end of the show was a total suprise. It sounded like children's music - there was even Gohan waving "bye bye, bye bye" at one point. Maybe this highlights the different age groups that the cartoon is targeted towards, I don't know. But once again, American-Me was thinking "Where's the guitars? Where's the aggressive or at least 'adolescently hip' music?" This is a cartoon with explosions, death, maiming, etc. etc. and there's children's music at the end?? It just wasn't all fitting together.

But then, the biggest shock hit me when the show actually started. In this episode, Super Saiyan Goku has beaten Frieza, but not killed him. Frieza (what's left of him) and Goku do a lot of talking, (I don't speak Japanese, but the gist seemed to be about their battle and Goku refusing to finish him off) Goku takes off, Frieza is livid from disgrace, Frieza attacks Goku in a last ditch attempt, and Goku sends a final blast down to seemingly finish Frieza. What I couldn't believe was how feminine Goku's voice was! Look at all the anime heroes I've grown up with - Jesse Dart, Windstar Blackstar, Derek Wildstar, Mark & Jason, the kid who piloted Grandizer (I can't remember his name, it's been over 15 years since I last saw those shows), and they all had very masculine, archetypal "hero" voices. Even the most feminine looking characters, like Zoltar and Paladin (from the Spaceketeers, or was it Starvengers?) had unquestionably male voices. Japanese DBZ Goku sounded as masculine as Marge Simpson or Joan Rivers! There was such a huge disconnect in my mind between this super powered, muscular, heroic character, and his alto ranged voice.

Other characters had the same problem - how can I believe or understand that Frieza's this really powerful evil character when he sounds like Alvin with his head in a vise when he launches his "final attack" at Goku? He sounded manic and spastic, not diabolical or sadistic. I think the American Frieza has this problem as well. First off, when I first heard American Frieza's voice, I thought "wow, a female arch villain" and then I kept hearing others call her a "him" - that took some getting used to, same with Dodoria. That's a woman's name! In English, there are no men's names that end in "ia", so why insist on it being male? Either change the name or change the voice! Japanese Kulilin falls into this category too - looks like a man, sounds like a woman. Piccolo doesn't sound gruff or intimidating like American Piccolo, he sounds just as testosteroneless as the others.

Only the voices of Vegeta, Bulma, Gohan, and the Eldest Namek (and the new Eldest Namek) seemed to be appropriate to this American viewer. Vegeta lost some of his "I'm sinister, don't-trust-me" character in his Japanese voice, but at least it was clear that he was a male character, and an important one at that. The two senior Nameks, leader-type, powerful characters, had deep voices. The newly appointed Eldest Namek showed his new rank by having both a commanding voice, and one that was not as smooth or "wise" as the previous. This was a very good and significant difference, that came through without any translation.

But all that being said, after sleeping on it, I thought that perhaps to someone from the Japanese culture, these voices were totally appropriate. It would be natural that Goku sounded as he did to a Japanese person - maybe that's their archetypal "hero" voice. I don't know, but I can tell you that after reading what you've wrote, hearing American DBZ and Japanese DBZ, that maybe you shouldn't be so hard on the Funimation folks' casting of the characters' voices. They make sense to an American viewer, who makes up the audience to which the show is being broadcasted.

As far as the content cutting and the blood and violence and such, I didn't see anything that bad in Japanese DBZ, and I definitely agree that the Saban folks were heavy handed with the digital paint.

And the actual scripts of the dialog - I won't even go there. I think some of the changes to the Japanese script have been horrible, and make significant, gut-wrenching scenes into plastic, sometimes even comic, farce.

Thanks for reading, and keep up the good work. I'll be excited to read about the differences between the season 3 episodes when you get the time to write them.

- Chris Giancola