Cartoon Network broadcast "I Love Mr. Piccolo" unsubbed - Gohan's song from Movie #2 (aka The World's Strongest). The same applies to Gohan's song from Movie #1 (DeadZone) .. So what does this mean to us, the fans of DBZ, to Cartoon Network, and, perhaps most importantly, WHY did they do it? Well...
CN had a _VAST_ array of possible excuses why they could have removed the songs. They could have been removed because "they were in a foreign language, and most viewers would not understand them" or because "they were unneccessary parts of the movies" or even because CN needed "more time for commercials"... All of these excuses (and many more) come to mind as to why Cartoon Network COULD HAVE removed the songs... but they didn't! ^_^ Cartoon Network left completely unneccessary songs in, in Japanese.. In fact, according to Chris (my source for all this info!) the original commercial dubs had subtitles. This is NOT true in the Cartoon Network broadcast -- Cartoon Network actually _REMOVED_ the subtitles from the songs, yet allowed the songs themselves to be broadcast.
Why? Is the general population of the US so illiterate that they can't read English? Or perhaps is it because everyone in the US can actually understand Japanese? I'm not quite sure which Cartoon Network believes in.. either way, I can't imagine why Cartoon Network removed the subtitles, yet KEPT the songs.
However, an excuse that needs debunked is, "Perhaps Cartoon Network didn't know the songs were in the movies, similar to how they didn't know about the 17 new Sailor Moon episodes until it was nearly time to broadcast them." This excuse is completely false, and it's quite obvious why: Cartoon Network KNEW that the songs were in the movies because SOMEONE cut a handful of scenes and words (expertly, by the way, from what Chris writes about Movie #2) and removed the english subtitles from both songs.
So... once again, I ask myself, "Why?". Why the unsubbed songs? Why the songs at all? Why were some scenes altered, such as Goku showing his bare rear in Movie #1 (painted over with some skimpy underwear) when other cartoons are allowed to get away with that? Why wasn't the scene cut when Bulma calls Roshi a 'dirty old man' especially when (if you don't know about Roshi's...errr... habits..) there's no reason for it?
My best guess is: "Cartoon Network is a powerful force in animation, both foreign and domestic. They must have left the songs in to preserve as much of the original movie as possible, and keep the viewer interested in the show. If they cut too much from the movie, viewers would become bored and lose interest. Cartoon Network required a certain amount of commercial time, so some cuts were made. Since the songs weren't TOO long, Cartoon Network wouldn't lose many viewers because the viewers 'didn't understand' the song. The subtitles were most likely removed from the broadcast for two reasons: One, closed captioning might be confused with the subtitles and viewers might try to find out 'what's wrong with their TV' when they saw them. The second, and more incidental reason, is as a bonus to fans who had seen the song in its original format."
The next (and central-to-this essay) question: What good did it do to broadcast the movies on Cartoon Network? Well, according to SOS (the Sailor Moon people), Dragon Ball Z was the #1 animated show on the Toonami block (beating the aformentioned Sailor Moon). By showing the movies, Cartoon Network pleased the DBZ fans and attracted new viewers who might enjoy DBZ. As we've seen on Chris's page already, there are MANY people willing to write about what they've seen on Cartoon Network.
I talked with a number of people who saw Dragon Ball Z for the first time during the Toonami movies, and plan to watch the TV series because of it. Cartoon Network was successful in their goals - attracting more people to watch Toonami. FUNimation benefits because their translation of the series can continue.
FUNimation pledges less censorship than before.. but they've proven with the movies that there are still scenes which WILL NOT be shown on Cartoon Network. The good news is that we WILL get less censorship than before. It's been suggested that the original music MIGHT return. Of course, this isn't guaranteed, but it's been proposed by a handful of sources.
On the other hand, we KNOW that FUNimation will NOT use the Ocean Studio's voice actors for the new episodes of Dragon Ball Z. For those of us who purchased the latest DB release, "Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle", we heard some of the voices. I'll give a quick description of their voices (as compared to the original DB dub) and my opinion of each..
Young Goku: Whomever did the voice did a fair job. There were some moments when the voice actor sounded JUST like the original Young Goku of DB, and there were moments when the voices sounded completely dissimilar. I think whomever did the dub of Goku will make a decent Gohan for the new DBZ dubbed episodes.
Bulma: *shudder* Can you say annoying? She screamed "pervert" at one point in the movie... and it just... didn't sound right for the character. Other spots in the movie are okay, i guess, but there are some _REALLY_ odd spots.
Krillin: He's a young kid in this movie, so he SHOULDN'T sound like what the adult Krillin sounds like.. I hope. ^_^;;;;
Yamcha: Another *shudder*... He sounds kinda similar to the original Yamcha from DB, but he just doesn't stir any emotion in me as the original Yamcha did. :/
Oolong and Puar: Oolong sounds stupid. There is no other explanation for it.. His original voice 'fit' his character in an odd way (he SOUNDED like a pig!) but his new voice sounds distinctly not-piglike. Puar has lost his (her?) english accent, and I LIKED the english accent. :/ Another mark against Puar is the fact that its voice is higher than the original voice. It was high enough during the DB dub. I can't believe that the new voice actor decided to raise the voice another note or two... x_x
Roshi: He sounds very similar to the original Roshi, which is ok I guess, but he STILL doesn't sound old. His accent changes throughout the movie, by the way, from southern to western. That's ALWAYS a bad thing. :/ I hope that his voice actor can settle on a voice for the new dubbed episodes _VERY_ soon, because if his voice changes between scenes (like it did in the movie) then it's gonna drive away a number of fans.. Of course, I don't think that he shows up TOO many times in the rest of the Freeza Saga, so it won't be INCREDIBLY noticable.
Bit-parts: Of all the monsters and small characters... only Lunch (known as "Launch" by the movie box) has a decent voice. The screams are _VERY_ poorly done. The actors didn't SCREAM, they just kinda faked it, and it is VERY noticable. Most of the other bit-part voices (including the red demon, the vampire-lord, and his assistant) weren't very well done either.
Overall, I was _VERY_ disappointed by the work that FUNimation did, especially since they're trying to sell the product as being "as good as" the Ocean Studio's dub. This was the FIRST work that FUNimation did without an outside studio doing the dub work, so I forgive them because it's their first try... but I _REALLY_ worry about some of the voices. I don't think FUNimation can get a good Adult Goku (although I really don't think Gohan's new voice will be too bad.. if they use the Young Goku voice actor for Gohan, that is...)
There were spots (particularly in the beginning) where the background music just... dropped out... and the voices sounded lifeless.
I guess you can attribute SOME of the differences in voices to the fact that they're trying to do voices for YOUNGER characters in DB, but I don't expect much difference between the "younger" voices and the "older" voices. I worry about the new DBZ dub.
But enough negativity. Why not talk about something positive? ^_^
One good point of these broadcasts is that we get to hear the original music on Television. I've been talking with 2nd-5th graders who watched the movies, and those who had paid enough attention to the music thought it was "cool" and "different, but not bad"... I'm not certain that's what FUNimation expected to hear.. they seem to be bent on keeping the original music from the US dub. Another *shrug* for FUNimation, especially since Saban is no longer to blame as the source of their 'censorship' as it were... I think keeping the original music with the commercial dub was an EXCELLENT move for Cartoon Network.. especially since Pokemon has the original background music, and I've heard lots of praise for it, too.
In one of Chris' editorials, Adrian Saavedra wrote an e-mail to FUNimation, and got some inside info that the rest of us wanted to know about the future. I'd just like to pull out a few of the questions and answers that were posted in Chris' editorial, and state my opinion of them.. Bold+Italic = the original question (by Adrian).. Italic-only = Agent Mai's response.
2. Who made this possible? FUNimation? Pioneer? Cartoon Network?
Pioneer doesn't have anything to do with it. We have a deal with Cartoon Network. I'm not sure if the contract is ironed out completely or not.
Literally, this means that FUNimation CANNOT guarantee that Cartoon Network will broadcast the new episodes of Dragon Ball Z. I don't think "Agent Mai" would intentionally distribute false information, but unless a contact is worked out between Cartoon Network and FUNimation, they won't broadcast them. Cartoon Network will have an official press release as soon as the contract is signed, but until then I don't expect many more promises. Cartoon Network does have a contract in the works with FUNimation, but if there has been no official announcement of DBZs status, then we can't trust this anymore than "Cartoon Network wants more episodes". Any further speculation is into the unknown. FUNimation claims the contract is worked out, but Cartoon Network has yet to verify this. Agent Mai adds doubt on the finalization of the contract with the words "ironed out".. Let's just hope that this is accomplished soon, so the new dubs can be broadcast on TV this fall.
One other thing. It's March (as of this writing). The first 'new' videos are supposed to be on sale "this summer". That may mean September 10th or something, but I wager FUNimation meant "July"... That probably means that there isn't much censorship (we'll see blood again!) but the voice actors are probably going to be hard-pressed to maintain the FUNimation schedule.. which may result in some lost quality in the dub (as I explained above, it's already not going to be a good dub, but it CAN get worse..)
Cartoon Network's carbon-copy e-mail reply implies that the remaining 40 (it WAS 40, right?) episodes of DBZ WILL be dubbed into English. I think, however, Cartoon Network will whiddle it down to 35 episodes or so (maybe 36, so that there can be 12 tapes of 3 episodes?)... :/
5. Will the same voice actors from the previous episodes be used, or will new voice actors be used (please don't say there's going to be a new Vegeta)?
All the characters will be recast. We are doing the voices in-house now. Episodes 1-53 were recorded in Canada. The first project we tried this on was the DB Sleeping Princess movie.
How many of us have heard the dub on the new DB movie? Probably not enough. IMO, it's not as good a dub as the Ocean Studio dubs were. See for yourself, above.
10. Speaking of the new episodes, will they be uncut, less edited, or the same as when SABAN was calling the shots? Also, will the original Japanese music be left alone?
There will definately be less censorship than 1-53. I know it can't be that extensive because we would not be able to keep up with the schedule. There will most likely be an uncut and cut of each episode. I hope the original music is left on the uncut versions.
Chris alluded to this in his editorial, but I'd like to explain specifically where he's getting his idea...
Agent Mai had an unfortunate slip of the tongue in this sentence.. "hope" - the dreaded word of any true fan. The company in charge of dubbing should not have to "hope" something is the case. Mai has stated that the cut version will probably NOT have the original Japanese music (unfortunately, the cut version will also be the version broadcast on TV). She doesn't say it outright, but just under the wording of the last sentence is the interpretation that "the uncut may have the original music, but the cut won't"...
Fortunately, FUNimation probably doesn't have the rights to the 2 previous seasons' background music, since FUNimation and Saban (the writers of the background music) have split up. Unfortunately, this may mean 'new' background music. x_x
Of course, this isn't all bad -- FUNimation might actually use remixes of the original background music, instead of writing their own music.. eh, it's a possibility! ^_^
There. That's all I wanna quote from the "Agent Mai" files. Back to your regularly scheduled bold-tagged topics.
This is the toughest question I can possibly imagine answering right now.. and yet I want to state my opinion as to what CN may do in the future. Lemme warn you now, this is PURELY OPINION, and is PROBABLY NOT what Cartoon Network is going to do. However, I will state my reasons behind my thoughts. If you agree or disagree, it's entirely up to you. I will say now that this IS what I believe Cartoon Network will do, based on what I know of other policies of theirs, and how they've acted on those policies. ^_^
Dragon Ball Z will get away with less censorship than before. Not only has Agent Mai claimed this, but it is only logical to assume this will be the case, because Cartoon Network is a cable channel. The same concept can be streched to any other animated TV series that Cartoon Network broadcasts.
The successful premiere of the DBZ movies shows generally what Cartoon Network wants to show on TV and what they don't want to show. I don't think we'll see Ranma 1/2 on Cartoon Network any time soon, but what about Slayers? Sure, some lines would need re-dubbed or cut, but by large, the series is empty of "seriously objectionable" content. Sure, there are a few indecent jokes, "Wow Lina, after eating all that food, it makes your chest look even smaller!" *grin* but lines like that are few and far between. Would Slayers make it onto Cartoon Network if there was demand for it? In my opinion, sure.
I can think of a handful of other 'clean' TV-series anime that could make it onto CN if given the chance, and it's all thanks to the DBZ movie broadcasts. I REALLY doubt that any of them WILL make it onto CN anytime soon, with the popularity of DBZ and SM, and the recent addition of Reboot. The only cartoon left in Toonami of domestic origin is Johnny Quest, which Moltar has said in his commercials, "Toonami simply wouldn't be Toonami without... Johnny Quest"... implying that JQ WON'T go away, even if the fans want it to. :-/
FUNimation and Cartoon Network have done some WIERD things to DBZ. Some cartoons getting away with some INCREDIBLE things, others being shot down.. DBZ Movies airing on CN which raised the number of interested viewers.. FUNimation told us that it was Saban's fault, not theirs, that the censorship was as severe as it was.. At least CN has a bit of decency and DOESN'T censor everything that could be censored.