I love America, but God help us. We have no sense of art in this country any more. Good 'ol corprate American has reduced Dragon Ball Z to the level of shows like Extreme Dinosaurs or Mummies Alive. They pried out the story so they'd have somthing they could easily sell to an American audience and make toys for. Now, as much as I may bitch about FUNimations butchering of DBZ, I must say it's better than nothing. I didn't even know DBZ existed until I saw it one fateful Saturday morning. I'm an anime nut, and it looked cool so I tuned in. I immediatly realized that this thing had ben changed. Any anime fan can smell bad translating a mile away. I figured "ah, who cares. These fights kick ass." And thats what I think FUNimation expects its target audience (which I think are 3 year olds) to believe. "Story shmory, Americans want violence. And the more combat, the easier it is to market." Then to further insult our intelligence, they take out any depth Dragon Ball Z had by creating the mysterious other dimension they send people to. Okay, I could see how this might get started, I even forgave them at first, but DAMN it's annoying. And whats worse, they aren't even consistent! Case in point: in the epoisode where we first see the Ginyu squad take on Vegeta, Krillin, and Gohan, our dear FUNimation screws up by letting Gohan (or was it Krillin?) say "We may have to protect this Dragon Ball with our lives." Woah! What was that? Your LIVES? You mean they actually live, and aren't just things that go from dimension A to dimension B? It's just stupid. They aren't protecting us from crap. The day I saw the aforementioned episode, a Droopy cartoon was airing before it. In it, not only do the characters smoke some of the biggest stogies I've ever seen (DBZ bad thing number 1, smoking), but you also see beer (DBZ no no number 2, alcohol) and the whole episode is centered around Spike trying to KILL Droopy to get his inheritence (DBZ evil word number 3, death). It had a lower rating than DBZ (TV Y, I believe), it contained eveything that DBZ didn't. Damn strange, don't ya think? Also in that episode, I saw quite possibly one of the dumbest FUNimation violence coverups ever. When the little green Ginyu dude (my DBZ knowledge is limed) freezes Gohan and Krillin in the air, he soon jumps up and beats the living crap out of them. We don't see this, of course, because it's covered up by what I think is suposed to be a dust could that looks like someone just took an eraser to every frame and scratched over the violence. Yeesh.

On to the music. *sigh* Okay, I have to admit, I kinda like "Rock the Dragon." Not as a theme for DBZ, but just as a song (I'm really into heavy rock, okay?). As for the BGM during the show... I've never heard such god-awful stuff in all my life. What did they do, give a chimp a synthasizer and a tape deck? It doesn't make sense why they'd change it. Is it a legal reason, or does it appeal more to American audiences? If it's the latter, then they need to find new focus groups that they're testing this crap on.

And what of the opening sequence? Well, it did get me interested. But it doesn't work for several reasons. If you're new to the series, you ask a lot of questions like: "Why does Goku become a blonde at the end of it?" "Why's Vegeta with all the good guys in the lineup at the end?" "Who the hell was that sword guy?" It wasn't until recently I even learned who Trunks was. Up till then, I figured it was Vegeta or somthing.

Let's not forget the voice acting. Krillin I can stand. Gohan isn't too bad. Vegeta sucks, but does have his moments. Freeza.... I thought he was a woman for the longest time. Goku I can live with. Bulma is perfect. It seems like they once again where trying to Americanize the series by changing them to what we, the American public, are supposed to believe someone evil sounds like.

Who did they get to write the dribble they have every show? Rejects from the Speed Racer dubbing? It's like they said "All right, now have you ever heard of Dragon Ball Z?" "Ummm.... how do you spell that?" "Okay, good. Have you ever heard of anime?" "Heard of what?" "How about Japan?" "I think I met her once in a bar." "PERFECT! You're hired!" I mean, some of the lines are just plain STUPID! Example: The first of the Bulma filler episodes (which sucks anyway) has Bulma continually using dog refernces to describe her reptillian captor. He's not a dog you dumb bitch! He's a big lizard! Although they do have their moments (the cappuchino on the ship thing was damn funny to me), but they are few and far apart. While I'm on the subject of dialoge and words, I might as well bring up the censoring of the word Hell. First of all, I know every little kid out there KNEW in his or her mind that it was supposed to be HELL. Kids are not as stupid as some take them for. And if you're gonna screw it up, FUNimation, at least make it a more reasonable acronym, like HFEL (Home for ETERNAL Losers would make way more sense). And here's something really intesting. If the network has so many standards they hafta set DBZ to, then why do they air a commercial for a rock compilation that has Damn Yankees advertiesed in it? On the screen in bold letters you clearly see DAMN Yankees. So you can advertise the word damn, but you can't show the word Hell? In fact, that commercial aired 2 or three times during the shows (UPN shows 2 episodes a week). Oy gevalt, what a sad state this country is in.

I think that if you want to solve a lot of trouble, a network like Fox should put DBZ in prime time (after all, they take most any show you can think of, whether it's good or not). They should start the series over, scrap all the changes FUNimation made, translate it reasonably, and keep the damned music. This show was not written for 5 year olds when it was created, so STOP watering it down to where it is a mindless fireworks show for babies.

I thought a bit more highly of the US DBZ before I realized what it was really like. Perhaps ignorance truly is bliss and I was just happy to find a half decent anime series on TV. I only wish FUNimation appreciated art. It's like they've tried to put clothes on Michalengo's David. It makes me wonder if this place has a chance when all corprate America wants is money, they will do ANYTHING to get it.

If anyone from FUNimation out there can read this, PLEASE consult the fans about this! Stop for a second and realize that it's mostly teens and young adults that are intrested in Dragon Ball Z! There is an ENOURMOUS potentional market out there if you'd just stay true to the origional. Think about it,. You'll get way more money. Have you seen the number of DBZ fan sites out there? If you want money, fine. You'll make truckloads more if you'd just keep it true to the Japanese version, cause those legions of American otaku would be watching and buying the US versions of the DB stuff. Action is great, guys, but story attracts more people than crappy music, watered down fights, and other dimensions.

Pheaw! That took a lot of willpower to keep from saying stuff like "FUNimation, I hope you burn in the Hell- I mean, the Home of Infinite Losers for screwing up a decent show!"

- Fox Barrett