God, I know I am gonna be hounded by at least a thousand people for this. I just wanted to say, that speaking from a slightly more optimistic and positive attitude, the new season isn't that horrible as so many people are making it seem. I am in no way saying that the new dubs are a real work of art, since they are far from it at this point in time. The main problem I see with the almost unanimous boo in season 3, is that people are comparing them to the japanese episodes, and the thing is, nothing can compare to them. They are the originals, and therefore the best. Anything less would be terrible. And that is what the new dubs are falling into. We can't put down the new dubs right off the bat. We haven't seen enough yet to do so. I would like to address the biggest complaints of the new dub, and try to shed some optimistic conclusion about each.

The Voices

Okay, the voices are a pain. Theres been so many complaints that the voices are awful, they really suck, and what not. Nobody realizes that the're all contradicting themselves. Listen to the japanese version. Gokou is done by a woman, for God's sake! Yet everyone is happy with this, even though you'd never guess he was male by just listening to him speak. It doesn't matter the voices used, its a matter of the delivery, and believability. This is why everyone is content with the japanese voices, despite the fact that they don't really fit in. Gokou is a man, and for his character, a man's voice that can sound lighthearted, a bit simple minded, and sometimes downright ruthless would suffice. Masako Nozawa was great at delivering lines with emotion and believability, but I just can't picture Gokou, this big strong nice guy--with a womans voice. One of FUNimation's few successess has been the voice of Ian Corlett. He was a great VA for Gokou, although a real friggin shame he's gone now. Anyway, this is a comletely new cast who have never had any experience with the characters' roles before. When I hear them, I don't think "God, this sucks." When I hear them, I see potential. The actors are just starting to fall into their places. Remember waaaay back when to the first english episode, "The Arrival of Radditz?" Listen to the voices. They sound no where near the way they were in the last few episodes of season 2, and the 3 movies. Listen to Scott McNeil's voice. In the beginning it sounded scruffy and thick. As the season progressed, Scott became more familiar with the role, and went on to give Piccolo a fantastic demonic voice, in my opinion, way better than the japanese Piccolo. And guess where he started voice acting? MEGA MAN!!!! He played Dr. Wily and Protoman! What I'm saying is, that the new VAs are just starting to become familiar with their roles. This was apparent all throughout the tapes. The point where most of the actors started to get familiar with the roles is the last episode of the second tape. The new Gokou sounded pretty good during that "I hate needles" scene, and the last narration (Hi! This is Gokou, and trust me, you don't wanna miss the next exciting episode of Dragonball Z), and the new Vegeta caught on pretty quickly. I love Brian Drummond but this new guy brings an all new dimension to the character. It sounds like the old Vegeta, only an octave lower. This gives a harder edge to the character. Listen to him when he says "Thats right, if theres anything I've learned throughout this whole ordeal, is that I'm a friggin genius!" In my opinion, his expression, voice, and delivery was exeptional. Bulma sounded like a complete airhead in the beginning, but in her last scene, she sounded a lot better. The new Kululin tried too hard in his first scene (i.e."Hmm...They're testing him") but improved much later on ("Whattaya doin' hanging around with Jeece?) The guy who does Nail should make a pretty good Piccolo if he can manage to lower his voice an octave or so. In short, give them all a break, and a little bit of time. They can't get worse, only better. I only hope that they change Freeza's voice when he tranforms (I haven't heard his japanese voice, since I only have up to the end of the saiyan saga). In the next set of tapes, I don't think the voices will be that much of a problem anymore.

The Dialogue

All right, a very touchy subject. The dialogue needs a lot of tweaking, most noticeably, less goofy lines, and more mature content to fit the show. At one point I was thinking...is FUNimation really that lazy? Why won't they do a second recording to accompany the uncut version while their verion can accompany the cut? I was mad and actually lost some sleep over it. Watching the tapes again, I came to a conclusion. The dialogue is S-L-O-W-L-Y starting to become acceptable. The word "die" is now back in the characters' vocabulary, as with the word "friggin" and term "bite me." At Greg Werner's site, FUNimation has assured us themselves that the dialogue will become more serious, and the goofiness will be toned down. It is also said that a direct translation may or may NOT be implemented, but thats ok with me considering that the general meaning of whats happening was always apparent, even in season 1 and 2. The writing is STARTING to get better though, as now the characters' power levels are accurate for once, and Gokou pronounces Kamehameha correctly. Let's hope we can get FUNimation to dub the episodes with a more faithful translation in mind, such as the 3 movies. It's another real shame that Pioneer and FUNimation are having legal problems with each other. The only thing that has been set in stone, is that the goofiness will come to an end. We have also been assured that in time, we will notice a change in attitude and style of the show . Our main enemy here is time.

The Music

Once again, another big issue. When I invited my friends Keith and Jose to see the new episodes at my house, there was no real complaint about the music. Jose had seen the Cell saga when he was at another school last year, and Keith had access to mostly the dubbed episodes, but had tons of DBZ related videogames. He went so far as to say that at one particular scene, the music was actually fitting! Jose never muttered one negative comment about the music. He was too enthralled at the action that was going on. But, on the subject of keeping the original score...I am really confused at FUNimation for this one. If they only paid for the visuals, and not the music, how come, at the end of the second tape, they played Cha La Head Cha La? Is it a secret message or a plan that they might be on the way to getting the original music? And whats this about "plans" to subtitle? To subtitle it, you'd need the original music...So what the hell is exactly happening? Are we getting the original music or not? Again, we have to wait. Anyway, FUNimation has assured us that the music will get better as well. All you out there can choose to trust or not to trust this.

In conclusion, all we have to do is give FUNimation a chance. I know it seems that we all have been far too lenient, and I agree that this is ridiculous, and we should not have to be doing this, yet again...but...you can't judge the quality of the next 50 episodes by only seeing the FIRST seven. You can't toss a book after judging it by its first chapter. They're all on their own now, and they are bound to stumble a bit. NOTHING can compare to the original Dragonball Z in Japan, but if we all stop complaining and focusing on the negative, highlight the positive, and give it some time, U.S. DBZ may come pretty damn close!

- Paul Faranda