My Opinions on the Dragon Ball Z English Dub

Everyone has either seen or heard about the English version of Dragon Ball Z. I would like to tell you some of what FUNimation has done to Akira Toriyama's masterpeice (Bad and Good) and why I believe they did this. If you are a true fan of the series Dragon Ball Z, you must have been horrified at what FUNimation has put out to the American fans. Now honestly, if you really seen the Japanese version can you actually think that the English dub was going to retain most of the aspects of the original on American airwaves, especially with the time slot it had!? Have you ever seen a animated series with this kind of mature content on daytime television and not on satellite or on anything higher than average cable? I am not defending what FUNimation did to Dragon Ball Z, but it was better than no DBZ at all in American airwaves. I believe alot of the things FUNimation did to Dragon Ball Z were horribly wrong, especially the plot alterations, but some of it was under pressure. Most of FUNimation's imported work did not turn out like Dragon Ball Z. Dragon Ball Z even has higher censorship standards then something like Tiny Toons, yet, it is a fighting based show. You see, when FUNimation recieved the original version I believe that we're completely puzzled on how they are going to change this for something fittable for children viewers. How would you try to get a TV show with high violence, profanity, blood and gore, and some nudity on the daytime TV. You knew there was going to be some cuts here and there, but there was much more than needed. They knew how parents will protest against a TV show that could offend any race, sex, or religion. I believe the smart thing to have done was either try to get it on primetime somehow (It would probaly be put on Saturday morning eventually though) or keep all of the Japanese aspects in. You see if everyone knew this show was plainly Japanese related including the character's personality and the way they react to everyday life, I believe parents couldn't do much about. Alot of people are fighting for shows based around life from a point of view other than just caucasian so this would be perfect even though Dragon Ball Z isn't about everyday Japanese life but the aspects around the characters on Earth certainly would help.

Censorship...What made FUNimation infamous

I would now like to talk about some of the things censored and some of the things not censored and the grinding process of some of Akira Toriyama's most important parts so they could be chopped up and easy for everyone to handle...not everyone.

Now what we all know what was censored by now is the violence. The censorship of violence was understandable until around the arrival of Vegeta. In the beginning when Raditz fought Gokou and Piccolo I thought that it this was going to be a great series. Raditz had decent threats to Gokou and Piccolo and Piccolo arm was destroyed and he was actually bleeding (even though the color of the blood was changed). I thought this was amazing because I haven't seen the original version of Dragon Ball Z when I saw the American episodes. Throughout the episodes the bits of blood splashed here and there looked like really red bruises with scratches over them. Some of the gorier aspects we're cut out or complety painted over. You can tell what has been virtually painted over if a place on the screen wiggles around like it has a patch floating over something or a part of there body looks poorly drawn. The another kind of editing they use frequently is cutting scenes. They cut scenes to censor or just to edit "useless" footage to save time. By cutting major plot alterations happen but I will get into that later. Censorship of violence is understandable, but the majority of time I am against it.

Well there is some things in Dragon Ball Z that we're left uncensored. It's not like I want them to censor these things but some of the things they did censor are uncensored in other places. The reason is that the people who edited Dragon Ball Z might have gotten tired of doing this or missed something or even took a chance, remember that there is oodles of things that are unsuitable for children in Dragon Ball Z. Well one thing they could have censored was some of the exotic food the people eat in Dragon Ball Z, this would be pointless but painting over kanji is quite pointless too. Some of the food they eat is in America in Chinese Restuarants but a Gator Head (featured in the episode "Princess Snake's Hospitality") is way past me. Also some of the things they censored in some areas and didn't in others is just confusing. They also didn't censor some of the blood and yes the blood was red (Ex: The tiny stream coming from Chao-zu's head when he latched onto Nappa). Dried blood isn't censored either, you know the stuff on there face that looks like dirt? Well that is dried blood, It took me awhile to realize exactly what that stuff was, maybe FUNimation thought it was dirt too...or tried to pass it off as dirt.

Plot Alterations...FUNimation crosses the line!

Now this is the part of what FUNimation did to Dragon Ball Z that really pisses me off. They alter the plot just so they can cover their @$$es once again. First off, when I heard Son Gokou mention about who killed his grandfather, there was one keypoint changed in the English version and that is Gokou says that Vegeta killed his grandfather. Did Gokou gulp down a bottle a whiskey when we weren't looking or something!? C'mon Gokou your not that dumb! What FUNimation did was horrible. It was only a few seconds but every Dragon Ball Z fan screamed in agony when they heard those words. There is alot of things wrong with this. Gokou and Vegeta are close to the same age. They sent two Saiya-jins to Earth when one could have done the job? Let me guess, they picked up Vegeta after he did his dirty work too huh? C'mon! King Vegeta would never send his son to a planet filled with such weak inhabitants! Also if he did send him I doubt they would bring them back on such short notice. I had never seen the original DBZ when I saw this episode but I saw Dragon Ball and you can cleary tell that Gokou did all these things. Bulma, Oolong, Yamucha, and Puar even discuss how Gokou transforms and this was even in the American version of Dragon Ball. So what is FUNimation trying to feed us? Do you think children will start killing their parents if they hear Gokou talk about how he did it? Well simple changes in the script can really screw up the plot.

Another plot alteration was when Dodoria was confronting a Elder Namek. Dodoria fired a blast that barely missed the Namek. In the American version we are made to believe that Dodoria has bad aim, that can be believable since Dodoria could be trying to mock the Namek and scare him for a good laugh. Well, in the Japanese version, Dodoria had some different plans. Dodoria aimed over the Namek's shoulder and fired a blast that directly hit Dende's brother Kargo. Dende is traumatized by this and is trying to revive his brother. Well, you can't say too much about that cut. FUNimation had almost every right to cut that. Everyone knows if a parent saw what happened to Kargo, Dragon Ball Z would be off the air faster than you could say "Dragon Dragon, Rock the Dragon" (Sorry...hehe). Well if you are wondering how all this show aired in Japan, well, there is a few reasons. First off, this show was featured in Primetime. The show aired 10 years ago and back then they had lower standards on what was on TV. Later in Dragon Ball Z, the gore is lessened. Third, Japanese Television just has lower censorship standards (Not by much anymore, but still they have this kind of stuff everywhere, even Pokémon!).

FUNimation gets the cleaver, the butchering begins...

Some of the best moments in Dragon Ball Z become ruined for the American audience. This is done by music and editing and the infamous plot alteration. This may be a way to save time but Dragon Ball Z was never meant to be like this! The death scenes we're screwed up to editing and the horrible music. When Tenshinhan died the scene was much longer in the original. It showed scenes of him and Chao-zu together training together and other things showing that they we're truly great friends. This moment was expressed just the right way with the music.

One of the most important things FUNimation butchered was the when Kulilin prepared to kill Vegeta using Yajirobe's katana. In the English dub this is very short compared to the original. In the English dub, Gokou says a few words on how Vegeta is strong and Kulilin drops the katana. In the original, Kaioh-sama is pleading with Kulilin to stop from killing Vegeta. Kulilin ignores Kaioh-sama and is about to kill Vegeta until Gokou pleads with him. Kulilin ignores Gokou and prepares to kill Vegeta again but Gokou pleas finally stop Kulilin. The whole time this is happening peaceful music is playing. This really puts Kulilin through alot of agony when making this choice and the audience can understand what Kulilin is going through with the music.

At first glance, people could believe Dragon Ball Z is a idiotic fighting show for children. No one should judge this show without watching at least a few episodes. Dragon Ball Z has as much drama as action, That is what makes this show so great. The action is a very nice touch but the dramatics it adds to the show is amazing. Yet, the English dub has accomplished to make this a mindless fighting show. I mean why would they take some of the greatest aspects about Dragon Ball Z and destroy them creating such a mindless fighting show. If they wanted it for children only they did they're job.

FUNimation's music Vs. The original music

Another horrible thing they did to Akira Toriyama's work is the music. Oh how horrible the English music for Dragon Ball Z is! It not that music that is so bad, it is the music they stick in certain places. Most of the time it is this strange suspenseful music and that doesn't cut it for every second of the animation. When Yamucha, Chao-zu, and Tenshinhan died they had that god forsaken supsenseful music playing the whole way through. Those deaths we're supposed to be very dramatic but they retained almost none of that in the English dub. I know the the cause for that though, at that time they we're sort of minor characters at the moment. They weren't featured in the show enough to be very important. In the Japanese version that was the case since there was more scenes of the characters even before Piccolo and Gokou fought Raditz. If the audience in Japan didn't remember them from Dragon Ball, they we're introduced to the new viewers and re-introduced to the old viewers.

FUNimation did come up with some good music and that was for Piccolo's death. Piccolo's death retained alot of the dramatic effect but that very music would pop-up in scenes that we're never meant to have it. In the Freiza Saga, right after Kulilin gets his hidden power released, we hear Piccolo's death music just playing faintly for no reason. This was no sad moment, it was more a happy moment since Kulilin became extremely strong from the releasing of his power. Tell me that's not wrong and I will smack you upside the head.

The other butchering FUNimation did was when they changed the beginning and ending themes. They traded the great "Cha-la Head Cha-la" beginning for "Rock the Dragon." If you haven't seen some of the great endings and beginnings of your missing something. From my knowledge there is "Cha-la Head Cha-la", "We Gotta Power", and "We used to be Angels." This is some of the best music and animation DBZ had to offer and we're missing out.

Things I missed like the "next dimension"

"It's time to send you to the next dimension." If your tired of hearing that sh*t gimme a hell yeah! Well anyway, the next dimension phrase represents all of FUNimation's evil combined. You wouldn't think children would believe in the next dimension but some do! Dragon Ball Z is ruining children minds by creating a next dimension. I talked to some children on the issue and they think since Gokou and the others can do all this amazing stuff they can go to they're own special dimension when they die....uhhh no. Everyone believes that they say the next dimension to replace die only. That is partially true but they use it also to cover-up the after-life. That can be religious so it is a no-no. Yet we hear Christian phrases muttered from Kulilin everyone once and while so we are confused about the religion thing in this show. The characters in Dragon Ball Z say other things that just make us completely pissed off.

Here is a collage I gathered together.

Vegeta: " almost cut through my armor"
Tenshinhan: "I can see they're parachutes...they're ok"
Tenshinhan: "Just wait until it grows back!"
Spaceship: "Space Probes commencing Delta Strike...( something something )"
Nappa: "You sent that planet to another dimension" (oh so we can send planets to another dimension too)
Vegeta: "Too bad it's Sunday, those buildings would have been filled up tommorow"
TV Crew member: "They destroyed the ship with the cargo bot!"
Reporter: "Two aliens destroyed the abandoned section of the city"
Captain: "Abandon ship Abandon Ship!"
Squadron Leader: "Eject Pilots Eject!"
Nappa: "I hope you Navy Boys like to swim"

If your not on the verge of throwing up your intestines by now your might have a power level higher than Gokou, or don't care about this sorta thing. Well I guess all you understand what's wrong with each of these phrases. Well here's a list of what's wrong with each one.

1. No one screams in pain when someone "almost" cuts through their armor.
2.Everyone could see directly where Tenshinhan facing and I saw no parachutes. Does Tenshinhan's third eye see incredibly well?
3. Arms don't grow back...well Tenshinhan does have a arm regeneration technique probes eh?
5. My god a planet has died!
6. I didn't know that a section of the city a few miles wide was abandoned.
7.Read number 6
8.Well this is sort of believable...yet I think the Captain was the only one who could hear him if you get my drift.
9.Ok, you can't eject from a jet when the jet turns into nothing but dust, ash, and fire including you?
10. I guess they can't swim because I saw no one in the water.

My thoughts on original Dragon Ball Z

I guess I can honestly say Akira Toriyama never meant Dragon Ball Z to ever turn out like this. You can easily tell that this show meant to be more comedic than action. Well first we have Son Gokou. The hair is strange and a tail? Well that's not anything average now is it? Gokou means rare in Japanese and that is exactly what Gokou is. Some other things I would like to point out just to make you believe this was a gag show.

Saiya-jins (letters switched around, originally this was Yasai which is vegetable). Raditz is Raddish, Vegeta is obviously Vegetable. Now for the Ginyu Force. Jeice and Burter...hmm now isn't that obviously Juice and Butter. The rest of Ginyu is Japanese foods that I don't know the names of so I can't help you there. Gohan is boiled-rice in Japanese and ChiChi is father. We also hear things like "The Great Cow King" and some other strange name puns. Pilaf as in Rice Pilaf and Yamucha as in dim sum (Kaioh-sama was talking about dim sum in the English version! I just realized...remember when he said Kaioh-sama: "Then some, dim-sum, Then some dim-sum Then some dim-sum hahahaha"). Akira Toriyama gradually changed over from the gags to fighting. This was all due to the popularity of the fighting, it brought him money so he did it. That might not be the only reason but the most sensible one. I feel sorry for Akira Toriyama, there's a chance that he continued Dragon Ball Z series and he didn't want too. This led to idiotic reasons for continuation with constant ressurection of heroes, somehow each time they died in was made dramatic, only if you knew they we're going to die again in a few dozen episodes. I love Akira Toriyama's work but there is some facts you must face. Dragon Ball Z can be considered superficial, but I will never stop loving this anime. Akira Toriyama has created the best anime ever, on purpose or on accident.

Thanks for listening to my thoughts....

- Vincent Valentine

Disclaimer: All my thoughts and opinions in this article may or may not be shared with FUNimation, Bird Studios, Toei Animation, Akira Toriyama, or any other companies that took part in licensing or producing the original or any other version of Dragon Ball Z. These are all my own opinions and ideas and I have every right to express these in any way I rightfully deserve.