"Saiya-jin no Moui! Kami-sama mo Piccolo mo Shinda!"
(Ferocity of the Saiya-jin! Kami-sama and Piccolo Both Die!)
"The Return of Goku" 97-4-19

Nappa's wave hits Piccolo full force, and he falls to the ground, mortally wounded. Gohan begs his mentor to hold on, but Piccolo is beyond help, and dies soon thereafter. Kami vanishes as well, taking the power of Earth's Dragon Balls with him. Gohan retaliates, but to no avail, and he collapses in defeat. Nappa stands over him, planning to simply crush the boy, when Kintoun suddenly whisks Gohan to safety. Goku has finally arrived. The sight of his dead friends drives him over the edge, and he and Nappa begin to fight.

Well, this is it, the episode where FUNimation had to deal with the death of Piccolo. I'll admit it right here, out of all the death scenes shown so far, this one was handled better than any of the others, although there was one BIG misrepresentation that occurred, but I'll get to that in a minute. The music actually worked for once, and this, combined with the performances by Scott McNeil and Saffron Henderson, made the scene come across as emotionally effective as it was in the original. Wow.

I still must mention however, that the dialogue was abbreviated a bit, and mistranslated. In the original, Piccolo mentions the irony of dying for the son of his former nemesis, which I thought was really important and should have been left in. Also, the music used at a couple points during the death sequence is this amazing choral piece that brought chills down my spine and far surpasses what FUNimation used. I have never heard anything like this anywhere else in Dragon Ball.

But, like I said, FUNimation did a comparatively good job, and at least they didn't absolutely ruin the scene like they did with Tenshinhan's death.

English episode 21 continued

Piccolo is quite bloody after getting hit by Nappa's blast, and all of it, except for a curious little blotch on his back, is censored. Wierd part is, there's some green gunk (tears I think) coming out of his eyes that isn't painted over.

The dialogue as Piccolo is dying:

Piccolo: "I'm phasing into another dimension"

Goku: "One of the big powers is fading... someone must be passing into another dimension"

Kami: "Soon, we will both be in another dimension"

I was thinking about this line, and I realized that "another" in this context doesn't make any sense. There are only two dimensions, this one, and the afterworld. "Another" implies uncertainty, as if the person dying doesn't know which one he is going to. How could that be if there's only one other dimension? For that reason, I prefer "next dimension" when this line has to be said, although if they would just say "afterworld" or "next world" it would be better still. Or hey, how about "die?"

OK, here's FUNimation's big lie of the episode: No, Piccolo's body does NOT fade away in the original. He dies, and that's it. His body stays right there. But, as far as Kami is concerned, he does indeed fade out of existence, so that wasn't altered. In a way, I must admit that there is a certain consistency in the way it is presented in FUNimation's version, after all why would Piccolo just die, and Kami fade away? Oh well, it was done for the wrong reason so it pisses me off.

What's with Mr. Popo yelling "KAMI-SAN!" in the English version?? That's just downright wierd. If they're going to bother speaking Japanese all of a sudden, why not do it properly and say -sama? Whatever.

When Chichi opens the door, guns blazing, there are a bunch of holes in Baba when it first shows her that are censored. They disappear in the very next shot, so this was pretty easy to fix. Once again, it's the "guns are bad" thing in action. "If it looks like this person is impervious to gunshot wounds, kids will start shooting each other." Yeah, whatever.

(41 sec.) A dramatic scene that shows Goku walking over to Piccolo's body and checking his pulse (Gohan assures him that he is dead), then glancing over at Tenshinhan's body, and finally Yamucha's. Very important scene if you ask me, since it gives a good explanation as to why Goku gets so pissed a few seconds later, not to mention that it is kind of a reminder that gets the viewer pissed as well, and ready to see Nappa get his ass handed to him.

Keep in mind that Piccolo's body is censored away from here on out in every shot that shows the area where he died. Most of the time, these shots are just snipped, but every now and then you'll see one, so look carefully for the bouncing paint.

English episode 21 continues...