By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
It's fairly obvious with the feedback that Jimmy Fowler's Dragonball Z article ("International incident," January 20) caused quite a stir among the online DBZ community. I'll start with the comments on so-called "purists." I saw the FUNimation-dubbed DBZ before I saw any Japanese versions. My anime interests went no further than Ranma, Sailor Moon, and Pokémon until a friend of mine was at my house and wanted to watch Dragonball Z. I began to catch the story just as YTV went into reruns for what I hear was the millionth time. So I looked to the Internet.
Eventually, I was able to procure some uncut FUNimation videos and was horrified by the voices, especially Kuririn's. Still, I didn't lose interest and was able to find a Web site that offered much of season three and the following seasons, subtitled. I covered an amazing amount of Dragonball ground in only a few days, and was sure to watch carefully for dialogue changes, of which there were many. Some of the dubbing is absolutely terrible: At one point, when Gohans call the dragon, instead of shouting, "Come out, Shenron!" (or something at least close to that), he yells, "Hear my howl, to make my wish come truuuuuue!" Hear my howl? What?
Besides making numerous references to American culture ("I knew I should have joined the Boy Scouts!") and changing bad dialogue to worse dialogue ("I'm locked on and ready to kick butt!" becomes "I'm locked on and ready to kick tail!"), FUNimation seems to feel they should be changing things just for the fun of it. Gaping plot holes appear. Characters directly contradict themselves. Ages and genders are changed. Cuts are made to incredible things, such as the censoring of Gohan's tears in episode two -- can't have blood, can't have death, can't have 4-year-old children crying on national television.
I'd just like to point out that the article was informative and well-written, even though a more neutral stance would have been appreciated, rather than supporting FUNimation. What is the problem with FUNimation? I think that is fairly easy to see -- go on almost any DBZ Web site around, and you'll see. Maybe someday they'll realize what they're doing wrong here, or take a fan's point of view. Meanwhile, I'd rather be run over by a speeding mob of 4-year-old Pokémon fans than hear Kuririn yell "Hear my howl!" ever again.
Unfortunately, your article makes us DBZ fans look like the bad guys. I can't believe how a major newspaper can generalize like you have, making the one percent of "fans" who e-mail hate mail to FUNimation turn into a majority. I have just started a Web site (http://members.xoom.com/DBZOtaku/) that discusses the censorship of this great anime show. Also, at one of the premier DBZ sites, www.planetnamek.com, where I am a message-board moderator, I have posted on the message board, under my alias GeneralTso, a message "NO CENSORSHIP AT ALL!" It has received more than 130 replies in the month it has been up.
The reasons fans are so mad, and one percent are off their rockers: One, the voices are bad. A character who sounds so eloquent but demonically evil at the same time (Freezer) becomes a woman. And Gokou, the lead character, who is supposed to be a brilliant fighter, but at the same time an innocent man who isn't the smartest and trusts too much, is voiced masterfully by a woman in Japan. The American voice actor makes him a plain ol' fighter. No emotion.
Two, the scripts are changed. I understand the profanity edits, but not making Freezer (Freiza in the U.S.A.) say, "Whatever turns you on, big guy!" Also, when Gokou (Goku here) goes super saiyajin for the first time, a very dramatic moment in Japan, American fans are made to think that the death of Gokou's best friend Kuririn (Krillin in the U.S.) makes Gokou become the legendary warrior.
Please do not judge fans on the basis that a small percentage send e-mail flames to FUNimation, and that a small percentage incorrectly subtitle a tape to make it more profane. Please do more research on your topic next time.
Sam Spencer IV
I write regarding a column called Buzz, which, it says at the bottom, was "compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams." Even though I did not read Rose Farley's "Stop the madness" (November 11) and its admittedly faked quotes, I am appalled that you would allow one of your columnists to defend her in the manner this column did (Buzz, November 18). The public's inability to see humor and satire in your fictitious story is not an excuse or justification for defending a childish, irresponsible, and unprofessional article. I hope that the Denton County judge and district attorney pursue their just claims against you, because they will be protecting the First Amendment rights of journalists who are attempting to operate in a professional manner.
You hurt people and then think it is funny, covering unprofessional actions with self-righteousness. You make it harder for all media, not easier.