Main article: Ocean Dub When the decision to produce Dragon Ball Z in North America was made, FUNimation collaborated with Saban Entertainment to finance and distribute the series to television; they sub-licensed home video distribution to Pioneer Entertainment (later known as Geneon Universal Entertainment), contracted Ocean Productions to dub the anime into English, and hired Shuki Levy and Kussa Mahchi to compose an alternate musical score. This dub of Dragon Ball Z, often referred to as the Ocean Dub, was heavily edited for content as well as length, reducing the first 67 episodes into 53. It aired in 1996 for two seasons on the WB network's Kid's WB block, but was canceled in 1998.
Continuation by FUNimationEdit
In late 1998, reruns of the series found a new and consistent audience on Toonami, and the decision was made to continue dubbing the series. However, FUNimation had stopped working with Saban and without the latter's financial support, the former could no longer afford the services of the cast at Ocean Studios nor could they afford the original musical score produced by Shuki Levy and Kussa Mahchi. Therefore, from episode 54 onward (the beginning of season 3), FUNimation began using their own in-house talent, based in Ft. Worth, Texas, to dub the rest of the series. All the episodes from 54 (68 uncut) to 276 (291 uncut) were dubbed by FUNimation, and were broadcasted with that dub in the United States from September 19, 1999 to April 7, 2003. Unlike the Ocean Dub, the FUNimation Dub was far less censored and retained most of the mature content featured in the Japanese Dub.
Though fans reacted warmly to the series' English dub continuing, it received some harsh criticism regarding the sudden change of voices and background music, as well as for the dialogue, which contained some awkward or immature-sounding lines which would be changed when the series was remastered. In order to maintain continuity between the two dubs, several FUNimation voice actors made an effort to imitate the previous Ocean Group voice actors, such as Sean Schemmel's originally high-pitched voice as Goku similar to Peter Kelamis, and Christopher Sabat's imitation of Brian Drummond as Vegeta, though they slowly developed their performances into their own independent voices as the series progressed. One notable difference was Christopher Sabat's initial Brian Drummond-like voice progressing into his much deeper and more gruff voice for Vegeta by the time of the Majin Buu Saga.
FUNimation released their dub of the series on Individual Discs, each one containing three or four episodes. These episodes were completely uncut, with none of the edits made for the television broadcasts (such as Frieza coughing blood twice and Krillin swelling up before exploding).
Originally, Pioneer (later Geneon) had initial rights to distribute the first two seasons (up to episode 53 of the Ocean Dub) and later released them on DVD. FUNimation only had rights to release DVDs for episodes 54 (season three) onwards. In 2004, Pioneer's/Geneon's license to distribute episodes 1-53 of the Ocean Dub expired, and the rights returned to FUNimation. FUNimation then decided to redub these episodes, at first only dubbing the edited 53 episodes, but then redubbing the original 67 episodes with their own in-house talent. These 67 episodes were referred to as the uncut episodes, though the entire FUNimation Dub is usually referred to as being "uncut" due to the mature content featured in the dub and the series as a whole. In April of 2005, FUNimation released the first DVD of the Ultimate Uncut Special Edition line which would have contained all 67 of the Vegeta and Namek Sagas upon completion. However, this DVD line would later be canceled in favor of the FUNimation Remastered Box Sets which would feature all 291 uncut episodes of the series. The uncut 67 episodes still aired for the first time on Cartoon Network, beginning on June 14th, 2005, and aired a new episode every Monday and Thursday until episode 67 on October 10th of the same year. However, for the Vegeta and Namek Sagas, FUNimation opted to base their new dub on the original scripts by the Ocean group, save for the scenes which the Ocean group had originally cut from their dub, such as Gohan's encounter with the robot and Krillin mourning Yamcha's death (of note, Vegeta's line "Give them a moment to clear this trash off the battlefield" was left perfectly intact for Dragon Ball Z Kai, which was noted for its closer resemblance to the original Japanese version).
The first three Dragon Ball Z movies had also been dubbed by the Ocean Group and released in DVD by Geneon. The rest of the movies (4-13) had been dubbed by FUNimation's cast. When FUNimation acquired the rights for the DVD distribution of the first three movies from Pioneer in 2004, it re-dubbed those three movies using FUNimation's cast, just as the episodes. They were released alongside the first 67 episodes in the Ultimate Uncut Special Edition in the "First Strike" boxset. By this point in time, FUNimation had all the episodes and movies from Dragon Ball Z dubbed or re-dubbed by its in-house talent.
Changes from Japanese dubEdit
- As with the Ocean dub before it, FUNimation's dub of Dragon Ball Z does differ significantly from the Japanese dialogue, notably having characters speak during a scene that was intended to be silent. The FUNimation script also made numerous changes to the dialogue, which resulted in many errors. One notable change in the Ocean dub is just before Goku and Vegeta's battle: in the Japanese version, Vegeta mocks Goku for his low power level and the reason he was sent away from Planet Vegeta, and Goku counters that even a low-class soldier can surpass an elite Saiyan with enough training, while in the Ocean dub, Vegeta offers Goku a chance to join him, which Goku refuses. The FUNimation re-dub maintains the exchange from the Ocean dub instead of a new dialogue.
- In episode 108 of the FUNimation dub of Dragon Ball Z "Goku's Special Technique", it is explained by Goku that the Instant Transmission allows him to move at the speed of light (specifically 186,282.397 miles per second). This, however, was in the original version and the Daizenshuu even states that Instant Transmission is not a speed but merely a technique that brings the user to their destination instantly as long as they can sense it. Light, however, is not instant speed. FUNimation, not knowing the true meaning behind the technique Instant Transmission, decided to go for a more literal approach when explaining it.
- In the FUNimation dub of Dragon Ball Z episode 100 (episode 85 of the edited dub) for instance, the dialogues of Gohan and Frieza lead viewers to believe that Goku has been killed, and then revived by Earth's Dragon Balls (which makes no sense since by that time Goku had already been revived once by Shenron), rather than just knocked out, as in all other versions. Though the incident is never specifically spoken of again, later dialogue seems to correct the earlier error.
- Also, the origins of Android 17 and Android 18 are made so that they were based on human counterparts, whereas in the Japanese version they were kidnapped by Dr. Gero and turned half-android by his experiments. Again, later dialogue would correct this mistake, particularly using the fact that 18 and Krillin were able to get together and have Marron.
- In the FUNimation dub of Dragon Ball, the character of General Blue is altered to have a long lost brother, Samuel, in order to mask his attraction to Obotchaman.
- FUNimation's dub of Dragon Ball Z Kai has been much more faithful to the Japanese dialogue. Although most of the characters have retained their English dub names, several special techniques have regained their original Japanese names in the uncut version. Other notable changes in the dub include the usage of the Japanese music (similar to FUNimation's dub of Dragon Ball), more faithful translations of the episode titles, Guru being referred to only as the "Grand Elder" (as in the Japanese version), the proper pronunciation of the Kaio-ken technique, and Goku addressing himself as "Son Goku".