|ORIGINAL BGM SOLUTION THROUGH NEGOTIATION:
This is perhaps one of the most notorious issues in your
dub of DragonBall Z, perhaps even more so than much of the controversy
that was generated by the occasional mistakes made by NA voice actors,
both originally, and with the more recent cast. We understand that this
is not entirely in your hands; Toei has decreed that, because video cassettes
of DragonBall Z with the original music track do not exist in Japan, no
dub that is planned to be printed to video should be allowed to use the
original music. This probably seems confusing to other companies that were
interested in picking up DragonBall Z as an English dub as well as yourselves,
because it is somewhat questionable in grounding. However, we, the fans,
are interested in what attempts you have made in negotiating this issue
with Toei, perhaps in such a way as to reach a compromise (we understand
that, in your eyes, the current practice is probably not a fair compromise
for you). Another thing we realise is that sometimes, certain methods of
negotiation, while obvious, are difficult to think of simply BECAUSE they
are so obvious. Here, we offer up some suggestions on compromises you and
Toei could attempt that would allow both parties to continue to profit
(since Toei doesn't have DBZ videos in Japanese, their current profit on
videos is effectively zero, something you may be able to note and use as
part of the negotiation process), while giving English-speaking fans of
the series the original BGM:
Toei licences Funimation to print the original Japanese
DBZ to video. Furthermore, they agree to allow Funimation to use the original
BGM in any and all English dubs in perpetuity, so long as the contract
remains active. While payment and distribution options are quite free and
interchangeable here, one generic solution that we have worked out is for
Funimation to pay any additional production costs of these new tapes, for
Toei to pay shipping costs of the tapes from Funimation's chosen production
facility to any locations wishing to carry DragonBall Z in raw Japanese
(if the tapes are produced in Japan, with Funimation paying only the mass-production
cost, this may be an even more feasible solution), Toei pays Funimation
a percentage of profit per raw Japanese tape sold. This solution allows
each company to work hand in hand to bring DragonBall Z, in it's true form,
to English-speaking and Japanese fans alike to own. In addition, both Funimation
and Toei will agree to sell the tapes at the SAME COST on the dollar, thus
insuring that fans in one country don't turn to buying the other country's
tapes just because they're a few dollars cheaper.
Toei puts an end to this confusing part of the contract
by simply producing and selling the original Japanese episodes on tape,
thus rendering that section of the original contract null and void, and
giving Funimation full rights to finally use the original BGM track that
the series was meant to be shown in. This compromise, while certainly much
more straightforward, seems less "friendly" to both companies than Case
1, in our opinion, and it already seems like something Toei has probably
shot down previously, however, there's always the possibility it hasn't
been considered yet.
While some VERY hard-core fans may be opposed to this
idea, it would probably be best, and would probably ease negotiations more,
if Funimation agreed to use Kageyema Hironobu's English versions of his
original theme songs and other in-show BGM, rather than the original Japanese
versions. Note however, these songs should still be the same songs preformed
by the SAME artist, as English versions of several (if not all) of his
songs already exist, preformed by him.
While this is another somewhat controversial topic, we
believe we have devised a plan Funimation COULD use, with new casting,
to better enhance English voice actors in the series. Failing that, we
have also come up with another method that could be used that would ensure
that the voices were still outstanding (if not up to the same quality as
they would have if the first plan here were used). Furthermore, we also
see a way BOTH methods could be used together. Read on:
VOICE ACTORS: PLAN ONE
This plan would involve recasting voice actors from scratch,
and while the casting issue may be made slightly more complicated than
it is now, it should result in superior results with voices.
Funimation will conduct standard voice-acting primary
auditions as usual, with one exception: One of those working on selections
for actors MUST be extensively familiar with, and show that they have a
deep understanding for and of the original cast of actors in Japan.
After primary auditions, the voice director will seek
the opinions of the ORIGINAL voice director, voice cast, and possibly even
Akira Toriyama himself, before proceeding further. Selections of voice
actors will be made according to the pooled knowledge and opinions of all
these people, and since the original directors and cast would be involved,
the new actors would surely be perfect. Finally, hiring of those who fit
the voice bill well, but don't act well, will be discouraged. Actors MUST
be able to accurately portray emotions like the original characters, pronounce
Japanese terms and attacks flawlessly, etc. Acting ability is, in many
ways, MORE important than just the sound of a given character's actor's
VOICE ACTORS: PLAN TWO
Of course, Plan One is clearly more intensive than normal
procedure, and involves the participation of more people. As such, there
is the possibility that it will not be effective without a certain kind
of VERY precise management on both sides. That's why Plan Two is here;
simply, in case Plan One is simply not feasible.
With Plan Two, Funimation would go back to the Ocean Group
for a voice cast. While they were controversial, they were still very good
voice actors, and with small adjustments, their flaws as they relate to
DragonBall Z could be worked out easily.
Many characters being voiced by the original Ocean cast
where acceptable, and, in some cases, quite superb. They had their own
strengths and weaknesses when compared with their characters' original
voices, and some of them simply needed a slight "tune-up" to work out a
few of those problems. These voices include the Ocean Group NA voices of
Son Goku, Vegeta, and Bulma.
Goku was voiced by a total of 2 actors from the Ocean
Group, and while Ian Corlett, his first actor, is widely reveared as the
better, this is only because of one single flaw that seemed to be present
in Peter Kelemis' Goku. In all other cases, including pronunciation (better
pronunciation for Peter Kelemis being only present in his earlier work,
"The World's Strongest," however), acting ability, and sounding "more like"
the original Goku (without the original's problem of sounding far too young
or grating at times) Peter seems to top Ian. Peter Kelemis' only handicap
was a "surfer dude" or "thick canadian" accent, which is a shame, because
it was VERY major. However, since Peter is an actor, and since he seemed
to be doing so during his final days as Goku anyway, perhaps now, as Goku,
he could work out all traces of the "surfer dude" accent, without having
his other voice pros diminish. Or, failing that, perhaps Ian could note
what Peter was doing better than he was, and mimic that just as well (this
includes, in addition to pronunciation, delivery, voice pitch (Peter's
voice was slightly higher pitched), and yes, even yelling ability)
Vegeta generated a great deal of anger originally, but
much of it now, in retrospect, seems unwarrented. That is why, again, with
fine tuning, Brian Drummond could probably resume his work as Vegeta, and
sound even BETTER, and closer to perfection, than his earlier attempts.
During his career as Vegeta, Brian Drummond tried two
slightly different types of voices for Vegeta. His first voice, which he
used during the Saiyajin Saga (and will henceforth be referred to as NA
Vegeta Revision 1) was crisper and had a more "cool" sound to it than his
second (which will be referred to as NA Vegeta Revision 2), but it also
seemed somehow lacking in more important areas. Thankfully, Brian noticed
this before the end of his career and began working to correct it. This
work was apparently continued when he began voicing Zechs Marquise/Miliardo
Peacecraft on the English dub of New Mobile Report Gundam Wing, as the
gradual change can be seen there, from where he was as Vegeta, to where
he is today, as Zechs.
The major beef most fans seemed to have with NA Vegeta
Revision 1 was that it didn't sound "male" enough, almost to the point
of sounding androgenous. This is not to say that more bass for the voice
is invariably better. The voice Brian used for Zechs in later episodes
of Gundam Wing (near the end, in fact) is probably TOO bass, and as such,
the best voice for him to do for Vegeta would probably be somewhere in-between
the end result of NA Vegeta Revision 2, and Zech's final voice. Another
issue that fans had with NA Vegeta Revision 1 was that the voice sounded
a bit too forced, but, the above voice suggestion could probably cover
this as well (you will notice that Brian's final voice for Zechs hardly
sounds forced at all, which is a VERY big plus).
Of course, one thing Brian need not change much, if at
all, was the way he screamed or portrayed rage as Vegeta. It was on par
with his original voice all most all the time, and just as impressive.
Bulma only requires slight adjustment from Lalaina Lindbjerg's
original rendition. The only thing that really needs to be changed is for
the voice to be given a quality that sounds less prone to complaint (despite
the fact that Bulma is a terrible complainer anyway).
The above are all examples of Ocean Group cast members
who only must make small adjustments to make their voices work well for
their characters, but sadly, several voices in the group's original cast
simply require more major of a change. These include Kame-Sennin (Muten-Roshi),
Guuyanomayo, Kaio-sama, Krillin, Gohan, and, should you re-dub older episodes
to weed out all the terrible censoring forced by Saban, and the earlier,
bad voice-selection choices, Furiiza.
Kame-sennin would be easy enough to fix. His voice simply
needs to be less screechy. Getting an actual old man to voice him would
probably be a good idea (an example of a good NA DBZ voice actor for an
old man is Dr. Kochin, again from "The World's Strongest").
Guuyanomayo (Ox King), while having a voice that fit his
appearence, could probably benefit from some new casting as well.
Dave Ward's Kaio-sama is another example of a character
whose voice mostly fit his opinion, but just sounded totally wrong for
one reason or another (in this case, because Dave made him sound like too
much of a foolish fat old man). Kaio should have a wiser-sounding voice,
like that of a wise but heavy-set martial arts master, and Dave's voice
did not fit the bill. Of course, if Mr. Ward were to do a voice more like
his voice for Dr. J in Gundam Wing, he may prove to be able to take over
the role anyway.
The only major problem with Terry Klassen's Krillin was
that he made him sound like a bumbling, 30-year old incompetant, whereas
his original voice made him sound like a bumbling, 12-year old incompetant
who could still retain his dignity. Perhaps Terry Klassen could just adjust
his voice a bit, or perhaps he'd still have to be totally replaced. That's
mostly your decision. Also, he seemed to have a minor problem with acting
out certain emotional scenes (such as Yamcha's death during the Saiyajin
saga...something about Terry's acting there was all wrong), but we suspect
this could be very easily fixed by him.
Gohan, quite simply, needs a voice that fits his age.
Not an overacting woman whose "little boy rendition" sounds 8-12, but rather,
one who sounds 4-6 (initially), perhaps even an actual child.
Furiiza's voice is another example of a VERY easy fix.
Furiiza is just one of those few characters for whom an identical mimic
of his Japanese voice would work perfectly, despite the differences in
language: A demonic, male alien.
Any other voices not mentioned here, from the Ocean Group,
would be mostly fine how they were. But, the actors should be encouraged
to watch the original Japanese episodes, so that they can make voice and
acting adjustments that they deem necessary to better emulate English versions
of each character, and thus, improve their acting for each character they
FINAL NOTE ON VOICE ACTING:
Voice Actor suggestion sheet coming soon!...heh,
sometime anyway. It's basically done.
Remember, Funimation, if blending both Voice Acting Plan
One and Voice Acting Plan Two is a possibility, then it would probably
be a VERY good idea. Not only would the results be invariably better, but
it would give fans closure. We feel that, if the Ocean Group was guided
by the original cast and voice directors, their renditions of the myriad
of characters in DBZ could be perfect.