In a recent podcast interview, Kirby Morrow has confirmed rumours that Vancouver-based Ocean Studios will be producing yet another alternate dub to the latest incarnation of Dragon Ball Z, crushing the dreams of those hoping for succinctness in the series’ English language distribution.
Comments made by voice actor Sean Schemmel a few months ago indicated that in addition to doing visual edit work for the FUNimation television version, Ocean Studios was going to be producing a separate dub for international audiences. It now appears that this is true.
As some fans may recall, after FUNimation relocated the English dubbing for the original Dragon Ball Z series to their own local facilities in Texas, European rights holders decided to create an alternative version rather than having to deal with FUNimation as a third party. The fact that they opted to use Ocean Studios, who had dubbed the initial part of the series, is likely the reason that YTV also decided to jump the boat on the Texas dub. It was a happy coincidence that this version would partially fulfil their Canadian Content airing requirements.
Although Kai, a re-edited HD remaster of DBZ, is largely being treated as a new series, it has apparently entered the same pitfalls of international distribution that the original version did. Now, despite the fact that a high quality, perfectly serviceable English dub has already been produced, money and resources are being poured into an extraneous version that will create unnecessary segregation and inconsistency between American audiences and the rest of the world.
Make no mistake, I’m definitely glad to see the talented people at Ocean Studios getting work, but to me this just seems like a complete waste of time. Rather than segregating international rights to DBZ, could FUNimation not have simply outsourced a title or two from their massive backlog to the Vancouver talent pool? That would certainly be a better use of resources, especially considering that this Ocean-produced version is rumoured to be of markedly inferior quality, almost entirely due to the fact that it will break the exemplary rule of English language adaptation by boasting entirely recomposed background music and sound effects.
While it is certain that this pantomime production will find its way to European airwaves, speculation that this will help it find a Canadian broadcaster is exceedingly optimistic. It is likely that even with local dubbing, not even the most market-friendly anime has a place on Canadian airwaves these days.
For those questioning the authenticity of the blue Mr. Popo picture, please be rest assured that it was a legitimate edit made for the series’ broadcast on 4Kids’ Toonzai block.