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Kazamatsuri

What Happened to Your Promises TPCI?

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by , 18th December 2010 at 06:29 PM (2868 Views)
Okay, so many of us who are long term fans of the Pokemon Anime who have watched the English version regularly under both 4Kids and TPCI have hoped that one day we'd get a Dub that was unedited, unaltered, and uncut. But given recent events, it looks like that's never going to happen.

Those of us who were regularly a part of the Pokemon Anime fandom may remembed mid-2006 and the contentious debate that took place when production of the English Dub was transfered from 4Kids to TPCI (PUSA at the time). During that time, the webmaster of Pokemon fansite Pokebeach provided an audio clip of a San Diego Comiccon Q&A session hosted by TPCI. In that session, Lawrence Neves, then a spokesperson for TPCI had the following to say:

Our commitment this year and for the years of ongoing from here, is that we are going to try to keep the show as traditional as possible and as close to the Japanese version of Pokemon as possible, including trying to keep a lot of background music that comes straight from Japan.
So what happened to keeping "the show as traditional as possible and as close to the Japanese version of Pokemon as possible." The consistent decline in original Japanese BGM over the years under 4Kids, in favor of using their own excessive, repetitive, uneven, and completely out-of-place Dub-over music was a key reason as to why many of us supported taking the Dub out of 4Kids hands. Based on the initial sampling by the company that would eventually take over Dubbing of the series, we had reason to believe that the English version would keep all of the original BGM intact. However, in sharp contrast to Mastermind of Mirage Pokemon, Fear Factor Phony only kept a small handful of Japanese tracks (one of which was the Title Card Cue.

Despite the initially disappointment in TPCI's handling of the Dub, I was willing to wait things out. I simply believed that we'd eventually get to the where the soundtrack would be completely unaltered (though I was hoping it would happen sooner rather than later). For a while, it seemed the trend that was established under 4Kids was being reversed as a greater portion of original BGM was being kept with each following season. In fact, in Season 12, as many as half a dozen episodes maintained music just as it was in the Japanese version with no additions or alterations (with 8 seconds being a possible exception).

However, things appear to have changed in the latest season, with far fewer tracks being kept in the most recent episodes than one would have expected from TPCI at this point. It is amazing that after almost 13 years into the Dub, and nearly half a decade since it was taken out of the hands of fan-averse 4Kids Entertainment, that we still have episodes that keep as little as one or two pieces of original music. It is astonishing that after all the fan feedback, and all the reasoning as to why the English Dub benefits from having a soundtrack that is completely unaltered, that episodes are still plagued with underwhelming and completely unfitting Dub-over music. If TPTB don't get it by now, I don't think they'll ever get it.

Another issue I have with the Dub under both 4Kids and TPCI is the script editing. Like with the music, the script alterations became more frequent over the years under 4Kids management. Just as changing the music in an overseas adaptation of foreign language television program aversely effects the quality, so does altering the dialog, as doing so more often not will not adequately reflect what's being shown on screen.

Sadly, it seems that TPCI has not learned from 4Kids' mistakes when it comes to script adaptation, and it seems that in some cases, they make mistakes of their own. To be fair, the majority of translated dialog is spot on. But that doesn't change the fact that their are still numerous mistranslations scattered about on an episode-by-episode basis. Most notable of these mistranslations, are the complete personality overhauls of Jessie, James, and Meowth, the infamous Team Rocket Trio. It is worth noting that Team Rocket's dialogue was equally mistranslated under 4Kids, but at least then, they sounded somewhat human. Under TPCI however, nothing that is ever uttered by the trio sounds even close to anything ever spoken by a normal human being. Nowadays, not a single member of the fandom seems to think that Team Rocket is funny in the least. And from stories I've heard even audience members who are of target age (6-11) seem to groan in disgust at the Trio, and want as little time spent on them as possible.

Every one of TR's groan inducing dialogue includes one or more more of the following:

A. Wordplay such as rhyming and alliterations
B. Outdated Slang (Meowth's "Dig it" seems to be the prime example)
C. Cheap insults that don't reflect what was said in the original version.

Unfortunate, it doesn't look like this will change given that Carter Cathcart a.k.a Jimmy Zoppi a.k.a Billy Beach, the lead writer under TPCI's Dub, had the following to say back in February 2010:

The only thing I will say about Japanese vs. US is, the Japanese translation is not funny at all. What made Pokemon popular in the 1st place was being able to stray from the original Japanese, and that will continue. And my experience is- that Team Rocket is the funniest stuff on the show!
Okay, first of all, what compelled Jimmy Zoppi to think it was a good idea to not only rewrite Team Rocket's dialogue from the Japanese translation in general, but specifically rewrite them in the manner he's been doing over the past few years? What focus group told him his rewrites were funny or even clever? Secondly, what prompted Zoppi to make such an outburst? You know, this is the same guy who jumped ship prematurely to work on TPCI's Pokemon Dub at the expense of being blacklisted from future work by 4Kids Ent., and he knows full well how the latter company responds to fan feedback. So I find it completely ironic that he of all people would make such fan averse comments in the same vein as Alfred Kahn himself, the CEO of 4Kids. I mean, are these remarks a reflection of Zoppi's own personal opinion, or was it just an ego-driven statement based on an internal or external grudge he has? No one knows for sure, but seeing this is just mind-boggling.

It's been a disappointing 4.5 years for me... not just from a quality perspective, but from a personal perspective as well. I spent a long time defending TPCI's decision to handle production of the Dub in-house, despite a controversial (but unavoidable) cast change, because I believed overall that they would be more receptive to fan input, and that their handling of the Dub would be an improvement. For a while, I thought it was an improvement over 4Kids (TPCI's lack of paint edits are noteworthy but insignificant). But at this point, I'm convinced that Pokemon will never be the edit-free Dub I had hoped it would be. In my opinion, Pokemon under 4Kids and TPCI are both equally under-quality in their own ways. Picking either company over the other to me would just mean picking the lesser of two evils, and that's about it.

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Updated 18th December 2010 at 07:19 PM by Kazamatsuri

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  1. Snoozer41's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YeOldeJacob
    Quick question; why does it have to stick to its source material?
    A lot of anime fans and television/film fans in general seem to be under the impression that watching and or buying a show is some sort of legal contract in which the viewer and the distribution company make a written or verbal agreement before the product is released. They also seem to be under the impression that the majority of the Japanese companies who give the license of their shows away actually care about the property's "artistic integrity". What they fail to realize is that most of the time the people in charge couldn't care less about what the fans of the original version want. Money is money no matter if it's from the enthusiasts or the casual buyers.

    What people have trouble acknowledging is that they don't have any actual ownership over the series they enjoy therefore their opinion ultimately doesn't matter. Once you have legal ownership over something you can do almost anything you want with it. Unless it's against the law, treatment of that possession is entirely up to the owner.

    Fans of Pokemon can complain all they want about the dub but any changes made to the source material is entirely fair and justified. There's no argument to be had here folks.
  2. FabuVinny's Avatar
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    No. You have to back up why the changes are "justified". There are reasons for why the owners of the franchise do what they do. The paying consumer has every right to an opinion on the product, which the owner should take into account as it will affect whether they buy the next product. (Or give the ratings for advertisers in the case of the TV broadcast.) The enthusiasts will be willing to spend more money on the franchise than the casual fan.

    Now you could have pointed out that TPCI are in a position where they're fine as as long as the younger fans who know nothing of the original version are happy. That is a fact that we have to deal with. But that doesn't mean the series can't still benefit from catering to the older audience's issues with the dub, especially when the alternative of the Japanese version still isn't legally available. For a recent example of that, the recent Dragon Ball Z Kai dub is getting a new generation into Dragon Ball, while the DVD release is uncut with both the original and dub language tracks. And this is a series that was in a similar situation to Pokémon back in the '90s.

    Changes aren't bad by default but they can certainly make the quality worse. I'm not sure that the fans of the Japanese version are getting their point across by always focusing on the number of BGM kept but there is a fair point when the replacement music is unsuitable to the scene. Case in point: Any lighter episode that has appropriate music in the original but the dub tries to go for dramatic. It just makes the episode seem boring in the dub. And it's always possible to simply like the original score over the dub tracks.

    Now my own opinion on the Jimmy Zoppi quote is actually that I can agree to a point. It's a tricky process, though. There's knowing where to do it and where not to do it. Plus, the execution has to be, y'know, actually funny. Team Rocket were entertaining under 4Kids so I personally have no problems with them there. On the flip side, they are the worst part of the TPCI dub. Team Rocket has always been written for the older crowd, both in the original and the dub. So if the older fans can't stand them then TPCI have failed at writing their characters.
  3. Snoozer41's Avatar
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    The reason why they don’t have to justify what they do is because people will always find something to complain about. To this day there are still plenty of new English anime and manga that are not uncut or 100% accurately translated but sell well. Likewise there are anime and manga that are uncut and accurate but still perform badly. There are numerous instances where a manga or anime was edited and companies never bothered to justify their reasoning despite fans complaints. Most of the time companies are not looking to make the best possible dub because there will always be people who hate it or refuse to buy it regardless of whether its good or not. We all have different standards when it comes to quality.

    Not every show is a DBZ, or One Piece where catering to the hardcore-fans is profitable. Even if the enthusiasts are willing to pay more sometimes it’s just a matter of the casual viewers outnumbering them. There’s a reason why so few monster battle/toyetic anime have uncut releases. If stuff like Digimon, Monster Rancher, Blue Dragon, Medabots, Zatch Bell, Pokémon, and etc got the Dragon Box treatment or Funi One Piece treatment how many people would be willing to shell out top dollar for the ultimate release? I’m willing to bet that there would be some but not nearly enough customers to warrant the time and money that went into making it.

    The fact of the matter is not every anime release will please everyone. Even the most edited and horribly adapted shows have their fans. I don’t have a problem with people criticizing edited anime and manga. My beef is with people who think change automatically makes something inferior to the original. Same goes for people who think filler cannot be as good as the source material. Furthermore, sticking as close as possible to the original isn’t always beneficial for business. There is no right or wrong when it comes to cut or uncut, dub or sub. That’s why I say TCPI is completely fair and justified whenever they make changes. You may not like or understand it but that’s simply how they wish to conduct business. They don’t have to answer to anyone who likes or dislikes their version of Pokémon.
  4. Mjolnir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snoozer41
    They also seem to be under the impression that the majority of the Japanese companies who give the license of their shows away actually care about the property's "artistic integrity". What they fail to realize is that most of the time the people in charge couldn't care less about what the fans of the original version want.
    Right so, Studio Pierrot pulled Tokyo Mew Mew from 4kids and Toei took One Piece from 4kids because they didn't care?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snoozer41
    There are numerous instances where a manga or anime was edited and companies never bothered to justify their reasoning despite fans complaints.
    You were saying?
  5. Snoozer41's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mjolnir
    Right so, Studio Pierrot pulled Tokyo Mew Mew from 4kids and Toei took One Piece from 4kids because they didn't care?
    They took One Piece back and gave it to Funi after 4kids cancelled it and stopped dubbing episodes. It’s not the same as Pokemon and TCPI where they pulled the rug from under 4kids. 4kids didn’t even seek to acquire One Piece to begin with; Toei gave it to them as package deal. Also, Tokyo Mew Mew is just one example. There are dozens of anime that were either unsuccessful or edited and the Japanese studios never bothered to take the licenses back. A business is concerned about profits first. If an edited show manages to sell lots of merch or get good ratings they probably don't care how much it was altered.

    Notice how I said numerous instances and not "no instances". I'm fully aware that there are some industry reps that go out of their way to explain edits such as Vertical Ed and J Sirabella. That still doesn’t change the fact that there are many edits that companies will never try to explain or apologize for. And was nitpicking my post really that necessary? I think you know what message I'm trying to get across.

    Believe me, I'm not a big fan of edits either but I can still take a moment to try and look at things in a different perspective. The "Rawr!! Edited anime sucks! They ruined the original and spit in the face of the creators! Dub companies are stupid and evilz! is an awful mentality to have. I'm not accusing anyone here of thinking like this but this is often what these kinds of discussions turn into. Just pages upon pages of bashing against TCPI, 4kids, VIZ or anybody else who edits a show. Unnecessary amounts of hate that don’t accomplish anything.
  6. Mjolnir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snoozer41
    4kids didn’t even seek to acquire One Piece to begin with; Toei gave it to them as package deal.
    Uh no, how it went was Funimation was trying to license One Piece at first but, 4kids offered more money and Toei gave it to them.

    And was nitpicking my post really that necessary? I think you know what message I'm trying to get across.
    It's a forum, people do that/I knew but, didn't feel like having a million lil' mini-quotes.

    Believe me, I'm not a big fan of edits either [...]Unnecessary amounts of hate that don’t accomplish anything.
    Ok but why even bring that up here? Kazamatsuri is being civil about everything and so are the commentators here (for the most part (can't speak for everyone xP)). It's like you came in here and didn't bother reading the atmosphere, just went "Oh a rant on a dub company? Must just be stupid otaku rantz, I'm gonna complain!"
  7. Snoozer41's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mjolnir
    Uh no, how it went was Funimation was trying to license One Piece at first but, 4kids offered more money and Toei gave it to them.
    That’s not what I heard happened according to one of 4kid’s reps. I’m not about to pretend to know what actually took place between these companies so let’s just drop this topic shall we?

    Ok but why even bring that up here? Kazamatsuri is being civil about everything and so are the commentators here (for the most part (can't speak for everyone xP)). It's like you came in here and didn't bother reading the atmosphere, just went "Oh a rant on a dub company? Must just be stupid otaku rantz, I'm gonna complain!"
    Your saying I didn’t read the atmosphere and started complaining but I clearly stated in my previous post t that I wasn’t accusing anyone here of otaku ranting. Also, I never once attacked anyone here by saying their comments were dumb. It seems like my feedback came off differently to you but let me set the record straight. My intention was to help deter any such rants from taking place in this discussion by adding some further objective commentary. I like civil debate and I’m sure we both don’t want ignorance and hate to rear its ugly head in here.
  8. Mjolnir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snoozer41
    That’s not what I heard happened according to one of 4kid’s reps. I’m not about to pretend to know what actually took place between these companies so let’s just drop this topic shall we?
    Just adding that I heard my side of the story from a Funimation rep.

    I like civil debate and I’m sure we both don’t want ignorance and hate to rear its ugly head in here.
    Same here so yeah, let's drop it.
  9. Delrihuzz's Avatar
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    Nice read, even though I find that TPCI does a good enough job, save for some awkward TRio dialogue. That may be because I really couldn't give a darn about BGM or rewrites as long as they make somewhat sense..

    And getting that Jimmy Zoppi quote out in public is gonna haunt me for the rest of my time as a Pokéfan :| He got pissed off about it as is. Not to mention he claimed it at a, for him, stressy time and probably didn't even think it through that much.

    Either way, what is said is said, but don't start nailing him to the cross. He's on the company payroll after all. It's only quite natural he's gonna defend their decisions.

    thanks,

    ~Delri
  10. Lethal Carnivine's Avatar
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    Now my own opinion on the Jimmy Zoppi quote is actually that I can agree to a point. It's a tricky process, though. There's knowing where to do it and where not to do it. Plus, the execution has to be, y'know, actually funny. Team Rocket were entertaining under 4Kids so I personally have no problems with them there. On the flip side, they are the worst part of the TPCI dub. Team Rocket has always been written for the older crowd, both in the original and the dub. So if the older fans can't stand them then TPCI have failed at writing their characters.
    You are absolutely right. 4Kids TR (minus James squealing and such) was actually pretty funny and talked like regular people. They rhymed a few times here and there and most certainly didn't insult each other as much as they did now (and that was back when Jessie was actually crazy haha).

    The perfect dub would be 4Kids TR mixed in with TR's music and script handling.

    On a side note, not every BGM piece from Japan is the greatest thing ever. Some of them are rather boring in my opinion. TPCI actually make some good tracks, it's just they are willing to use the boring tracks at the wrong time.
  11. Rex Kamex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Musashi
    I almost wonder if the Japanese music will be completely gone with BW starts.
    Oh the irony...
  12. Pokémon Master Ash's Avatar
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    Both dubs have their pros and cons. I'd say it depends on what the person likes more:

    4Kids- Voice Acting (For Most of Us: Some Prefer the TPCi Cast); Intros; Dialogue; Endings; Their Team Rocket

    TPCi- No Stupid Edits; Keeping Onigiri/Rice Balls; Faithfulness; No Dumb Errors

    It's all a matter of personal preference, I guess. I'm in the minority in that I prefer the 4Kids dub. XD.

    Neither dub is really that bad. Each has its own good and bad traits.
    Updated 22nd June 2013 at 07:50 PM by Pokémon Master Ash
  13. Misty Calls Masquerain's Avatar
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    The only thing I will say about Japanese vs. US is, my "translations" are not funny at all. What made Pokemon popular in the 1st place was being able to stray from the original Japanese, while at the same time making the characters sound like human beings. Unfortunately, that will not continue. And my experience is- that Team Rocket is the most groan inducing stuff on the show!
    Fixed. (and ugh, "stuff")
  14. Pokémon Master Ash's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Nekusagi;bt113653]Jimmy Zoppi and Billy Regan can DIAF.[/QUOTE]

    Jimmy Zoppi's Meowth in BW can go jump in a well and die for all I care. Even his Professor Oak is easily more tolerable than that voice, tbh.

    It's a shame about Zoppi. He was my favorite replacement besides Bill Rogers in the BF season. Now, both are my least favorite out of all of the current VAs.

    Billy Regan is actually one of my favorite VAs in the TPCi dub. His Harley reminded me of Andrew's, but just too catty for my taste. XD.

    [QUOTE=Misty Calls Masquerain;bt287800]

    The only thing I will say about Japanese vs. US is, my "translations" are not funny at all. What made Pokemon popular in the 1st place was being able to stray from the original Japanese, while at the same time making the characters sound like human beings. Unfortunately, that will not continue. And my experience is- that Team Rocket is the most groan inducing stuff on the show!

    Fixed. (and ugh, "stuff")[/QUOTE]

    I just pissed my pants laughing while reading this. XD.

    [QUOTE=Dogasu;bt114185]The "it's just a kids' show, it doesn't deserve a decent translation" argument is complete bull. Who are any of us to say what is and isn't "worthy" of a decent translation?

    A show doesn't have to be "high art" to deserve keeping its original music and have a decent script.[/QUOTE]

    Fair enough, man. Still, there are some pretty silly regulations the FCC, Kids WB, and CN have posed on the English dub during its run, so they are also to blame, as opposed to 4Kids and TPCi (respectively).

    Pokémon is a show for everyone. Anyone should be able to enjoy it, IMO. It is directed at kids, but it's a family show.
    Updated 22nd June 2013 at 08:17 PM by Pokémon Master Ash
  15. Misty Calls Masquerain's Avatar
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    Jimmy's Zoppi's EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER need to die. NOW.
  16. Pokémon Master Ash's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Misty Calls Masquerain;bt287804]Jimmy's Zoppi's EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER need to die. NOW.[/QUOTE]

    ROFL. Can't say I feel he's that bad. I call him the "Zop-ster" for short, now. LOL.

    I remember how was actually quite good as some of the COTDs like Samurai and Todd Snap. His Gary is annoying, but I was still able to tolerate it. I remember crying a bit that at least Gary still had the same VA when the last episode of BF aired. XD.

    It's as James/Professor Oak/Meowth that he's not at his best to say the least, IMO.
  17. Misty Calls Masquerain's Avatar
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    Too bad the people he was good at aren't in the anime now, everyone he voices now has crappy voices. Isn't Stuart Zagnit available?
  18. Pokémon Master Ash's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Misty Calls Masquerain;bt287807]Too bad the people he was good at aren't in the anime now, everyone he voices now has crappy voices. Isn't Stuart Zagnit available?[/QUOTE]
    Yeah, he's in the TPCi dub now. Makes no sense why he isn't Professor Oak again to me. *shrugs*

    Consistency with Inconsistency, I guess. XD.
  19. Misty Calls Masquerain's Avatar
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    TPCinconsistent lol
  20. 97SaturnSL1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsuru
    Because they can use BW to re-ignite older fans' interest, gaining more revenue.
    It's possible to have a slightly more mature show that can still entertain children.
    If they take pokemon to the grade of Animaniacs and other well known 90s cartoons, then they will not have to worry about losing revenue for a LONG time
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