Lately I've noticed that most of my favorite dubbed shows have been produced by FUNimation Entertainment in the United States. I took some time to think about it and I think the best way to analyze why is to look at what less successful companies do wrong. This first company that pops into my mind is DIC(K) Entertainment to those of my generation that ejoyed the American version of Sailor Moon before becoming aware that the show originally came from Japan. We grew to despise DIC for their treatment of our beloved show. Another example would be 4Kids that have the same kinds of problems that make me hate the American counterparts of the titles that they get their hands on. Hopefully by looking at what these companies mistakes, you can see why I love and respect Funimation for what they do right.
Characters: These two companies in particular have a rather nasty habit of taking really complex characters and making them very simple good or bad guys. In terms of Sailor Moon, they took the really interesting relationship between Rei and Usagi, they changed into nothing but bickering. The biggest example of this is when they stripped Queen Beryl of her motivation beyond the idea of being evil. DIC reduced the four generals interesting pasts into basic henchmen/woman. They also manipulate the characters into being completely different people. The most blatent example is exagerrating Usagi and Minako's blonde traits that overshadows Usagi's strong heart and Minako's skills as a soldier.
Voice Actors: One of the thing that iritated me even while watching the dub of Sailor Moon when I was a little kid is that characters would have really blatent and random accents. I always hated having to listen to Molly's voice due to her high pitched obnoxious southern accent. The only accent that I didn't mind too much at the time but makes me facepalm when I think about it now is Amy and Luna's rather random British accents. 4Kids in particular has a talent for finding the most annoying people to voice their characters.
Plot: Due to the fact that these two companies choose shows that are aimed at teens in japan whose population seems to be much more mature, you know for the most part, the shows are maketed to kids here in America. The only exception to this was Pokemon but even then they cut out footage and skipped over certain episodes due to mature content that was usually quite funny. The plot's to these shows had to be simplified for the average child viewer or spoon fed to their democrafic. The worst example of this was don by DIC when they told the twist of the Sailor Moon story within the first two minutes. Now it's not like the twist was hard to figure out when the clues were presented but part of the fun was piecing the clues together yourself.
Story/Script: Due to the fact that a large chunk of the episodes were removed or spliced together, the story was usually just thrown together. Sailor Moon is an example of a show that didn't suffer too much because the story was very basic and repetative to begin with. Two shows that greatly suffered was Cardcaptors Sakura and Tokyo Mew Mew because the episodes were shown out of order and there were vital plot points missing. The most painful part of the story was listening to the outdated dialogue from Sailor Moon especially when they would tell us that the princess they were searching for was from the moon. Who's the only character associated with the moon, ding ding Serena. They felt the need to change names and remove any indication that the show come from outside of America. The most irritation things was that they could never keep the names of their attacks straight because by the time that you remember what it was called they would change it to something else.
Themes/Violence/Nudity: The absolute problem with these shows is as I've already said the fact that they were made for a much older audience and a very different country but marketed and presented to a very young and unaware audience. Sailor Moon was one of the most guilty of shredding the original's more adult themes and Westernizing it that way it could be broadcast to an American audience. Japan doesn't seem to have the uptightness that we do reguarding sexuality, violence and nudity. Hell, they even use these ideas as plot points.
Funimation has consistenly proven that they respect the source material enough to keep from letting these problems happen by advertising their titles to the otaku market specifically. Funimation consistently has well written scripts, finds the best actors that give quality performances and respects their customers enough to release uncut/unedited version of shows that they agreed to broadcast on Tonami once upon a long time ago, their products have both the english and japanese tracks for fans of either version that can't afford to pay a small fortune for Japanese copies.
I understand that certain things will need to be changed but a company dedicated to quality understand how to acomplish that goal without butchering and mangling the source material by drastically changing it's script, removing key elements of the plot such as character motivation or mature themes that make the story impactful. Funimation has had its duds but I like dozens of their titles in comparison to three from the former Geneon, also three from Sentai at this date and time. I hope that I managed to communicate my thoughts clearly and didn't repeat myself too much.
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