Ocean Group dub
From Dragon Ball Encyclopedia, the ''Dragon Ball'' wiki
The Ocean Group dub (sometimes referred to as the AB Groupe dub, Blue Water dub, BLT Productions dub, Chinook Animation Productions dub, Ocean dub, Ocean Productions dub, Saban Entertainment dub, and Westwood dub) was a dub designed for the Dragon Ball anime. It was recorded at various Vancouver studios in association with Cartoon Network UK, YTV Canada, AB Groupe, and Ocean Sound Corp.
The Ocean Group dub is the very first English dub produced for Dragon Ball Z. Ocean Productions, a production/distribution company located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada was contracted by FUNimation Entertainment to dub the first 53 episodes (67 in uncut episode numbering) of the series. These episodes, which were recorded by InterPacific Productions at Ocean Studios, comprised the first two seasons of the series.
FUNimation Entertainment (an American company specializing in the production, marketing, and distribution of anime and other entertainment properties) acquired certain rights to the wildly popular Japanese television series Dragon Ball and its sequel Dragon Ball Z in 1995. They immediately began work on an English dub for Dragon Ball and completed the first 13 episodes of the series by 1995. The network ratings for Dragon Ball were poor, however, and FUNimation Entertainment opted for the more action-oriented Dragon Ball Z instead. It is worth noting that, at the time, FUNimation Entertainment was a relatively new company (having been founded in 1994) and did not have the financial wherewithal to produce a dub entirely on their own. They collaborated with other production and entertainment companies to meet their ends, namely BLT Productions for Dragon Ball and then with the financial assistance of Pioneer Entertainment and Ocean Productions for Dragon Ball Z. Another point worth mentioning is the fact that FUNimation Entertainment drew from the same Vancouver voice talent pool for both Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. The same voice actors, therefore, appeared in both shows, albeit some in different roles. That aside, Dragon Ball was put on indefinite hold and work on the first English dub track of Dragon Ball Z commenced in 1996, with Ocean Productions dubbing the first 53 episodes (first two seasons).
During its formative years, the show had difficulty finding its target market/audience principally due to poor marketing with the show airing at awkward timeslots. As a result, financing for the series worsened to the point where Saban Entertainment (a distributor of the series and its major financer) and FUNimation Entertainment (the series' producer) parted ways. Not long after, however, the series' target audience was eventually found when the first two seasons (produced at Ocean Studios) aired on Cartoon Network's Toonami programming block during the summer of 1998. Ratings were positive and the series found new life, thus warranting its continued dubbing. By this point, FUNimation Entertainment decided to continue dubbing the project in Texas with non-union actors. From Episode 54 onward (the beginning of Season 3), FUNimation Entertainment began using their in-house talent based in Ft. Worth, Texas, to dub the rest of the series. Until these new episodes were recorded and produced, re-runs of the Ocean Group dubbed Saiyan and Namek sagas ran indefinitely for months.
When Season 3 of the series finally hit the airwaves in September 1999, an uproar was heard from the U.S. and international audiences. They were displeased with the new actors introduced to the series, citing, in particular, the more heavy American accents applied to the characters. They voiced their displeasure to FUNimation Entertainment who continued to dub the series in Texas.
International Head of Program Production of Cartoon Network Europe and the VP Program and Production of YTV Canada both wanted a better, enhanced version of Dragon Ball Z and they contracted the Ocean Group to begin work on an "international" dub of Dragon Ball Z (please see bullet 6 in the Miscellaneous facts section, below). Dubbing of this version commenced in 2000 starting at Episode 93 (108 uncut) and ending in 2002 finishing at Episode 276 (291 uncut), thus completing the series. Episodes 93-276 of the international dub were voice-recorded at various Vancouver studios with Ocean Studios providing the post-production.
It is worth noting that this international dub was created for the networks who had demanded a much higher quality than was available on the previous dub. For example, the quality of the international dub permitted YTV Canada to air the Dragon Ball franchise as back-to-back primetime weekday episodes, with up to 11 time slots each week. The original soundtrack was upgraded at the expense of these episodes. Higher quality, digitally produced music cues, and custom cues were acquired from H3O Music Company as well as more custom sound design FX incorporated into the dub of Dragon Ball Z. On specific request from the networks, the Japanese music was removed.
Once production of Dragon Ball Z was complete, work on the series' sequel, Dragon Ball GT, commenced. Due to cash kickback demands and other unprofessional conduct by certain labor executives, the production of the series' voices was moved over to Blue Water Studios in Calgary, Alberta.
The United States (Cartoon Network US) and Canada (YTV Canada) received the Ocean Group dub of Episodes 1-53 (1-67 uncut). From Episode 54/68 onward, both received the FUNimation dub. Canada, however, began receiving the Ocean Group dub from Episode 93/108 onward due to demands by the Canadian networks for specific QC levels. The United Kingdom (Cartoon Network UK, then CNX) and the Netherlands (Yorin) received the Ocean Group dub from Episodes 1-53, the FUNimation dub for Episodes 54-92, and the Ocean Group dub, once again, from Episodes 93-276.
The first 53 episodes of the Ocean Group dub were released on VHS and DVD (distributed by Pioneer Entertainment in the late 1990s and early 2000s). Pioneer Entertainment distribution rights to these episodes expired in 2004, therefore VHS/DVD sets featuring the Ocean Group dub of Episodes 1-53 are now out of print. These sets have since been replaced by FUNimation's "Digitally Remastered" re-dubbings of Season 1 and Season 2. These re-dubs feature FUNimation's in-house actors as well as the 14 episodes worth of content missing in the initial Ocean Group dubbing of the Saiyan and Namek sagas (see bullet #1 in the Miscellaneous facts section for more information regarding cut content, below). Unfortunately, the Ocean Group dub of episodes 93-276 have not, and will likely never be, released for English language DVD viewing. It is worth noting that FUNimation does not own the North American rights to Episodes 93-276 of the Ocean Group dub.
FUNimation/Pioneer also contracted Ocean Productions to dub the first three movies of Dragon Ball Z in 1997-1998. These three movies are often considered to be the one of the most faithful English adaptations of Dragon Ball Z as they contain the original Japanese background music, sound effects, no censoring, no editing, and quality voice acting. They have all been released to VHS and DVD.
Editing and censoring
The Ocean/FUNimation collaboration of the first 53 episodes (the first two seasons of the series) was heavily censored and edited. In fact, the original Japanese airing of the first two seasons was comprised of 67 episodes, therefore, 14 episodes worth of content was cut from the (initial) English release. Any references to death, scenes of excessive violence, or other content deemed offensive by Cartoon Network US was completely censored or edited out (though in the first four episodes, the word "kill" is used and both "kill" and "die" are used by Bulma in Episode 30. Also, characters like Raditz, Son Goku, Dodoria, etc. are still killed, though the term "sent to another dimension" was used often to describe it). For instance, whenever Nappa destroyed a building or city, he complained about it being evacuated. When Nappa destroyed one of the planes, a driver said, "He destroyed the cargo carrier". Another time, Tenshinhan said, "Look! I can see their parachutes! They're ok..." Of course, this was by network demand and had nothing to do with the Ocean Group dub like many fans believe. Some consider it a nice thing, and that death fits the Freeza Saga more than the Saiyan Saga.
- Several actors from Episode 1-53 of the Ocean Group dub returned for Episode 93-276 of the Ocean Group dub. By the end of the series, however, many had left. The most notable were Peter Kelamis, who voiced Goku, and Saffron Henderson, who voiced young Son Gohan.
- When Ocean Productions returned to dub the series, they began at Episode 93 and not where they initially left off at Episode 53. It is not known exactly why they skipped over Episode 54-92, however, it is likely they began at Episode 93 as that is where FUNimation was with their dub in 2000. A fan petition, created in 2003, was made in an effort to get the Ocean Group cast to dub Episode 54-92. There are currently just over 1200 signatures in support of it.
- Ian James Corlett stopped voicing Goku during the Namek Saga (his final episode was #37/49 uncut). This was because there was a dispute over non-professional conduct during and after some recordings and not, as some have said, because he was not being compensated by Inter Pacific Productions for the character's several, now trademark, yells.
- Peter Kelamis stopped voicing Goku during the Perfect Cell Saga (his final episode was #143/158 uncut) in order to focus on his career as a comedian. Kirby Morrow was Kelamis' replacement and the final voice of Goku for the Ocean Group dub. He began work on Episode 144 (159 uncut) and stayed through to the end of the series (Episode 276/291 uncut).
- Saffron Henderson, who had voiced young Gohan from the very beginning, had to leave the series due to her wedding conflicting with her alotted work schedule for the series. Her final episode was 150 (165 uncut).
- Production values for the international Ocean Group dub seemed to increase significantly during the Fusion and Kid Boo sagas. Casting by Inter Pacific Productions was far better, the quality of voice work from the actors improved, audio effects to assist the actors were incorporated to a greater extent, and new musical tracks began to appear in greater numbers. It is assumed that a more relaxed production schedule for these sagas was responsible for this jump in quality, but in reality it was the increased hands-on creative of Ocean Group and its network partners that made significant improvements.
- Interestingly in this dub, when Goku is transforming into a Super Saiyan for the first time, he says to Freeza that he has "got something to give that he'll will wish he'd never seen", implying that Goku was able to become a Super Saiyan the whole time.
- Interestingly enough, the international Ocean Group version still has the closed captions for the FUNimation dub whenever dialogue is changed. For instance, in Kibito Kai's flashback where Kid Boo nearly kills Bibidi, in the FUNimation version Bibidi says, "I'm the one who created you, you stupid idiot!", yet in the Ocean Group dub he says, "I'm the one who created you, you ungrateful fool!" The closed captions, however, say "stupid idiot" instead of "ungrateful fool".
- In the international Ocean Group version, the words "kill", "death", "die", and "dead" are never used at first (except for a time during the tournament were Kuririn uses them as a figure of speech), being (sometimes ridiculously) replaced from their use in FUNimation with "hurt", "leave", "destroy", or "gone". In Episode 236/251 "Gotenks is Born", however, Piccolo uses the word "kill" and Majin Boo uses the word "die" and "dead" twice. From here, the fear of using these words has permanently vanished, though admittedly this may be because the word "kill" appears in an episode title two episodes later.
- Interestingly, the original background music for Dragon Ball GT by Akihito Tokunaga was kept, the episodes were aired in their proper order, and the scripts were kept much closer to the original Japanese dub. The international version, however, kept the original Japanese theme song, but used English subtitles. An English version of the Dragon Ball GT theme song was sung while this dub aired on Toonami in the UK, however, these were different lyrics to the original song as produced by Cartoon Network and not a direct translation.
- The title cards were used in the Westwood dub for Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z using the ones FUNimation used. Dragon Ball GT uses their English translation of the Japanese titles as opposed to the FUNimation ones.