The Ocean vs. Funi 11 year war!
Before I start off, Iíd like to say, that Iíve been a DBZ fan since the late 90ís and pretty much know what Iím talking about. Secondly Ocean and Funimation arenít two separate dub groups. Ocean are a voice acting group that were hired by Funimation to dub Dragonball Z. They had their differences and parted ways for a short while. So thereís no such thing as a Funi dub. They would appropriately be called the Texas Cast. Here is my unbiased opinion.
Funimation hired the Ocean Group to dub Dragonball Z in for the U.S in 1996. ďThe dub that made Dragonball Z famousĒ as the saying goes. Anyway, somewhere down the line Funi hired some people who werenít qualified or didnít know a thing about Anime, supervise the dubbing, so people in higher positions who knew nothing about dubbing or Anime, were telling others how to do their jobs. The Ocean voice actors being uncomfortable with this parted ways with Funi in 1998.
Now, Funimation were left without a dubbing group for about a year. Funi at the time wasnít as big a corporate machine as it is now. They were pretty small-time. They were out of voice actors and were getting bombarded by emails and letters by rabid Dragonball Z fans. If they did nothing, they would lose a big opportunity. They had no choice but to hire some actors off the road and a few others who starred in plays (Stephanie Nadolny, Sean Schemmel) and telephone operators (Chris Sabat) to dub Dragonball Z. These new voice actors were mostly amateurs back then, unlike Oceanís professionals. Now for all the Funi fans, those same voice actors are pretty kickass now, so please donít think Iím being biased and please donít spam my mailbox saying, ďOh how could you say they were amateurs? Your momís an amateur etc etcĒ. Well, that was the truth. At the time, they were untrained amateurs. Anyway, with them Funi dubbed season 3, the Freeza saga. The original version of this dub that was released on single sets was literally laughed at and mocked everywhere, but fans were still buying the DVDs because they were so stoked that they were finally getting more DBZ and many others would just buy them to get their hands on the Japanese version. Several petitions were also made to bring back the old voice actors, but that didnít happen for quite a while. Funimation finally wanted a U.K dub, but nobody outside the U.S liked Funiís American accents in their voice acting and demanded the Ocean dub. So, Funimation had Ocean Group dub Dragonball Z outside the U.S. Funimation did things at their own pace, while Ocean had under a year to dub all the remaining episodes and werenít getting paid well to do it either. They did it in a haste and moved on to dubbing Gundam.
The Ocean Group has an awesome voice cast and theyíre very talented. However I do admit that from the Android saga onwards, their dub was a little weak. Maybe because they dubbed it in haste, I donít really know. The first 53 episodes were nothing short of amazing, all the voices save Kaioh just fit the characters so well. They captured the feelings and moods perfectly. The characters didnít seem one dimensional nor did they sound like people doing voices in a booth unlike Sean and Sabatís early tries. They actually brought the chracters to life.
The present day Funimation dub on the other hand is really good. Their Kai dub is nothing short of amazing. Their Dragonball Z dub was pathetic till the Cell sagas. Their Season 3 and 4 dub was so bad, that they had to re-dub it thrice! One was the single sets which were laughed at and mocked like I mentioned before, one was for the uncut Orange Brick re-masters and one for the Dragon Boxes. Whoever heard of a dub group dubbing one thing 3 times?
Here are a few examples of their poor dubbing:
Krillin's in Da Houssssee:
Krillin's in Da Houssssee:
Goku's I AM Speech:
This was just cringe-inducing to say the least. Freeza "Wh Wh Why can't I hit you?" Goku, "You forgot to say please" That is just corny beyond belief. What's with his speech? Goku is supposed to be a happy-go-lucky hick who loves to fight, not Superman.
Ginyu and others Overacting:
Voices I like from the Funi dub:
Chris Sabatís Yamcha
Dameon Clarke as Cell
Chuck Huber as Garlic Jr.
Kyle Herbert as Adult/ Chou Gohan
Kara Edwards as Little Goten
Laura Bailey as Little Trunks
Voices I like from the Ocean dub:
Jason Gray-Stanfordís Raditz
Brian Drummondís Vegeta (He portrays Vegeta perfectly I feel. He makes him sound intelligent, cunning, devious, very arrogant and a little disturbed. Drummond really shines as a voice actor during the Namek saga.)
Peter Kelamisí Goku. (The perfect Goku second to only Masako Nowaza)
Scott McNeilís Piccolo
Paul Dobsonís Zarbon
Here's an example of how perfect Peter Kelamis was for the role of Goku. His high pitched yells were so unique. He's the only one who was closest to sounding like the original Goku.
Chris Sabat Note:
I used to like Chris Sabat's Vegeta a lot, but then I realized that I only liked his voice so much because he voiced my favourite character, Vegeta and I was watching DBZ in itís entirety for the first time. Later on, I realized that most of his voices overlap and donít sound natural at all. Almost all of them save Yamcha sound forced. Many people said, Sabat just sounds like a guy screaming in a booth and I see why theyíre right. Just watch Dragon Box footage or even the new Kai dub and spot the odd voice out .Just spot the voice that doesnít fit in. Itís Sabat. His Vegeta voice sounds so forced, he sounds like an old man yelling at a tree. Itís just not natural sounding.
I prefer the Funimation dub for the Cell sagas till the end of DBZ, but I prefer the Ocean dub for the first 53 episodes and the Android sagas. You could say itís kind of a tie but, itís still unfair to say so because Ocean didnít get to dub at their own pace, didnít have the time, production values were low and didnít have itís full cast, so we will never know what their real dub would have sounded like. It would most probably be way better than the Funi version judging by how the first 53 were done. For the first 53 episodes, thereís no contest. Ocean wins. Personally, Iíd say itís a tie, although I feel Ocean were the more talented dub group.