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One Piece (4Kids dub)

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One Piece (4Kids dub)
4Kids DVD.png
Dreaming! Don't give it up, Luffy. Dreaming! Don't give up hope for a better dub (Or is there Funimation?).
Genre: Adventure
Fantasy
Running Time: 22-24 minutes
Country: United States
Release Date: Sep 18, 2004 - 2006
Network(s): 4Kids TV (The CW)
Created by: Eiichiro Oda
Distributed by: 4Kids Entertainment
Starring: Bella Hudson
David Moo
Jason Griffith
Kerry Williams
Lisa Ortiz
Marc Diraison
Veronica Taylor
Seasons: 5
Episodes: 104 (in total dubbed)


One Piece is a 1999 anime based off the 1997 manga series of the same name. One Piece was first dubbed in the U.S. by 4Kids Entertainment While the show as a whole is well liked by many fans of the manga, the 4Kids dub, on the other hand was a critical failure as it gained a reputation as not only the worst 4Kids dub, but one of the worst anime dubs of all time.

Why The 4K!ds Dub Will Never Become The King Of The Pirates

  1. The chief problem with this english dub/version that it was made in a package deal between 4Kids and Toei as they wanted anyone like 4Kids to dub One Piece in the U.S., but here’s the thing: because 4Kids did not watch a single episode or heard of One Piece, they were surprised by the violence of the show, so they didn't even want to dub One Piece, but Toei forced 4Kids to dub it anyway.
  2. Out of all of 4Kids' dubs, this one is infamous for the most censorship, and it heavily affected the dub in the process. This dub includes the kinds of edits one would expect them to make alongside some far more confusing edits, such as recoloring guns to make them look more toy-like or outright removing them (in one instance Helmeppo's gun was replaced with a weird spring-loaded hammer in one episode), changing any instance of alcohol into juice (at least that's understandable, although there was a scene where the pirates tease Luffy in the original show for drinking juice, or milk, in the manga), replacing Asian food with American food (ie. onigiri replaced with cookies), and either replacing or removing tobacco products altogether (the most infamous example of this is Sanji's cigarette being replaced with a lollipop).
    • Many of the edits made to the series ended up making the plot more confusing due to them having to dance around violence and death or skipping entire story arcs, causing plot holes. To wit:
      • The Arlong Park Arc is one of the most heavily edited arcs in the series. One of the more infamous instances of censorship found here is when Arlong commands Nami to kill Usopp (which she pretends that), instead of stabbing her own hand. In the English dub, this scene is changed infamously to have Nami formulate an impossibly convenient plan involving using a rubber knife (which Usopp just happened to have on him) to pretend she stabbed Usopp while he overacted the "injury" (and they constantly point out the fact that it's a rubber knife).
      • Another notable instance of censorship, also from Arlong Park, occurs when Bell-mere (Nami's adoptive mother) is killed by Arlong in a flashback. In the 4Kids dub, she is instead sent to a dungeon that creates a plot-hole unlike the original version. This resulted in sloppy edits to the flashback, including Hachi being in two places at once.
      • 4Kids swapped Laboon out for an iceberg in order to bypass the Reverse Mountain Arc, which is one of several that they skipped for violence. Several other plot points like the Straw Hats acquiring the Log Pose and Eternal Pose, Nami getting sick, and Mr. 3's presence in Alabasta, are similarly rewritten to accommodate the exclusion of both the Reverse Mountain and Little Garden Arcs.
      • The point where they replaced Asian food with American food proves that they tried too hard to make it look like an American cartoon. This is also called Americanization, or Cultural Translation according to TV Tropes.
  3. Numerous characters are given very stereotypical accents that make them sound out of place, Sanji's Brooklyn accent being the most notable example and Dracule Mihawk's French accent being another. The biggest offender is that all major or minor characters who are considered pirates have their dialogue changed to mimic the stereotype pirates are portrayed as in the west.
  4. Overuse of incredibly awful and cringeworthy puns and jokes (such as dogs, food and dads) even in serious scenes. This makes it seem as if the humor was forced, making the dialogue seem poorly written.
    • Some notable examples include:
      • Usopp: "Check out the map, guys! See this? We can dog-paddle across, but it's so wide we'd start barking!"
      • Mr. 1: "Your attitude's the pits". Zoro: "Cherry, Peach, or Apricot?"
      • King Cobra: "if you Boogie Woogie with the Boogie Powder, then your Boogie Days are over". Citizen: "Meaning?" King Cobra: "Meaning no one can ever find out i Boogie Woogie'd"
      • Luffy (trying to outrun the pit of quicksand created by Crocodile's Desert Girasole): It's flushing me down like a big toilet! No no no no no! Crocodile: A desert toilet. A lovely way to describe it, Straw Hat. That makes you desert doo doo.
  5. Overuse of needless pop-culture references, just like the ADV dub of Ghost Stories, such as when some characters mention Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean with less similar pirate-like themes.
  6. Numerous unnecessary & some nonsensical name changes. Including, but not limited to:
    • Zoro - Zolo (most likely a translation error as "ro" and "lo" have a very similar pronouncing in Japanese, though many believe it was due to legal issues with the Johnston McCulley character Zorro, who is also a swordsman (and after whom Eichiro Oda apparently named the character)). This error also appeared in the English-translated manga.
    • Smoker - Chaser
    • Portgas D. Ace - Portgaz D. Trace
    • Miss Merry Christmas - Miss Groundhog Day
    • Whiskey Peak - Misty Peak
    • Devil Fruit - Cursed Fruit
    • Marines - Navy
    • Usopp Pirates - Veggie Pirates
    • Treasure Island - Golden Island
    • All Blue - Great Blue
    • Fishmen - Mermen
    • Gum-Gum Pistol - Gum-Gum Blast
    • Collier Shoot - Teriyaki Turn Over Surprise
    • Gum-Gum Pistol Shotgun - Gum-Gum Quake
    • Gum-Gum Gatling - Gum Gum Rapid Fire
    • Gum-Gum Bullet - Gum-Gum Burst
    • Gum-Gum Bazooka - Gum-Gum Double Barrel
  7. Awful voice acting, as most of them were seriously miscast and poorly directed.
    • Even though Luffy's voice in this dub is somewhat closer to his Japanese voice, his voice actress (Erica Schroeder) was poorly directed, resulting in her voice for him sounding annoying and phoned-in, especially during battles when he's doing his Gum-Gum techniques.
    • Sanji's incredibly deep and nasally voice and his thick Brooklyn accent combined is considered offensive to actual Brooklyn citizens.
    • Nami's voice is fine, but her performance sounds emotionless often. Luckily, it improved in later episodes.
    • Shanks has a Cockney accent for some reason.
    • Usopp's voice sounds EXACTLY like Jet the Hawk.
    • The Usopp Pirates (or Veggie Pirates). Carrot, Pepper, and Onion sound like more grown men than children. The same could be said for any of the other child characters.
    • Dracule Mihawk's French accent is just as idiotic/unnecessary as it sounds.
    • Arlong's sounds like he's voiced in stereos.
    • Zoro's/Zolo's classmates sounded like sad puppies with a monotoned voice when confronting of some bad/sad news.
    • Both Nico Robin & Alvida are given southern accents just because they're dressed like cowgirls, meaning that 4Kids took this WAY too literally.
    • Drum Island arc antagonist, Wapol has a Russian accent.
    • Miss Valentine sounds nothing like a grown woman and sounds more like an 8-year-old boy, as her voice actress Amy Palant puts in a performance that almost sounds like her performance as Tails from Sonic X. Also, her laughing is unfitting to her character.
  8. The entire original soundtrack is replaced with 4Kids' own in-house music, as per usual for most of their dubs. Several pieces of music are even recycled from their previous dubs. Most infamously, the "Pirate Rap" used as the intro is often regarded as one of the worst dubbed anime theme songs ever.
    • This proves that 4Kids were mostly lazy to make some of their new soundtracks.
  9. Entire story arcs were removed, regardless of their importance to the plot. This, unsurprisingly, caused a lot of major dub-induced plot holes later on (and would cause even more had the dub continued). This is likely either due to content or because Toei wanted 4Kids to get to the Drum Island Arc and introduce Chopper, one of the more marketable of the Straw Hats, sooner. These are:
    • Buggy's Crew: After the Battle!
    • Warship Island Arc
    • Reverse Mountain Arc
    • Diary of Coby-Meppo
    • Little Garden Arc
    • Goat Island Arc
  10. Some of the music put into scenes make the scenes look weird, like this scene where Ace (or "Trace", as he's called in this dub) is smiling at Sanji.
  11. The dub ended at the 104th episode (known as the 143rd episode in Japan, which is the last episode of the "Ruluka Island" filler arc), and the last shot of the 4Kids dub involved a ship about to fall on top of the Straw Hat Pirates, with the show ending on a very bitter note that implies that the Straw Hat Pirates died.
  12. Rarely, some of the characters got butchered in this dub, one example being Luffy, who became a somewhat hypocritical Gary-Stu.
  13. One of Buggy's crewmates had their skin color changed from black to white, mostly to avoid accusations of "racism" (as his original design closely resembled the "blackface" stereotype). Yet in the second half of the Arlong Park Arc, Arlong's crewmates insult humans by calling them "Pewmans", which is very ironic.
  14. This dub almost killed the One Piece franchise in America but thanks to Funimation, it keeps the franchise alive as of today and kept the dub closer to the Japanese sub.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. While most the voice acting is annoying, there is at least some effort put into a few of the roles.
    • Marc Diraison's performance as Zoro (Zolo) was great. In fact, some people even wished he would have reprised his role in the Funimation dub instead of having Christopher Sabat take over.
    • Gol D. Roger also had an awesome voice, courtesy of F.B. Owens. His role is so popular, in fact, that it outranks his Funimation voice actor on the Behind the Voice Actors website, and is one of the few actors from the 4Kids dub to have this distinction.
    • Crocodile's voice (David Brimmer) is also generally agreed to be one of the better voices in the dub, only being held back by poor writing and direction.
    • Like mentioned before, as the dub goes on, Nami's voice shows more emotions effectively.
    • Chopper was also agreed on to have a good voice in his small form, it's just that they changed it to a gruff voice when he grows.
  2. This dub was many people's first introductions to One Piece, and many people who watched it growing up ended up becoming fans of the original manga/anime. These people may not have even gotten into the series in the first place had it not been for the 4Kids dub.
  3. The opening theme while awful is still catchy and can be fun to listen to for some in a "so bad, it's good" kind of way.
  4. Thankfully, 4Kids removed two filler arcs, those being the Warship Island and Goat Island Arcs respectively, making the dub a bit more on track in regards to the canon storyline (rewrites notwithstanding) and avoiding a plot hole that would later crop up in Alabasta in regards to Zoro's ability to cut steel.
  5. This dub did spawn a really fun and enjoyable GBA game, and it localized One Piece: Grand Battle and One Piece: Pirates Carnival, both of which are very fun and enjoyable games.
  6. Some of the edits are understandable, like changing Whiskey Peak and Smoker's names and removing alcohol, as those would never get past on a kids show.

Reception

The One Piece dub by 4Kids was critically panned and generally considered to be its worst anime dub, as well as one of the worst anime dubs of all time. It also played a role in One Piece not being as popular in North America compared to Europe and Asia where it has a massive following. The heavy amounts of edits and censorship that 4Kids had to apply in order to make it suitable for children's television significantly and permanently damaged their reputation, and, alongside a legal conflict with TV Tokyo Corporation and Nihon Ad Systems regarding the Yu-Gi-Oh! license, was also a factor as to why 4Kids filed for bankruptcy on April 7, 2011.

Trivia

  • As stated before, according to an interview with Mark Kirk, former vice president of 4Kids, 4Kids never wanted One Piece to begin with, and they only got it because it was in a package deal with the two other Toei shows they licensed (Magical DoReMi and Ultimate Muscle, respectively), as Toei desperately wanted to bring their smash-hit show to North America as soon as possible. They did not screen a single episode of the show before agreeing to the deal and wanted nothing to do with it once they realized how violent it was. Once they were legally allowed to drop the license, 4Kids canceled their dub of One Piece and established new checks and balances to make sure something like that never happened again. Around 2007, Funimation obtained the license to dub One Piece and their dub received significantly better reception as it was more faithful to the original version.
  • Many of the staff members of 4Kids didn't like how their dub of One Piece turned out. David Moo, the voice of Sanji in this dub, didn't like the direction he was given to voice Sanji and despite Eric Stuart enjoying his time on the dub, he does admit this dub is pretty terrible.
  • Despite the intro being rather unfaithful, most people who didn't like the 4Kids dub actually confessed they liked the pirate rap.
  • Footage from the arcs that 4Kids skipped, such as Buggy's Crew: After the Battle, Warship Island, and Little Garden is still present in certain pieces of promotional material they made for the series, including the music videos for both "Be A Pirate" and "You Can't Turn the Tide" (two original songs they made).

Videos

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