4Kids’ One Piece — Localization Gone Wrong

It’s so bad it’s hilarious

Although now a prevalent topic in contemporary culture, there was a time when western people didn’t really know what to do with anime. With it being really popular nowadays, if not a bit esoteric, it’s easy to assign talented voice actors to take part in the dub of a hit anime. But even today, that’s not always the case, and it was even more in the past. I, personally, never got to see this version of One Piece for myself, given that I do not originate from a country where English is the primary language. Still, some people might remember the localization that 4Kids once gave it.

Long story short (and it’s a VERY long story), One Piece tells the story of one Monkey D. Luffy (with “Monkey” being the surname, because of Japanese), a jolly lad who has dreams of becoming the greatest pirate in the world. So he grabs a bunch of friends and goes on several adventures across several seas. Of course, that’s just the simplification of what it is, as it is, in fact, the most successful manga/series to date… or second-most, depending on who you ask. The point is, for those that hang around a lot on the Internet, this legendary anime doesn’t need an introduction.

But there’s this one travesty that happened to the show and something that most fans wish to forget. I’m not a fan, but in retrospect, it seems somewhat funny that it actually happened, and to the extent that companies are willing to censor material, even when it’s utterly redundant if anyone remembers the 4Kids dub of One Piece, well, then good for you because I don’t… because I wasn’t there… like I said.

Sometimes, “bad” just means “funny”

For those that have seen it, the 4Kids dub of One Piece is sometimes exaggerated to be the worst thing that ever happened to the anime, if not the franchise as a whole. But to be fair, there is some merit to that statement. Since the target audience of the show were children (at least, according to Americans), 4Kids wanted to keep violence as minimal as possible, as well as other elements that were “adult-orientated”, so to say (e.g. cigarettes and wine). What resulted was a cartoon riddled with redundant amount censorship that even a kid could tell that there is something wrong with the scene. Characters were slightly altered to make them more kid-friendly; entire scenes have been left out; even visual details changed to the point where it’s just desperate, such as photoshopping rifles to look like water guns or turning a pistol into a spring-based hammer (which looks stupefyingly weird).

Basically, you can get that this company, the likes of which I am not familiar with, tried too hard to keep everyone safe from the mere notion of violence so that kids won’t come home from school with bruises on their faces. Why? Because they picked a fight with the wrong kid. But the truth is, with or without TV, everyone grows up to have some degree of inclination towards violence, even in the slightest, as is the way of all animals. But that’s a discussion to have with Darwin, not me.

Anyway, that’s history and something that should be learned from. But if you look at it from a different perspective, a retrospective, to be specific, is that it’s quite funny. Of course, at the time, it didn’t seem appropriate, but if you feel like laughing at the sheer absurdity of an incompetent dubbing group, then you should probably watch this… if you feel like getting a few good laughs.

Ever heard of the “Big Green dub”

Well, one solution is already out, and that’s going to watch it for giggles, but I already said- it’s just that there’s something so satisfying about watching something so bad it’s good. I once had a special someone who watched bad movies with me, and we both loved it. You should try it too.

However, you could also view the problem like this: bad dubs mainly happened in the past because, as I said, people didn’t know how to approach it correctly since it was still relatively new at the time. One Piece isn’t the only anime to have suffered a hilariously terrible dub. Dragon Ball also suffered a similar dub known as the “Big Green dub”, but instead of too much censorship, it has too many grammar mistakes because the only thing it was indeed known for was the poor English featured in it. Now that I think about it, I should probably write an article about the Big Green dub… but not now.

Anyway, it happened, and it’s over, and nowadays, these things are far less likely to happen since voice acting in anime is such a major issue that if the voice actors get it wrong, it could piss off fans, and they can get real butthurt sometimes. So yeah, people learn from their mistakes, and that’s all that there is. But it’s still funny!

Do you think it’s funny?

I suppose it’s easier for me, but I’d like to believe that others can make light of this unfortunate situation that happened and will never repeat itself. But whether you’re a hardcore fan or just someone who watches for 5 seconds from the sides because you’re on your way to the kitchen and your weeb roommate was hogging the living room TV, then say what you think about One Piece, about the 4Kids dub, or even what kind of sandwich you plan to make when reaching the kitchen. This is the place… I think.

In Conclusion…

So… the 4Kids dub of One Piece? I don’t have much to say about it, or at all for that matter. I haven’t watched any of it, but I might just to lau… you get it already.

But those things were, and people learned not to repeat that bullshit. Just focus on the good stuff that happens today because there are a lot of good dubs out there (although true weebs would insist that subs are, in fact, the best)

Anyway, I’m going to watch one of those Big Green dubs. Hopefully, it will get me a laugh or two… I don’t laugh a lot these days.




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Jeffrey McGee

Jeffrey McGee

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