One Piece (ワンピース, Wan Pīsu) is an anime based on the manga written by Eiichiro Oda. It's produced by Toei Animation and directed by Konosuke Uda, Munehisa Sakai and Hiroaki Miyamoto. It first broadcast on Fuji Television on October 20, 1999. As of January 2018, there are over 819 episodes spanning eighteen seasons.
Prior to the series’ acquisition by 4Kids Entertainment, an English dub was first recorded by the Singaporean dubbing company Odex in 2003, and was produced by Animax. Though Odex tried to license it for TV, the deal fell through after 26 episodes, the dub was released on VCD in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Odex's dub was translated independently and had no ties to any other form of translation. This dub is relatively unknown due to it being limited to those countries.
The dub had an extremely limited voice cast of initially 6 regular voice actors for the first season, then increased to 8 for the second. However many voice actors left between the two Seasons, characters such as Nami had three different voices through the Odex dub of the series. The common complaint leveled against the dub is the poor recording standards, poor editing and wooden acting. Odex’s dub only ran for 104 episodes, at which point Odex was unable to further license the series from Toei Animation.
As Toei Animation was scouting for an English dubbing company to produce an English dub for the series in 2004, there was stiff competition as to who would gain the rights. Test dubs were produced by FUNimation Entertainment (featuring Eric Vale as Luffy, Andrew Chandler as Zoro and Christopher Sabat as Helmeppo) and Ocean Productions (featuring Andrew Francis as Luffy, Samuel Vincent as Zoro and Chantal Strand as Apis) along with Blue Water Studios. FUNimation was so confident they’d be given the rights, they registered the domain name for One Piece prior to anything being solidified.
On June 4, 2004, 4Kids Entertainment announced that they had acquired the television distribution and merchandising license for One Piece in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. 4Kids won the license in a package deal with Tokyo Mew Mew, a show they were actually intent on dubbing, with no prior knowledge to the shows content. When they found that the show was not for their intended audience, the company pretty much had to do what they could do with the series until they had an opportunity to legally drop the license.
4Kids' dub of One Piece is infamous for its mandated edits for content and length, reducing the first 143 episodes down to 104. Many, if not all, of the changes made were mandatory for the series to be suitable for broadcast in a children's timeslot. One of the more notable changes was the digital replacement of Sanji's cigarette with a lollipop. There were various character names changes, most notably changing Roronoa Zoro to "Zolo". 4Kids toned down many of the series' more emotionally intense scenes, also toning down violence and other extreme situations, including writing out the deaths of characters, sometimes unintentionally making it even worse. A lot of dialogue was altered to include humor, often pun-based, even during scenes that were entirely serious in the Japanese version. Several episodes were also removed, including ones which would turn out to be important later on in the series. The original music score was replaced by a new in-house score composed by Jeff Silverman, along with a new opening theme, the infamous "One Piece Rap". However, 4Kids originally created an English version of the first opening theme, "We Are!", sung by Russell Velázquez. This theme only previewed at a con sometime in 2004.
4Kids' dub premiered in the United States on September 18, 2004 on the Fox network as part of the weekend programming block Fox Box, and would later air on Toonami in April 2005. Reception of their dub was overwhelmingly negative, being universally panned by fans of the original Japanese version for their alterations to the series. 4Kids contracted Viz Media to handle home video distribution, releasing 11 volumes of the first 52 episodes before ceasing production due to low sales. 4Kids released a statement in December 2006 confirming that it cancelled the project. Mark Kirk, the Vice President of Digital Media for 4Kids Entertainment, said the experience on producing One Piece "ruined the company's reputation." Since then, 4Kids established a more strict set of guidelines, checks, and balances to determine which anime the company acquires.
On April 13, 2007, FUNimation Entertainment licensed the series and started production on their own English-language release of One Piece, both resuming where 4Kids left off, as well as going back and redubbing their episodes uncut for DVD. For FUNimation's cast, Toei and creator Eiichiro Oda had picked from audio clips of who they'd like to portray the main characters and some of the major villains (such as Rob Lucci). FUNimation's dub of the series premiered on Toonami on August 25, 2007, starting with episode 105 (144 uncut), and aired until the blocks cancellation on March 22, 2008. For Toonami's airing, FUNimation created a television dub which kept consistency with the 4Kids dub, keeping their naming conventions (Zolo instead of Zoro) though contained much lighter editing and the original music. Due to Cartoon Network's standards, the practice of altering Sanji's cigarette into a lollipop was changed to it being removed entirely. Even with these television edits, the FUNimation dub was immediately well-received for the voice acting, dialogue, and original music.
FUNimation released its first uncut bilingual DVD box set, containing 13 episodes, on May 27, 2008, retailing for $49.98 MSRP. On July 26, 2011, FUNimation began to re-release dub episodes on "collections" using a discounted MSRP of $24.99 for 26 episodes. On May 18, 2013, the uncut series began airing on Adult Swim's revived Toonami late-night programming block from episode 207 onwards. As of November 2017, FUNimation has currently dubbed 552 episodes of the series uncut.
- The Latin-American Spanish and Portuguese dubs are based on the 4Kids English dub. However, both dubbed the original opening and closings; "We Are!" and "Memories".
- The Odex dub is the only dub to have Luffy voiced by a male actor. The 4Kids and FUNimation dubs both cast a female as Luffy due to the insistence of Toei.
- Luffy's name is pronounced as "Luh-fee" in the Odex dub, rather than the usual pronunciation of "Loo-fee". Chuck Powers has stated looking back would’ve chosen “Loo-fee” instead as he is now aware of how dedicated the fanbase is.
- Hatchan is renamed "Octy" in the Odex dub, as his name means "eight" in Japanese.
- The list of changes done to One Piece by 4Kids is long. The most notable are as follows
- There's the aforementioned edit changing Sanji's cigarette into a lollipop.
- The most noted renames in their dub is the renaming of Zoro to "Zolo" - an alternate incorrect romanization of his name. This was an attempt to avoid copyright issues with the character Zorro.
- Nico Robin is given a Texan accent only based on the fact that when she first appears, she's wearing a white cowboy hat.
- All instances of Japanese text, or English text for that matter, are erased and replaced by custom text edited in. In addition, instances of Japanese culture are often edited out. The most notable being changing the onigiri that Rika brings for Zoro in Episode 2 to chocolate chip cookies.
- All appearances of alcohol are changed to either "juice" or digitally colored blue and turned into water.
- All instances of blood are digitally erased. For instance, when Mihawk slices Zoro open across his whole chest, they removed all the blood from the image. There are a few unavoidable instances where blood is shown, such as when Shanks' arm is eaten and when Zeff's leg is torn off. The only instance of purposefully showing blood in the 4Kids dub is to explain Zeff’s nickname “Red-Shoes Zeff”.
- Episodes 44, 46, 47, 48, 50, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 63, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 131, 132, 133, 134, 136, 137, 138 were all removed, in which all cases, the storyline had to be re-written, creating many plotholes that would have caused further trouble had 4kids' dub continued. For instance, the removal of the Reverse Mountain arc and Laboon the Whale would have caused problems come the Thriller Bark arc and Brook's motives for joining the Straw Hat Pirates.
- The deaths of flashback characters Kuina and Bell-mère are written-out, and made unintentionally worse. Kuina originally dies by falling down a flight of stairs. In 4Kids' dub, it's said she's assaulted by a gang of sore losers and crippled by them, leaving her unable to fight. Bell-mère is originally shot in the chest by Arlong. Instead, Arlong sentences her to the dungeon, where it is implied she starves to death.
- Captain Smoker's cigars were digitally erased, and he was renamed "Captain Chaser".
- Ace was renamed "Portgaz D. Trace"
- Many firearms were changed to look less realistic, while others were edited into other objects. Most often, Marine guns are turned into water guns while the others are simply colored green. In one episode when Helmeppo threatens Coby with a gun, it's replaced with a mallet on a spring.
- All references to religious symbolism is removed, including crosses such as Dracule Mihawk's cross dagger, even medical crosses are removed.
- Miss Doublefinger was renamed "Miss New Year's Eve".
- The removal of the Little Garden Arc left the appearance of Mr. 3 later without much explanation. Miss Goldenweek appeared once in the 4Kids dub in an explanation of the Baroque Works members. Her name was changed to Miss April Fool’s Day.
- Miss Merry Christmas was renamed "Miss Groundhog's Day" - likely to avoid offending non-Christians. Her Christmas tree necktie is recolored to look purple and red, and her Devil Fruit animal was also referred to as a groundhog.
- 4Kids' voice cast isn't completely clear due to the voice actors not being specifically credited to the characters. Many are based on speculation. There are several recurring inaccuracies; Scottie Ray was originally assumed to be Smoker/Chaser, but it was later revealed to be Russell Velázquez, who uploaded clips of himself as Chaser on YouTube. Characters like Genzo, Pell and Dr. Hiriluk are also often incorrectly credited to Marc Diraison. The roles of Gold Roger and Gaimon were originally thought to have been done by J. David Brimmer as well.
- Although 4Kids' dub halts at the Alabasta Arc, characters that appear in later episodes such as Eneru, Satori, Bellamy and Blackbeard are heard in their dub of the video game One Piece: Pirates Carnival.
- In FUNimation's dub of episode 165 there's a jab at the 4Kids dub; Usopp, while saying “zero chance” in a panic, says “Zolo” after saying “Zoro”.
- The role of Gan Fall was initially cast to Randy Tallman, however he died before dubbing began and was replaced by John Swasey. Though, the original television end credits accidentally credit Tallman in the role.
- Michael Sinterniklaas and Jamie McGonnigal are the only voice actors to cross between both the 4Kids and FUNimation casts for the series itself. Sean Schemmel however would voice Dr. Indigo for FUNimation's dub of One Piece: Strong World.
- Los Angeles based voice actors Tony Oliver, Cristina Valenzuela, David Vincent and Michael Sinterniklaas all make guest vocal appearances. Vancouver-based voice actor Scott McNeil briefly provides his voice in Episode 425, reprising the role of Shiki from Strong World.
- The FUNimation dub skips Episode 492; which was a non-canon filler crossover with Toriko. Even though FUNimation owns the rights to dub Toriko, it is worthy to note that they cancelled their dub of the series after 52 episodes. Episodes 542 (another crossover with Toriko) and 590 (a crossover with both Toriko and Dragon Ball Z) are unlikely to be exceptions.
- The role of Chimney was erroneously credited to Lindsay Seidel in Episode 229. Mike McFarland posted on Twitter correcting the mistake, stating that Chimney is actually voiced by Lara Woodhull, before the next set released. All future releases properly credit her as Chimney’s voice actress.
- The Impostor Straw Hat's voices are the Real Straw Hats' voice actors switched out (much like the Japanese version). Of Note, Christopher Sabat and Luci Christian's voices for Fake Sanji (Drip) and Fake Robin (Cocoa) are impressions of their 4Kids' voice actors (David Moo and Veronica Taylor).
- Incidentally, both Sengoku's original Japanese and English voice actors died after Episode 511 (Sengoku is absent until Episode 703).
(Foxblock / 4Kids TV)
*4Kids - Episodes 1-143 uncut / FUNimation - Episodes 144-167 uncut
|Viz Media||2006-2007||Episodes 1-52||4Kids||1|
|FUNimation Entertainment||2008-2018||Episodes 1-574||FUNimation|