Looking back, is 4kids' One Piece that bad to watch?

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Oct 23, 2014
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#1
The 4kids dub of One Piece is infamous in the anime community for it's extensive, and often times confusing edits and censorship, as well as it's bad voice acting, and heavily rewritten story and dialogue. 4kids' handling of the show was hated by many fans of the original, and it was this show that single handedly made them as infamous as they are today. However, today, we now have an official Japanese subtitled translation, as well as a more faithful English dub courtesy of Funimation. With this in mind, is 4kids' version of One Piece as unwatchable as it was back in 2004? I recently saw a few clips and episodes of the 4kids dub of One Piece, from mostly episodes I saw of the Funimation dub. After seeing the more faithful dub from Funi, the amount of nonsensical changes 4kids made to the show are... actually kind of hilarious.

Now don't misunderstand, the 4kids dub of One Piece is absolutely terrible, horrendous even. But, it also happens to be one of the best "So bad, It's good" anime I've seen. The talk about how it's a disgrace to One Piece and how it should be killed with fire, those claims may have held weight back when the 4kids version was the only official release available. But now that we have the far superior Funimation dub of the series, it's easy to look back on the 4kids dub as a hilarious un-intentional parody of Saturday Morning kids anime dubs. Seriously, give One Piece 4kids' a watch thinking of it as a parody, you'll probably find it hilarious. This is my opinion though, and you still may think the 4kids dub is unwatchable, and hey that's fine. But seeing a good chunk of the uncut Funimation dub, I think the 4kids version is funny romp of stupidity. I mean, it's been more than 10 years since that point.
 

jaylop97

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Oct 5, 2014
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#2
I've never been the type of guy who has really ever saw himself saying "4Kids voice acting was terrible" quite honestly I found most 4kids voice acting good, I always loved hearing Bella Hudson, and Jason Griffith putting in good effort in their roles.

As for the translation, eh It's typical 4Kids, I never really expected much from them in this department. They never really went far with this show, and for the most part I have to say I somehow watched more of One Piece with their dub than I did with Funimation.
 

Light Lucario

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#3
A good chuck of the hate came from how this dub was the only way to legally watch One Piece for years and it didn't really give new viewers a good indication of what the show is really like. I can see the dub being entertaining in a so bad it's good kind of way now, but at the time, if you liked either the manga or the original Japanese version, then it might be harder to enjoy it like that. The 4Kids dub having a negative impact on the franchise' popularity in the U.S. probably didn't help matters either.

I don't know if I saw a full episode of the 4Kids One Piece dub. I usually only saw clips or the last couple of minutes before another show came on. Most of the voices I can recall were pretty bad, aside from maybe Zoro's, but it's not really a fair way to judge the voice acting from just bits of episodes. There were some edits that were understandable, but plenty of edits to the story that just seemed weird, which I guess was par for the course when it came to 4KIds edits. The problem was that they were trying to turn One Piece into something that would work within a Saturday morning block and the series was just not designed that way.
 

Dudley

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#4
Sanji’s voice in it was terrible. I figure they gave them that voice without realizing he was going to stick around longer.
Either way, that was the thing I hated most about the dub.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

doomrider7

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Apr 10, 2017
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#6
As bad as it was, it was how I discovered the series and did like it(I was like 12 man, cut me a break). But yeah it was really freaking bad. They did absolutely NAIL Zoro's VA though and should have kept him. I mean come on, it was Guts's VA man.
 
Dec 31, 2013
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#7
The 4kids dub is quite amusing. It's the type of thing to turn on in a group stream and riff at.

One Piece fans didn't sign up for an "amusing" kiddified dub though, so they were understandably enraged back then. Now that uncut One Piece is readily available, I think we can all laugh about it.
 

Light Lucario

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#8
I remember people commenting back then how the 4Kids dub wouldn't have been that bad if they did have legal access to the Japanese version. Obviously, that didn't happen under 4Kids and given their legal troubles with subbing other series, it might have been pretty hard for them to do even if they managed to keep the One Piece license by the time they started subbing anime.

Now that the tables have turned with the 4Kids dub being out of print and uncut One Piece being legally available in both English and Japanese, the backlash towards the dub has been greatly reduced, if not gone entirely.
 

Neo Ultra Mike

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#9
I think the fact that not only is there a much better version of the dub out there but also one whose officially covered over everything 4Kids has done as well makes the anger to the 4Kids dub a whole lot more passable. I mean if there was only one way of watching the series from how it started all the way to Jaya there would probably still be more backlash but the fact Funi covered what 4Kids did and went beyond shows even those who grew up or watched a lot of the dub when it was on how small and miniscule their presence was within OP's overall lore. I guess you could debate that the fact for years we had the 4Kids dub and when they transitioned on Toonami to the Funimation dub we were already too late in the story to get a new audience so those turned off by 4Kids still weren't tuning in to droves thus why the Funi dub OP is no longer even on Toonami nowadays but... honestly One Piece as an anime series is sort of a hard thing to resell now regardless of past circumstances. There's just too many episodes and even if you do catch up the pacing due to overly expanding the manga's material isn't that great so it's a lot harder to get into. Seriously though I still regularly read the manga (as seen by my reviews of it every week) I've tried over and over again to get into the anime in the new world and just the pacing of things and look just don't work and quite honestly I don't really need to see the characters in motion or even in color to get and enjoy the story so I'm fine with just reading the manga.

That said though for years I did watch the 4Kids dub and even now despite the fact it no longer has any barring on the series overall even if you somehow happen to stumble into it without knowing about the original One Piece, I still say it's bad to watch. Can it be so bad it's good? I guess in small spurts but even if you are totally ignorant of the changes they are making and how they are trying to "baby proof" the original source material, it just sounds way too obnoxious to get into. The music is just terrible for starters. I mean there was a charm of the background tracks and weird rock bits in other series they did at the time (even in stuff like say Yu-Gi-Oh GX) but it just sounds overly cartoonish and grating to the ears and it just constantly bombards you over and over without really pausing. Like I know some people think the rap song is "so bad it's good" but even if you get past that minute of music the other 20 something it just not presented well and just comes across as obnoxious. And yeah then there's the actual voice acting. Like again some dubs of 4Kids actually try or their actors being over dramatic actually does make the situation still amusing and still carries some of the drama like for example Yu-Gi-Oh. That was not the case with One Kids who even compared to other 4Kids dubs you could tell they were not really trying when it came to the vocal direction or presentation. Lines and reads just came across as flat and drab when you could tell even just watching how wrong that is. Like for example when Vivi is crying out in Alabasta for her people to stop fighting and killing one another. You can tell just by how she's animated and looks how terrified and upset she is and how she's yelling out in vein to divert their attention but to no avail which really hammers in just how terrible a situation it is which is the point of that scene. In the 4Kids dub the delivery is so flatly given it sounds like she's trying to be condescending and more annoyed. So instead of a powerful dramatic scene you get something like this


Because again even in VISUALS without knowing the source material you can tell that was off and if you do know it's so much worse. And that's not even getting into a lot of the actual voices chosen for the actors. I will agree with a majority of the fans that Funi's voices for Nami and Zoro were fine and... Luffy's took awhile before you could get into but you argue the appeal of Luffy is that he's sort of grating until you actually get his deal. But the rest of the cast does not have that luxury. Usopp is suppose to also be pretty shrill but again there's a charm to that character that is still suppose to be there, Sanji's horrible raspy smoky voice just sounds wrong and even if you could argue it would make sense based on the fact he is a smoker (despite only smoking lollypops in that dub) you still want it to come off as aesthically pleasing especially when he is one of your main characters. They never did get Chopper's actual cuteness down (despite how much of the anime was cut just to get to Chopper quicker which yeah 4Kids later tried denying but we all know that was bunk) and I just hate HATE HATEEEEEEEEEEEEEE that stupid cowgirl voice that Nico Robin had. Seriously that's a case of "oh look that character has a hat, give her a southern accent. I don't care if she's going to be one of the main leads and the super serious one of the group who it shouldn't feel like you're telling a gag with everytime they speak; just do it!" ANd it just comes off so grating and I hate it so much.

And you know thinking about a so bad it's good entry works better if the material originally itself was just supposed to be dramatic and you fail it as so much it becomes a comedy like say The Room. Or if it's like a special or movie length but... OP is a series that goes for laughs as much as drama and the 4Kids dub is over a 100 episodes where any of that so bad it's good charm quickly fades. So yeah sorry this is just a bad series still even if you remove all the baggage from it.
 

PicardMan

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Nov 9, 2016
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#10
Sanji’s voice in it was terrible. I figure they gave them that voice without realizing he was going to stick around longer.
Either way, that was the thing I hated most about the dub.
David Moo is an interesting person in that he had such a quick fall from grace. His Xellos from Slayers was either loved or hated and Sanji was his only other role. It seems so dramatic that he didn't get a third chance.