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8 Horrible Anime Dub Opening Songs

by Lynzee Lamb, May 4th 2013

There once was a magical time in anime dub history where North American anime licensors dubbed over Japanese opening and ending songs, regardless to whether the show was heading to American television or not. The American audience can look back at this time period with horror and bemusement, as actors with little to no singing experience did their best to match the original tempo with hammy translated lyrics. If that seemed too much, the opening was entirely reinvented for a techno-pop or rap number to make it more "current." These eight songs represent the very worst the English anime song genre has to offer.

8. Mew Mew Power (Tokyo Mew Mew) The 4Kids dub of Tokyo Mew Mew aired on Fox TV in 2005 in a heavily edited form. The series was 4Kids' first focusing primarily on a young, female demographic and to make the series more palatable for American audiences, names, locations and other details were changed including the opening song. 4Kids brought in anime dub song veteran Bree Sharp who previously worked on Magical DoReMi and Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys to sing Mew Mew Power opener "Team Up!" The song is pretty cheesy, with phrases like "if we band together like birds of a feather, we'll be friends forever!" To Sharp's credit, the song is the type of things little girls will eat up, but older magical girl fans are likely to hold their nose.

You can watch the English dub opening here.

7. Escaflowne (Vision of Escaflowne) The Vision of Escaflowne anime was notoriously cancelled after Saban butchered the series for the Fox Kids TV network. Along with the travesty of replacing Yoko Kanno's score with techno themes, someone had a heyday with Apple Final Cut Pro, mashing every overlay in the program on the opening footage. The only thing that keeps the song from being further down the list is that whoever worked on the theme at least had enough sense to keep a "fantasy" feel to it, at least on top of the bad techno beat.

You can watch the English dub opening here.

6. Ouran High School Host Club I had thought that dubbed opening theme songs for series had died out completely until I came across Kristine Sa's English version of "Sakura Kiss" for Ouran High School Host Club. My opinion didn't change after listening to the track, which falls flat for a number of reasons. Half the time you can't hear what Sa is saying, and when you can hear her, you can't understand her because of the song's pacing. She doesn't sound particularly energetic either way.

You can watch the English dub opening here.

5. Monster Rancher Monster Rancher is the first show on the list that features an oddly placed rap song for the opening. I don't know what the group was paid to perform the opening, but I'm assuming it wasn't very much considering how bored they sound throughout the entire sequence. The main catch phrase, "Monsters Rule!" is delivered with as much excitement as math homework followed by a boring back beat and weird choir chorus. I know this show was considered the more adult brother show to Pokémon, but Pokémon got an iconic theme. Monster Rancher got shafted.

You can watch the English dub opening here.

4. Ronin Warriors (Yoroiden Samurai Troopers) Just to get it out of the way, I don't know how "Ronin Warriors" is more appealing to an American audience than "Samurai Troopers." The opening, though, is hilariously bad. A super serious narrator introduces the characters and premise, similar to other boys' cartoons like Voltron or Thundercats. In the background, the audience gets the chanting theme "Ronin War'yas!" and other sing-song narrating reminiscent of those radio "Real Men of Genius" Bud Light radio ads.

You can watch the English dub opening here.

3. One Piece 4Kids Opening This is the opening theme that left many fans bitter, along with the other liberties 4Kids took when adapting One Piece for Fox (and later Toonami) in 2004. The song actually has a lot of energy (DON'T GIVE IT UP NAMI!) although out of context, it sounds like a strong abstinence message. The original jazzy pop song "We Are!" by Hiroshi Kitadani got a much better dub treatment by Vic Mignogna when Funimation took over the series.

You can watch the English dub opening here.

2. Cardcaptors (Card Captor Sakura) Everything about the Cardcaptors opening is wrong. The first original theme song by Gumi is very poppy. The tone of the dub is more ominous, with a weird elemental chant punctuated by "Expect the unexpected now!" The company was probably shooting for an easy merchandising slogan that never took off. I remember buying a Clow book with all the cards in it at Blockbusters (RIP) of all places but the series didn't launch off in the same way as Pokémon or Yu-Gi-Oh!

You can watch the English dub opening here.

1. Magic Knight Rayearth Sandy Fox cannot sing. This did not stop Media Blasters from using her for all of their covers in the English dub of Magic Knight Rayearth. "Unyielding Wish" is one of the most grating things I've ever had the unfortunate task of listening to, and her cover of "Still Embracing Light and Dark" isn't any better. Both songs sound like they were performed by one of the original My Little Pony characters. That might actually make either one better. Someone make a video of that.

You can watch the English dub opening here.

The new poll: Hollywood has been pitting the two against each other for awhile, but in the world of anime, which would win? Vampires or Werewolves? Vote here.

The old poll: Last week's poll asked which of these gentle giants is your favorite?. Here's the full results:

  1. Alphonse Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist) 37.4%
  2. Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro) 17.4%
  3. Sakaki (Azumanga Daioh) 12.6%
  4. Milly Thompson (Trigun) 8.5%
  5. Sailor Jupiter (Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon) 7.1%
  6. Yasutora "Chad" Sado (Bleach) 5.9%
  7. Maggie Mui (Read or Die TV) 3.9%
  8. Randall (Pumpkin Scissors) 2.9%
  9. Jinenji (InuYasha) 1.9%
  10. Pippin (Berserk) 1.3%
  11. Fuji (Rurouni Kenshin) 1.2%

Alright everybody, see you all next week! I look forward to your input in the comments and feel free to follow me on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee or e-mail me at [email protected]

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