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Answerman - Why Do Edited for TV Dubs Change An Anime's Music?


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penguintruth



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:38 pm Reply with quote
If a licensor can’t make an anime work with the music it was intended to have, they never should have licensed the property to begin with.
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Lord Geo



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:52 pm Reply with quote
I've also heard that, apparently, the FCC literally has a rule (or, at least, had a rule that might have since been taken out) that children's programming, which is what these "edited-for-TV-with-new-music" anime tend to be marketed as, literally cannot go for longer than 15-20 seconds (maybe half a minute) without music, regardless of the original artistic vision. Supposedly this was to keep children from getting bored, as they felt that children couldn't/wouldn't continue to pay attention to what's on TV if there wasn't some sort of music playing in the background.

Fox Kids' airing of Escaflowne is generally cited as a good example of this, as that show utilized little to no music often to help establish certain scenes, but the Fox Kids' version on the dub constantly added in music, often to the point of ruining the original intention of many scenes. As for whether this FFC rule is true or not is unknown to me, but it honestly sounds believable.
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Lord Starfish



Joined: 25 Nov 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:59 pm Reply with quote
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And for the record, now that anime isn't commonly hacked up for American TV very often anymore, this very seldom occurs these days. It's slowly dying out. For example, the English-language version of the most recent Pokémon film - Pokémon: The Power of Us - uses the complete original Japanese score.

...After last year's Pokémon movie kept a grand total of one track out of the original 57, and the TV-series at this point is in a similar situation where it's not at all uncommon for there to be entire episodes where they'll only keep the episode title music and maybe one or two other tracks. If the dub of Minna no Monogatari did indeed keep the entire Japanese score, then that's very much the outlier here. Granted, it's an outlier that I hope will set a trend being that what I've heard of the English replacement score in Pokémon has been far inferior to the original to me (Not that the original score is in any way devoid of problems of its own), and the almost complete rescoring of the show is the main reason why I always recommend that people watch Pokémon in Japanese if they're at all comfortable with reading subtitles.
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Primus



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:12 pm Reply with quote
I wouldn't say it's slowly dying out, as much as it has effectively died out. The only remaining shows that use replacement scores are Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, two dinosaurs that started using them 20 years ago. Newer properties (or relaunches of older properties) have either retained their Japanese BGM or had their BGM composed in the west in the first place. Of course, there isn't much children's anime being localized for U.S. TV nowadays.
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Stuart Smith



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:22 pm Reply with quote
I would say the only argument for saying "the practice of replacing music in dubs is dying out" is that television anime aimed at children is dying out in general. Of the few edited-for-children anime on American TV that still exist now and in the recent past, they still change the music quite liberally.

-Stuart Smith
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Dr. Wily



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:31 pm Reply with quote
Lord Geo wrote:
I've also heard that, apparently, the FCC literally has a rule (or, at least, had a rule that might have since been taken out) that children's programming, which is what these "edited-for-TV-with-new-music" anime tend to be marketed as, literally cannot go for longer than 15-20 seconds (maybe half a minute) without music, regardless of the original artistic vision. Supposedly this was to keep children from getting bored, as they felt that children couldn't/wouldn't continue to pay attention to what's on TV if there wasn't some sort of music playing in the background.

Fox Kids' airing of Escaflowne is generally cited as a good example of this, as that show utilized little to no music often to help establish certain scenes, but the Fox Kids' version on the dub constantly added in music, often to the point of ruining the original intention of many scenes. As for whether this FFC rule is true or not is unknown to me, but it honestly sounds believable.


That "rule" sounds incredibly fake, Justin's reasoning is far more sound (heh), it's just American composers/editors wanting to keep kids' attention spans.
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Primus



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:41 pm Reply with quote
Stuart Smith wrote:
I would say the only argument for saying "the practice of replacing music in dubs is dying out" is that television anime aimed at children is dying out in general. Of the few edited-for-children anime on American TV that still exist now and in the recent past, they still change the music quite liberally.


There are four children's anime shows on U.S. TV right now. Half use replacement scores (Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!) and the other half use the same music globally (Beyblade Burst, Yo-Kai Watch). Dragon Ball, which admittedly hasn't really been marketed to kids in the U.S. recently, no longer uses a replacement score. The first generation of Beyblade had a replacement score, but the second one used Canadian composers globally. The third one started with a Japanese composer, but has since moved to American ones (which were used in all markets). I guess Bakugan will be the tie breaker next month, though given that show has no Japanese broadcast date, who knows what can really be considered a replacement score. Laughing Given the western focus on that project, I suspect it'll be like the newer Beyblade shows and use a Canadian score globally.

Other than the two hold outs, the only recentish kids shows I can recall with replacement music have been the Saban Brands pair. That company no longer exists, so ...
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OjaruFan2



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:42 pm Reply with quote
It's true that changing background music for English dubs doesn't really happen anymore. Thankfully. Especially since most anime that gets licensed in North America these days are targeted toward teen/adult-aged anime fans who wouldn't tolerate such changes. Even kids anime aimed at mass-market audiences, like Future Card BuddyFight and Yo-kai Watch, are retaining the Japanese background music for the English dubs. Doraemon (only the US dub), Glitter Force, and LBX are pretty much the only kids anime these days with new music.

In Doraemon and Glitter Force's case, the new music actually sounds pretty good and gives their dubs a rather interesting, unique feel. If they were ever sold on iTunes, I would buy them. I have no comment on LBX since I haven't seen a single minute of that show.

penguintruth wrote:
If a licensor can’t make an anime work with the music it was intended to have, they never should have licensed the property to begin with.

Mind elaborating on this a little more? I'm interested about your viewpoint on this. Like, why would an anime series not be a good fit for the North American market if the licensor and licensee feel that the background music would sound too esoteric for mass-market audiences?

Quote:
modern Western children's entertainment is now basically wall-to-wall faux symphonic music with very over-the-top and obvious emotional cues. This is there to keep kids with short attention spans interested: it's as if there's a constant fear that the viewer will get bored and change the channel.

Has this logic ever been focus tested? I don't really see how kids would get bored of a show if there's no music playing. Kids certainly don't get bored if there's no music playing when they're eating breakfast.
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Shiflan



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:49 pm Reply with quote
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This is just inherent to the way American children's television has worked for decades. Most professionals who've worked in television, especially children's television, for a long time just do NOT understand the Japanese way of scoring a scene, and all of their years of experience screams out, "OH MY GOD, YOU HAVE NO MUSIC GOING ON!!" or "What's with that weird sad music box?? This is supposed to be a creepy scene!" And so on.

I wonder if those industry professionals understood that they were making the product less appealing to a lot of fans? A huge part of anime's appeal is that it totally shattered one's normal expectations built up with western "cartoons". To try and reverse those differences is counterproductive in the extreme.[/i]
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TsukasaElkKite



Joined: 22 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:31 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
For example, the English-language version of the most recent Pokémon film - Pokémon: The Power of Us - uses the complete original Japanese score.


I really, really, REALLY hope you’re right. Last year’s “Pokémon I Choose You” was almost completely rescored, save for the World Of Pokémon segment at the end of the film. I’m getting sick of TPCI feeling it’s necessary to change almost every piece of background music in the TV series and films. They have the rights to the Japanese score, why not use it?[/quote]
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:38 pm Reply with quote
Stuart Smith wrote:
I would say the only argument for saying "the practice of replacing music in dubs is dying out" is that television anime aimed at children is dying out in general. Of the few edited-for-children anime on American TV that still exist now and in the recent past, they still change the music quite liberally.
I can sort of see why that would happen, a lot of publishers now for Anime focus on a teen or higher audience where as in the late 90s and early 00s, there was a much bigger interest in marketing Anime in the west for kids, and the run away success of Pokemon must of helped a ton.So now they are going to only localise the biggest kids anime for the west.
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Silver Kirin



Joined: 09 Aug 2018
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:47 pm Reply with quote
Since the article brought the Pokémon movies as an example, I remember reading about the changes done to the soundtrack for the U.S version of the first movie, I think the composer said that the changes were done to appeal to kids outside of Japan. I admit enjoying the american soundtrack, but when I discovered the original version I couldn't imagine a reason why I wouldn't like the japanese version.
Regarding Digimon, I never saw the Saban version, but I heard they recycled the soundtrack from Masked Rider, but here in latin-america the dub retained the japanese OST and that confused me a little since both the OP and ED where dubbed into spanish, quite well I might add, but the insert song "Brave Heart" was left in japanese, though that probably had to do with the Music & Effects track mentioned in the article.
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Dr. Wily



Joined: 09 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:47 pm Reply with quote
Shiflan wrote:
Quote:
This is just inherent to the way American children's television has worked for decades. Most professionals who've worked in television, especially children's television, for a long time just do NOT understand the Japanese way of scoring a scene, and all of their years of experience screams out, "OH MY GOD, YOU HAVE NO MUSIC GOING ON!!" or "What's with that weird sad music box?? This is supposed to be a creepy scene!" And so on.

I wonder if those industry professionals understood that they were making the product less appealing to a lot of fans? A huge part of anime's appeal is that it totally shattered one's normal expectations built up with western "cartoons". To try and reverse those differences is counterproductive in the extreme.


Well that just brings the whole question of demographics and advertisers into the mix. Because let's all be honest, if you do like something like Pokemon, then that's all well and good, but unless you are an actual child, your opinions on the subject simply do not matter to the licensor/licensee/broadcaster since children are the ones who are going to be advertised to when these shows actually air on TV. The fans complaining about soundtrack changes are almost assuredly outside of that demographic. And while I suppose you could do an elaborate study where you sit groups of children down and have them watch various clips of anime with different soundtracks to prove that the original soundtrack is the one kids prefer, that would be... well, elaborate, and probably way more trouble than any research firm would deem it worth. In the end, like Justin said, ultimately it's American animators sticking to a tried and true formula and while things are changing, for some licensors deviating from that formula is still seen as too much of a gamble.


Last edited by Dr. Wily on Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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EricJ2



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:51 pm Reply with quote
penguintruth wrote:
If a licensor can’t make an anime work with the music it was intended to have, they never should have licensed the property to begin with.


Unfortunately, the Technical excuse tends to be the case more than the Artistic.
Was just watching ADV's Dirty Pair OVA, where ADV was unable to get many of the BGM music tracks for the dub, and had to substitute generic rock music in the scenes, although the original Japanese audio was intact--
Are you saying that ADV should have committed corporate seppuku by giving in to the tech difficulty, shrugging "...Licensors!", and never have released the Pair OVA at all, because it wouldn't be in as pristine a form as the fans insisted? If so, we, sir, have a difference of opinion. Razz

I'm not sure whether Technical or Artistic gave us the "Tank Police!" dub of Dominion, but dubbing is certainly in a better spot today than it was in the mid-90's.

(Also, as Justin points out, very little of it needs to be "Edited for TV", which edits would cause jumps in the music--
However, substituting harder rock music for DBZ's BGM turned out to be more Artistically in keeping with the show and its audience.)
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Hagaren Viper



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:06 pm Reply with quote
OjaruFan2 wrote:
Has this logic ever been focus tested? I don't really see how kids would get bored of a show if there's no music playing. Kids certainly don't get bored if there's no music playing when they're eating breakfast.


Ages ago when Yugioh was still fresh I remember seeing some kind of brief behind the scenes clip where they talked about the music changes and actual did show a bit of a focus group where kids got to choose which soundtrack they liked better. Could have just been editing bias, the kids shown actually did prefer the 4Kids soundtrack. Unfortunately I doubt the video actually exists online anymore.

I've always been mixed as I genuinely prefer some dub soundtracks to their sub counterparts (The original YGO soundtrack seemed really dry to me), but asides from whatever issues come with cutting down the episode, I wondered if it would really make a difference to a show's success in the long run if they just left the original music in.
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