There are a number of different English translations for the popular Anime One series. The 4kids dub and the Funimation version are two of the most popular. I don’t think it is a good debate to see which one is the best. Funimation does a far better job than I do. The 4kids Dub is quite different from the Funimation Dub. The Funimation Dub is a better version of the Toei Japan Original due to the censorship, the translation of lines from Japanese into English and the overall cohesiveness of the series.

It’s like comparing identical twins with fraternal ones. It took me a while to notice the differences between 4Kids and my childhood. 4Kids has made many edits. Often, these edits are not necessary. 4Kids had acquired a show that was very graphic and it needed to be edited for the “demographic”. The edits were easily noticeable. 4Kids did not just edit out blood or severe bruising, they also changed what weapons were used and the character’s holding while performing a particular action. 4Kids not only edited out blood and severe bruising where it should be apparent, but they also changed the weapons used or what the character was holding when doing a certain action. In regards to Death, the show never mentions it, but they make some situations worse, such as Kuina, by saying she fell into a coma due to being violently assaulted. Sanji, one of the seven main character, had an “iconic”, or defining, trait. Sanji appears in 4Kids with a candy in his mouth. Later, during a combat scene (4Kids announces Fox Box Schedule), he’s seen holding a lit-up cigarette. After comparing and contrasting 4kids’s version with that of Funimation’s, it was discovered that Sanji smoked in both versions. (4kids Vs Funimation Sanji & Kuroobi Talk smack dub Comparison #109). Some minor edits have been made to make it appear that the show is not offensive. The “race” of the character or its name can be changed. These edits aren’t noticeable if you don’t pay close attention. If they watched the Funimation/Toei versions or kept the rights, it would have made them harder to conceal. Funimation did not censor much of the original title when they bought the rights in 2006. Once they had the rights, all the characters were recast. To appeal to “casual viewers” like 4kids, the show’s TV episodes were edited and renamed. The show was cancelled in America from Toonami in 2009 and then added back to the mix. Funimation’s deadline was very strict when they took over the One Piece franchise after 4kids departed the scene in September 2009. The original One Piece TV series was released in its uncut version.

4kids had already acquired five shows. It was difficult to translate the Japanese into English, aside from the visual changes. The show had to be “child friendly”. Over a dozen of the quirks and traits of characters were written down in scenes, or simply lost during translation. To avoid confusion, some characters’ names were changed slightly to Zolo. Other characters had their names changed completely. In one case, the character Miss Merry Christmas became Miss Groundhog’s Day. The “iconic tree-shaped tie” was also changed from purple to green. Other translations have included the erasure of some English words or kanji on-screen, replacing them with something else, like Marine, Navy, etc., or removing them altogether. Some translations were renaming attack moves and techniques in English. However, they were mistranslated or changed to American terms like Onigiri, which is rice ball, to Chocolate Chip Cookie. Sanji, for example, uses French cooking terms in his attacks but these were changed to food puns by 4Kids Entertainment. Funimation translated the Japanese dialogue and kept the names, jokes, and puns as closely as possible. Onigiri is rice ball but Zoro’s attack has the name Oni Giri. To avoid this they would often change the food to American translations and keep the attack moves unchanged. Funimation has a version that is uncut, which shows the full content of the series without any missing signs. It also adheres to Toei’s script “heart”, leaving little room for translation or content.

The overall quality of a show is something most people overlook when watching it. Is there a plot hole? What contradicts an earlier episode? In terms of the completeness of 4kids, I must say that the show that they presented is full plotholes which would have later been exposed or characters that were either overlooked or crudely added with little explanation about the character’s backstory. They either skipped key episodes or tried to keep pace with the popularity. In both the Funimation original and Funimation Funimation versions, Nami becomes sick after visiting the Prehistoric island Little Garden with the crew. Dr. Kureha will treat her in the following arc when the sixth member of the crew is introduced. The 4kids version had her get “Grand Line Fever,” only for Dr. Kureha to ask if she’d been on a Prehistoric island.

Voice direction was given in a half-hearted manner or misinterpreted, causing characters to “miss” or completely miss the mood of certain serious scenes. Coupled with badly edited or translated lines, you’ve got a bad scene. The Soundtrack played American music and was often out of sync with the serious moments. It was common for 4kids to tone down emotionally charged and serious scenes. (4Kids Entertainment.) This is not relevant to the topic. In other media, 4kids had problems with continuity. It seems disrespectful of 4kids that they would be so sloppy with a title Japan regards as “treasured”. It is not my place to accuse them. They chose the title they felt best for their children and then did the rest. Funimation has a much better grasp of the original tale. Although they continued where 4kids stopped, I and many others were confused about the new cast (Voice Compare One Piece), they did a superior job at conveying emotion and character. As I’ve mentioned, they not only recorded the 104 episodes that 4kids filmed but also the original 143. The Straw Hat Pirates were given a deeper look into their tragic pasts. They also filled in the plot holes that 4kids left.

I think 4kids did a good job and can’t fault them for the changes they made. But Funimation was much more faithful to the Japanese original.


  • arthurmacdonald

    Arthur Macdonald is a 39-year-old educational blogger and school teacher. He has been a teaching assistant for 10 years, and has taught middle and high school students in the Atlanta area for the past 5 years.