Alternative Foreign Theme Song: Anime and Manga

  • All of the anime that 4Kids dubs usually have a different theme song than the Japanese version. They also usually play an instrumental version of the intro song instead of the ending theme
  • Any anime shown on Nick Jr. in the 90's will have this.
  • In Italy practically every anime gets at least one if not more (especially airs on any Mediaset channel).
  • Practically any anime that aired on the former French block "Club Dorothée" had this.
    • During the Dark Age Of Anime In France, most shows got a French opening, many of which (but not all) are now considered So Bad, It's Good. French singer Bernard Minet is now more remembered for this than for any independent song.
  • Disney has done this with some of their Studio Ghibli releases, such as Ponyo and Arrietty. For most of the others, they simply dub the existing theme.note 
    • For the case of Ponyo and Arietty, a dubbed version of the original song used in the credits is played for a few minutes, (For Arietty, there was an English version of "Arietty's Song" along with a French and Japanese version when the movie came out in Japan) then the new theme song plays for the rest of the credits.

Specfic examples:

  • Some anime exported in France have a new opening song, if most of them are not better than the original, there are few good ones: Cat's Eyes, City Hunter (Nicky Larson), Lupin III (Edgar, le détective cambrioleur), Space Adventure Cobra
  • One of the most well-known Magical Girl anime in the world, Cardcaptor Sakura, has not just one foreign language alternate opening theme, but FIVE of them:
  • The 1979 Cyborg009 anime got a Finnish dub in the 90's, which included an entirely new opening. This is particularly interesting because Finnish dubbing companies usually never do that - in fact, at the time it was pretty common for dubbed anime to air with the original Japanese opening and ending themes.
  • Daitarn3 was very popular in Italy in the 80s and the italian opening a real Ear Worm.
  • The upbeat J Pop song of the Deltora Quest anime was replaced with a dramatic orchestral tune for the English dub. Arguably it actually fits the medieval-ish swords-and-monsters setting of the series much better.
  • Detective Conan has an Arabic opening.
  • Every Digimon English dub has used entirely new theme songs. The dubs of Digimon Adventure through Digimon Tamers used an action-packed rap song with minor alterations, while Digimon Frontier received an epic chant and Digimon Savers received a rock song. With the exception of the Savers one, all the dub themes feel very thematically different from the Japanese counterparts, which generally all fell into the category of upbeat rock songs. This generally extended to the licensed video games as well, which tended to use versions of the Japanese anime themes which were accordingly changed in translation.
  • The English dub of Doraemon distributed by Viz Media opens with Doraemon telling us about the show's plot. However, like their dub of Hamtaro, they did dub the ending theme "Hug Shichao".
  • The original short-lived English dub of Dragon Ball Z done by Saban with Ocean Studios had "Rock the Dragon" that was carried over through the end of the Frieza saga for FUNimation's in-house dub.
    • FUNimation's in-house dub of the Android/Cell sagas had it's own opening / closing that were instrumental tunes set to random clips from the show. The Majin Buu era did something similar, but based it's footage around the Japanese opening/closings. When FUNimation went back and redubbed the Saban episodes, they used this. Recent DVDs keep the Japanese opening/ending footage, but replace the songs with instrumental tunes not related to the original songs.
    • The Westwood English dub of the second half of DBZ for Europe and Canada even did its own rendition using the video footage of Rock the Dragon.
      • Their dub of Dragon Ball GT with Blue Water got it's own theme song using footage from the original opening.
      • Their dub of the original Dragon Ball (also with Blue Water) got a rather childish Canadian opening based on the French theme that the UK broadcaster found so embarrassing, they made their own opening theme.
    • The French dub of the Dragon Ball series used several original songs that were completely original to its dubs. Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z each used had different openings.
      • The European Portuguese dub used the French themes for DB and DBZ as a base for both the theme and the lyrics. The dub of Dragon Ball GT (of which there is no French version) uses the original rhythm, but the lyrics are based on the previous dubs, resulting in What Song Was This Again?.
    • The Italian dubs used very Europop-styled original songs for Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragonball GT.
    • It also has this Arabic theme.
  • The Dragon Quest anime has this Arabic theme.
  • Inverted with Eden of the East — the Japanese broadcast used "Falling Down" by Brit Pop band Oasis as the theme, but FUNimation replaced it with a Japanese song in North America for all-but the first episode due to music-clearance issues (namely, that there was no way they'd be able to afford having the song appear more than once; frankly they were lucky to get to use it once).
  • Saban Entertainment did this to every anime they dubbed, in addition to giving them completely new scores. As an example, here's the theme to Hakushon Daimao, and here's the theme to the Saban version, Bob in a Bottle.
  • The English version of Hamtaro uses two opening songs different from the Japanese version. However, it does use the tune of the first Japanese ending theme.
  • Long-running Japanese children's variety show Hello Kitty's Paradise had two! When it ran on Fox Family's preschool block alongside ''Storytime With Thomas, it used this theme song, while the DVD releases use this theme. Compare them to the Japanese theme.
  • In Italy, all of the Himitsu no Akko-chan series, there known as "Lo speccho magico" or "Stilly", had different theme songs.
  • Igano Kabamaru has an Arabic opening.
  • The Tokyopop dub of Initial D used an original theme song, in an attempt to westernize the anime.
  • The German dub of Inuyasha has two pieces of original music.
    • Many European fans believe the English versions for the InuYasha songs are produced by The Ocean Group (Change The World). They are really made by the Italian dub, sung by Italians, and have only aired in Italy. Anyone who has seen the North American TV broadcasts will quickly tell you the English dub uses the original Japanese ending themes, and the openings aren't broadcast at all due to time constraints (though they are on the DVD s and, yup, in Japanese).
  • The Japanese version of Kirby of the Stars is a cute little marching theme. The American version is an over-the-top jazz song.
  • Lupin III has three different openings in Italy where it is quite popular. The first with an accordion theme, the second and most famous (when the series aired on Mediaset) and the third.
  • Maya the Bee not only has a different theme song American English, but also has one in German which was dubbed into Australian English as well as most other languages and in Arabic, which is closer to the Japanese version than others.
  • Due to legal reasons, the American release of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam has the titular mobile suit's theme song (pulled straight from the soundtrack) as the opening theme.
    • While all three series have their own openings in Italy.
    • The French version was sung by Ariane Carletti, one of the hosts of the "Club Dorothée", the show that broadcast Dragon Ball Z in France for the first time.
  • The Japanese theme song of Mon Colle Knights is much different than the English. Compare the majestic Japanese theme to the orchestral, action-sounding English theme song.
  • Monster Rancher while the Japanese opening was surprisingly slow, the American version (see it here in HD) is known for being almost as catchy and fast-paced as the Digimon one.
  • The first opening theme for the English dub of Naruto was this, but afterwards, all the theme songs were the original Japanese ones.
    • While most dub song switches are met with hatred, this one seems to be a bit of genius as the original probably wasn't catchy enough to market the show to a new audience. This bit of genius is seen again when instead of airing the third opening, they just reused the second one while switching out some animation frames.
    • An instrumental theme of Naruto has been made into an Arabic opening, with added lyrics.
  • When 4Kids dubbed One Piece they replaced the "We Are" opening with a rap about the plot, characters, and basically being a pirate. The fanbase remains divided on whether or not it was any good.
    • Though originally they were going to avert this trope by using a translated English version of "We Are."
    • The German version also has a theme song different from the Japanese version (same lyrics, different tune). It can be found here.
    • It also has an Arabic opening.
    • Italy feauture two opening for the entire series until Marinford acr.
  • The anime Piccolino no Bouken, which was very popular in Israel, got a completely different opening theme, albeit with the original animation: compare the Japanese version and the Israeli one.
  • Every season of Pokémon receives a different theme song in their English dubs, all of them different from the Japanese versions.
  • Pretty Cure's YTV dub has this. "Together we are Pretty Cuuureeee...."
  • When Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream aired in Italy, it used this theme.
  • It's easier to count the countries that didn't use a new theme song for Rose of Versailles. This is most likely due to the show receiving a new title overseas, Lady Oscar. What gets funny is that the Japanese theme is suitably dramatic and somber, while many of its dubs chose cheerful and happy theme songs...despite the content of the show still concerning the tragic lives and deaths of people living through the French Revolution. Even more amazing? The actual French dub probably has the perkiest song of them all. Italy has two different version of opening.
  • The Spanish version of Saint Seiya changed Pegasus Fantasy for a little So Bad, It's Good new song.
    • The Brazilian version at first used a translated version of the Spanish song, and then replaced it with a pop song about the show. It couldn't sound more 90s if it tried.
    • Italy has initially two opening. Subsequently, when Mediaset has aired the anime, was made a new opening (after replaced by a italian version of Pegusus Fantasy).
    • The English dub received a new theme song, a cover of Flock Of Seagulls' 80s hit "I Ran" by Bowling for Soup. The uncut English DVD releases retained Pegasus Fantasy.
  • Several foreign dubs of Sailor Moon replaced the theme song.
    • The German dub of Sailor Moon used four different and original theme songs over the course of it's run. The best known is "Sag das Zauberwort" (Say the Magic Word). The other three were "Kampfe Sailor Moon" (Fight Sailor Moon), "Macht das Mondes" (Power of the Moon) and "Flieg durch die Wolken" (Fly Through the Skies).
    • The Dutch version, which only covered the first 52 episodes, was based on the German dub and thus simply redubbed "Sag das Zauberwort" into Dutch.
    • The French Version used one song, creatively titled Sailor Moon".
    • The Italian version gave each season a completely unique song: "Sailor Moon", "Sailormoon La Luna Splende Sigla" (Sailor Moon, the Moon Shines), "Sailor Moon e Il Cristallo del Cuore Sigla" (Sailor Moon and the Heart Crystal), "Sailor Moon e il Mistero dei Sogni" (Sailor Moon and the Mysterious Dream), and finally "Petali di Stelle per Sailor Moon" (Petals of Stars for Sailor Moon). The opening credits to accompany each song also had notoriety for blowing every single major plot point of each series.
    • The Cantonese dub released in Hong Kong used a unique song for the first series. Later series used remixed Cantonese versions of their Japanese counterparts.
    • The entire Portuguese dub used a unique song, "Luna Luna," that was based instrumentally on the Japanese "Heart Moving" (used for the first ED of the anime) but had completely different lyrics.
    • While many dubs remixed or redubbed the original "Moonlight Densetsu" theme song (though the lyrical content tended to vary wildly), of special note is The Nineties North American dub, "Sailor Moon Theme", which uses the basic melody but is completely different in content, length, and instrumentation.
  • The Samurai Pizza Cats Japanese theme song also differs greatly from the English version.
    • And when Saban's English version was dubbed into Hebrew they replaced the theme song again...
  • The ADV Films dub of Sgt. Frog was supposed to use this opening theme. However, the FUNimation dub retained the Japanese opening and ending themes, but weren't dubbed into English.
  • Speaking of Korea, Shugo Chara! has many of these.
  • The American version of Sonic X used "Gotta Go Fast" as opposed to "Sonic Drive".
    • There is also an Italian opening and one for the UK version.
    • The Brazilian version used the UK version. A translated "Gotta Go Fast" was used for the credits instead.
  • The Funimation release of Speed Grapher has "Shutter Speed" instead of "Girls on Film".
  • The Japanese version of Tanoshii Muumin Ikka’s intro was replaced with a different song, translated into different languages, in the West.
  • For the US version of Tokyo Mew Mew, 4Kids Entertainment used a pop song called "Team Up" which was about working together and falling in love.
    • Subsequently, the dozen or-so foreign dubs based on the English dub also used their own versions of this song.
  • When Tonde Buurin was dubbed by Saban under the name Super Pig, they replaced the original theme song with this.
  • The Fox Kids version of Vision of Escaflowne has a different opening.
  • The Italian dub of Yume No Crayon Oukoku, titled "Luna, Principessa Argentata" (Luna, the Silver Princess) uses this opening theme.
  • Various anime that aired on German TV station Viva happened to have different openings. Among the more notable are X1999, which uses "Mother Earth" by Within Temptation and this kickass metal song for the Hellsing tv anime.

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