Sometimes when works are translated elsewhere, major changes are made to it, from the scripts to editing the footage. The usual reason is to make it more accessible to the audience for the localization, but avoiding Values Dissonance
is also a common reason, as is not offending local Moral Guardians
. Another reason is that syndication rules in the U.S. require 65 episodes (until perhaps recently), and that is rare in other countries' shows save for Long Runners
, so the best solution was cutting and pasting more than one series together to sell them as one series. And of course, sometimes things are just cut to make more room for commercials.
Common methods include:
Although edits are not always as devastating as many fans make them out to be, a Cut-and-Paste Translation
will frequently impose extensive Adaptation Decay
on a story. At its worst, the entire original script will simply be discarded and a completely new script created almost out of whole cloth. Never Say "Die"
is a staple, along with Lull Destruction
. One of the biggest reasons of why the Subbing versus Dubbing
debate is still raging.
Often fans consider the show to be cheapened by this. See Macekre
for more on the opinion on cut-and-pasted anime. On the other hand, some people use such dubs as a Gateway Series
, and the virulent fan reaction against the dubs may puzzle those not familiar with the original version, or even perhaps those that watched the dubs first.
The practice is rarer these days, but still around. Often it's just reduced to script changes, since heavy editing would increase the cost significantly (again, it just had to be done for syndication).
If the importers actually add new
material to something when they import it, it's Importation Expansion
(changes are made for things that actually won't translate, and the changes are simply the most pragmatic), Gag Dub
(script changes based on Rule of Funny
), Difficulty By Region
, Dolled-Up Installment
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Anime & Manga
- Carl Macek's most famous effort was the three-way hybridization that turned the unrelated series Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber Mospeada into Robotech while throwing out almost all of latter two programs' original scripts. While massive changes to the stories of the three series make the adaptation unpopular with many anime fans, the show was a legitimate commercial success, and created a foothold for Japanese animation in the U.S., along with a minor pop-culture phenomenon of its own.
- It has to be granted that outside of some Lull Destruction perhaps, Super Dimension Fortress Macross was barely changed in any significant manner. Roy Focker's name was spelled Roy Fokker instead (to clarify that his name is a Shout-Out to Anthony Fokker). Even many changed names were only had minor alterations, at least in orthography if not pronunciation; Misa Hayase became "Lisa Hayes", for example. Little censorship was done; mostly removal of some nude scenes, in fact, Robotech actually has a higher body count than the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross, albeit these are offscreen. There were only two truly major edits, the first being changing the nature of "protoculture" to tie in with the other two shows — which does cause some confusion when trying to make a jump from Robotech to Macross. The other one, of course, is fate of the SDF-1 and The Unseen (and in Macross, unmentioned until Flashback 2012) SDF-2 — in Japan the SDF-1 survive and SDF-2 is repurposed as the Megaroad-1, which kicks off the new era of colonization and the rest of the franchise. In Robotech, both are destroyed, thus bifurcating Robotech from Macross forever (barring a whole mess of retconning). A change that remains controversial however is the addition of an extremely verbose narrator who feels like he was originally written so that deaf people can enjoy the show too, explaining nearly everything clearly happening on screen in annoying detail.
- Like with Dragon Quest anime and Cinar's dub of Wizard of Oz, all the credits for Robotech go to Harmony Gold and its localization team. The only Japanese names you see in the credits are Tatsunoko Production Co. Limited, Kenji Yoshida and Ippei Kuri.
- It has to be further noted that the use of Southern Cross as the second saga of Robotech actually increased knowledge of that animated series in Japan. As it turns out, Southern Cross was canned before it could be truly finished and the dub of Robotech into Japanese made the audience remember the series (yeah, Japan got a dubbed Robotech, which was an Americanized anime. This happens a lot, oddly enough).
- Macek then took Mega Zone 23, edited in some Robotech footage, wrote his own script, and called the resulting mutant Robotech: The Movie. This one was so bad, even his distributor couldn't get it into theaters as well as thanks to all the violence it features that scared children to tears.
- The original plot to the movie was going to be vastly different, but that plot had to be changed when the creators of Macross demanded it be changed so it couldn't remotely interfere with the then-new Macross movie Do You Remember Love. Also, the Southern Cross footage was shoehorned in at the behest of distributor Canon Films, who didn't feel the movie had enough action. Ironically…
- Then there was Clash of the Bionoids. This was a version of the aforementioned Do You Remember Love with an English dub made by Toho (which is much like their dubs of their Godzilla movies), which subsequently had 23 minutes cut out by its American licensor Celebrity Home Entertainment. The cuts were mainly because of violence (since it was marketed under CHE's "Just For Kids" label); however, for some reason they also cut out the scene at the end that lets the audience know that Hikaru survived. (Carl Macek had nothing to do with this one.)
- Macek also merged Captain Harlock and Queen Millennia to create the rarely seen Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years.
- Macek rewrote the script for Windaria, which he retitled Once Upon A Time; he trimmed its 102-minute running time to 95 minutes, switched scenes around, gave all of the characters Western names, and provided narration which, most egregiously of all, replaced the original's Downer Ending with something more hopeful.
- One notable aversion by Macek: the dub of Neo Tokyo's "The Running Man" as shown on MTV's Liquid Television was well-regarded. (Watch it here.)
- Voltron was created from two unrelated Combining Mecha series, Go Lion and Dairugger XV. However, while the plot changes were considerable, the interference between the two combined stories was minimal, and each occurred almost in its own continuity.
- More notable was the censoring of the death of Sven, which was turned into merely being badly injured and being shipped to a hospital planet. This heavily clashes with the imagery of his death scene, where he's being cradled by Lance, and his sword falls over as he "passes out." The end result, however, was more an inspired/lucky bit of a Woolseyism: in the original there was such a backlash against Sven's death that they introduced his identical twin brother who the dub just pretended was actually Sven.
- The fairly straightforward Streamline dub of Lensman could be considered an ironic inversion since the anime itself was a Macekre of its original source material.
- The company behind Voltron, World Events Productions, then brought over Sei Juushi Bismarck, changed some things around, refused to say die again and released it on American television as Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs... where it once again blew away the Japanese release in ratings and did well in other parts of the world. WEP gained a reputation for taking failures, making them kid-friendly (which sometimes takes away some of the vital spark of the show but still retains the core of what made it good), and then making it a huge success. The company no longer actively licenses, however.
- Mazinger Z infamously got this sort of treatment after Voltron proved successful, and got it from people who didn't care a whit about maintaining the show's integrity. Needless to say, there's a reason few people love Tranzor Z these days, and Go Nagai was frustrated enough with the failure that it took over a decade for any other Dynamic Productions show to reach America.
- Lots of changes were made to the DiC and Cloverway dubs of Sailor Moon to make it more palatable for American audiences, including:
- The Sailor Senshi's names changed from Japanese to American (in the U.S. and Latin American dubs, the main heroine is "Serena Tsukino"; oddly enough, Sailor Saturn escaped this treatment, though she didn't get much screen time anyway),
- Quirky Miniboss Squad member Zoisite being changed from a flamboyant homosexual male into a full-blown woman (albeit one with a flat chest).
- Sailors Uranus and Neptune being portrayed as "cousins" instead of "more than just friends." Infamously, this change didn't work.
- The entire ending of the first series being cut down into one episode so nobody would be shown dying (and changing the Sailor Scouts' deaths to "being captured by the Negaverse" and removing Serena's death from her Heroic Sacrifice and her dying wish for her and her friends to live like normal girls again.
- It's nigh-on impossible to list everything here because the changes were so numerous and oftentimes completely unexplainable. However, what DiC did pales in comparison to what Toon Makers was planning to do if they got the rights. They were going to make their own American version with original animation and live-action segments. There exists footage of a promo being displayed by someone who worked on it.
- For a thorough analysis of everything that was changed on Sailor Moon, try this site.
- Most shows dubbed by 4Kids Entertainment, including Yu-Gi-Oh! and Shaman King, and most notiously One Piece. Ultimate Muscle mostly averted this, and Kirby of the Stars and eight years of Pokémon also got off lightly. Alfred Kahn, former CEO and Chairman of 4Kids, is quoted in Animation World Network saying, "By the time we localize the programs, kids don't even know they're from Japan any more."
- Pokémon had music removed or altered, violence and sexuality removed or toned down, and entire episodes and plot-lines being rewritten or removed. Characters' personalities were altered in an attempt to make them more relatable to American children. Very few of these changes were actually rejected by fans of the show.
- Kasumi (Misty in the dub) is very flirty and promiscuous in the original version. She often introduces herself to other characters as "Sekai no Bishoujo", the world's hottest girl, and uses the -chan and -sama honorifics to address herself according to her mood. Kasumi even refers to her pokémon as her "steadies" and asked God why such a "pure maiden is cursed with this beauty".
- Takeshi (Brock) was also toned down in the dub. In the original, he was not above asking girls if they were 18, or stating that he would "enjoy" them when they turned eighteen. This makes other characters getting mad at his flirting a bit more understandable in certain instances.
- Shigeru (Gary) became a Jerk Ass in the dub, so much so that characters like Takeshi and Kasumi who respected and were impressed by him in the original are rewritten to say they hate his guts and call him despicable despite never even meeting him before. He casually throws around insults like "loser" and "smell you later", and was written from being a friendly rival into being more of a villain. He and Satoshi (Ash) mutually respect each other in the original, which exposed 4Kids' rewritting of them when the end of the Johto League touched upon their childhood friendship. It's worth nothing his Jerk Ass personality is a bit closer to his video game counterpart Green/Blue, though
- Pokémon Chronicles got so many plot changes it's almost a completely different series than the original Japanese version. This is most evident in the Non Indicative TV Special The Legend of Thunder.
- 4Kids' dub of Tokyo Mew Mew, which renamed the show into Mew Mew Power (though they were originally going to rename it into Hollywood Mew Mew) is remembered for the massive amounts of changes and edits, from the music to the names, as well as the fact that it was cancelled halfway through.
- Of the countries outside of Japan that aired the show, 75% used the 4Kids dub as a reference, 80% of whom also stopped production at episode 26. The countries that used 4Kids' dub and licensed future episodes varied in production. The French dub of the second half of the show continued to use their original voices and character names, though they restored the original musical theme (with a French translation of the Japanese themes song). The second half of the Hebrew dub continued to use the same voices, but they began to use translations of the original names and attacks. The Portuguese dub of the second half completely ignored the dub of the first half using different names, attack terms, and yes, the entire voice cast was replaced.
- The entire premise of the second and third seasons of Yu-Gi-Oh!, originally a personal quest of self-discovery for each major character, was completely replaced with the generic "villain plotting to take over the world" plot. The final season was also outrageously tampered with due to the particularly high body count that had to get sent to the Shadow Realm. This website has a comprehensive list of the graphical and dialogue changes introduced in the dub.
- The German dub is mostly based on the 4kids dub. Interestingly, though, quite a lot of actual swearing was added.
- With that said, Shaman King, a show with death, blood, possession and slapping, got away with what many consider to be one of 4kids' better dubs and kept a lot of the aforementioned in. The fact that the big bad, Hao beats seven shades of crap out of Yoh, then proceeds to rip Yoh's soul out of his body and eat it whole during the endgame arc was all shown in the dub had several busybody self-appointed independent TV watchdog groups slamming the show. By that point, bad scheduling had done all the damage that could be done to Shaman King's reputation the the US, and 4Kids went on to do One Piece.
- 4Kids' dub of One Piece. By flensing the series, they managed to take the most popular shounen franchise in Japan since Dragon Ball and effectively bury it in the West. The dub removed multiple episodes and even story arcs, causing significant plot holes that would just get worse as they went along. The original's 144 episodes were cut down to 104. Needless to say, this infuriated Toei and drove off all their business, forcing the company to practically abandon anime entirely.
- At one point, a rifle is digitally altered into a shovel. Several episodes later, when a group of children are actually wielding shovels and other gardening implements as weapons, they are in turn altered into bizarre neon blobs.
- Ale and grog were changed into juice, and guns became water pistols or were recoloured.
- Meanwhile, Viz learned from 4Kids' mistakes, produced Naruto with minimal edits, and discovered a license to print money.
- Nelvana, a Canadian distribution studio, edited Cardcaptor Sakura and turned it into "Cardcaptors". While their dub Anglcized the characters names and censored some of the more controversial relationships (such as Toya/Yukito and Rika's love for her teacher), it was otherwise passable for a Saturday morning dub. However, the US broadcast on Kids' WB!! is the one most people remember, since it was extremely hacked up and rewritten. In a rather clumsy attempt to widen the show's appeal beyond its original demographic, half the first season was cut out or chopped up into flashback sequences, the episode order changed drastically, and the scripts were rewritten, turning supporting character Syaoran Li into a lead character alongside the original heroine. At the same time, a much more accurate subtitled version was released on tape and DVD under the original name; the DVD version of the original sold so much better that the dub version was discontinued.
- The Italian dub didn't go on these lenghts, but still managed to do some changes. The relationship between Rika and Terada was changed into being an one-sided crush from Rika's part, while Touya and Yukito's love relationship, along with Tomoyo's crush on Sakura, were turned into a "very strong friendship" to mask their homosexuality. Several names were slightly changed for ease of pronunciation (for example, Touya became Toy, Yukito Yuki and Fujitaka was never referred as such, only as "dad" or "Sakura's father"). The second and third series were also put together as a single one, and both "first" and "second" series received Italian titles than can be translated respectively as "Draw your card Sakura" and "Sakura the game isn't over yet".
- Vision of Escaflowne was edited in a similar way by Fox. Most of the drama was removed or rendered incoherent, and the resulting mess was quickly canceled. Furthermore, the first episode was cut entirely because of Fox's concerns that the Hitomi-centric episode would make boys think it was a "girls show". The uncut version by Ocean Group was released on DVD in 2003, and the edited-for-TV version was mercifully forgotten by most.
- The German dub of the series was admittedly produced by translating the French dub, not the original Japanese. The result was... rather deviating in both meaning and feel from the original. But in a strange aversion, the voice acting in the German dub proved to be a drastic improvement over the French dub, so it sounds like a weird trade-off!
- For some strange and unfathomable reason, Pioneer's release of the 1997 anime movie A Dog of Flanders had 10 minutes of it's footage cut...even though it NEVER AIRED ON TV! Why cut scenes on a DVD release when it's not going to air on TV?! That's why DVDs exist, to provide material that broadcasts or TV shows can't, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!! But as of now, said DVDs have gone out of print (and are UNGODLY expensive to get!).
- Transformers goes both ways!
- When Beast Wars, a rather darkish series with somewhat outlandish comic relief moments at times, was dubbed into Japanese, it received a Gag Dub with no sense of self-restraint whatsoever. A lot of Japanese transformers fans were quite unhappy with this.
- Not to mention the fact that the female Airrazor was dubbed into being a younger male. This made things a bit awkward at Dubville when Airrazor became Tigatron's lover in season 2.
- When FOX decided to publish the show (instead of syndication) they removed most of the fight scenes because of decapitation and other "too violent" acts. Despite everyone being a robot. And despite it ruining the pacing and length of the episodes. Thank goodness for the DVD release.
- By contrast, American fans were quite pleased with 2001's Transformers: Robots in Disguise which rewrote the bland Transformers: Car Robots as a maybe-sequel to The Transformers cartoon. Its endearingly quirky characters and the added Mythology Gags were a surprise hit in America, while Car Robots had done so badly in Japan that it was pulled from television before airing its finale. The changes eventually cross-pollinated back to Japan; an official timeline from TakaraTomy now places Car Robots between seasons of the original cartoon, jamming it sideways in order to do so. In America it's simply considered one of many alternate universes.
- In Transformers Cybertron, the supposed sequel to Transformers Armada and Transformers Energon, the original Japanese version was written as an independent series. Unfortunately, Hasbro had already planned to market Cybertron as a continuation of the first two when Galaxy Force came out, and had to shoehorn in a few lines about the "Unicron Singularity" warping the very fabric of reality itself as an explanation for the canon dissonance, and even then had to put in 3 manufactured shots of the 2 previous series' characters during the series finale in a desperate attempt to make the whole thing work.
- Ironically, Galaxy Force has since been rectonned into Micron Legend continuity in Japan.
- For an even bigger Continuity Snarl headache... putting Galaxy Force in continuity with Micron Legend and Super Link is not the same as putting Cybertron in continuity with Armada and Energon. Cybertron, similar to Robots in Disguise, takes a cast of mostly new characters (even if several are Expies) and makes them new versions of known characters, and makes the series play by previously-established rules when it comes to how stuff works. All you have to do to put them together is say "Sideways is back? Uh, blame Unicron!" Making the Japanese versions one continuity... for example, saying Micron Legend still happened doesn't necessarily make a single character out of "Doubleface" and "Noisemaze" (both known to us as Sideways) even though they're both horn-headed insignia/switching mysterious double-agents... or does it? Numerous similar examples exist.
- Cybertron is generally agreed to have been a better show than Armada and Energon however, thanks to both a far more entertaining localization which allowed the voice actors to act again, and not being Armada or Energon. (Armada and Energon got a rush-job translation that left a lot to be desired and was sometimes misleading and confusing, and Energon got the worst of that, lost a very important episode, and was far from being Shakespeare in the Super Link original. Robots in Disguise and Cybertron, conversely, are Woolseyism incarnate.)
- Digimon Adventure added a few throwaway lines for humor such as "Matt, you whimper more than my puppy!" from Tai, who had a cat but no puppy, and "I'm even starting to miss my baby brother!" from Mimi, who was an only child. Things like this almost never changed the intent of a scene, though. However, it's not without problems: being produced right on the heels of the original meant lines could hardly be written with future events in mind, so some continuity errors are also created in Adventure, 02, and Tamers, even though the Tamers dub is otherwise well-liked. (The hardcore purists are just as rabid as with any series, but in, say, Sailor Moon, "they ruined it" means "a full third of the series is cut out, and the season one finale makes no sense at all." In Digimon, "they ruined it" equals "Takato Matsuda is now Takato Matsuki, what butchery!" Though you do have to wonder why they felt such a minor change was necessary.)
- The second season, though, is filled with forced humor due to Executive Meddling. A lot of it is at Davis' expense, to the point where the cast comes off as Jerkasses for picking on him all season, long after he'd been more than punished enough for being rude to TK in the first two episodes. (Originally, they rebuffed Daisuke when he deserved it, but it wasn't like they hated him.)
- The Filipino dub of Digimon Adventure 02 is an interesting variation in that, while the Americanized terminologies and some names are used, the original unedited Japanese episodes are used and the Japanese script and episode titles are mostly adhered to, and most of the cast is referred to by their original names except, strangely, for Hikari and Miyako who are, respectively, referred to as Kari and Kyo. Arguably, this may be more of a case of Woolseyism. The Mexican dub is also like this, but uses all the US dub names.
- Speaking of the Mexican dub, a similar case happened with Sailor Moon. They translated all of the original unedited seasons (including the Beach Episode, and minus the Clip Show preview episode), using the American names from the first two seasons. Because at that time the other three seasons weren't yet translated to English, they used the original Japanese names for the new characters for the rest of the series, resulting in a mix of US names and Japanese names in one single dub. That didn't stop the series from being highly successful in Latin America, however, thanks to a faithful translation and quality voice acting.
- To further confusion, there were at least two Filipino dubs. The first-mentioned one aired on Hero TV. The other, which also referred to Miyako as "Kyo" yet kept Hikari's name, turned out to have its scripts based off of old drafts that were written for Saban's dub. While these drafts stuck closer to the original in parts, Saban's added jokes could also be witnessed. "Kyo" turned out to be a holdover name from Saban's early planning for the 02 dub, though they had also considered "Keely" until someone in production decided to combine the yo from "Kyo" with Lei (from Terri-Lei O'Malley's name) to make Yolei.
- Finnish dub referred to "Kamiya"... In first episode.
- The factor of Inconsistent Dub is amplified further by the fact that after 26 episodes, the original dubbing group (the notorious - and not only for their So Bad, It's Good Digimon Adventure dub - Agapio Racing Team) dropped the series, getting replaced with the much better Werne. The new dub still had some inconsistencies, though. The Agapio dub was basically cut and paste translation refined to it's logical conclusion. For example, all the attacks of the Mons were given new Narmy Finnish names, often straight-out, word-to-word translations. "Heaven's Knuckle" might sound really cool in English, but I assure you, the corresponding Finnish attack name is anything but cool - especially when performed by a voice actor that is just reading the attack name from the script without any attempt to make the acting have any feeling in it.
- The Middle Eastern dub of Digimon erased all references to the taboo concept of "Evolution" (which the series really doesn't even use), instead having the monsters shout out "Switching Out For My Big Brother!" whenever they evolved. The "Big Brothers" were kept on a supposedly off-screen base that was referenced repeatedly in dialogue. As one might expect, this made a lot of the series incomprehensible.
- But the real job in American Digimon is the second season's Non-Serial Movie, Digimon Hurricane Touchdown!/The Golden Digimentals. It was combined with two short anime movies about the kids from the first season, both of which are canon, so it had to be cracked apart and restitched back together to make it gel with them. Rumor has it that Digimon: The Movie was so altered that the Screen Actors Guild said it no longer counted as a dub and ordered that the actors be paid the same as they would be if it were an original work.
- According to Jeff Nimoy, he wanted to make that movie separate from the other two (which he was going to combine), but the producers told him to mix them all together, forcing him to re-write the translation/script and creating the dub we have in America today.
- To prevent children from learning that perverts exist, the French translation of City Hunter turned Ryo Saeba into a fanatic vegetarian who liked to eat in vegetarian restaurants, rather than a pervert who liked to invite girls to love hotels.
- In Argentina, there is a non-anime cartoon series called City Hunters with that exact same premise, only with animation (supposedly) supplied by the great Milo Manara, and funded by Axe Deodorant (hence, the series claiming it being "powered by Axe"). Any relation?
- Mega Man NT Warrior is more or less given the cold stare from the Mega Man Battle Network fandom for being a total mess of changed names, edited scenes that really didn't needed to be edited out and other things besides. It's considered a good thing by the fandom that Axess was the last in the Rockman.EXE series to get translated. The truly annoying part is that the franchise already had English names and translations because the source material (the Battle Network series of video games) had been available in America for years, unnecessarily leaving many characters with three (or more!) names. Even many battle chips were censored that are key chips in the games that presumably the show is trying to help promote. Bizarrely, ShoPro, the studio behind it, also handles the much better Naruto dub.
- Back in the day, you could get away with using the English game names in an otherwise rabid community, as long as you stayed clear of "NT Warrior".
- Mega Man Star Force held up a bit better; the only real change is combining every pair of 10-minute episodes into a half-hour block. (But again, some of the human NPCs have three names now, notably Hibiki Misora/Sonia Strumm/Sonia Skye. And the name "Omega-Xis" still sounds funny...)
- Tekkaman Blade got a fairly standard Macekre-ish dubbing into Teknoman for release in English-speaking countries. Oddly enough, after a Full Run In Australia, the series was Macekred even more before being released in the US.
- Science Ninja Team Gatchaman wins a lifetime achievement award for this trope. There have been five separate English dubs of various parts of the franchise: Battle of the Planets, G-Force: Guardians of Space, Eagle Riders, the Urban Vision dub of the Gatchaman OVA, and finally ADV Films' dub of the original series. The ADV dub is the only one of these that didn't have character names and plot points rewritten wholesale.
- The first of these adaptations, Battle of the Planets, is generally thought to be its own separate entity due to the amount of censorship and rewrites that went into it, along with the newly-added Off Model animation made to cover up the missing material. Pretty much considered an early example of a Macekre, even with its better points. Most overseas releases of Gatchaman based their scripts off of this adaptation (since Sandy Frank held the international license), although there would be the occasional dub that stuck to the Japanese version or those that adapted from G-Force and Eagle Riders.
- While most of these English adaptations used either the first Gatchaman TV series or OVA for their source material, Eagle Riders was a Macekre of the second and third series (Gatchaman II and Gatchaman Fighter). Numerous episodes were cut, some episodes were rearranged or had portions from others spliced together, nobody could die, and the series ends on a random episode with no resolution to the Eagle Riders' battle against their enemies.
- The German dub of Naruto is hilarious. They took the (moderately) edited American version and edited it even further, going as far as erasing any Nosebleed. Apart from Never Say "Die" taken to the extreme (Orochimaru suggested Kabuto he'd have to "hide Sasuke forever"), they also often make weapons look like lightsabers, cut out attacking-scenes altogether and have still-standing scenes on par with Dragon Ball Z. You may guess how things like the Haku-Zabuza arc looked like. Furthermore, they cut the entire backstory with Kyuubi attacking the village. If that isn't enough, the german opening.
- The second anime OP fared no better.
- Furthermore, the TV Station responsible for this forbade the voice actors from acting too dramatic. Even the actors themselves complained about this with the german One Piece dub...
- Then there's this◊. (Originally, the character was standing on the handle of a giant sword stuck in the tree. In the German dub, the blade got erased, so now the character is... standing on a magical levitating stick?!)
- Samurai Pizza Cats was a big one as well. Saban never got the original scripts for it, so just made up dialogue that fit the images on screen and the Mouth Flaps. And it worked, too — the show was hilarious.
- Brought into debate by an interview with Robert Axelrod, one of the writers, who swears he had a script to work from, in Engrish.
- The Force Five were sloppily edited versions of some awesome Super Robot shows made to promote the Shogun Warriors toys by Jim Terry's American Way company.
- Jim Terry was also responsible for Crushers, a 1988 dubbed version of the Crusher Joe movie with 40 minutes cut out.
- Also from Terry was Time Fighters and Time Fighters in the Land of Fantasy, a pair of 95-minute features cobbled together from episodes of the first Time Bokan series.
- Uchuu Senkan Yamato/Star Blazers
- "Knights of the Zodiac", the English broadcast dub (though not the ADV Films dub) of Saint Seiya tried to eliminate all references to death, excessive violence and religion out of a show about saints of the Greek goddess Athena fighting holy wars against the servants of a corrupt pope. And that's not even taking into account changing a ridiculous amount of blood into "spiritual energy" and giving the Siberian a surfer's accent.
- Narrowly avoided with Revolutionary Girl Utena: the licensors, Enoki Films gave English names to the main characters in promotional material, but the American distributors, Central Park Media, used the original names.
- Unfortunately for Latin American fans, the Enoki Films names were used for the series' Spanish dub, including the title being changed to "Ursula's Magic Ring". It was also aired in a children's timeslot. A Tagalog dub aired in the Philippines also used the Enoki Films names.
- The Spanish translation for the Hayate the Combat Butler manga by Glenat removes almost all of the non-visual Shout-Out gags (Despite them being one of the pillars of the series' humor.), with the few ones left being made extremely obvious, uses awful slang when it doesn't fit at all, translates untranslatable words yet leaves perfectly translatable words in Japanese, and other such issues. Worst of all (And most fitting for the trope), the White Day mini-arc got any mentions of the words "White Day" entirely removed (Or any mention of there being a holiday, for that matter), turning a standard Manga High School plot into a random and contrived story, despite minor stuff getting translation notes. The same translator handles Negima! and Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, and they all also suffer the same kind of issues, plus the former gave one of the Anime Chinese Girls a horrible Chinese accent that doesn't fits her and that she never had, yet the other Anime Chinese Girl, who used actual "Chinese-speak" in the original, doesn't have an accent, and the latter series gets translator notes for stuff that is being read on panel (Accurately read, case you were wondering). Ultimately, the publisher discontinued the manga since 2010 owing to horrid reception from fans and readers alike.
- The official English translation of Mahou Sensei Negima!! can be quite spotty depending on who's doing the translation; volumes 5, 20, and 21 all mess around with the translation a bit. Volume 1 is worst though, as entire conversations were completely rewritten to be lead-ins to (bad) jokes, and it was stuffed full of pointless pop culture references; the only thing saving the volume being the Narm Charm. Fortunately, Kodansha USA noticed, and now that they're in charge of the English release, the translation quality has improved and the first three volumes are being retranslated.
- In 1985, staff in the USA combined footage from Go Shogun and Akū Daisakusen Srungle, a similar show produced by Kokusai Eiga-sha, to form Macron-1, which portrays the Srungle characters as being part of another branch of the organization fighting evil in a parallel universe. This combined series was produced and released in the United States by Saban.
- The U.S. version involves test pilot David Chance travelling into a parallel universe under the tyrannical control of an organization called GRIP, led by Dark Star. Chance's entrance into the other universe allows GRIP to send their forces to Earth, leaving Dark Star's cyborg henchman Orn to remain in control in the alternate universe. GRIP is opposed by the two teams of Macron-1, the first led by Dr. Shegall and his team on Earth (from the Go Shogun footage), while in the alternate universe Chance organizes a band of rebel warriors, Beta Command, to combat and overthrow Orn (from the Srungle footage). The Beta Command members were given much less screen time than the Earth team.
- The dubbed US version was voiced by the same cast as Carl Macek's Harmony Gold adaptation of Macross, Genesis Climber Mospeada, and others into Robotech.
- The English Dragon Ball Z fall into this trope, particularly the Freeza arc. Chris Sabat has stated that this is largely due to the fact that nobody had any idea what they were doing and the English scripts they received from Japan were near incomprehensible at times, leading to them to having to come up with their own stuff for a while. Fortunately, It Gets Better once they started progressing further on. The Cell Saga is more accurate, but still has with some dialogue changes. The Buu Saga is the most accurate in the series, as the lines are generally close to the original. FUNimation re-dubbed the Saiyan Saga but unfortunately they barely changed the inaccurate script from the earlier Ocean Group Dub. They only fixed particularly inaccurate lines (such as claims by Vegeta, that Bardock was a scientist).
- The French version of Ranma ˝ can compete with the worst American butchering of anime. Except for the main character's first name, all the names were changed to French ones — and they couldn't even stay consistent throughout the series. The voice actors overall aren't much to blame as they were doing a good job, but they could only work with what was given to them... including some characters switching voice from one episode to the other. And there were plenty of cuts to make the series more child-friendly, especially concerning nudity or Happōsai's Dirty Old Man behavior — he was supposed not to collect underwear but silk handkerchiefs. This certainly limited the popularity of Ranma ˝ in France for a while compared to other countries. The manga translation was of rather poor quality too, but at least the characters (mostly) kept their original names.
- A similar thing happened with Ranma ˝ in Mexico. Although only one character's name was changed (and then restored), there was atrocious butchering of scenes to eliminate nudity, episodes aired out of order, and it eliminated some characters' trademark speech patterns, like Kuno's poetry or Shampoo's pidgin speak.
- Notably averted with the German dub, which only changed Ryoga's name rather randomly to "Dyoga", but stayed faithful to the original otherwise; no instances of nudity were edited out, and Never Say "Die" was not put into effect. "Notable" because it used to air on the very channel that would later go on to bring us the butchered Naruto dub noted further up the page. Curiously, the series has yet to be re-broadcast, probably because of a higher threshold for what constitutes suitable viewing for children on German TV.
- Anyone who has read the US manga version of Battle Royale will run into some outcry against what writer Keith Giffen did to the story's dialogue. To be fair, this was not entirely his fault, as he was simply following orders from Tokyopop. In fact, Tokyopop later explained why they allowed Giffen to mess with the original script. It's also worth mentioning that none of the violence and sex got cut, so plenty of what (author) Koushun Takami and (artist) Masayuki Taguchi's work for the Japanese version remains intact. Still, the major changes (turning the program into a Reality TV program, a conceit that utterly fails by the final volume), will have purists shaking their heads.
- The US edition of Ikki Tousen is filled to the brim with shout outs.
- In the American dub of Kirby of the Stars (entitled Kirby: Right Back at Ya!), the finale episodes in Japan were aired in the middle of the series in the American dub, and edited as a way to promote the then-upcoming Kirby Air Ride.
- Though they never succeeded, if you look up the Gaga Communications trailers for 1988 on YouTube, they were clearly anticipating this trope. Titles and character names for series (including some ones which eventually went on to be well-known in the West), for example, and some details of the stories are already changed- all without a single bit of English dubbing. Perhaps this is just as well- for example, imagine Project A-Ko as "Supernova"?
- The Portuguese Dragon Ball Z is kinda unique. From nonsense speech like King Kai calling the firemen because the Earth is going to explode to really strange and exaggerated voices.
- Really, just go to Youtube and you'll find thousands of videos about it. It's impossible to not laugh.
- Magic: The Gathering often changes card art and flavour for Chinese audiences, sometimes significantly, to avoid depicting skeletons.
- Ironic, since the one with skin was a lot creepier...
- This is due to Chinese laws prohibiting the display of bones to encourage positive behaviour in society or the like. World of Warcraft has its models altered for the Chinese servers (the exposed bones on the playable Undead faction are covered with skin) and has led to problems getting the latest expansion, primarily focused on defeating a giant army of Undead, past the censors.
- Astérix was first translated into German by Rolf Kauka, who changed the Gauls into Germanics, naming them "Siggi und Barabbas" instead. When Nationality Confusion ensued in the book Asterix and the Goths (no, not those), Kauka made the Goths "Eastern Goths", depicting them as Communists from East Germany. The Macekre came to its end when he made The Dragon of The Golden Sickle (who kidnapped the sickle maker and sold overpriced golden sickles) speak with a Jewish accent. Goscinny was enraged after reading the re-translated comic and forbad Kauka further translations.
- Asterix also underwent this in its first ever English translations for the UK market — where the Gauls were transformed into ancient Britons. Before the Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge albums, two separate children's magazines printed a few storylines where Asterix and Obelix were known as "Little Fred and Big Ed" and "Beric the Bold and the Son of Boadicea".
Films — Animation
- In the German dub of Atlantis: The Lost Empire, the line, where Milo screams that Rourke will sell the crystal as a weapon to the Kaiser (a reference to the First World War standing at the doorsteps, perhaps) was changed into Milo screaming that Rourke will sell it "to some kind of tyrant".
- The original New World Pictures dub of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was Macekred so heavily that Hayao Miyazaki held off licensing his other films until someone approached him with a deal that stipulated no changes to the script or editing. This one is perhaps the most reviled C&P Translation of the 1980s, if only because the effects of the mauling of a work perceived by the Japanese as practically a national treasure are still felt in the industry; many Japanese companies still remember what happened to Nausicaa and are now incredibly paranoid themselves about any changes to their product in translation, even if it would help that product (or sometimes ensure it even makes sense).
- Speaking of Miyazaki, the Streamline dub of The Castle of Cagliostro made a number of changes to the movie, changing the plot, inserting cheesy dialogue, and stuffing dialogue where it shouldn't have been. It also includes the single line most often brought up as the archetypal example of a "Macekre": "Should've worn an asbestos suit." Later, it was redubbed much more faithfully (albeit with the unnecessary addition of Obligatory Swearing that was never present in the original language).
- New World Pictures performed similar duties on several other anime pictures, including Galaxy Express 999 and Angel's Egg, which suffered the indignity of having live-action footage added and being released as a post-apocalyptic thriller.
- The CGI film remake of The Magic Roundabout was very well-received over in European countries. When The Weinstein Company was given the task to distribute it in America, they figured that Americans would be unfamiliar with the series, so they renamed the title to "Doogal", and basically took a hacksaw to the film. For starters, they dubbed over dialogue that was already in English, inserted painfully unfunny pop-culture jokes (example: A group of skeletons pop out, and one says, "Pirates of the Caribbean!", then the other remarks, "I told you, no Disney jokes!"), made the blue moose talk and fart (he didn't do any of that in the original version), and advertised it as an action/adventure movie.
Films — Live Action
- Fritz Lang's Metropolis was Macekred originally on its American release, with the American distributor publically priding themselves on having essentially chopped it up and rewritten it; leading to much of the film being lost for a century... It has now been found.
- Quite a few of the Godzilla movies, beginning with inserting Raymond Burr into Godzilla King Of The Monsters, but contrary to popular belief, King Kong won in the Japanese and American versions of King Kong vs. Godzilla. The 1954 original is surprisingly excellent in its unadulterated, non-dubbed form. Godzilla 2000 received a gagdub from Tri-Star, as the original version was regarded to be slow-paced and dull.
- The main method of the Godfrey Ho Ninja Movies. Godfrey Ho was infamous for getting cheap, low-budget Hong Kong films, cutting them to ribbons, and inserting new footage featuring Caucasian actors for distribution in the West. Among his films are Ninja Thunderbolt, Clash of the Ninjas, Full Metal Ninja, and Zombie Vs. Ninja (ninjas seem to be a pretty recurring theme, although later efforts included 'Kickboxer' movies and even a 'superhero' called Catman). He's also done it at least once in the other direction, adding new footage using Asian actors to the Cynthia Rothrock vehicle Undefeatable to create the movie Bloody Mary Killer for distribution in China.
- Woody Allen's What's Up, Tiger Lily? and Steve Oedekerk's Kung Pow!: Enter the Fist are what happens when the Cut-and-Paste Translation is combined with the Gag Dub and played entirely for comedy.
- Master with Cracked Fingers was a 1979 film cut together from different early Jackie Chan films, as a means to cash in on his rising fame. It primarily took footage from the little-seen 1973 film Little Tiger of Canton, but featured several newly-filmed scenes with a double playing Jackie's character (badly disguised with a blindfold).
- Jackie Chan did one himself with his Hong Kong Re Cut of The Protector, made because of creative differences with director James Glickenhaus who made the movie in an allegedly typical American style which differed significantly from what we'd normally expect of a Jackie Chan movie. Chan re-shot some of the fight sequences in his own style as well as scenes featuring gratuitous nudity, added a sub-plot featuring Cantopop singer and actress Sally Yeh, and made various other edits to improve the pace. Apparently the Hong Kong version performed modestly at the box office, whereas Glickenhaus' original bombed in the US.
- A Soviet sci-fi film, Planeta Bur was edited twice for distribution in the West: once as Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet by Curtis Harrington in 1965, containing a few additional American-made scenes and with the Soviet actors' names Westernised to hide the origin; another in 1968 by Peter Bogdanovich (as "Derek Thomas") as Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, along with additional scenes involving nubile Venusian women.
- The translation of The Bible directed by King James the 1st of England is the Ur Example. Instructions were given to the translators to make sure the translation supported the views of the Church of England.
- Interestingly enough, many fundamentalist Christians claim that the King James version is the only true translation of The Bible, and all other translations have been Macekred by Satan himself. The movement is named King James Only and some advocates go Up to Eleven saying that the English King James is a new superior revelation that replaces the Bible in all languages, including the originals.
- The King James Version wasn't Macekred enough, apparently. For instance, the original New Testament denounces malakoi. Malakos is Greek for "soft". Many Greeks saw luxury as "weakening", while Spartan conditions made men strong, hence the word "spartan". So, it might appear to be denouncing the rich, made too soft by their easy lifestyles (and/or, as Wesley understood it, unwilling to endure the hardships demanded by the Christian life). The KJV translated it as "effeminate". 20th-century translations, being what they were, further Macekred "effeminate" into "homosexual", keeping with the psychiatric theories of the time. The Old Testament still denounces men who "lie with men as with women" in some translations; take what you will from that. Of course, many fundamentalists have no problem citing different Bibles to fit their political views, making for a literal Cut-and-Paste Translation.
- There's also teetotaller translations which selectively translate the same word as either "wine" or "unfermented grape juice" depending on whether the context of the rest of the line is speaking of it as pleasurable or warning against the dangers of overindulging (where "overindulging" is, for these congregations, defined as "imbibing at all").
- There is also research suggesting that translations of the Bible are almost perfect translations of extant copies of the Old Testament and a few New Testament passages such as what are found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and these translations are actually within 90% accuracy from the originals.
- The oldest extant Hebrew versions of Old Testament (Tanakh for Jewish tropers) date only to the 11th century. While it is highly likely the Old Testament was indeed written in Aramaic and Hebrew, the oldest extant canon of Bible is the Greek edition of Old Testament, Septuaginta (often referred as LXX), which dates to 2nd century BC, and was intended for the Jews in Alexandria.
- Matthew Ward's English translation of The Stranger (currently the most popular one in America) spends some time bashing Stuart Gilbert's (which before his was the only one available in America.) In the original French, and in Ward's version, the narrator begins as a Terse Talker in the vein of an Ernest Hemingway protagonist, then becomes oddly lyrical after going to jail. Gilbert essentially turns him British, and incidentally rewrites some of his odder comments to sound more conventional.
- In French translations of Animal Farm, Napoleon is called Caesar instead.
- Used in-story in Ayn Rand's We The Living, where Kira and Leo go to see a movie called The Golden Octopus, which is a laughably censored American film with obviously different-looking Russian footage added at the beginning.
- Until 2011, the one extant translation of Stanislaw Lem's Solaris into English was based on a French translation rather than the original Polish novel, and suffered accordingly. Lem, who was fluent in English, vocally disapproved of the double translation, but the rights to the novel belong to his Polish publisher and they have thus far had no interest in commissioning another. However, it turned out that the publisher only has the rights to paper editions, and in 2011, a new translation by Bill Johnston was released as an audiobook and a Kindle e-book.
- This sort of thing happened even before animation itself: In the 19th century, the works of Jules Verne got altered drastically when translated into English, generally by utterly incompetent people who made basic mistakes and replaced all of the greatly-detailed (albeit outdated) science with even worse scientific and mathematical errors, and often cut out entire chapters. The most egregious example is quite possibly an early translation of Journey to the Center of the Earth, which is affectionately known as the "Hardwigg version" among people who care, after the Translation Name Change of The Professor. It changed the writing style of the novel completely.
- The German translation of Terry Pratchett's Good Omens completely omits the homosexual content about Aziraphale: "gayer than a tree full of monkeys high on nitrous oxide" becomes "whimsical (verschmitzt) as a tree full of monkeys" which doesn't really make sense. Also, Shadwell's "Southern Pansy" becomes something else entirely. It's not really clear why, because neither are those lines likely to be offensive nor is German society extra sensitive about homosexuality.
Live Action TV
- Super Sentai to Power Rangers, with the battle footage spliced into entirely new stories. The first three seasons of the latter took three completely seperate seasons of the former and reworked it into one "mega-arc", and the later incarnations seem to only be superficially similar to their originals, with the motives of the characters and some story elements being completely changed. Of course, Power Rangers was never intended and doesn't claim to be a dub/reenactment of its Super Sentai parent, despite borrowing suits and battle footage.
- It should also be noted that certain Power Rangers seasons have stuck decidedly close to their source material, like Power Rangers Time Force sticking to Mirai Sentai Timeranger's original plot or more drastically, the Shot For Shot Remakes Power Rangers Wild Force and Power Rangers Samurai. Others have had varying levels of similarity, such as Gekisou Sentai Carranger into Power Rangers Turbo and Denji Sentai Megaranger into Power Rangers in Space. Carranger was a parody Sentai show, and Turbo suffered from many reasons on top of that footage (seriously, the Rangers were once baked into a pizza); such is that Disney was wiser when adaptating the equally campy Engine Sentai Go-onger into the apocalyptic Power Rangers RPM, and mostly Lampshaded and moved right past some of the inescapably Go-Ongery elements (such as mech designs). In Space, on the other hand, was a drastic variation upon the Sentai version; Megaranger never even left the Earth, instead literally surfing the web!note In Space was a smash hit, though.
- Taken to a frustrating extreme with Disney's "remastering" of the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Rather than simply sharpening up the image, random freeze-frames and comic book-style character explanations run rampant, and flashy-yet-crappy CGI has been randomly spliced into the 1993 footage. To be fair, some of this was mandated; censors are stricter about on-screen violence these days so Hit Flashes served a practical purpose in obscuring the blows.
- In the third series of the original show, the Ninjazords appeared first, followed by the Shogunzords. In the original Kakuranger, however, it was the reverse. Essentially, the entire second half of Kakuranger was used first. To give an example, Vampirus was the first monster of the week for the season. His Sentai equivalent was in episode 36.
- Power Rangers Samurai was a Shot for Shot Remake at first, but Deker and Dayu had to be have their stories changed for censorship reasons. By the end, though, it made them much more sympathetic characters, and therefore tragic when Never Say "Die" doesn't mean you can't kill them after all.
- Meanwhile, Power Rangers Megaforce couldn't be more un-Goseiger, as an affectionate nod to MMPR to the point of practically being a remake. Frequent use of Gosei Cards in the Japanese scenes means an unprecedented number of sentai weapon/attack/zord names are kept, but the story's more reminiscent of MMPR, and also a sequel to it, with Zordon's Expy being an old student of his. Where the UMA Beasts followed the Warstar Empire and were linked only by having Buredoran being with but not of them, the insects and the toxic mutants are now working side by side. The final villain group has Metal Alice being the Buredoran Expy Vrak's personal minion and their base being his personal base. Robogog is almost adapted out and used as a part of the next villain group of Gokiager, as an emissary announcing their arrival.
- VR Troopers was made from three different Metal Heroes series: Choujinki Metalder, Jikuu Senshi Spielban, and Space Sheriff Shaider. Somehow, having three shows to draw on didn't stop it from recycling plots.
- When the Ultraman series Ultra Seven, was dubbed into English by Cinar for TBS, it received a bizarre Gag Dub that made it almost entirely incomprehensible. This version has since been almost entirely forgotten even by fans of the series. The Ultraman Tiga dub was a Spiritual Successor of sorts to it, but is much better about not being incomprehensible.
- To capitalise on the success of Power Rangers, Saban licensed Kamen Rider Black RX and turned it into "Saban's Masked Rider": a gay old Aesop-tastic romp starring a superhero alien learning about Earth culture with his adoptive American family. Later the editing got so shoddy that at times you could clearly see the original Japanese actors, or the fact that the footage they were splicing in was from two seperate movies (Kamen Rider ZO and Kamen Rider J) starring completely different heroes. Reportedly, Creator Shotaro Ishinomori was so incensed by Saban's take that he swore never to license the franchise againnote .
- Kamen Rider Dragon Knight did much betternote , even winning a Daytime Emmy for stunt choreography. Its ratings meant not enough of the intended demographic were watching to keep it alive. The last two episodes weren't even aired, though were made available on the website. Odds are, we aren't getting that second season. It, too, is dissimilar from its footage-sake, and it's best if you don't go in with a "Ryuki Dub" mentality (see some of the Power Rangers examples above; Tropes Are Not Bad.) Interestingly, Dragon Knight became a Recursive Import and did quite well back in Japan. It even got a continuation... sadly, in the form of a book nobody back in the US will probably ever see.
- This happened to Star Trek when it was dubbed into German. In the episode "Amok Time", in which Spock must return to his home planet to mate or else die, all sexual references were cut and the plot changed so that he was suffering from "space fever", making his battle to the death with Kirk a mere hallucination.
- In one of several early, unsuccessful atempts to introduce Monty Python's Flying Circus to American audiences (unrelated to And Now For Something Completely Different), American network ABC bought some episodes from the John Cleese-less final season with the sole intention of cutting out separate sketches and inserting them as filler into a different show, called The Wide World of Comedy. This was done very clumsily, with rampant censorship, and the result was reportedly incomprehensible. The Pythons, who had in their contract a clause that their show would not be re-cut without their permission, used this as grounds for a breach of contract lawsuit against the BBC, who held the rights to series. The result was that all material produced by Pythons for the BBC became their intellectual property, which was unprecedented at the time.
- The HBO broadcast of the Extras Christmas special did this with some jokes, cutting or replacing references to British celebrities who aren't known in America. It was mild but still silly, because the show in general is still full of Britishisms that don't necessarily translate. It also makes a scene about talking celebrity dolls very jarring. The original one has a Jade Goody doll that says a catchphrase and then the racist remark she made about Shilpa Shetty's name on Big Brother. The American version replaces it with a Kramer doll that does a Seinfeld quote followed by the part of Michael Richards's notorious onstage rant about the black members of his stand-up audience where he reminded the white people present them that in the past they could have lynched them — which is less Never Live It Down and more Dude, Not Funny!.
- When released in America, the albums of The Beatles would experience two different approaches: (a) either the album would be released with the same (or a similar) name as the British release (such as With The Beatles becoming Meet The Beatles — kind of justified in this case, as the album was the first to be released in America), only with a few songs chopped off and / or rearranged, or (b) the songs would be grouped together to form a whole new album (such as Yesterday and Today, the one which originally generated controversy over the infamous "butcher cover" involving the group wearing white butcher's coats and surrounded by slabs of meat and chopped-up dolls parts). British releases tend to be considered 'canon', although the American release of Magical Mystery Tour has replaced the original British EP in both popularity and official-ness due to it also including some of their most popular singles of the time, including 'Strawberry Fields Forever', 'Penny Lane' and 'Hello Goodbye'.
- This also extends to almost every British rock group from the start of the British invasion to around 1967 or so. It stemmed from two factors. First, records released in Europe usually had around fourteen songs on them, while American records usually had only twelve. Second, songs that were released as singles in England were usually not put on albums, meaning that many of any given band's most popular songs were not available on their regular studio albums. This caused America companies to mix and match songs and albums so they could exhaust their catalog and make more money.
- The Clash's first album from 1977 was released in the US in 1979. This happened after their second, Give Em Enough Rope had been released in the US in 1978, which was the first album of theirs to be released there. Probably as a result, their newer singles from 1979 were included on the new version of their first album, replacing some songs that were deemed controversial by the record company at the time. Although a lot of people like this version of the album, the Clash's change in production techniques makes the inclusion of a later track like "I Fought The Law" pretty noticeable.
- There's a self-titled album by German act Nena (of 99 Luftballons/99 Red Balloons fame) which features some of their songs translated into English and another side with some original German songs. The songs in either case seem to have been taken from two different original German albums (another self titled, debut album and ? (Fragezeichen))
- This happened to Thunderbirds twice. First when it was run on FOX Kids with redubbed voices, rock music, and cuts to remove content deemed inappropriate for children and also to cram the plots into half-hour episodes, rendering most of them incomprehensible. After that bombed, the rights holder released another half-hour version, Turbocharged Thunderbirds, which further altered the original episodes to be taking place on the planet "Thunder World", redubbed the dialog yet again to add more "post-modern" jokes, had the Tracy family taking orders from a pair of live-action teenagers who called Jeff Tracy "Mr. T", and referred to the teenagers as Hackers who lived aboard Thunderbird 5, now dubbed "Hack Command". This version so enraged original creator Gerry Anderson that it was quickly pulled from syndication and supposedly destroyed at his request.
- To give you an idea of how bad Turbocharged was, look up an episode on YouTube. If that alone isn't enough to convince you, read the comments under the videos — more than once, you'll see someone posting that this series made the 2004 live-action adaptation seem better by comparison. To give some perspective: Anderson called that one "the biggest load of crap [he'd] ever seen in [his] life".
- A positive example of this is Decap Attack, where a previously so-so Platform Game licensed from an obscure anime became one of the silliest, strangest and most bizarre games to hit the Sega Genesis.
- Power Blade is a similar case: not only was Steve Treiber, the Mega Man-like player character of the original Japanese version, swapped out for an Ahnold-type dude named Nova, the game was made both more playable and more complex.
- Megaman X 5 apparently had a huge Guns And Roses fan on their translation team who thought it would be really funny or clever to rename the mavericks after the band members. Saying it's painful would be an understatement. While it's true saying "Tidal Makkoeen" sounds weird in English, at least it doesn't make you cringe like saying "Duff McWhalen" does. Even the MegaManHomePage utterly refuses to make any mention of the names, despite their policy to use whatever names appear in the game no matter what.
Although normally it is my policy to go by the game first if a game contradicts its manual, I’m hereby making an exception in this case. I’m sorry, but I am not referencing the Mavericks by their Guns N’ Roses names.
- Back in the early days of Atlus, they localised the cult hit Shin Megami Tensei: Persona as Revelations: Persona by scrubbing the script of any Japanese referents, redrawing the characters with different skin tones (including making one into a jive-talking black sidekick), and trying (inconsistently) to relocate the setting from Japan to a strange America full of Japanese landmarks. This gets confusing in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment when several characters from the first game make an appearance, retaining their American names (for continuity purposes) but looking a bit different (the hero in Persona had an earring in the Japanese version and looked Angstier, and when did Ellen dye her hair black?!). They also removed an entire ten-hour Bonus Dungeon for reasons unknown, though as part of it is translated, it's likely this was simply cut to speed up the localization process.
- Atlus tried to make up for their blunders in the first game to some extent by pretending Nate/Kei never got a last name change, Guido Sardenia was an alias (as they couldn't rename him Takihisa due to the spoken cutscenes calling him Guido), so they broke even and established his original name was Guido Kandori, as well as few other minor changes to compensate. It's still a much messier Retcon that Nyarlathotep was manipulating things from the beginning, as his name was changed to Massacre for the US release.
- The real strange part is that Atlus today is one of the most respected publishers in the West for its studious attention to detail and its respect for the titles it brings out. Obviously they learned their lesson, as the US release of Persona 2: Eternal Punishment made no attempt to hide the fact that the game was in Japan, and recently the PSP remake was released in the US, with better translation and the entire game translated.
- In Japan, Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere was a fast-paced flight arcade game with highly competent teammates, a deeply involving, character-driven, completely non-linear storyline, featuring five young pilots caught in the middle of a struggle between two megacorporations, a guerrilla faction hell-bent on digitalizing everybody's minds, and a secret peacekeeping force where some dark monkey business is going on deep inside; all of that interspersed with beautiful, sleek anime cutscenes by Production I.G. When the game was released in the West, the editors somehow thought Western gamers were a bunch of hotheads who just want mindless, fast-paced action and slaughter (and weren't willing to risk the huge expense of translating a game that had underperformed at retail compared to the previous entry in the series), and everything that made the Japanese version stand out from the rest was horribly destroyed. The truly intelligent teammates were removed, making all your missions solo. The original plot was replaced with a bland, highly generic story about a peacekeeping force who just jumps in and ruins enemy stuff every time something bad happens. The anime cutscenes were replaced with text slideshows that just threw an Infodump on what was going on. The entire "story tree" was replaced with a completely linear plot that just goes from point A to point B. Even Dision's quest for causing massive mayhem was Retconned with a computer AI that suddenly went haywire! For once, a case where They Changed It, Now It Sucks was true.
- XS Games bought the rights to two unrelated Bullet Hell shooters, Gunbird and Shikigami No Shiro (Castle of Shikigami), and released them as Mobile Light Force 1 and 2, respectively. The original Japanese scripts were tossed out completely and replaced with an English script that made no sense, and the original covers were supplanted in favor of a Charlie's Angels-style cover that had absolutely nothing to do with the game. After great anguish from fans, XS Games brought over Castle Shikigami 2 uncut, though the translation was still filled with Engrish. The third game was brought over by a different publisher, Aksys Games.
- Then there's the first Ranma ½ game, which was edited into Street Combat, changing the premise and removing all Japanese elements and renaming and redrawing all the characters completely differently.
- Drakengard had almost all plot points pointing to incest removed, and everything related to pedophilia removed. Some other parts of the script were also gummed up and rendered incoherent, such as the scene leading in to the third ending.
- Several Puyo Puyo games got this treatment, being reworked into games starring Dr. Robotnik on the Genesis/Megadrive or Kirby on the SNES, as well as a computer game (Qwirks) with completely original characters. The Puyo Puyo franchise still lives on to this day under its original title, even after the demise of Compile, the company who created the series.
- A similar thing happened to the Panel de Pon series, released in Japan with cute shoujo-style characters. It was released in the US, with characters from Yoshi's Island, as Tetris Attack, even though the games don't have anything to do with Tetris.
- Perhaps the most well-known act of cramming mascots into ported oddities is the US version of Super Mario Bros. 2, which is a sprite hack (with other changes/improvements) of Doki Doki Panic. The proper Mario 2 epitomized Nintendo Hard — it eventually reached the US after being Remade for the Export on the Super Mario All-Stars Compilation Re-release for the SNES as "The Lost Levels," though the original 8-bit version was eventually released on the Wii and 3DS Virtual Console.
- On the plus side, either due to Miyamoto's involvement with the original Doki Doki Panic or the fact the title was later released in Japan, many of the monsters from Super Mario Bros. 2 have joined Mario's Rogues Gallery. Bob-ombs were in the immediately following game, Super Mario Bros. 3. Yoshi's Island featured Shy Guys, and most Mario games since then have featured at least a few enemies who originated in Subcon. Furthermore, in Super Smash Bros.. Melee and Brawl, Princess Peach has a few abilities based on her appearance in Super Mario Bros. 2 namely her ability to throw vegetables and hover in midair.
- 2 can best be summed up as a game that got a cut and paste translation, but ended up better than the actual sequel and Nintendo went Sure, Why Not? and made it canon.
- The translators of Earnest Evans moved the year from 1925 to 1985, made Earnest Evans into Earnest Evans III, tore out the entire story, made Annet his mom instead of his girlfriend, and changed Al Capone into Brady Tressider. Of course, the game was reverse-ported from the Sega CD to the Sega Genesis cartridge, so a lot had to go.
- Probotector for the Mega Drive, the European localization of Contra: Hard Corps not only replaced all of the humanoid characters with robots (much like the previous Probotector games for the Nintendo platforms), it also turned the plot of the game into a barely coherent mess, by replacing references to the enemy being an Earth-based terrorist organization with some nonsense about "Alien Rebels", as well as downplaying the role of Dr. Geo Mandrake so he was no longer a traitor.
- For the American version of Streets of Rage 3, the main characters were recolored for the purpose of having "gender-neutral" colors, female enemies have more clothing, and the story is completely rewritten, changing the plot from one revolving around nuclear weapons to one about robotic duplicates of city officials.
- There's a lot of Internet Backdraft related to Working Designs about whether or not their scripts fall under this or Woolseyisms. They were notorious for slipping in an ungodly amount of pop culture references, as well as playing fast and loose with the dialogue in the games, which made keeping track of changes in the various Lunar ports difficult just because the player never knew whether a change was added for the new version or just added to the English version. On the other hand, this notoriety is also what made their games appealing. The Clinton joke in the original Lunar: Eternal Blue is legendary, to the point where many mourned its loss when the PS1 version came out and they had updated it to something more relevant.
- While otherwise a decent game, the poor translation effort put forth in Warsong, the Genesis version of Langrisser, is said to have contributed to its low sales and the prevention of any other game in the Langrisser series to be released outside Japan.
- Nintendo of America's self-imposed decency guidelines scrubbed almost all references to religion, Nazis, sex, and gratuitous violence from the NES & SNES.
- If you didn't beat it, you probably didn't know Bionic Commando was about stickin' it to Hitler.
- EarthBound took a number of edits, but more notably so did its Japan-only NES predecessor Mother (AKA Earthbound Zero). Since the US port team fixed bugs and added features as they meddled, that officially unreleased translation / edit was used in Mother 1+2 for the GBA.
- Oddly averted in Harvest Moon, which features an apparently unaltered church complete with pastor and gigantic gold cross.
- Nintendo apparently gave themselves a free pass on the first two The Legend of Zelda games, which are loaded with crosses and even a church (explicitly identified as such) in both Japanese and English. Then they backpedaled with Link to the Past, changing a church into a "sanctuary" and a priest into a "sage" (though without altering any visual imagery). They also edited out graphics based on Egyptian hieroglyphs, citing that they were a religious reference—a reference to a religion that hardly anyone has practiced for thousands of years.
- Germany is infamous for its game edits. Nazi symbolism is verboten, so games like Bloodrayne (set in Nazi Germany) get set in Ruritania with we-swear-they're-not-swastikas everywhere.
- "They're just machines" is common there, too. The back page of the official guide to the N64's Turok: Dinosaur Hunter touted the PAL-version replacement of all the human mooks with robot soldiers as a feature.
- One of the worst examples is the removal of Nimdok and his section in the PC game I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. What makes this seriously stupid is that the game wasn't changed to not require his section to be completed to beat the game, making the game Unwinnable.
- This German requirement has led to the international versions of many strategy games set in WW 2 using the imperial German flag and symbols instead of the Nazi ones, and replacing Hitler with a fictional character. This of course leads to Unfortunate Implications as it can appear to be historical revisionism and claiming the Nazis never existed.
- The German releases of Command & Conquer changed everyone in the whole series into robots, but Generals was by far the worst in this regard:
- Every face was cyborgified.
- All voice samples were modified to make them sound more like robots.
- Blood was changed to green.
- The GLA suicide bomber was replaced by a bomb with wheels, which inexplicably starts talking once you put it into a car. Oops.
- All this was parodied by AH.com: The Series, whose German mercenaries have a small army of "Cyborg Robots With Green Blood" who they called upon when required to fight for civilisations so squeamish they faint at the sight of real humans fighting.
- While we're talking about German versions, the German version of Half-Life not only changes all enemy soldiers to robots but also removed all blood and gore and made it so that instead of dying when shot, the science team would just calmly sit down while shaking their heads in disappointment before fading away.
- Speaking of which, the Team Fortress series has also seen a large amount of editing in Germany:
- In Team Fortress Classic, all of the class models were replaced with a generic robot model, which made the game impossible to play.
- In Team Fortress 2, the class models remain the same, but blood is replaced with oil, and it uses the "Silly gibs" that Pyroland uses in the English versions (for those unaware, "Silly gibs" makes the players explode into toys, mechanical parts, food, and other inanimate objects, rather than exploding into limbs and organs). Also, all the Meet the Team shorts that made it over there were heavily censored/edited (except Meet the Sniper, in which they didn't even bother to censor). For example, in Meet the Soldier, Soldier's collection of severed heads have oil oozing out of them, and their neckbones are replaced with mechanical springs, so it's almost as if the classes are robots due to the way the game and its shorts are edited. However, they eventually stopped to censor newly released content without decensoring existing content, most apparent in some weapons having their bloodstains removed, while others still have them.
- Dynamite Headdy removed all dialogue except for the tutorial segments and the end of Scene 4 from the US version of the game. What was once an intentionally silly but coherent plot becomes an incomprehensible mess that's barely discernable past random action sequences because of this.
- In the original Japanese version, if you enter the tutorial segments, you'd be asked if you want to practice, which is nice if you have second thoughts about doing it. In the US version, once you enter the room, there's no turning back. And you don't get any dialogue if you fail these attempts. At least they had the sense to change the ending in light of the dialogue removal: in the US version, Smiley rejoices upon seeing Heather, who turns to Headdy and glomps him. During the ending demo, Headdy sees Heather off with the rest of his friends. In the Japanese version, Smily pins himself to Headdy's face as Fingy looks on. In the ending demo, only Headdy's friends see Fingy off, as Headdy struggles to get Smily off his face.
- The European and American versions of Magical Drop III removed a lot of things present in the Japanese version. The endless mode no longer has Kyu and Dan Ranks, characters now use generic "I'm gonna beat you!"-style dialogue before each versus matchup, plot-related cutscenes have been removed, and characters no longer have individual voices—there's about three in the whole game (one in the American version), with each voice being shared by multiple characters.
- How about Sonic CD? Sega of America delayed the US release by several months for the purpose of replacing 75% of the soundtrack, most likely due to sampling issues as the Japanese sound track used a lot of 'em (Prime example if you don't believe that: Listen to the Japanese boss theme and then to "Work That Sucker To Death" by Xavier.). Even Spencer Nielsen, the composer working on behalf of Sega of America, sympathized with irate fans.
- The Twinbee platformer spinoff Rainbow Bell Adventures was released in both Japan and Europe. The Japanese version featured an overworld map with many, many optional stages and potential paths to the end, and multiple endings depending on how much of the game you actually cleared before taking on the final boss. The European version stripped out all but one of the endings and made the game completely linear.
- In Chrono Trigger, the legendary sword Granleon was renamed Masamune in the English translation. Although this doesn't seem like a very bad change (after all, Masamune is a pretty cool name and shows up as the name of a powerful sword in most Squaresoft games), but it does cause some problems.
- In most Squaresoft games, the Masamune is either a katana or a sword that looks like a katana. However, the Masamune in Chrono Trigger is definitely not a katana. There are plenty of katanas in the game but the Masamune is not one of them.
- The Masamune contains two brothers named Masa and Mune (or Gran and Leon in Japanese) who are Anthropomorphic Personifications of the swordsmith Melchior's hopes and dreams. Later on, you find out they have a sister named Doreen (Dream in Japan). By going to the right place, at the right time, with the right lead character, you can obtain an accessory that allows you to perform a Triple Tech that summons Masa and Mune... as well as their sister! The name of this attack is GrandDream since Doreen is helping her brothers with the attack (Gran + Dream instead of Gran + Leon). Unfortunately, when the Granleon is named the Masamune and Gran's name is Masa, the name of the tech sounds cool, but loses its meaning.
- Since the Granleon is still called the Masamune in Chrono Cross, it causes problems there too. After you defeat a Bonus Boss who is being controlled by the now evil Masamune, Doreen shows up, and scolds her brothers. Then all three of them combine their powers to change the Masamune from a sword into a swallow (Serge's weapon type). In Japan, this weapon was called Grand Dream, once again signifying that the brothers are being joined by Doreen and also giving a nice shout out to a fairly obscure ability from the first game. In America, this weapon gets the cheese-tastic name Mastermune.
- The DS remake of Chrono Trigger attempts to correct the Grand Dream attack issue. Unfortunately, it does so by renaming it Mastermune, which repairs the Shout-Out in Chrono Cross but still sounds incredibly cheesy.
- In the American release of Um Jammer Lammy, a level taking place in Hell was relocated to a desert island for fear of offending religious types. The European versions got to stay in Hell, though.
- Some lyrics were also changed, and not just obvious ones like Chop Chop Master Onion singing about "playing on an island" rather than "playing in hell". Teriyaki Yoko's song changes mentions of "the devil" to "a man", and Paul Chuck no longer "chops down trees just for fun", apparently for fear of offending environmentalists!
- Pretty much any instruction manual written by Konami of America's localization staff during the NES era and most of the SNES era, which usually changed the plots of the games and renamed all the enemy characters with puns. The changes usually never affected the games themselves, as many games at the time were lacking in-game dialogue at the time and when they did, Konami would often forget to actually change the plot of the game, leading to various game to manual discrepancies.
- The most infamous example would be the NES version of Metal Gear. The plot within the game itself was mostly kept unchanged, but the manual identified the antagonist as a "Colonel Vermon CaTaffy", a clear pastiche of Lybian socialist leader "Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi". Its obvious that the writer of the manual never actually finished the game.
- Snake's Revenge, the NES sequel to Metal Gear, is an ever odder case. The game was released only in America and Europe, so the English manual has no Japanese version to be compared with. Even then it still manages to be inconsistent with the game itself, as the manual identifies the villain as a middle east dictator named "Higharolla Kockmamia", another pastiche (this time of Ayatollah Khomeini; at least not Hideo Kojima), but the actual bad guy is revealed to be a cyborg version of Big Boss in the actual game. Additionally, the manual claims that Jennifer "X" (Snake's female contact within the enemy base) is "rumored to be related to Ginger from Gilligan's Island".
- When the first Game Boy Gradius game was translated in America, the plot of the game was changed from a "Aliens are attacking us!"-style blurb to ridiculous crap about chasing down a criminal called "King Nemesis". While the Gradius series was never plot-heavy in the first place, the manual of this game has to be seen to be believed.
- In the SNES conversion of Gradius III, "bosses" became "Mayors", and several bosses got renamednote : QB2B, Monarchnote , Ice Icenote , Grimnote , among others. Worst of all, the Vic Viper gets renamed to the "M.A.X."
- The American manual for Life Force identifies the planet-devouring being of Zelos as the child of a "Ma & Pa Deltoid", as well as switching the names of Intruder (the dragon) and Cruiser Tetran (the core ship with the four tentacles).
- In addition to having the cut-scenes actually removed from the first NES game, the manuals of the early Contra games actually changed the plot for each game as well, placing them in the present instead of the future. The manual for the original Contra, which was actually set in the fictional Galuga islands near New Zealand, sets the game in South America instead, while the manual of Operation C, which was originally about Bill Rizer fighting against an unknown superpower in the Japanese version, was changed by identifying the antagonist as another alien invader named Black Viper. While Contra III kept the futuristic setting of the game, it changed the identities of the main characters from Bill and Lance into their descendants, "Jimbo" and "Sully". The enemy characters were also given sillier names such as "Jagger Froid" and the "Babalu Destructoid Mechanism". Oddly enough, the manuals for the European Probotector games had more accurate translations, changing the text only to take into account that the main characters were robots.
- The manual for Legend Of The Mystical Ninja is a bit of an odd duck. One on the hand it makes up a story about something called "the Dragonbeast", which has nothing to do with the game. On the other hand, the humorous tone of the manual is in-line with the game itself.
- The Super NES port of Wolfenstein 3D was given the No Swastikas treatment, and the Big Bad was changed from Hitler to "Staatmeister".
- A longstanding rumor claims that the creators of Wolfenstein were so offended by this, that they actually gave the game source code to Wisdom Tree, a company that produced Christian video games, who in turn made Super 3D Noah's Ark, the only unlicensed SNES game in existence. While not believed to be true - it's more likely that Wisdom Tree was a normal code licensee - the id software staff did seem to know that the game was going to be an unlicensed release, and were apparently okay with that, at the least.
- The MMORPG Digimon Battle's text was pretty much translated using Google Translator. The website's just as bad.
- Much to the ire of long-time fans of the series, Sega's Yakuza 3 was brought heavily under the cutting knife in an effort to excise elements that "would not resonate with Western audiences." This includes the removal of a string of quests involving the management of a hostess bar, elimination of such alarmingly Japanese games as shogi and mahjong, and the tossing aside of massage parlors, a number of optional missions, and a rather deep trivia game.
- Dragon Quest IV's DS remake had the "party talk" feature removed from the US version. Before you dismiss this, this constituted enough of the game's dialogue that the US version's ROM is a full 18 megabytes smaller than the Japanese one.
- Dragon Quest IV DS and onward also have a huge number of Dub Name Changes. Most are pointless, but harmless, but there are also several that ruin Mythology Gags and Continuity Nods to other games in the series, by using a completely different name from the previous releases that are being referenced.
- The U.S. version of the NES game Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde cut out two levels from the Japanese version and replaced them with copies of other stages, which makes the Japanese version better. "Kind of like eating a skunk versus eating a skunk with a little salt on it."
- When Magical Doropie was translated as The Krion Conquest, the story stopped at the intro, beyond which all cutscenes were removed and the ending became A Winner Is You. This only made the game look even more like a ripoff of Mega Man than it already was.
- The Sega Master System game Pro Wrestling (unrelated to the NES game) was a port of an arcade game which featured Dump Matsumoto and Captain Ersatzes of her AJW rivals. The entire cast was replaced with male wrestlers for the American and European releases.
- Probably one of the best examples of this trope being successful is the British version of The Magic Roundabout, in which Eric Thompson ignored the original French scripts and wrote new ones based solely on the visuals, leading to the cult series that is known and loved today.
- Doubtless puzzling Francophones who know only the forgettable original.
- The Polish version of Futurama. Oh Lord. Professor Farnsworth is Fry's uncle in some episodes, most of the references are happily butchered, and the show is called Przygody Fry'a w kosmosie, that is "Fry's Adventures in Space". Not only that, but the TV station that picked it up was fined for showing the episodes at the time when children could see it. It allegedly showed "an unreal world full of violence".
- From what Gaelic speakers have said, the Gaelic translation of Danger Mouse. For a start, in order to justify his Brought to You by the Letter "S" Chest Insignia, they gave him the rather uninspiring name of "Donnie Murdo".
- In the same fashion, the italian dub of Underdog named the title character "Ughetto".
- The Code Lyoko cartoon series managed to avert this in a major way (even with all the Fanservice). The "Subdigitals" CD release was not so lucky...
- The Japanese dub of Beast Wars transformed it into a goofy comedy show with many characters' personalities becoming completely altered. Examples can be found on the Transformers Wiki.
- Transformers Animated and Transformers Prime also suffered similar translations when translated into Japanese. Of the two, Prime was hit the hardest— Airachnid was changed from an Ax-Crazy psychopath to a shrill girly-girl who was in love with Jack, the Insecticons were all given comedic, ill-fitting voices, and most damningly of all, the entire third season was cut, due to an enforced 65-episode limit given by the network. The season 2 finale, "Darkest Hour", had the last several minutes hacked off (including its Cliff Hanger ending) in order to convert it into a series finale. The "Beast Hunters" season was replaced by a series of Japan-original direct-to-DVD shorts collectively entitled Transformers Go, which have very little to do with the main plot of Prime.
- Yoohoo & Friends was originally a Korean cartoon about Ridiculously Cute Critters going on wacky adventures. The US version, created by David Feiss, threw in a subplot about the titular characters being Corrupt Corporate Executives who were turned into animals as punishment for their crimes against the environment. The contrast between the original footage and the new footage is very noticable and jarring.
- Tugs, when it was brought to the US as part of Salty's Lighthouse in the '90s. The original 15-20 minute episodes were edited down to new, 5-minute shorts. The more consistent changes included renaming "OJ" and "Big Mac" to "Otis" and "Big Stack", and gender swaps for Captain Star and Sunshine.
- The Japanese dub of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, although not otherwise terrible, cuts several scenes and lines present in all other dubs of the show (to make room for the extended opening/ending and advertisements, apparently), resulting in a few Dub Induced Plot Holes.