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Alternative Foreign Theme Song / Anime & Manga

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  • All of the anime that 4Kids dubs usually have a different theme song than the Japanese version due to licensing issues. They also usually play an instrumental version of the intro song instead of the ending theme
  • Any anime shown on Nick Jr. in the 1990s will have this.
  • In Italy, pretty much every anime gets at least one if not more (especially the ones airing on any Mediaset channel) and they are usually very catchy.
    • Italian singer Cristina D'Avena is famous in Italy for performing alternative theme songs for hundreds of different animes in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. Seriously, if you hear an Italian opening from those years sung by a woman, it's most likely Cristina D'avena. Her "spear counterpart" was Giorgio Vanni (famous especially for the Pokémon and Dragon Ball theme songs). While the lyrics of their openings are mostly Italian, you can expect a lot of random Gratuitous English everywhere.
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    • In the 70s and 80s the group "I Cavalieri Del Re" (The King's Knights) has perfomed many theme songs related to anime, from the Time Bokan series to Kimba The White Lion with the most popular being the Tiger Mask and The Rose of Versailles (Lady Oscar) openings.
    • However, in later years, Italy began to move away from this trope, and the opening, if dubbed at all, is a rough translation of the original, with worse results.
  • During the Dark Age of Anime in France (late 1980s to mid-1990s), many series that were exported to France had a new opening song, even if most weren't better than the original, there were at least a few good ones: Cat's Eyes, City Hunter (Nicky Larson), Lupin III (Edgar, le détective cambrioleur), Space Adventure Cobra
    • In this regard, practically any anime that aired on the show Club Dorothée had a specific French opening song, by singers of the show's crew itself. Many of them (but not all) are considered anywhere between Narm Charm and So Bad, It's Good. Singer Bernard Minet is now more remembered for his alternative anime openings than for any independent song, and ditto with the late Ariane Carletti for Dragon Ball Z.
  • 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 
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    • 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.
    • The case of Kiki's Delivery Service is strange. Originally, Disney was going to use the songs from Yumi Arai from the original credits dubbed into English, but they couldn't get the rights. Instead, Sydney Forest was hired to sing new opening and ending themes. In 2010, a Re-Cut of the English dub was issued, with the restoration of the original soundtrack being one of the changes.
  • Persian dubs of both anime and western animation are more than likely to be unlicensed, with no access to a series's original soundtrack. Therefore, most dubs use alternative foreign theme songs or translated theme songs with different backing instruments.
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Specific examples:

  • The German dub of the 1980 anime adaption of Astro Boy has this catchy theme song.
  • Anpanman:
  • Mama Is a Fourth Grader has a surprisingly sad theme song in the Arabic dub, which changed the plot to Farah (the Protagonist) taking care of her “sister”, who comes from another planet.
  • 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 English version has one composed by Dave Dore and performed by an unknown singer.
    • The Canadian French version, which not only uses No Nagging Anymore by Froggy Mix, but it also tells the story of how the series began.
    • The Italian version had two performed by Cristina D'Avena: first and second
    • In Southern China, Cardcaptor Sakura had this opening.
    • And finally, the Korean version. Not only did they make that song in Korean, they did it in English, too!
  • Bakuten Shoot Beyblade has the surprisingly rocking "Let It Rip" theme from Nelvana. It is of such quality that is was picked to be used for all three seasons.
  • 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 is very catchy.
  • 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 (with a rock remix and an Islamic version too) and three Italian openings (the first).
  • Digimon:
    • Every 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 Brazilian dub of Digimon Adventure used a music inspired in the English rap opening, but turning it in a pop-like music. Ironic, the first ending was translated but it was only aired in the Brazilian Fox Kids in the cable TV. The endings music of Digimon Adventure 02 were replaced with the opening music of the first one in the Fox Kids while Globo used a very short ending of 5 seconds with no music song, only a soundtrack from the anime. Digimon Tamers had no ending musics too, even in the Fox Kids, just a short ending using the opening background music. Digimon Frontier was the first one to have all openings and endings translated to Brazilian Portuguese.
    • The Italian dub used completely new theme songs for the first 2 series and Frontier too (here's the first [1]), while Tamers and Xros Wars used the bases from the Japanese theme songs with different lyrics.
  • Doraemon:
    • The English dub distributed by Viz Media opens with Doraemon telling us about the show's plot.
    • Both the '73s and '80s anime have a different opening in Italy (the 2000's remake instead use the same opening used for the '80s anime).
  • 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 its own opening / closing that were instrumental tunes set to random clips from the show. The Majin Buu era did something similar, but based its footage around the Japanese opening/closings. When Funimation went back and redubbed the Saban episodes, they used this incredibly edgy intro. Recent DVDs keep the Japanese opening/ending footage, but replace the songs with Mark Menza's movie theme first used with the dub of Cooler's Revenge.
    • Deliberately invoked by Toei when they created Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters for an international audience with "Fight it Out!!" and "Never Give Up!!!" as the opening and ending theme, which they replaced with "Kuu-Zen-Zetsu-Go" and a series of ending themes for the Japanese broadcast version. Curiously, they didn't bother to replace "Fight it Out" from the background score, so the title card and eyecatch music in the Japanese version is an arrangement of a song it doesn't use.
    • 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 its 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 (that viewers have noted as sounding suspiciously similar to the theme song of He-Man) based on the French theme that the UK broadcaster found so embarrassing, they made their own opening theme that incorporated part of it.
    • 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 Dragon Ball GT. Averted with Dragon Ball Super which keeps the original Japanese opening. However Giorgio Vanni, the singer of all the other DB songs, also made his own version of Dragon Ball Super for the old fans of the Italian openings, but it's not official at all and never aired on television.
    • It also has this Arabic theme.
    • When the first Dragon Ball series aired on RPN in the Philippines for the 1st time dubbed locally in English, an English cover of "Maka Fushigi Adventure" was its opening.
    • In Brazil, the first broadcast of Dragon Ball used a Suspiciously Similar Song to the original opening, whose later broadcasters dubbed the Japanese opening.
  • Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai:
    • In Brazil, Dai had both opening and ending songs replaced with a cheerful pop song.
    • In Arabic, Dai got a new theme too.
  • 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).
  • Happen to classic Go Nagai works in Italy.
  • 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.
  • Heidi, Girl of the Alps has an German theme song that became a genuine hit in that country (#3!) and was even more popular in Italy (#4, helped by the moreso woolseyised lyrics) and also well-known in South Africa, despite not actually being translated to Afrikaans (which the rest of the dub was in).
  • Long-running Japanese children's variety show Hello Kitty's Paradise had two! When it ran on Fox Family as a Saturday Morning Cartoon, it used this theme song, while the DVD releases use this theme. Compare them to the Japanese theme.
    • In Japanese, one specific series of Hello Kitty shorts where Kitty and Mimi fly to imaginary places in a hot air balloon opened with the song "Balloon Ni Notte". When these were dubbed for Hello Kitty's Paradise, a different song called "Let's Fly Away" was used.
  • Himitsu no Akko-chan:
  • Hunter × Hunter: The Arabic dub of the 1999 anime uses a song based on the first Japanese ending theme.
  • 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.
  • The Japanese version of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! is a cute little marching theme. The American version is an over-the-top jazz song.
    • There's also the Italian opening sung by Cristina D'Avena.
  • Lupin III has several different openings in Italy where it is quite popular. The first (which is actually a completely unrelated disco song from UK with contemptible lyrics), the second with an accordion theme, the third and most famous (when the series aired on Mediaset), the fourth and most recently the fifth (which actually aired before the series premiered in Japan).
  • Magic Knight Rayearth had completely different theme songs in Brazil and Italy.
  • Maya the Bee not only has a different theme song in 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 the closest of the three to the original Japanese version of the theme song.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch has this theme song in Italy perfomed by Sol Boltempi.
    • In Spain, episodes 29 and so on still use "Promised Land" instead of switching to "Rainbow Notes".
  • 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.
  • 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 Mysterious Cities of Gold: The theme songs in the French and English versions of the '80s series use the same Haim Saban/Shuki Levy-composed melody line and are even sung by the same vocalist, Noam Kaniel. By contrast, the Japanese version had completely different opening and ending themes.
  • Naruto:
    • The first opening theme for the English dub 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.
    • Some countries had a theme with lyrics. It's also more action-packed than the original Japanese song. It however features 4kids-like lyrics in Gratuitous English such as "Sasuke, is really cool. Sakura, the beautiful" and incorrect pronounciations that make it a joke amongst fans.
  • One Piece:
  • Korean airings of Ojamajo Doremi Dokka~n! feature the song "Rescue Signal of Love" as its' theme song.
  • The anime Piccolino no Bouken, which was very popular in Europe, got here a completely different opening theme, albeit with the original animation: compare the Japanese version and the Israeli one. Here you can check out the other ones.
  • Pokémon:
    • Every season receives a different theme song in their English dubs, all of them different from the Japanese versions. And when they change the opening midseason, it’s only been done twice, with the same song to new visuals, in more complete overhauls than accommodating new evolutions or additions.
    • The Italian dub (which is based on the English version) had its own theme songs for the first 10 seasons, which makes it an Alternative Alternative Foreign Theme Song? Season 1, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Pokémon Chronicles, Advanced Battle/Battle Frontier and Diamond & Pearl.
    • The Brazilian dub uses translated versions of the English dub openings and endings.
    • The Portuguese dub plays with this in the second opening. While the first opening, and all openings after the second, were based on the English equivalentnote , the second theme was based on the first opening, with new lyrics. The second would eventually be released, dubbed and everything, in the soundtrack.
  • Pretty Cure":
  • When Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream aired in Italy, it used this theme.
  • Ranma ½ uses this theme in French-speaking areas.
  • Rave Master English opening, dubbed "Raveolution" was done by Reel Big Fish, a popular Ska band.
  • It's easier to count the countries that didn't use a new theme song for The 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 versions of opening themes.
  • Saint Seiya:
    • The Spanish version changed the Pegasus Fantasy theme 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 1990s if it tried. Averted with the second dub from 2000s which translated all the original openings and endings.
    • Italy has initially two opening. Subsequently, when Mediaset has aired the anime, was made a new opening (after replaced by a Italian version of "Pegasus Fantasy").
    • The DiC English dub, Knights of the Zodiac, received a new theme song, a cover of Flock of Seagulls' 1980s 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 its 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 aired the first 52 episodesnote , was based on the German dub and thus simply redubbed "Sag das Zauberwort" into Dutch.
    • The AB Groupe French dub used one (very catchy) song, which was named after the show. This was also used in the Hungarian dub.
    • 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 '90s North American dub, "Sailor Moon Theme", which uses the basic melody but is completely different in content, length, and instrumentation.
      • Speaking of that, when the 1st season first aired in the Philippines for the first time on what is now TV5, it also did the "Sailor Moon Theme" approach in the Tagalog dub, where Moonlight Densetsu was done with new Tagalog lyrics and was called "Sana'y Makapiling" (Wishing to be with you), but from R onward, they just used the default Japanese openings.
  • 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...
  • Sgt. Frog:
    • The South Korean dub of every season of the anime series have its own respective original Korean theme song and ending song.
    • The ADV Films dub was supposed to use this opening theme. However, the FUNimation dub retained the Japanese opening and ending themes, but weren't dubbed into English (perhaps nobody in FUNimation's dub crew for Sgt. Frog could sing?)
  • Shima Shima Tora no Shimajirō uses this as its' Arabic opening.
  • Speaking of Korea, Shugo Chara! has many of these.
  • Sonic X:
    • The American version used a theme boasting about Sonic that is completely different from the Japanese theme called "Gotta Go Fast" as opposed to "Sonic Drive". The Persian dub uses a translated version of this song.
    • There is also an Italian opening and one for the UK version (this is, however, mostly an electronic-ish instrumental song that has a man and a woman singing "Sonic X!" repeatedly).
    • The Brazilian version used the UK version. A Portuguese translation of "Gotta Go Fast" was used for the credits instead.
    • The French and Koreannote  dubs are the few that avert this, using translated versions of "Sonic Drive".
  • 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.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew:
    • For the U.S. version of Tokyo Mew Mew, 4Kids 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.
    • The Italian dub has this theme song, perfomed (unsurprisingly) by Cristina D'Avena.
    • The Korean dub uses a remix of the japanese instrumental
  • When Tonde Buurin was dubbed by Saban under the name Super Pig, they replaced the original theme song with this.
  • Urusei Yatsura in Italy has a single opening for all the series during the '80s. The song is also a mystery because the title and writer(s) of the lyrics are still unknown today, while the singer was unknown for decades until it was confirmed in 2020 to be two singers performing on the track: Noam Kaniel and Ciro Dammicco, the former of which also confirmed that Shuki Levy was the composer of the song. In 1999 it was replaced by another song titled "Mi hai rapito il cuore Lamù".
  • The Fox Kids version of Vision of Escaflowne has a different opening.
  • The English dub of Yo Kai Watch alternates between using a dubbed version of Gera-Gera-Po and a new song written by Phineas and Ferb co-creator Jeff "Swampy" Marsh as its opening theme song (the latter of which also became the theme for the English releases of the games). The end credits only use a dubbed version of the original ending theme, however.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Pretty much every English version of the show's franchise has a alternate opening to it, even when it became less standard in the the 2010s when most anime would be regulated to streaming services where the intro would be intact from Japan. For the original series it was just an instrumental piece, but, starting with GX, they started having lyrics to them.
  • South Korean dub of Crayon Shin-chan is an great example with opening and ending. Though this practice were stopped in season 7, but it eventually received its recent Korean-exclusive theme song named "Buri-buri Dance Party" (Korean: 부리부리 댄스 파티 bulibuli daenseu pati) since season 16 of the Korean dub of the anime.
  • 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 were given 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.
  • Time Bokan: The Italians got a cover of "Video Killed the Radio Star" sung by British kids' cover group MiniPops for their dub's theme song. We're not kidding.

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