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Cut-and-Paste Translation

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"I know what they've done! They've shot that beginning here, themselves. They've cut the picture to pieces!"
Kira Argounova, We the Living

Sometimes when works are translated elsewhere, major changes are made to it, from changing the scripts to editing the footage. The usual reason is to make it more accessible to the audience for the localization, but other reasons include avoiding Values Dissonance, avoiding the ire of local Moral Guardians, editing to fit in commercial breaks, or otherwise trying to make a series longer or shorter than it was originally to match local syndication packages.

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Common methods include:

Fans tend to really dislike this, referring to such translations as "Macekres". The worst of the worst will basically have the entire original script discarded and replaced with an entirely new one. Most of them aren't that bad, but they will frequently Bowdlerize the original, create additional plot holes, or otherwise just cause Adaptation Decay. This is a major plank in the Subbing vs. Dubbing debate.

It's not always a bad thing, though. When the target audience is nearly totally unfamiliar with the work, a translation like this can turn the work into a Gateway Series, helping create new fans who seek out other works. These translations are often thought of fondly, especially by those who saw the dub first and didn't piece together that there was an original version.

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The practice is rarer nowadays, as it's becoming easier and easier to immerse oneself in foreign cultures and styles thanks to things like This Very Wiki explaining things. When it happens, it's usually just changes to fit syndication requirements. In any event, editing as heavy as a Cut-and-Paste Translation is expensive.

If the importers actually add new material to something when they import it, it's Importation Expansion.

Compare Woolseyism (changes are made for things that actually won't translate well, and the changes are simply the most pragmatic), Gag Dub (script changes based on Rule of Funny), "Blind Idiot" Translation (where translations don't intend to make changes from the original work, but mangle the words into something completely different), Difficulty by Region, and Dolled-Up Installment.

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Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • The term "Macekre" comes from Carl Macek, who was prolific at this sort of thing and one of the first to do it.
    • Macek's most famous effort was Robotech, a three-way hybridization between Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA. These three series are unrelated, and the script was mostly from Macross. Robotech made several changes throughout, including censoring nudity (but not all the violence), changing characters' ethnic names from Japanese to English, an original "narrator" who assumed Viewers Are Goldfish, and cutting off a major Macross sequel hook. Anime purists hated it, but it was a commercial success in the U.S. and was indeed credited for creating new anime fans. A subsequent Remaster in 2004 restored much of the original Japanese content, including scenes of violence and nudity. Robotech even got a Recursive Import in Japan (which was credited for reviving interest in the then-moribund Southern Cross).
    • Macek also took Part 1 of Megazone 23, edited in some Southern Cross footage, wrote in his own script, and called the result Robotech: The Movie. The script needed drastic alterations too, because the Macross creators didn't want any similarities to their own film, Macross: Do You Remember Love?. The movie was received much worse than Robotech itself; Macek's distributor couldn't get it into theaters in the U.S. because of its tenuous connection to Robotech, and it was still too violent for children (possibly as a result of the action coming from poorly shoehorned Southern Cross footage). He later produced a proper uncut dub of Part 1, which was better received.
    • Macek merged Captain Harlock and Queen Millennia to create the rarely seen Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years. The script was also rewritten from scratch, causing many plot holes within both series.
    • Macek rewrote the script for Windaria, which he re-titled Once Upon a Time. He trimmed its running time from 102 minutes to 95, rearranged some scenes, gave all the characters Western names, and provided narration which, most egregiously of all, replaced the original's Downer Ending with something more hopeful.
  • World Events Productions had a reputation for doing this successfully, particularly for salvaging otherwise relatively unpopular Japanese series this way. When this trope went out of style, though, they went out of the licensing business. Among their most famous efforts:
    • Voltron was created by WEP from two unrelated Combining Mecha series, GoLion 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. The biggest change was a Never Say "Die" moment; Sven, who dies in the original, barely survives in the dub. This worked out very well for WEP, because there was such a backlash against his death in the original that they introduced his Backup Twin, which the dub could conveniently say was Sven all along.
    • WEP went on to take Sei Juushi Bismarck, rearrange more things, again refuse to say die, and release it on American television as Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs. This in spite of the fact that Saber Rider was a secondary character in the Japanese version. Some episodes were skipped due to their violent content and replaced with new episodes created from scratch. But it was a big success, outdoing the Japanese original's ratings.
  • Mazinger Z got this treatment after Voltron's success, but the dubbers here didn't care a whit about the show's integrity. The result, called Tranzor Z, was reviled by fans, and Go Nagai was frustrated enough with the failure that it took over a decade for any other Dynamic Productions show to reach America.
  • DiC and Cloverway made many, many changes to Sailor Moon to make it more palatable for American audiences. It's nigh impossible to list them all (although some sites have tried), and many of them were rather inexplicable. The biggest changes were of a Never Say "Die" variety (which didn't always leave the plot unscathed), Westernizing names, and trying (and failing) to remove Homoerotic Subtext, even infamously changing a lesbian couple (Sailors Uranus and Neptune) to "cousins" only to get even more subtext than they bargained for. It also resulted in the oddity of the Mexican dub, which was much better received and closer to the original, using the Americanized names for the first two seasons. Interestingly, this wasn't the first crack at Sailor Moon to hit this trope — Toon Makers was bidding for the rights as well, and their plans for the show were so drastic that they included original American footage, both animated and in live-action. Here's some footage of a promo showing how lucky the fans were.
  • 4Kids Entertainment was infamous for localizing shows like this, especially in their early years. Their CEO at the time, Alfred Kahn, went on record to say, "By the time we localize the programs, kids don't even know they're from Japan anymore." Their reputation was rather poor, to say the least, and other companies (like Viz Media and FUNimation) found much greater success by actively not doing what 4Kids did and being more faithful to the source material. In the end, 4Kids was sued into bankruptcy by TV Tokyo in a licensing dispute and reorganized into 4Licensing Corporation. Among their attempts at this:
    • They did the early years of the Pokémon anime. They changed a lot, such as characters' names (largely to match the games' localizations) and personalities to make them more relatable to American children (and at least in Misty and Brock's case, to tone down the sexuality). It was a hit anyway, even among those aware of the changes, and it became mainstream enough to help establish anime's Snark Bait reputation in the West. The dub is also considered particularly good in the West. Later seasons were done by the Pokémon Company International and were much more faithful to the source material, but the Nostalgia Filter has led a number of older fans to prefer the 4Kids version.
    • 4Kids also dubbed Tokyo Mew Mew, which it originally wanted to call "Hollywood Mew Mew" before settling on "Mew Mew Power". It's most remembered for being bad, changing practically everything (from the names to the music), and being cancelled halfway through. It got worse outside the United States, as it was often used as a reference for those translations rather than the original, resulting in a nonsensical Recursive Translation (which would also randomly cut itself off at the point where the American version was cancelled).
    • 4Kids is known for dubbing Yu-Gi-Oh!, changing character names and enforcing a strict Never Say "Die" mentality. It also changed the entire premise of the second and third series, boiling down a number of complex self-discovery Character Development arcs into a fight against a villain trying to Take Over the World. It's a ready source of mockery among fans, and Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series never misses an opportunity to highlight the dub's absurdity (although the 4Kids people said they enjoyed the abridging). That said, fans prefer 4Kids' effort to that of 4K Media, who bought the rights after 4Kids' bankruptcy.
    • One of 4Kids' better dubs was Shaman King, a show with death, blood, possession, and slapping. They tried to do a Pragmatic Adaptation and kept a lot of the violence in, including a point where the Big Bad beats the crap out of Yoh, rips the soul out of his body, and eats it whole. The Moral Guardians didn't approve, the schedulers wouldn't give it the time of day, and the show's reputation was wrecked in the U.S. anyway.
    • Their dub of One Piece, by contrast, changed as much as it could. 4Kids' experience with Shaman King led them to believe that they had to retool One Piece to fit their target demographic. Given the long-running and intricate story, they only succeeded in creating a morass of plot holes, removing whole episodes and even whole story arcs (Laboon and Little Garden). It also went big into Never Say "Die" and Frothy Mugs of Water (but failed to fix a sequence where Luffy tries to cheat at a Drinking Contest), and it went nuts removing all traces of weaponry (once digitally altering a rifle into a shovel, only for a mob actually wielding shovels to have them edited into bizarre neon blobs later). The cuts reduced the first 144 episodes to 104. After 4Kids finally dropped the license to One Piece, FUNimation redubbed the entire series, including the 4Kids-era episodes.
    • Though still mostly coherent, the dub of Sonic X is rather infamous in some circles for having been heavily censored; these range from removing some shots because they showed slightly too much cleavage, to removing a scene where Espio steals a DVD player (apparently to make sure that kids wouldn't imitate him), to erasing nearly all injuries without changing the script to match the changes - characters who have been badly hurt are, in the dub, merely dusty and holding their shoulders while everyone acts as if they're seriously wounded, to Never Say "Die" and Family-Friendly Firearms being enforced even when the things being removed were in the actual games the series is based on and/or the edited versions make no sense (the scene where Chaos is shot at is removed, Maria is merely "captured" rather than killed, and Canon Foreigner Molly randomly leaves in the middle of a fight rather than dying). On top of that, the dubbers also misunderstood some terminology, resulting in further odd changes.
    • In the American dub of 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. Additionally, many characters had their names changed (most glaringly, Lololo and Lalala became Fololo and Falala, causing them to be inconsistent with the games themselves), there were a few plot differences, some assorted scenes were cut, and they tried to tone down the "intergalactic war" aspect of the show's plot a bit, mostly by using slightly different terminology. As with Mew Mew, many other dubs were based on this version, and inherited the changes.
  • Nelvana, a Canadian distribution studio, edited Cardcaptor Sakura and turned it into "Cardcaptors". While their dub Anglicized the characters' names and censored some of the more controversial relationships (such as Tori/Julien and Rita's love for her teacher), it was otherwise passable for a Saturday morning dub. However, the U.S. 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, trying to turn 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.
  • Vision of Escaflowne was edited in this way by Fox Kids. 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 of the dub by The Ocean Group was released on DVD in 2003, and the edited-for-TV version was mercifully forgotten by most. The dub's failure also sidelined Fox Kids' plans for Slayers and Magic Knight Rayearth; all three shows were picked up largely in an ill-advised attempt to stick it to Toonami.
  • The Dragon Ball franchise ran into several attempts to localize it before finally hitting its stride:
    • The earliest attempt to launch Dragon Ball in the U.S. was from Harmony Gold, responsible for Robotech and Captain Harlock above. While their test dub was much more faithful to the original than their previous efforts, it still changed lots of dialogue and Westernized all the names, with such gems as "Zero" and "Bongo" for Goku and Krillin respectively, and Korin being renamed "Whiskers the Wonder Cat". This dub only covered the first five episodes, but Harmony Gold also produced a TV special made up of footage from the first and third movies, with heavily altered dialogue combining the two stories together.
    • Next crack at it was FUNimation, working with The Ocean Group in 1995 on Dragon Ball. This dub only had the first movie as a pilot and the first 13 episodes. Interestingly, the script was mostly recycled from Harmony Gold's earlier dub of the film, with the result that it also had heavy censorship and altered dialogue (although it would also factor prominently into FUNimation's uncut redub years later). They decided to cut their losses and move straight to Dragon Ball Z.
    • For the first dub of Dragon Ball Z, Saban Entertainment joined Ocean and FUNimation as a partner. Many early episodes were cut and rearranged, the third movie was chopped into three separate episodes, many scenes were digitally censored, and nobody died — they were just "sent to another dimension". Some additional Early Installment Weirdness resulted from incomprehensible guidance from Japan. The resulting dub reduced the first 66½ episodes and the third movie to 56 total episodes. It failed to find an audience in weekly syndication, but proved to be a huge success on Cartoon Network's then-new Toonami block, allowing FUNimation to continue the show with their own in-house dub. FUNimation's dub mostly averted this, since while it replaced the soundtrack and toned down some of the dialogue, it was largely uncensored.
    • For their dub of Dragon Ball GT, FUNimation cut the first 16 episodes into one recap episode, replaced the intro with a rap song, and went for a Darker and Edgier tone than the source material.
  • Transformers goes both ways!
    • When Beast Wars, a rather dark series with somewhat outlandish comic relief moments at times, was dubbed into Japanese, it received a Gag Dub with no sense of self-restraint and a few other random changes, such as turning the Predacons' computer into a character (or characters) named Naviko. Many Japanese Transformers fans were quite unhappy with this. The blame for this can be pinned on director Yoshikazu Iwakami, who applied this same wacky, over-the-top dubbing style to every future American-made Transformers series until he left after Transformers: Prime.
    • 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 (it was later determined by Fun Publications to exist in its own universe). 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, albeit not without some Continuity Snarl.
    • The dub of Transformers Armada was heavily rushed, leading to many cases of characters being referred to by the wrong name and a lot of weird, out-of-place dialogue that didn't relate to what was actually happening onscreen.
    • The dub of Armada's sequel Transformers Energon was similarly rushed, with the same awkward dialogue and wrong names, and also with several deliberate changes. Never Say "Die" was in full effect, and scenes (and at least one full episode) were cut for no reason, especially Primus's dialogue, leading to quite a few plot holes.
    • Transformers Cybertron, the sequel to Armada and Energon, was by contrast considered a Woolseyism of the highest order, but its dub caused its own share of problems. In Japan, Cybertron was an independent series and not a sequel. This didn't cause much stress until Galaxy Force came out. Fun Publications would later reconcile the continuity errors by shoehorning in a few lines about the "Unicron Singularity" warping the very fabric of reality itself, and manufacturing three shots of the previous series' characters in the series finale. Ironically, Galaxy Force has since been retconned into Micron Legend continuity in Japan.
  • Digimon has a number of Dub Induced Plot Holes across the individual shows, mostly concerned with characters mentioning siblings and pets they didn't have, and they produced them so close to the original that it was hard to predict whether any lines would cause continuity errors later on. Beyond that, they mostly just changed names (although some were Westernized, and others were changed to different Japanese names). Fan Dumb was not impressed. The worst from the series would be the second season of Digimon Adventure, where Executive Meddling resulted in a lot of forced humor, most of it at Davis' expense, to the point that it made Davis look like a complete dumbass. The second season's Non-Serial Movie, Digimon Hurricane Touchdown!/The Golden Digimentals, was also combined with two short anime movies about the kids from the first season, with a lot of reworking having to be done to cram the continuities together.
  • MegaMan 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, randomly edited scenes, and other strange changes. The name changes in particular were weird, not because the fandom preferred the original Japanese, but rather that the characters already had Westernized names from the localized source material, the Battle Network video games. This led to characters with three names. The same thing happened to some NPCs in Mega Man Star Force.
  • Tekkaman Blade got a fairly standard Macekre 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 U.S.
  • 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 newly-added Off-Model animation made to cover up the missing material. It's 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 ended on a random episode with no resolution to the main plot.
  • The German dub of Naruto is unintentionally hilarious. While the American dub did the usual censorship of injuries, death, and weaponry, the German dub edited out nosebleeds, took Never Say "Die" to its extreme (like Orochimaru suggesting to Kabuto that he'd have to "hide Sasuke forever"), and the weapons that weren't turned into lightsabers were edited out entirely, famously resulting in a scene where a giant sword stuck in a tree had its blade removed and thus turned into a weird levitating stick. The voice actors all invoked the Dull Surprise, and action scenes were replaced with Inaction Sequences on par with Dragon Ball Z. Whole plot elements were cut (like the backstory of Kyuubi attacking the village). And to add insult to injury, here's the first German opening. The second fared no better.
  • Samurai Pizza Cats is one of the most successful of these translations. Saban Entertainment wrote an entirely original script for it, matching the dialogue to the Mouth Flaps and whatever was happening on screen. The result was a hilarious Gag Dub that even the Japanese creators preferred. How it came about this way isn't certain; the most common story is that the English dubbers didn't have a script and had to improvise with the footage, but Robert Axelrod, who was one of the writers, claims that they totally did have scripts, but in Engrish.
  • Jim Terry's American Way company would often do this, especially with Merchandise-Driven shows. Terry made Force Five out of several Super Robot shows, cut out 40 minutes from the Crusher Joe movie to make "Crushers", and cobbled the first season of Time Bokan into two 95-minute features, Time Fighters and Time Fighters in the Land of Fantasy.
  • Space Battleship Yamato was dubbed into Star Blazers. It had the usual for this trope; dead bodies were edited out, many a Dub-Induced Plot Hole, and Never Say "Die" (even for characters who would be revived later). Odder things involved super-futuristic Westernized names, strange voice acting decisions (like giving the Season 3 Big Bad a ridiculous Russian accent), and removing some Character Development (degrading some moments to a Senseless Sacrifice). The Comet Empire movie also suffered from this as well, in addition to having 20 minutes cut from it.
  • Saint Seiya's English broadcast dub (not to be confused with the later ADV Films dub) was renamed "Knights of the Zodiac". It tried to eliminate references to death, excessive violence, and religion, despite the show being more or less about a religious war with appearances by saints and gods themselves. They also changed a ridiculous amount of blood into "spiritual energy", gave the Siberian a Surfer Dude's accent, and cut some pretty epic music.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena's licensors, Enoki Films, had Westernized names all ready to go for promotional material, but the American distributors, Central Park Media, decided to use the original names. The Enoki Films names would be used in other regions, though, like the Philippines and Latin America — the latter did have to deal with this sort of translation, as what was now "Ursula's Magic Ring" was aired in a children's timeslot.
  • Glenat's Spanish translations were largely poorly received for this reason, especially Mahou Sensei Negima!, Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, and Hayate the Combat Butler. The latter was particularly poorly dubbed, as it removed almost all non-visual Shout-Out gags (despite them being integral to the series' humor), creating huge Dub Induced Plot Holes, and most bizarrely, creating new (and Totally Radical) dialogue in some instances but refusing to translate at all in others.
  • 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 is 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 re-translated.
  • In 1985, footage from Go Shogun and Akū Daisakusen Srungle, a similar show produced by Kokusai Eiga-sha, was combined 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. They accomplished this by having each series' protagonist be a Parallel Universe version of the same character. It was voiced by the same crew who did Robotech.
  • The French version of Ranma ½ can compete with the worst American output. Almost all names were changed to French ones, which couldn't even stay consistent throughout the series. It was heavily edited to make the series more child-friendly, especially concerning nudity or Happōsai's Dirty Old Man behavior. The worst, though, is that the characters kept switching voice actors, which made things confusing and made the actors' performances suffer (not that they had much to work with to begin with). The manga translation and Mexican dub had similar problems, but at least the characters' names were unchanged there.
  • Battle Royale's U.S. manga version is the subject of some controversy, as nobody's quite sure whom to blame for how the translation turned out. Keith Giffen was the writer and definitely did a lot of the decision-making, but he had a lot of encouragement from Tokyopop. It made a lote of changes, such as turning the program into a Reality Show, a conceit that utterly fails by the final volume. Interestingly, they didn't change any of the artwork, meaning none of the violence and sex were cut.
  • 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". (This particular trailer inspired someone to do a Bowdlerized fan-edit of the first episode as if it had been taken up by Celebrity Home Entertainment for their "Just for Kids" label.)
  • The European Portuguese dub of Dragon Ball Z did this to such an extent that it became So Bad, It's Good. The dialogue is nonsensical and the voices are exaggerated, but when you have King Kai trying to call the fire department to stop Earth from exploding, it loops back around to hilarious.
  • The English dub of the 2001 Cyborg 009 series suffered this, as part of Sony Pictures' attempt to sanitize it for younger viewers. The dialogue changes and visual cuts also carried over to other countries where Sony distributed the anime, as they were given the English dub scripts to adapt. It also experienced inconsistent dubbing, with the faithfulness of scripts and dialogue varying heavily, and some episodes' flashbacks not even retaining the dialogue that was in the sourced episodes. When the first few episodes appeared on Toonami, complaints from Moral Guardians caused further edits, removing any questionable language, mentions of 002's atheism (and his Jerk with a Heart of Gold nature in general), and a stronger Never Say "Die" attitude.
  • Saban Brands pulled this off with the English adaptations of Smile Pretty Cure! and DokiDoki! PreCure (which were renamed to Glitter Force and Glitter Force Doki Doki respectively), by removing some episodes and combining others, resulting in a shorter run time compared to the Japanese original. While Smile didn't lose too much from this, Doki Doki was hit hard; Toei had already slimmed it down after criticism of Smile's egregious use of Filler, so that left very little fat to trim, and it ended up with 19 episodes re-cut or removed entirely, resulting in uneven pacing and whole arcs missing.

    Asian Animation 
  • YooHoo & Friends was originally a Korean cartoon about Ridiculously Cute Critters going on wacky adventures. The U.S. version, created by David Feiss, threw in a subplot about the title 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 noticeable and jarring.
  • Space Thunder Kids is what happens when this trope is applied to a hodgepodge of old, mostly ripped-off Korean animated films, and done in the same off-the-wall incomprehensible manner as the Godfrey Ho Ninja Movies — unsurprising, since both were produced by Joseph Lai.

    Comics 
  • Foreign (and especially Italian) Disney Comics tend to be heavily altered for their English-language printings, though at least the modern editors are honest about this and credit the translators for "dialogue" right next to the original writers. This can range to minor "spicing up" of the dialogue to add some more culturally appropriate jokes, to completely changing plot points around. Reactions to this are mixed, causing a case of Broken Base in the fandom — some believe it's disrespectful to the original writer, but others quite like the end result and consider them even more enjoyable than the originals.
  • Asterix ran into issues when other European markets were keen on changing the Gauls into locals:
    • It was first translated into German by Rolf Kauka, who changed the Gauls into Germanics, naming them "Siggi und Barabbas". When nationality confusion ensued in the book Asterix and the Goths (no, not those Goths), 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. That enraged creator René Goscinny, who forbade Kauka from making further translations.
    • In its first English translations for the UK market, the Gauls became 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 
  • Hayao Miyazaki fought this trope tooth and nail when his works were localized in the West:
    • The original New World Pictures dub of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (which became "Warriors of the Wind") was Macekred so heavily, it became one of the most reviled such translations of The '80s. Miyazaki was so disgusted that he held off licensing his other films until someone approached him with a deal that stipulated no changes to the script or editing. When Miramax picked up Princess Mononoke, one of Studio Ghibli's producers reportedly sent the Miramax execs a katana with a note saying "No cuts". Subsequent dubs, like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, have largely been faithful to the original (with some Woolseyisms to get American viewers up to speed with some Japanese tropes).
    • 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 dialogue).
  • 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 the U.S., they figured that Americans would be unfamiliar with the series, so they renamed it "Doogal" and basically took a hacksaw to it. They dubbed over dialogue that was already in English, added Totally Radical dialogue, lame jokes, nonsensical cultural references, and Toilet Humour, and advertised it as an action-adventure movie.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Fritz Lang's Metropolis was Macekred on its original American release, with the American distributor publicly priding itself on having essentially chopped it up and rewritten it, leading to much of the film being lost for a century. The original has since been found.
  • Quite a few of the Godzilla movies suffered this fate, beginning with the insertion of Raymond Burr into Godzilla: King of the Monsters!. Godzilla 2000 almost benefited from this, as the original was regarded as slow-paced and dull, and Tri-Star gave it a Gag Dub. This was so pervasive that there's an Urban Legend that Godzilla won in the original Japanese version of King Kong vs. Godzilla (no, King Kong won in both).
  • This was the main method of localizing 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. As you could tell, ninjas were a recurring theme, although later efforts included a kickboxing flick and 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 takes 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 (1985), made because of creative differences with director James Glickenhaus. Glickenhaus had made the movie in a typical American style, a significant departure from your usual Jackie Chan film. Chan re-shot many of the fight sequences in his own style, removed some gratuitous nudity, added a subplot with Cantopop singer and actress Sally Yeh, and made various other edits to improve the pace. Glickenhaus' original bombed in the U.S.; the Hong Kong version did better.
  • Several Soviet sci-fi films got the cut-and-paste treatment (or were used as Stock Footage) to make Western B-movies:
    • 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.
    • Nebo Zovyot was adapted as Battle Beyond the Sun. To disguise the fact that it involves rival space missions between the Soviet Union and the United States, the two nations become the northern and southern hemispheres in a post-apocalyptic world. Francis Ford Coppola worked on this while in film school; one of his notable additions was supposedly two monsters based on certain parts of the human anatomy. Scenes from Nebo Zovyot were also used in Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet and the 1966 alien vampire woman film Queen of Blood (alongside another Soviet film, Mechte Navstrechu).
  • The second of the six Lone Wolf and Cub movies was greatly simplified, dubbed into English, and combined with about 12 minutes of footage from the previous film to create Shogun Assassin, which is considered its own separate film, with a completely different list of credits. Decades later, the other four Lone Wolf and Cub films were dubbed and released on DVD as Shogun Assassin 2 (actually the third film), Shogun Assassin 3 (actually the fourth film), and so on, creating a translation where the sequel numbering is messed up.

    Literature 
  • The Bible is a difficult book to translate, as different parts of it were written in different times and in different languages. Translations were not above reworking some verses to match the contemporary political climate.
    • The Ur-Example in English is the King James version, first commissioned by James I of England in 1611. The translators were instructed to ensure that it supported the views of the Church of England. It subsequently gained significant prominence in the English-speaking world, but the extreme version would have to be the super-fundamentalist "King James Only" movement, which considers the King James version the only proper translation (even if not the original) and all other translations in any languagenote  a Macekre by Satan himself.
    • Words are often translated a certain way to fit specific political views. The New Testament denounces people described by the Greek word malakoi, meaning "soft". At the time, it probably meant Idle Rich, as the Greeks thought luxury made you weak (preferring the relative austerity of The Spartan Way). The King James version has it as "effeminate". In today's political environment, you'll find lots of people who will tell you it really means "homosexual". These people are also willing to pull out random Old Testament translations to further their point, making it as close to "cut and paste" as you're going to get. Teetotalers are uncomfortable with all the mentions of people drinking "wine", so they will translate it into "unfermented grape juice"except where the passage denounces it.
  • 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.
  • Used In-Universe in Ayn Rand's We The Living, when Kira and Leo go to see a movie called The Golden Octopus, which is a laughably censored American film with unfitting subtitles and obviously different-looking Russian footage added at the beginning.
  • Until 2011, the one extant translation of Stanisław 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.
  • In the 19th century, the works of Jules Verne were 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 might be 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.
  • In an example that overlaps with Based on a Great Big Lie, Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red includes a rewrite of Stesichoros' Geryoneis that is almost entirely Carson's original work, but is prefaced by an essay that seems designed to mislead the reader into thinking it's simply a translation. Since it's full of pretty obvious anachronisms — hot plates, weekends, glass-bottomed boats — a certain amount of playfulness must be in effect.

    Live-Action TV  
  • This is how Super Sentai became Power Rangers, with the battle footage spliced into entirely new stories. The first three seasons of the latter took three completely separate 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 to be and doesn't claim to be a dub or reenactment of its Super Sentai parent, despite borrowing suits and battle footage. That said, a few seasons are actualy faithful recreations of the original series' plot (or sometimes a Shot-for-Shot Remake, like Power Rangers Wild Force or Power Rangers Samurai), and a few others that made some changes that don't quite make sense. There's a lot of them out there, each with their own quirks.
  • 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.
  • The Ultra Series is very prone to this.
    • Ultraman's English dub is quite well-known due to having aired on syndicated American television for many years after it debuted in 1966. While not a complete Macekre, the fact that it was done by the same people who dubbed Speed Racer should tell you a lot about its quality, which probably accounts for the series' poor reputation in the West. Its notoriety also inspired the Ultraseven and Tiga dubs below as Spiritual Successors.
    • When Ultraseven was dubbed into English by Cinar for TNT, it received a Gag Dub that changed many of the characters' names and added sillier dialogue (one episode inserted a running joke of the characters shouting "from space!", every time someone said "invaders"), while also dumbing down the darker elements in favour of making fun of the special effects. This version has since been almost entirely forgotten even by fans of the series (perhaps willingly), but it can be found online in all its awful glory.
    • The Ultraman Tiga dub by 4Kids Entertainment had even more comedic dialogue that mocked the original material, made the series more kid-friendly to Westerners (antagonist Keigo Masaki was changed from an amoral Corrupt Corporate Executive to a generic Mad Scientist), derailed characters like the level-headed Captain Iruma into idiots, and renamed many other things. Fans think it's either So Bad, It's Good or irredeemably awful, and only 25 out of 52 episodes were aired due to negative reception (and Out of Order to boot). According to Erica Schroeder (who dubbed Rena), this was because 4Kids couldn't decide whether to mock the show or to make it serious.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • 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 editing would get 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 better (at least among its Periphery Demographic), even winning a Daytime Emmy for stunt choreography. But 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 original, and it's best if you don't go in thinking it's going to be totally faithful. 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 in the U.S. will probably ever see.
  • As if Saban hadn't done enough toku cut-and-paste jobs, they licensed two more Metal Heros series, Juukou B-Fighter and B-Fighter Kabuto and turned them into Beetleborgs, apparently aimed at a younger demographic than Power Rangers and being more light-hearted, and changing the story utterly from the Japanese originals.
  • This happened to Star Trek when it was dubbed into German. They gave it a Gag Dub with lots of censorship, and they cut massive amounts of footage. It's most evident in "Amok Time", which changed Spock's need to return to his home planet to Mate or Die into suffering from "space fever" (so his battle to the death with Kirk was a mere hallucination). For its DVD release, Paramount spent a lot of money to correct this.
  • 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 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 to sue ABC for breach of contract. The result was that all material produced by Pythons for the BBC became their intellectual property, which was unprecedented at the time.
  • The BBC's Tales From Europe strand from The '60s came about as a result of the children's department being unable to make its own programmes, and so began adapting films from the Continent and particularly Eastern Europe, most notably The Singing Ringing Tree from East Germany. Typically the films would be edited into several parts and shown as a serial, with a narrative track over the top instead of dubbing the original dialogue into English.
  • For some reason, How It's Made got two different releases in Italy: a regular one and Come è fatto con Barbara, which is the exact same thing but with the addition of interstitials between each segment featuring Barbara Gulienetti (mainly known as the host of the DIY show Paint your Life) recapping the segment that is going to air next, apparently as a way to fit the show on Real Time, a TV channel mainly aimed at women.

    Music 
  • This tended to happen to British rock groups' albums in The '60s when they were released in the United States, but mostly for practical reasons: first, European albums usually had fourteen songs on them while American albums usually had only twelve, and second, the Americans wanted to include songs that were released as singles in Britain (and some such songs were among the band's most popular). This meant that American companies had to mix and match songs to make their albums for their American release. You occasionally had censorship concerns as well (e.g. the Beatles' "butcher cover" on Yesterday and Today not being replicated in the U.S.). Fans can take their pick of whether the British or American versions are "canon"; in The Beatles' case, the British versions are mostly canonnote , while for The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds, the American versions are canon. This practice ended in the late 1960s, as rock music began to focus more and more on albums and fewer bands released non-album singles.
  • The Clash's first album from 1977 was released in the U.S. in 1979. This happened after their second album Give 'Em Enough Rope had been released in the U.S. 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.
  • ABBA's first two albums Ring Ring and Waterloo have different tracklists outside Sweden. Ring Ring began with the Swedish version of the title track, and included the English version as Track 10. The German version (used for other export versions) moved the English song to track 1, and replaced the Swedish one with "She's My Kind of Girl," which had been the B Side to the English version in Sweden (it was actually a Bjorn and Benny solo track). Waterloo did the same thing with the title track to that album, and added (in the UK and US) a 1974 remix of "Ring Ring" to the end of the album. The Japanese release of their Self-Titled Album moves "SOS" to track 1, and the non-Swedish release of The Album has a blue background on the cover, rather than a white one.
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra got this too, with the initial international LP releases of their material:
    • The band's Self-Titled Album from 1978 omits the Miniscule Rocking track "Acrobat" from the end of the tracklist on US copies.
    • Solid State Survivor went completely unreleased outside of Japan despite being a huge success in its home country; as a result, several tracks from it were added to the US and European releases of ×∞Multiplies. The US version cuts out most of the very Japanese comedy skits from the tracklist in exchange, while the European release still retains a few. As a result, ×∞Multiplies is the one YMO album whose tracklist differs the most between regions.
    • While the tracklists for BGM, Technodelic, and Naughty Boys remained untouched in international releases, European copies of Service returned to the practice of altering tracklists by cutting out the "S.E.T." tracks.
  • While YMO were no strangers to this trope, the solo work of Ryuichi Sakamoto faced a much greater number of cases.
    • It started with his album B-2 Unit, which had the single "Warhead" added and "Participation Mystique" taken out on the UK version.
    • Then the UK/US version of his album Left Handed Dream was largely different outside Japan (featuring his work with Robin Scott), as was his later Ongaku Zukan (made into Illustrated Music Encyclopedia, a single LP featuring half the tracks, and the two singles "Field Work" and "Steppin' into Asia" added).
    • In the 90s, Sakamoto reworked his albums Beauty and Heartbeat for the international market to make them more marketable— some tracks were translated from Japanese into English, and Beauty gained the single "You Do Me" and the single remix of "We Love You" but lost "Adagio", whereas Heartbeat gained two David Sylvian-sung tracks "Heartbeat (Tainai Kaiki II)" and "Cloud #9" and lost the original "Tainai Kaiki". Also, Heartbeat's unique foldout sleeve was not replicated on the International Version due to being too expensive to produce.
    • Sakamoto went one further with Sweet Revenge, remixing and overdubbing the album noticeably, translating some of the songs into English and rearranging some others entirely, and cutting out two Japanese tracks. Sakamoto intended for this version of the album to be an alternative experience, and it definitely is.
  • The U.S. edition of Life by The Cardigans cut a few songs and replaced them with tracks from the previous album, Emmerdale, and added the previously unreleased "Happy Meal". This was because the U.S. market got the second album first. Once Emmerdale did see release in the U.S., it included a bonus disc of the missing Life tracks.
  • Alphabeat's first LP was first released in Scandinavia and then refashioned into This Is Alphabeat for the international market. The songs "Into The Jungle", "Ocean Blue" and "The Hours" were replaced with "Go Go", "Touching Me Touching You", and a cover of "Public Image". Additionally, "Boyfriend", "What Is Happening", and "Rubber Boots" were remixed and edited to be more poppy and less guitar-oriented. Furthermore, "Fantastic Six" was moved from Track 8 to be the opening track, with the original opener "10,000 Nights" moved to Track 3. A number of British journalists who had previously heard and enjoyed the original Danish album were confused at its refashioning for the UK market, given that the rocky elements were what made the group stand apart — and that none of the three songs added were even released as singles there.
  • Three of Depeche Mode's 80's albums had their tracklists altered for their American releases:
    • Speak & Spell replaces the original versions of "New Life" and "Just Can't Get Enough" with the 12" remixes, cuts "I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead", and sticks the fade-out version of "Dreaming of Me" between "Puppets" & "Boys Say Go!"
    • A Broken Frame replaces the original version of "Leave in Silence" with the 12" mix and adds "Further Excerpts From: My Secret Garden" between "The Meaning of Love" and "A Photograph of You".
    • Black Celebration adds "But Not Tonight" to the end of the album, ending it on a much brighter note compared to the highly cynical "New Dress".
    • In addition to these alterations, the original CD and cassette releases of Construction Time Again and Music For The Masses add in bonus tracks as a means of encouraging consumers to buy those versions of the album. Among these two albums, the former adds in the 12" single for "Everything Counts" while the latter adds in several B-sides from the album's associated single releases, including two that at the time were only otherwise present on the 12" and CD single releases of "Never Let Me Down Again".

    Puppet Shows 
  • 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 rightsholder released another half-hour version for syndication, 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 "Hacker Command". This version so enraged original creator Gerry Anderson that it was quickly pulled from syndication and supposedly destroyed at his request. Fans think Turbocharged is worse even than the 2004 live-action adaptation (which, for perspective, Anderson called "the biggest load of crap [he'd] ever seen in [his] life").

    Toys 
  • Italian toy company GIG once took the Kinnikuman/M.U.S.C.L.E., N.I.N.J.A. and Fistful of Power toylines and sold them as a single toyline named Exogini, with completely new backstories (the first two series, released in the late eighties, presented the characters as aliens from a mysterious planet planning to invade Earth, while the last series, released in the late nineties, was presented as a civil war between the inhabitants of Mars, Mercury, and Venus). When Transformers introduced the Decoy figures as an extra packed in with the regular toys, the Italian release passed them off as a crossover with the Exogini line.
  • Infamously, Hasbro was guilty of this when it came to Transformers, which was born out of mashing together two of Takara's unrelated franchises, Diaclone and Micro Change, and then giving the whole thing a completely new backstory, when importing them to be released into the U.S. However, Takara loved the change so much that they eventually dropped both original franchises and imported the Transformers lore back into Japan.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • Blaster Master is about Jason Frudnick, a high school senior piloting the tank Sophia III (as named in the "Worlds of Power" novelization) to save his pet frog Fred and beat underground mutants and their leader, the Plutonium Boss. Its Japanese counterpart, Super Planetary War Chronicle MetaFight (according to the manual) is about Kane Gardner piloting the Metal Attacker on the planet Sophia III to defeat the Invem Dark Star Cluster army of mutants and their emperor Goez. Since the game was more successful outside of Japan, Japan eventually got the Blaster Master story in the PlayStation sequel Blaster Master: Blasting Again. The 2017 reboot Blaster Master Zero contains elements of both stories.
  • Atlus has a reputation for not doing this, but back in their early days they localised the cult hit Shin Megami Tensei: Persona as Revelations: Persona by scrubbing the script of any Japanese references, 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 like their Japanese versions, and it was a pretty messy retcon to try to connect the second game's plot elements to the first game's. They also removed an entire ten-hour Bonus Dungeon. Since then, Atlus has been so faithful in its translation of the Persona series that it makes no attempt to hide the fact that the games are set in Japan.
  • 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, and sleek anime cutscenes by Production I.G. However, it underperformed relative to its lavish production values, so the Western localization cut out most of the game's selling points. Now, most missions are solo, the storyline tries to simplify into something that will allow you to Play the Game, Skip the Story and replaces the story tree with a straight line, and the anime cutscenes were replaced with Info Dump text slideshows.
  • XS Games bought the rights to two unrelated Bullet Hell shooters, Gunbird and 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 games were released with a Charlie's Angels-style cover that had absolutely nothing to do with either game. After great anguish from fans, XS Games brought over Castle of Shikigami 2 uncut, though the translation was still filled with Engrish. The third game was brought over by a different publisher, Aksys Games.
  • The first Ranma ½ game was edited into Street Combat, changing the premise, removing all the Japanese elements, and renaming and redrawing all the characters completely entirely.
  • Drakengard had most of its script reworked into something incoherent; it removed almost everything pointing to incest or pedophilia, and it also botched the scene leading to the third ending.
  • Sometimes a game becomes a Dolled-Up Installment of another video game series that Westerners might be more familiar with, leading to not much making sense:
    • Several Puyo Puyo games got this treatment, being reworked into games starring Dr. Robotnik on the Sega Genesis or Kirby on the SNES, as well as a computer game (Qwirks) with completely original characters, and one of the game modes for the Windows version of Timon & Pumbaa's Jungle Games. 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.
    • The Panel de Pon series, released in Japan with cute shoujo-style characters, was released in the U.S. with characters from Yoshi's Island, as Tetris Attack (despite having nothing to do with Tetris).
    • One of the most famous instances is the U.S. version of Super Mario Bros. 2, which is essentially a sprite-hack of the unrelated Japanese game Doki Doki Panic. Nintendo decided to do this because the "original" Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 was basically a Mission-Pack Sequel of the original Super Mario Bros. (but Nintendo Hard), which Western gamers were not likely to appreciate. But the U.S. version turned out to be a hit, if only because Shigeru Miyamoto worked on both Super Mario Bros. and Doki Doki Panic, with many of the Doki Doki characters becoming regular parts of Mario's Rogues Gallery and inspiring Princess Peach's playstyle in future games (most notably the Super Smash Bros. series). Incidentally, the Japanese Mario 2 would eventually come to the States as "The Lost Levels", originally being part of the Compilation Re-release Super Mario All-Stars.
  • 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 debate related to Working Designs about whether or not their scripts are Macekres or Woolseyisms. Either way, enough was changed in their localizations that they can't reasonably be called "translations" of the original games.
    • They were notorious for slipping in an ungodly amount of pop culture references and plenty of Toilet Humour that didn't exist in the original script, as well as playing fast and loose with the dialogue in the games, which made keeping track of changes in the many Lunar remakes 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 Bill 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.
    • This also applies to the game mechanics. In Vay, there is a wind fairy who could send the Player Party to another location. This straightforward mechanic was changed in the localization so that all members of the party need to wear "Filtration Masks" before using her service, for the sake of changing her wind powers to a fart joke, and if even one member of the party isn't wearing a mask. A later joke chest in Vaygess was changed from containing 1g to containing a vortex that a vortex that steals all your gold.
    • Working Designs was also known for jacking up the difficulty of the original game essentially at their own whims (the "gold vortex" mentioned above being only one example) by altering enemy stats and, occasionally, goods and service prices. This doesn't always negatively affect the gameplay, but when it does, it does so hard — games like Popful Mail and Exile: Wicked Phenomenon are almost unplayably difficult in their English localizations, and even they admitted that forcing the player to pay magic experience to save the game in Lunar: Eternal Blue was a bad idea.
    • There are some things they clearly cut and paste, such as changing questions about Vane's levitation in Silver Star Story Complete to a reference to Tootsie Pops and M&Ms, and at times they played merry hell with the Lunar series' mythos, changing things such as "Mel governs Meribia" to "Mel founded Meribia" and "Dragonmasters fight with unbelievable strength" to "There can only be one Dragonmaster at any given time."
  • 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 series being 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 and 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 NES predecessor EarthBound Beginnings (a.k.a. Earthbound Zero). Since the U.S. port team fixed bugs and added features as they meddled, that translation/edit was used in the Japan-only Mother 1+2 for the GBA.
    • Oddly averted in Harvest Moon, which features an apparently unaltered church complete with pastor and gigantic gold cross. The alcohol references were censored though.
    • 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 (despite this being a religion that hardly anyone has practiced for thousands of years).
  • Germany is infamous for its game edits. Nazi symbolism is verboten in games (or really anything), so games like Bloodrayne (set in Nazi Germany) get set in Ruritanias with we-swear-they're-not-swastikas everywhere. They're also touchy about violence, so it's common to retcon human Mooks into robots (to the point that the back page of the official guide to Turok: Dinosaur Hunter in Germany actively touted its replacement of human mooks with robots).
    • I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream's German PC release removed Nimdok and his section — but not the requirement to complete his section to beat the game, making that version of the game Unwinnable.
    • German versions (and sometimes European versions) of strategy games set in World War II will depict Germany with the Imperial German flag and symbols instead of Nazi ones and replace Hitler with a fictional character. It's been criticized as historical revisionism, implying the Nazis didn't exist (and Germany thus shouldn't have to confront what the Nazis did).
    • The German releases of Command & Conquer changed everyone into robots, across every game. The worst in this regard was Generals, which changed everyone into robots that look like robots, sound like robots, and bleed green blood (unlike robots). The GLA suicide bomber was replaced by a bomb with wheels but still starts talking to you when you put it in a car. AH.com: The Series parodied the phenomenon with a group of German "cyborg robots with green blood" who faint at the sight of real humans fighting.
    • The German version of Half-Life changed all the enemy soldiers to robots and removed the blood and gore entirely. This meant that when the science team gets shot, instead of dying, they just sit there shaking their heads in disappointment before fading away.
    • Team Fortress Classic replaced all the class models with a generic robot model, defeating the whole point of a Hero Shooter. Its sequel Team Fortress 2 kept the class models but replaced the blood with oil and is permanently set to "Silly Gibs" mode, which turns the explosions of limbs and organs into explosions of various inanimate objects. The Meet the Team shorts are also censored (e.g. in Meet the Soldier, the Soldier's collection of heads has metal springs instead of neckbones and bleeds oil). Notably, Valve stopped censoring later additional content, but didn't uncensor what was already censored.
  • Dynamite Headdy removed all dialogue except for the tutorial segments and the end of Scene 4 from the U.S. 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.
  • 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.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sega of America delayed the U.S. release of Sonic the Hedgehog CD by several months for the purpose of replacing 75% of the soundtrack, most likely due to sampling issues, as the Japanese soundtrack used a lot of 'em. Even Spencer Nielsen, the composer working on behalf of Sega of America, sympathized with the purists. They also renamed Amy Rose "Princess Sally", in a weak attempt to cater to the ABC cartoon's fanbase, in spite of the fact that Amy is a pink hedgehog and Sally is a redhead squirrel.
    • The manual of Knuckles Chaotix has a completely different story in the Japanese and Western versions; in the Japanese version, Dr. Eggman builds his base called Newtrogic High Zone on an island when he discovers powerful artifacts called Chaos Rings there, and Knuckles goes there to investigate, while in the Western versions, Knuckles is the guardian of "Carnival Island," and must save it from Dr. Robotnik before opening day. In-game, it is still referred to as "Newtrogic High Zone" in all versions, and there's no time limit.
  • The TwinBee platformer spinoff Rainbow Bell Adventure 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 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. Lyrical references to Hell were also removed. Most bizarrely, Paul Chuck no longer "chops down trees just for fun", apparently for fear of offending environmentalists. The European versions got to stay in Hell, though.
  • Konami's American localization staff, during the NES era and most of the SNES era, wouldn't usually change the games themselves, but they would change the instruction manuals, changing the games' plots and renaming enemy characters with Punny Names. It usually didn't matter because there was hardly any dialogue in the games, but when it did, it often reflected the original Japanese plot instead of the American manual, leading to some confusion.
    • The NES version of Metal Gear is one of the most prominent examples. The plot within the game is mostly unchanged, but the manual identified the antagonist as a "Colonel Vermon CaTaffy", a clear pastiche of Muammar Gaddafi. It's 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 Eastern dictator named "Higharolla Kockmamia" (a pastiche of Ayatollah Khomeini), 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 renamed: Crystal Core became "Monarch", Big Core mkII became "Ice Ice", Derringer Core became "Grim", and Vic Viper became 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).
    • The early Contra games had their plots changed to place them in the present instead of the future, to the point of removing the cutscenes from the first NES game. The original Contra was moved from the South Pacific to South America; Operation C was changed from being about Bill Rizer fighting an unknown superpower to fighting another alien invader named Black Viper; and Contra III' kept the futuristic setting but changed the protagonists 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.
  • Much to the ire of long-time fans of the series, 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.
  • 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 (Classic) 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.
  • When Ninja Cop Saizou was localized as Wrath of the Black Manta, the story scenes were almost entirely rewritten and redrawn, one stage was removed, a few bosses were altered, and the music was completely replaced.
  • The Western localization of Gungriffon completely rewrote the plot of the game to change which side you were on. The original Japanese script is set in 2015 and cast the player as a Japanese pilot of the Asian Pacific Community fighting in a world war against the Pan European Union. The English script moved the game to 2075 and instead made the player a pilot of the U.S. 45th Foreign Legion assisting Russian forces in beating back an invasion by the APC. The opening FMV was edited to remove German voice clips (as their role as enemies were reversed by the plot changes), although the briefing illustrations and radio chatter in the missions were left unaltered.
  • The English-language version of Love Live! School Idol Festival strips out a lot of Ship Tease between the exclusively-female cast. Additionally, many lines that imply that the player character is female were changed to treat the player as male instead. Then 2015 update brought back the Ship Tease elements and made the player character female again. Considering a character's line in an upcoming set (now only available in Japanese) includes a reference to adding a bracelet around the player character's wrist, it would be difficult to treat the player character as male.
  • The localization of Bravely Second heavily rewrote the latter half to ensure that the player didn't have to go through multiple playthroughs to get the Golden Ending. The results were controversial to say the least, though it's worth noting that many of the changes were in response to complaints from Japanese critics.
  • Mystery Quest, the NES localization of the Famicom Disk System game Hao-kun no Fushigi na Tabi, excised the last third of the game due to cartridges at the time having only having half the space of FDS disks, and required the player to play through the game four times to see the true ending, along with removing the save function. Commensurately, the overall difficulty of the game was lowered.
  • darkSector: The Russian release replaced the original Russian setting with a Soviet one — it doesn't really impace the story, but it makes the Acceptable Political Targets easier to justify, for Russian audiences.
  • Taito's Fudou Myouou Den (The Acala Legend) was needlessly butchered in its localization as Demon Sword, with the Buddhist-themed narrative completely excised and replaced with a generic "Collect the Dismantled MacGuffin parts and Save the Princess from the Dark Lord" Excuse Plot, the number of stages and bosses cut down by nearly half, many of the power-up item types removed(possibly due to being judged as too game-breaking), and the Password Save hidden behind a button-press code. Not to mention the Western box art incorrectly depicting the protagonist as a Barbarian Hero.

    Web Animation 

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • The British version of The Magic Roundabout is one of the most successful examples, with Eric Thompson ignoring the original French scripts and writing new ones based solely on the visuals. The result was a Woolseyism and a Cult Classic, doubtless puzzling the Francophones who found the original rather forgettable. Interestingly, the American adaptation was re-dubbed for Pinwheel on Nickelodeon using the original French scripts.
  • Futurama never took off in Poland, partly because they happily butchered most of the references and couldn't keep straight whether Fry was taken to the future or just sent into space (hence the title Przygody Fry'a w kosmosie, "Fry's Adventures in Space"). This might be why the dialogue couldn't decide whether Farnsworth is Fry's distant descendant (as in the original) or his uncle. They appeared to be aiming for a younger demographic — and failed miserably, because so much violence was left in that the network was fined for showing it.
  • 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.
  • Tugs was brought to the U.S. as part of Salty's Lighthouse in the '90s. The original 15-20 minute episodes were edited down to new, 5-minute shorts that were Lighter and Softer compared to the often dark and mature plotlines of the original. The more consistent changes included renaming "OJ" and "Big Mac" to "Otis" and "Big Stack", and gender swaps for Captain Star and Sunshine. There wasn't much footage to work with, since the original show only had 13 episodes, and as a result, footage was repeated and continuity errors popped up.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The Japanese dub, 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.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series got hit hard by this in Germany. Having already butchered the original series (as seen elsewhere on this page), the network decided to market it for kids. The resulting edits led to numerous missing episodes, other episodes hacked into half the runtime, and a horrible dub that made a complete mockery of the show (and to add insult to injury, didn't even use the original series' dub voices). Much like with the original series, Paramount spent a lot of money for an entirely new, more faithful dub for a subsequent VHS release.
  • There are a couple of versions of the Italian Winx Club, which are well-received but change a lot. Interestingly, its original Italian broadcaster Rai has its own English translation that's very faithful and meant to be used as a sort of blueprint:
    • 4Kids dubbed the first three seasons and cut and rearranged many scenes, changed the music, punched up the scripts, and renamed some characters and terms (e.g. Bloom's home planet "Domino" became "Sparks", "Aisha" became "Layla", the "Trix" became the "Witches"). Nonetheless, it was a successful show (the most successful English version overall) and is sometimes considered an improvement over the Italian version.
    • When Nickelodeon got the rights to the show, they produced four hour-long TV specials that summarized the first two seasons. It was more of a Shot-for-Shot Remake than a translation, and many shots had replaced character designs. Their dub of Seasons 3 and 4 and the first movie was relatively faithful, and they co-produced Seasons 5 and 6 anyway. Their dub of the second movie, however, cut over 20 minutes.

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