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Woolseyism / Dragon Ball Z

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  • When Bandai began releasing action figures of the series, they romanized the name of Goku and Vegeta's alien race, Saiya-jin ("person/people of Saiya"), into "Saiyan" on the packaging of the figures. This term would later be used in the English adaptations of the anime and manga (save for the infamously bad Speedy dub, which used the rather literal translation of "Saiya people"). Unfortunately, in the Brazilian dub they originally just kept "Saiya-jin", adopting the "Saiyans" term only a few arcs later. Why is it bad? Because in Portuguese, it sounded something like "jean skirt", so for a good part of the anime they were called as a feminine wardrobe piece (granted, certain characters are named after women's garments, but still)... but at least they made a nice Woolseyism out of "Saiya-jin" in GT, when Palace/Paris is asked by a possessed Goten about Saiya-jins, she mistakes it for, well, a jeans skirt.
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  • The European Portuguese dub, being based on the French version, doesn't have a lot of room to play, so they said "Screw everything, this is now a Gag Dub!" This came about because the characters would very frequently keep speaking after their lines ended, so they improvised to not make it a Hong Kong Dub. Sometimes, they didn't even have lines for that part. This includes numerous fourth wall and pop culture references, and characters using many Unusual Alternative Words. Just watch it for yourself.note 
  • Fat Buu also did so in the Funimation dub, in the episode where Goku showcases Super Saiyan forms (debuting SSJ3) he mishears it, asking "Super... Saiya-jin?" This may have just been gibberish in the booth, but upon repeated viewings, it sounds far to similar for it not to be a subtle reference for the fans of the Japanese version.
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  • The Latin American Spanish dub, however, didn't seem to decide itself on one or the other at first, and liked to throw around both "Saiyans" and "Saiya-jin" ("Saiyan" and "Saiyajines", in their corresponding translated versions) at least once every two episodes. They get better, though, and end up deciding on a Spanish-ization of the Japanese name ("Saiyajines").
  • In one episode, Goku went to Hell and encountered oni wearing shirts with the letters HELL. In the Saban dub, this was Bowdlerised so that the shirts said HFIL which stood for Home For Infinite Losers. HFIL has caught on as an in-joke amongst fans.
  • At the beginning of the edited Otherworld Tournament saga, the Grand Kai asked Goku to take care of some business in H-F-I-L. Goku didn't quite know what he meant and King Kai reminded him about the Home For Infinite Losers and said "He's very fond of acronyms."
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  • The translators of the original Dragon Ball were clearly having fun with the dialogue. Sample line concerning the shape-shifting pig Oolong as a beach umbrella: "This sure beats baking in the sun!" "That's me, bacon' in the sun..."
  • Oolong saying "The world's most comfortable pair of underwear" instead of "The panties of a hot babe" makes it sound even more funny.
  • The Blue Water dub of the Dragon Ball anime had a good way of doing this bit. Pilaf starts asking for "supreme..." [rule over the earth, etc.], then Oolong finishes with "COMFORT, IN A PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!"
  • Also from Dragon Ball, when Yamcha gets a accidental peek at a naked Bulma while looking for Dragon Balls, he simply mutters "mounds, mounds". The Blue Water dub of the anime had him say "Not Dragon Balls, definitely not Dragon Balls."
  • Commands from Emperor Pilaf: "The others have escaped, too?! I want them all! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!"
  • Several lines in the Dragon Ball movies were Woolseyisms. For instance, Doore originally didn't say anything when he was almost successful in crushing Gohan's head in the Japanese version, but the dub added in a line where Doore stated that his crushing Gohan's head is what he calls his "Can-Opener Attack". In Super Android 13, probably the movie with the most woolseyisms, The dub added in an exchange between Krillin and Oolong about waiting in line/cutting in line while waiting for a fashion show that ultimately didn't exist that was not said in the original Japanese version. Also, Androids 14 and 15 (as well as the titular form of the main villain) were originally for the most part silent, but the dub gave them a lot more lines, some of which added in hilarity. The store clerk who attempted to stop them in the department store was originally trying to greet them, but was changed to him stopping them in the dub. Logically, this made a lot more sense, considering that the androids also briefly destroyed some TV screens as well as caused collateral damage down in the town. Additionally, there's a scene at the very end of the film where Vegeta and Piccolo are sitting opposite each other on a patch of ice before a fish jumps, ending the movie. The two are completely silent in the Japanese version, but in the dub, this happens. Broly's "Is that another word for a coffin" response to Goku's requesting for a handicap was also a woolseyism.
  • The dub also changes Vegito's description of himself as the "strongest candy in the universe" to "a jawbreaker, the strongest piece of candy there is".
  • One of the perks of Funimation dubbing Dragon Ball Z multiple times (including the DVD versions and Dragon Ball Kai) is they get lots of practice getting the jokes just right. In their dub of Kai, while waiting on Goku to make it to the fight with Nappa, King Kai remarks "They should call him SLOW-KU!" In an earlier episode, when Goku barely avoids falling off Snake Way (since in Kai the filler episode where he accidentally falls into Hell is omitted), he says a snarky "Note to self: don't go to Hell." The trend continues in Super where they have voiced their characters for so long they get know just what to say in certain situations, such as King Kai warning Vegeta that Beerus is coming with the phrase "That means no fighting, no insulting, no Vegeta-ing of any kind!"
  • Christopher Sabat has admitted that he finds the idea of Yamcha continuing to hang around Bulma and Vegeta even after Bulma dumped him to be hilariously awkward, and alters some of their lines to reflect this. For example, during Bulma's birthday party in Super, Bulma asks him to join her and he replies, in the original Japanese, "I don't want to go to some stupid party." In the English dub, the line becomes "Oh, sure, let's go see Yamcha!"
  • The Italian dub changed a few names around, always in such a way to give the meaning of the original name. Highlights are "Kakarrot" being changed into "Kaarot" ("carota" is Italian for "carrot". Also, "Kakarrot" sounds uncomfortably close to "cacca", the Italian word for "poo") and Piccolo Daimaoh being called "Al Satan". In the Cell Arc, Cell's famous "Oh shit!" couldn't be used due the censors frowning on using swearwords on animated shows... So they turned it into Cell being so surprised by the Final Flash's power he couldn't even swear, nicely connecting on the villain's shock at the result. So great that at first Cell forgot to regenerate (or so it implied).
  • In the Japanese version of the original Dragon Ball, when calling Goku for the first time, the Tenkaichi Budokai announcer misreads the kanji for Son Goku as Mago Gosora. In the English dub of the anime, where Alternate Character Reading isn't a thing, he mispronounces Goku as gah-kay-ahh. Likewise, in the English localization of the manga version, he mispronounces Son Goku as Song Oku.
  • In a rare inversion of Dub-Induced Plot Hole, the notorious Plot Hole where Cell manages to regenerate from the nucleus in his brain despite having his head blown up earlier was corrected in the original Funimation dub to make it so that he regenerated From a Single Cell instead.
  • For the Funimation dub, Mr. Satan was renamed to Hercule for obvious reasons. However, he is still occasionally called Mr. Satan in the uncut DVDs. As a result, this actually adds to his bravado, as that would make his full name "Mr. Hercule Satan".
  • The Flashback showing how Gohan got his name the Hebrew version. Shortly after he was born, his grandfather was visiting, and while talking to Chichi he noticed that the still unnamed baby was smiling and laughing happily whenever food was mentioned. Chichi remarked in amusement that he’s a ‘little Goku’ (Goku katan), so they named him ‘Gohan’ for short.
  • A number of the Z era movies had non-distinct Japanese titles such as: Dragon Ball Z the Movie, Ultimate Decisive Battle for Earth, or Extreme Battle!! The Three Great Super Saiyans. While they're not bad titles per say, they aren't very distinct from each other or give the audience a clue as to the true premise. The English titles make it much more distinctive and clues the audience to what the plot is such as the previous three examples being titled ''Dead Zone'', ''The Tree of Might'', and ''Super Android 13''

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