Quickie: Dragonball Z – Saiyan

Just a quickie 🙂

I’ve recently been watching Dragonball Z again. The first time I watched it was when I was a kid of course, and by chance I found videos of the dub on Youtube available to watch. Yeah, I don’t like dubs a whole lot, but since I watched the dub originally, it didn’t bother me so much.

In any case, there’s always a controversy over naming conventions used by dubs for the original Japanese versions of words. The uncut version of DBZ was more accurate in terms of what the original intended, but there are some discrepancies due to Anglocization. There are also blatant renamings done in the non-uncut versions (“Hercule” instead of “Mr. Satan” for a very obvious reason).

One of the Anglocized (that’s “Anglocised” for non-North Americans) words is Saiyan. The word “Saiyan” was actually used on an official toy, but the Japanese say Saiya-jin because it makes sense for them (literally, “people of Saiya”). A similar term Amerika-jin (or “America-jin” if you want) means “person of America” (an “American”). You should see the obviousness of why Saiyan makes sense for an English-speaking audience. The only real complaint that could be used here is the pronunciation of the word Saiyan; it’s spelled “correctly” in terms of an appropriate Anglocization, but it’s incorrectly pronounced “Say”-an instead of “Sigh”-an.

This is really just nitpicking…it’s a dub that I wouldn’t be watching if it weren’t for boredom and nostalgia. However, it’s fun to point things out that others didn’t know about.

Another example is “King Kai” (in Japanese, you can pick any one of “Kai-oo”, “Kai-ou”, or “Kai-oh” apparently comprised of the kanji for “god” and “king”). Why not “God King” or simply “Kai-oh”? And that technique Goku (or “Son Gokuu”) learned from King Kai is called the Kaioken (in the dub, pronounced “Kay-Oh-Ken”; in Japanese, it’s obviously pronounced like “Kai-oh” with a “ken” attached), but the reasoning for it’s name isn’t clear in the dub.

Yep, dubs tick people off for silly reasons, but it’s also a pain when those same people don’t actually get their nitpicking right. Myself, I don’t mind “Saiyan”, as it’s a valid “translation”/interpretation of Saiya-jin… the dub’s pronunciation is surely incorrect, but at least it’s a valid re-invention of the term for an English audience.


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