"The Scary Blue-Eyed White Dragon"
"The Heart of The Cards " 9-29-01

The first English episode of "Yu-Gi-Oh!"  I remember that morning very well.  I was patiently waiting for it to premier, and see whether or not we'd get a good dub of "Yu-Gi-Oh!" or a bad dub.  I wasn't too worried though.  This was 4Kids Entertainment.  Their history with the dub of "Pokemon" was getting top-notch voices for the characters, keeping most of the original music intact, and hardly editing it at all.  They made "Pokemon" the ideal dub for broadcast TV, and I was hoping this would turn out the same.  I am sad to say that I was VERY disappointed in them!  They skipped the first season, which didn't surprise me so much since the first season was very violent.  But the dub, oh God the dub was awful!  The voices were terrible beyond belief, they sounded like some of the voices of the third season of dubbed DBZ (NOT a compliment).  The music was totally replaced, and almost the entire script was re-written just for the sake of re-writing it.  Strap yourselves in folks, this is going to be a fun ride we'll be on for while.

This episode was one of the worst in the entire Duelist Kingdom saga. Seriously, since the VAs were starting out, it was really bad. Now, Yuugi's dub voice was is really bad. His name is Dan Green, and he REALLY couldn't do the two voices. Katsuya Jonouchi's dubbed voice is absolutely terrible. The two best voices of the episode were Eric Stuart's Seto Kaiba and Hiroto Honda's dub voice. After this episode, though, Honda's voice sounds congested, like he needs a box of Kleenex. Now that we're through the voices, let's tackle the music. 4Kids, in their quest to strip the Japanese version of its musical glory, takes all the dramatic pieces of music out and puts in almost the SAME exact tune throughout all the scenes. There is music playing throughout all the episodes, which is bad. The opening intro was... let's say... different. There were five words lyric-wise, and they were "Yugioh" and "It's time to duel". The closing theme is, oh yes, there IS NO CLOSING THEME! None whatsoever. Anyways, that's it. See below for the first episode of the horror that is the dub...

Plain and simple: 4Kids sucks majorly. They skipped the whole first series!

Let's start with the intro.  In the Japanese version there was an intro played before each episode explaining who Yugi is.  This intro preceded the show for about...12 episodes before switching to another intro that explained what has been going on in the show, just in case you weren't watching.  Well I honestly didn't expect 4Kids to dub this intro, but they did.  However they re-wrote it greatly.  In the Japanese version the intro was explaining that Yugi was given the Thousand Piece Puzzle (Known as the Millennium Puzzle in the dub) as a gift, solved it, and unleashed the power of the dark games.  Not only that, but he unleashed the evil Game King, which means that he has a good and bad side to him.  In the dub it's talking about some crap that the games were deadly, and that the game choose Yugi to save the world from evil.  Well, I guess if you want to get someone hooked on a show you need to make things sound more dire then they really are.  If they really wanted to make the world seem like it was in danger they could have just aired the first series.

Then they premiered the American theme song.  And words could not express how awful, dull, and non-existent it was.  Remember the lack of lyrics the English DBZ theme "Rock The Dragon" had?  Well this was worse, there were no lyrics PERIOD!  They only had someone chanting "Yu-Gi-Oh!" every now and then in the background (Which is NOT considered lyrics), and then at one point they had the English actor for Yugi says "It's time, to DUEL!"  And when he say's duel they made him stutter it to try and make the word as important as they could  One thing that could be considered half good about the theme is that they used lots of the animation from the Japanese opening.  That's the good part, the bad part is they re-arranged it so badly that the scene's looked random, and didn't flow at all.  They also took a few scenes from the TV show itself, and then mixed the whole thing together, making a very confusing opening.

Now to tell you the truth I was never a big fan of the Japanese opening.  I found the song "Voices" to be a very disappointing follow-up to the song "Kawaita Sakebi" for the original series, but I never realized how good that song really was until 4Kids came out with THIS piece of garbage!  We're off to a great start.  We haven't even gotten past the intro yet and we've already got two and a half paragraphs worth of stuff wrong with this dub, and there's still more to touch on here.  One thing I want you guys to pay attention to though is the logo.  Notice that it contains some kanji in it.  There's a reason for that, and I'll touch on it later.  Now let's get on the cases with the characters' names and voices.  Let's start with the main star Yugi.  Yugi Mutou's name is kept, but his voice is totally off.  He's supposed to sound like a kind but timid child.  Now he sounds like a stuck up 14-15 year old.  Not cool at all.  Katsuya Jounouchi is changed to Joey Wheeler, and has an obnoxious voice!  He sounds like a New Yorker, saying things like "Oh man" and "Cool dude!"  Not so cool in my book.

Originally he sounded cool, but he also sounded like a sensitive person.  Well in this he doesn't sound sensitive or anything, he just sounds dumb.  Mazaki Anzu has been renamed to Tea Gardner, and her character has probably suffered the least.  She's still the same caring character that she is in the Japanese version, except now her voice is more "cool" then "sweet," and thus makes her seem like a totally different character in the English version.  But she's still the voice of reason in the show, so that's good.  Hiroto Honda is changed to Tristan Taylor, and not much has changed about him in this episode.  He doesn't do a whole lot in this episode as he's usually the one thinking up the plans to get out of sticky situations, so time will tell if his character stays the same or gets mutated.  But on a positive note his voice isn't annoying or warped, so that counts for something.  Seto Kaiba gets to keep his full name also but his voice is not right for his character.  In the Japanese version he sounds tough, but kind.  In the dub he not only sounds tough, but he acts MUCH meaner in the dub then he ever did in the Japanese version!

Mokuba Kaiba gets to keep his original name, but I won't go into his English character much since he really doesn't do anything in this episode. Grandpa is simply known as Grandpa, no English name is given to him.  Aside from that the entire musical score has been replaced, and more then half the dialog re-written.  Now that we've got all of THAT out of the way, on to the episode itself!

I just want to make this a permanent note, as I will not be bringing this up every episode, but all the cards have the kanji totally eliminated.  Just wanted to get that out of the way for the rest of the series.

Tea: "It's a symbol of out friendship, so when Yugi's dueling he knows he's not alone.  We're all there with him."

Originally Anzu was saying that while the ink will disappear, their friendship never will.  And while I think that the original line was much better then the English line, I still don't know why it was really necessary to mark their hands.  You'd think Yugi would already know by now that his friends are always with him, and wouldn't need the ink to remind him.  Maybe he has a bad memory?  I'm not sure, either way I never liked this scene.

Just a little defense for 4Kids here, in the dub Kaiba treats the 2000 points rule as if it was something special, when people have been quick to point out that that's the way the game starts out all the time.  However many people don't realize that in the Japanese version Kaiba treats this rule like it was special too, it was basically the animator's way of explaining the rules to everyone who was new to watching the show.  So blame the animator's for this one, 4Kids was simply translating it...for once.

In the English version after Yugi transforms into the dark Yugi he says the English versions slogan "It's time to duel."  In the Japanese version he bet's his Grandpa's soul, insuring Kaiba that he will not lose.  I'd also like to take this moment to say that dark Yugi's voice is WAY too deep!  There is no reason for them to create an illusion that these two people are the same person, as from the moment you hear this voice it's very clear that they are completely different people.

Joey: "Whoa!  Monsters!  Real monsters!?!"

Okay, I know that if seeing the virtual simulator for the first time the monsters being on the field is going to be a little shocking, but couldn't they have thought of a line that didn't sound so lame?  How about this line instead: "What?  How can the monsters be real?"  That may not be grand screen writing, but it's a little better then what he ended up saying in the end.

In the Japanese version when Exodia is summoned he comes out of a pentagon.  This was changed in the English version for obvious (Or not so obvious) reasons.

I would like to make a side note about the music 4Kids used when Yugi summoned Exodia.  It was NOTHING like the Japanese version!  The Japanese score had an epic, grand, special tune to it.  It was a score that made the Exodia feel as grand as it was supposed to feel.  The dub used a sucky little action piece that sounded like the same battle tune we've been listening to for the last twenty minutes.  It's moments like these that make me wish 4Kids had just left the original score in.

I'm not sure if this counts as a S.D.A, but I'm going to list it here any way's since they totally re-wrote the meaning of the scene.  In the dub when Kaiba questions how he lost, Yugi does that flash thing, the glass breaks over the character, and he tells Kaiba that what he did should give him something to think about.  Um, sorry 4Kids but I just don't get what just happened here, and neither do a lot of people.  In the original Dark Yugi felt an evil spirit inside Kaiba, and used his power to cast it out of him.  The dub simply doesn't make much sense on what Yugi just did, or what he said just ment. Great planning huh?

English Episode 1 Ends