vegettoex.com

Hi. I'm Mike. This isn't updated often.

Month: August 2010

The Sculpted Monkey King

This past weekend we finally browsed around Grounds For Sculpture, an art… I guess you would call it “location”?… here in New Jersey. Their main showcase at the moment seems to be a collection from Keith Haring, whose work you would probably recognize if you saw it.

While that was neat and all (along with the bazillion strange and nude pieces littered around), only one sculpture truly caught my attention:

It was called “Monkey King“. You put those two words next to each other, and I take note. He did not look like any of the “popular” versions of Son Wukong (with his staff, etc.), but it apparently is indeed him — I guess it is from earlier on in the story when he’s just the plain ol’ “Handsome Monkey King”, and not yet quite “Great Sage, Equal to Heaven” (or, ya’ know, the dude who tends to the horses and doesn’t realize he’s being made a fool of). The piece is by Hyung Jun Yum and was made out of plaster in 2002.

Neat.

Daizenshuu EX Plagiarism Redux

(I initially wrote much of this article back in March 2010, but held off on publishing it due to never receiving permission to re-publish an e-mail. I have decided to just go ahead with it. It helps set things in context, and is a great lead-in to some extra commentary based on some recent forum posts.)

We have shared stories like this before, where another website simply lifted the entire content of a major Daizenshuu EX feature (including hot-linked images and all). It is the Internet — we expect this on a daily basis. In fact, the darn thing even works in the first place because content is re-purposed and shared. Information wants to be free, right?

This was an interesting one, though. It is not as black-and-white as the example linked above. In fact, one could argue that Daizenshuu EX is the one at fault for not taking advantage of the different mediums and outlets. All of these different ways to communicate and get the message out are right there, so why not use them?

Let me explain.

Back in February I received an e-mail from a regular visitor who was concerned. I have removed some identifying information about the visitor from the e-mail below, as well as named-references to the source he is referring to (though I will ultimately “out” them later in the article):

I am one of your many fans who uses your website Daizenshuu EX (along with Kanzentai) to get news on what is occurring in the Dragon World. I am also a podcast listener. Since I support your work, I feel the need to at least inform you of a certain individual who is plagiarizing your work on YouTube and becoming popular for it (and of course, no credit is given to Daizex). You may already know and not care, but just in case you do care about someone stealing your information almost word-for-word and being credited and praised for it, I’ll give you the info.

It is a YouTuber named “(name redacted)“. I believe he is a member of your forums going under the guise of another username, but I cannot say anything in this regard because I have no proof. He is known for his DBZ news and has rapidly grown to have almost 2,000 subscribers, which is a lot of people who use him for DBZ news, and a lot of people who should be getting it from your site. (URL redacted)

Now, if you watch a lot of his videos you will notice that they are complete rip-offs of your website updates. Take for example, (URL redacted) . If you watch this, you will notice that it’s just an almost copy & paste of all the info from your website that you posted a few days ago.

Unfortunately, MY BEST PROOF he has deleted because I actually posted a comment on the video talking about it and he removed the video before I could write this email. It was a video copying your “Additional FUNimation Cast Changes” post, BUT, one thing that I noticed is that he misinterpreted the words YOU wrote: “As a minor aside, it is fascinating to be simultaneous talking about voice recastings for both the Japanese and English side of the franchise. It feels like conversations from ten years ago (the shift from Ocean Studios to an in-house FUNimation cast) have resurfaced in a tiny way!”

He thought you were talking about a possible UK release for the DBZKai series and made a video saying that, copying the text I have displayed to you in this email and talking about it. Then, when I told him he was ripping-off Daizex and also that he got the info you wrote wrong, he deleted it. His latest video (as of 3:40 PM EST Feb 16th) (URL redacted) is the only proof I have that I am telling the truth. If you watch this video, he even admits his misinterpretation and that he did make a video.

I wouldn’t even report this to you if he was a nobody, but he is very popular; his videos have thousands of views and as mentioned earlier he almost has 2000 subscribers. And you will find no credit to Daizex ANYWHERE on his channel. I personally do not believe it is fair for you to put a lot of effort in informing and entertaining the Dragon Ball fanbase for “(name redacted)” to take advantage of it and become popular.

The first thing I did as I watched some of the videos was chuckle and take cheap shots at all of the mis-spellings. I suppose admitting I did such right here in the blog post is an extension of that cheap shot, but hey… did you expect anything less from me?

It is quite the interesting situation. Sure enough, if you watch the videos, they are essentially date-for-date and word-for-word reprises of the news updates over on Daizenshuu EX.

The big question to ask is — what’s wrong with that?

Earlier in the post I noted it may be our own damn fault for not taking advantage of the medium — if the audience is on YouTube, why are we not there to take advantage of them and provide them with valuable content in their home territory? Shame on us. People expect the news to be pushed to them wherever they are most comfortable.

(The answer is that I can barely find the time these days to do all it is that I already do, never mind produce video features of each news post!)

In the prior post about the website feature, I noted how you could spin it in a positive way — people were discovering content (and in this case, news) that they otherwise would never have encountered (OK, maybe they eventually would have…). They were reading my words and my feelings. More people than before were doing so. In at least an indirect way, Daizenshuu EX was being imprinted upon the masses! How is that not a plus…?!

You can look at it from the protective side, though, as our e-mail author clearly did… and they’re not even the ones making the darn website updates that are being “stolen” (that our visitors feel so protective and full of honor for the site gives me a feeling resembling joy I think). There is a somewhat “creepy” feeling having your words regurgitated back at you with no attribution. It is pretty disingenuous of this YouTube user to go making update after update, video after video, and never citing their source. That’s just lazy, if not completely amateurish. Don’t they think something is a little weird about that? Lifting so much content and not saying where they first learned about it?

It got more interesting just this week when a completely separate fan posted up a thread on our message board about it. Apparently this content-lifting-individual (or is it a group?) is no longer happy to just copy-and-paste updates into YouTube videos, and instead are running a larger, more traditional website. This is when I start scratching my head a little more. I am not sure how I feel about it.

It is at this point that I do not particularly care sharing the identity of these folks. It is definitely worth it to really showcase the extent they are going to.

You have an update of theirs like this one announcing the inclusion of Plan to Eradicate the Super Saiyans in Raging Blast 2. The translation of the scan is verbatim copied-and-pasted from Kanzentai, while the image the bottom (with our standard blue border and drop shadow) is ours from Daizenshuu EX — they could have clicked through to the source link (which I provided) and grabbed the original, full-sized image instead of using my tiny, formatted one. Only the former object is credited… and to be honest, I did not even see that credit at first. The news is not our own, but certainly the translation of it is, and to a much lesser extent, the formatting on the image is… well, that’s something.

Head on over to this update of theirs with a gallery of ten animation shots from Plan to Eradicate the Super Saiyans. To be fair, these ten shots were released by Namco-Bandai to their press partners (of which Daizenshuu EX is one) for free distribution and promotion. Take a look at the file names this group used, though: assets_20100821_animation_10.jpg, and so on. Head on over to the respective “Tidbit” page on Daizenshuu EX, and without looking, take a wild guess at what file naming standard I re-named them all with before posting.

I will let you in on one of our big, dark, pompous, egotistical, hilarious secrets — we absolutely love it when people, especially begrudgingly, have to visit Daizenshuu EX and Kanzentai for news. OK, it is not actually as mean in my head as it sounds when it gets written out like that. The truth of the matter is, both Heath and I (as well as our cohorts!) work incredibly hard to keep up-to-date with the news. We have our regular sources. We have our regular searches. We have worked our way into a position where sometimes news finds us. Honestly, unless you are another DragonBall fansite that has been around at least as long as Kanzentai (never mind Daizenshuu EX) and have the clout to leverage your position, you are ultimately stuck in a endless game of catch-up with us. That is not to say that someone could not come along in a couple years and upset the balance of “power” (for lack of a better phrase), but for the time being… we are it. If you want to know (in English) what is going on with the franchise, you either come to us, or indirectly find out from us via some other source.

Another source like this “Saiyan Team”.

(There is something to be said for news of a different “type”, though. There are other awesome sites out there like DragonNews who cover more fandom-related things than we do, and with an international twist. At the end of the day, though, with the franchise being of Japanese origin, any significant “news” comes out of Japan — and since we focus on the Japanese version of the franchise, well, guess where the majority of the news is being broken…?)

So what is the deal here? Are we just too protective of our own second-hand-generated content? I mean, it’s not like we were the ones who announced such-and-such product. We have broken some exclusive news before, but we certainly do not do it on a daily basis.

Maybe they are just some punk 16-year-old kid first getting into this whole “content creation” thing online. I know I sure had no idea what the accepted rules of society were when I first got into this back in 1998.

What I find most fascinating about the whole ordeal is that example where they removed a video after being called out on completely misinterpreting (some pretty clearly written) words in a news post. They back-peddled on the whole situation. They admitted fault in doing so. Any normal person, at that point, would probably sit back and re-evaluate what the heck they are doing. Yet here we are half a year later, and now their website updates are simply being copied word-for-word.

So I am opening up the discussion. What do you all think about this? Is there anything wrong with what this YouTube user is doing, taking advantage of an open space that we do not have the time to jump into? Quite clearly this is a very self-selected audience that is almost guaranteed to support me, but I definitely would not be opposed to some differing thoughts… because, honestly, I am not entirely sure how I even feel about it.

Hell, for all I know, the person responsible for the videos and site is reading this blog. It is not so far-fetched. All I ask is that, when you run to the comments, you keep it civil and intelligent. I wouldn’t expect anything less of you all, but I suppose I just feel the need to say that, anyway!

The Joke Lives On: VegettoEX is Appule

Many of you predicted it. With the release of Episode 17 of DBZ Abridged, the cat is completely out of the bag:

I voiced Appule.

I don’t even remember when it was that KaiserNeko and I first started talking about it — it was that long ago. It was something I was looking forward to for the longest time, and I got such an amazing kick out of doing it.

Despite my incessant commentary on the voice acting of various languages, I have very little personal experience (hey, few film critics have ever made a film!). I recorded a couple quick lines for This is Otakudom back in 2001, and stepped up to play a somewhat major character (“Chow Down Fast”) for S.T.E.A.M. in 2005. Both were directed by Scott Melzer, and everything was in-person at his house. It was very similar to how professional voice acting seems to be done in the US, with a director and single actor doing their lines at a time (though we typically had at least one other person in the room). We would do multiple takes, occasionally play the scene in real time while acting it out, etc. I did another couple quick lines for Scott’s next parody, but I will not be involved with it in any other way.

It was a bit different for Abridged. As we have discussed via interviews with TeamFourStar over on the Daizenshuu EX podcast, most (if not all) of their acting sessions these days are done live over Skype (with the actor locally recording their lines). This is exactly how I went about recording with my lovely director, KaiserNeko. I received the script ahead of time and picked out one line to do several different test “voices” with. I recorded the same line over a few times in these different voices, sent them off for review, and came back together again to finalize the tone of the character with a complete script. It was difficult to get a read on the man in terms of my performances — I couldn’t really tell if he was simply accepting mediocre work just to get it done, or if I actually pulled what he wanted out of my rear-end. That’s why he’s the “pro”, though… he just goes with it and keeps on truckin’ until he gets what he wants!

Interesting tidbit, though: I had to re-record two lines because of a wrong name in the script. In the TeamFourStar dub of the Bardock TV special, the Appule-esque minion killed by Bardock is named “Eachpe” (a play on “Peach”). Written in the script for my episode was “Pierre” (another minion from the Bardock TV special, a play on “Pear”). It was not until the final mixing stage that the error was realized! During the retakes, we kept going on and on trying to get an appropriate performance out of me for Appule’s final line, “Here I come, Eachpe…” For whatever reason, I simply could not hit that range with the character’s voice. KaiserNeko ended up taking a different approach with advice on other lines and attitudes to take to reach the point of emotion where Appule might end up saying that line — we ended up with some pretty ridiculous stuff spouting out of my mouth, but I ended out muttering out the take that was used in the final episode, so it was very much worth it!

I thought I did a pretty decent job. In particular, I think my delivery on Appule’s response to Zarbon asking why Vegeta was not nude in the tank was pretty dead-on. Overall, though? It’s up to you to decide. Hopefully it was a fun little cameo that you enjoyed. If you didn’t like it, though, don’t tell me. My poor ego couldn’t deal with it. Just go post about it anonymously on some other message board, preferably with a link back to Daizenshuu EX so I will end up finding it and ultimately drown my sorrow in alcohol.

By the way, one of my favorite gags in the episode is this:

Ooooooooh yeah!

Internet Persona (And Personal) Growth

I recently archived some of my earliest online endeavors. Some of them are filed away under lock so none of you will ever have a chance to see them. Some, like what I am about to share, are too cute to hold back. It is occasionally a good thing to look back at where you came from, figure out how much you have grown, and where to go from there.

When FUNimation (in conjunction with Pioneer) was releasing the first three DragonBall Z movies state-side back in 1997-1998, I was just beginning my website and writing quick reviews of the releases. Here is what my 15/16-year-old self wrote about “The Tree of Might” (DBZ movie 3), and specifically the uncut home release of its dub, back in 1998:

DragonBall Z Movie # 3:  The Tree Of Might

Was I ever surprised with this one!!  This IS NOT, I repeat, IS NOT the same “Tree of Might” that was shown on television.  It has been completely re-dubbed, and it is SOOO much better.  No more of that, “jerk” crap.  Instead of Taurus (yeah, it’s still “Turles” in the dub,  folks) saying to Piccolo, “And just who are you?” he now says, in a tone that suggests he is quite unimpressed with Piccolo, “Who the Hell are you?”  Just great!!  While the signature move names (for the most part) have still been changed (“Kienzan” – “Destructo Disc”…. “Taiyo-Ken” – “Solar Flare”….. “Genki-Dama” – “Spirit Bomb”… etc.), I must say, it was nice to hear Gokou (uh… whoops… it’s “Goku” in the dub, still) say “Kaio-Ken” the correct way!!  No longer is it being pronounced “Kayo-Ken”… we now get the true, wonderful, “Kaio-Ken!!!”…. I love it.  The new voice actors actually didn’t get on my nerves!!  Goku kept it pretty good, Oolong’s new one sucks like Hell, Roshi seems to have about three different people doing his voice, and….. uh….. Higher Dragon (yes, no more of that “Icarus” crap!! We get an actual translation of “Heiya Dragon”) must have had his Japanese “voice,” because it wasn’t half as annoying as it was as the TV version.  The gay-ass one liners have all been taken out, and I’m pretty sure they’ve stuck to the original Japanese script (from what I’ve read of the translated Movie # 3 script, so far).  I’m still in shock at the new queer names for some of the moves, though… no more “Kamayamaya” for “Masenko,” but now it’s called “Power Beam!”  “Souki-Dan” was “Here’s a power shot!”  Oh well… can’t have everything you want (actually, you can…. buy the sub-titled version!)  This movie is a whole hour long (15 minutes longer than # 1).  It’s a great hour, though.  There’s a ton of scenes in the Movie here that weren’t shown on TV, which made it all the more enjoyable.  The original Japanese soundtrack was also left intact in this movie, from “Cha La Head Cha La” to the ending song (who’s name I can’t remember… I’ll put it in when I watch the movie again).  This is just another example that says the guys behind the dub CAN pull something off that is somewhat worthy of Toriyama’s name.  Once again, I commend them.  Now, if we could only get this “Masenko,” Taiyo-Ken,” “Kienzan,” “Souki-Dan,” and “Genki-Dama” stuff right…..

Contrary to earlier reoprts, “The Tree of Might” is already available, on Dubbed VHS, sub-titled VHS, sub/dub Laser Disc, as well as sub/dub DVD.  Pick up a copy!!

SCORE —- 5.5 out of 7 DragonBalls

It is horribly embarrassing. To be fair, I was 16 years old — random cursing and slurs was awesome, and knowing any amount of Japanese (never mind character name pun origins) at that time was equivalent to being King of the Moon. I insisted upon spelling the main character’s name as “Gokou” (something I have done a complete 180 on) simply because it was “different” from what “THE MAN” told me it was. I used a numerical grading scale, something I would never imagine doing these days. I somehow managed to use more ellipses than I even do today. I used the wrong “whose”.

You can probably imagine me bashing my head against the wall right now.

At the same time, it is interesting to see some of the things I have not compromised on. I still have a huge problem with mispronunciations. I still have a huge problem with replacement musical scores. I still have a huge problem with revised scripts. Amusingly, these things all affect me far less due to the widespread availability of the shows in their original Japanese format — as you have come to hear me explain time and time again, an English dub these days is irrelevant to me (up through the point of it affecting greater conversations and information accuracy widespread-ness).

I think this is why I have more patience for kids on our forum over on Daizenshuu EX than a lot of you wish I had. I know that some of them just need a path and a guide. VegettoEX of 1998 was just a punk-kid with delusions of grandeur. He kept working at it, though, until those delusions were at least halfway real…!

Now you have to suffer with me whether you like it or not… which is just the way I like it.

Otakon 2010’s Yûji Mitsuya Panel of Awesomeness

There are plenty of stories to share about this year’s Otakon, and rest assured that many more will make their way to either this blog or our podcast over on Daizenshuu EX. One story in particular is a combination of news and hilarity (and has pictures to go along with it!) so you can imagine that I could not wait to share it with everyone.

Saturday afternoon at 1:30 pm, veteran voice actor and director Yûji Mitsuya was holding a second Q&A panel. We had missed out on his panel Friday afternoon due to conflicting events, but made sure to be open for Saturday’s panel. Mitsuya is perhaps best known to DragonBall fans as the voice of Kaiôshin in DragonBall Z, so while he is not necessarily in the same “importance” league as, say, someone like Toshio Furukawa or Mayumi Tanaka (both of whom are somehow tied to him in one way or another…!), he is no stranger to our extended anime fandom.

While it could be the subject of an entire blog post in-and-of-itself, and while it certainly is never a surprise to me, it continues to be an extreme disappointment to see how few people turn out for Japanese guests at anime conventions these days. Whether it is a lead animator, the creator of a series, a notable voice actor… it does not seem to matter. If they are not the hot English voice actor of the moment (hey, remember when Richard Ian Cox was the big shit for, like, a year?)… no-one comes to see them. It is incredibly sad when you take a step back and realize that we are all coming together to celebrate Japanese animation and culture (debatably, anyway; there is an argument for it all just being general nerd-culture-celebration loosely focused around anime).

But I digress.

Despite the ridiculously low attendance to the panel, Mitsuya charged forward like a champion with all sorts of stories. We heard about drunken sempai lessons and advice, learned how he formed a quasi-male-idol band with Toshio Furukawa (Piccolo) in the past, forming a theater group with Mayumi Tanaka (Kuririn, Yajirobe), and much later on after moving around so many times (keep reading!), ghost-directing the cast of Rurouni Kenshin for three months before deciding to allow himself to be credited and specifically choosing and mentoring Mayo Suzukaze for the lead character’s role based on her own theater performance. The man was just full of astonishing stories and genuine humility.

Then the fire alarm got pulled.

Translator Toshiyumi Yoshida first asked if we should all just stick around and continue, but Otakon staff insisted that we all must leave as the entire building had to be evacuated. In an amazing showcase of professionalism, Mitsuya suggested we all come along with him to the outside plaza there on the third floor and he would gladly continue telling stories and taking questions. So… the dozen or so of us followed him along and continued listening!

As we got going into the next story, Otakon staff insisted that we had to evacuate all convention center-related areas, including this outside area. Mitsuya was far from done, and insisted we all continue on with him! We traveled down an escalator, down some flights of stairs, and ended up alongside a wall outside of the convention center. Just as we started up again, Otakon staff yet again insisted that we continue onward away from the convention center.

Mitsuya was unphased. Much to the surprise of Yoshida, the entire group plugged onward with him and Mitsuya inside the nearby Sheraton hotel. We plopped in a corner and continued onward with the stories and questions! Mitsuya explained how he ran into Nathan Lane (the voice of “Timon” in Disney’s The Lion King) in New York and screamed “I am Japanese Timon! I am Japanese Timon!” into the frightened actor’s face. Unprovoked, he would burst into his characters’ voices and lines to describe his excitement over the roles and love of his fellow actors.

I managed to get in the last question he had time for. It was still quite a ways off, but did he know if he would be returning to voice Kaiôshin in DragonBall Kai…? The answer that we received confirmed quite a bit about the show’s production.

Mitsuya knew exactly what we were talking about, and admitted that he was not yet sure, himself. Being a director more than a voice actor, he is friends with the director of DragonBall Kai and has already expressed his desire to return to the role. What he told us next spoke volumes in very few words — he was unsure if they would be able to afford him, and if the series would even make it that far. He even slyly mumbled that he would be willing to take the job at a reduced rate!

With the entirety of Ginyu-Tokusentai being replaced with new voice actors (including Kenji Utsumi as Recoom, despite him returning to the show to voice Shenlong), along with plenty of other voice actors that have become much bigger in the industry since their roles in DragonBall, it has really made us wonder just how expensive DragonBall Kai actually is to produce, despite us always describing it as “cheap” and “a money-grab” and “half-assed” in almost every way. Hujio and I later discussed how it seems that these days we get confirmations of actors returning either very close to their first appearance in the series… or not at all. Many times it will not even come from the official site for the series, and instead from the actors themselves or their fan communities (such as the case with #17).

Branching off of that, we could not help but speculate further. Was the licensing of Kai to FUNimation for American distribution a way to raise quick capital to fund the further production of the series? When it was first announced, it was clear that the series would go through at least the Freeza arc, since the villain was clearly shown on all production materials. The fact that it would be moving onward into the next story arc with Cell was a very casual “announcement”.

At the end of the day, this set of rambling paragraphs is less about DragonBall and more about how great of a time we had with Mitsuya. His courtesy and enthusiasm is unparalleled, showcased by his desire for a group photo with everyone at the end of the “panel”:

What a freakin’ great time…!

(Thanks to Hujio and… oh hey, myself!… for the photos :P)

© 2017 vegettoex.com

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑