Let's Talk About Dub Music

Shikou

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Disclaimer: Before I made this topic I did a quick topic search like "music" and "soundtrack" seeing if anybody already made a topic but I cant find it. So if there is one and I didn't see it then I apologize.

I was on a Digimon Discord server talking about Digimon music. I shared that I got the Digimon Movie Soundtrack CD in the mail that day. One person said "Too bad there isn't any Digimon music on there" I corrected him/her by saying that there are tracks from the series yet he/she said "Nah, thats not Digimon music." Later into the conversation one said "Tamers without 'The Biggest Dreamer' isn't Tamers." I responded by saying 1 vocal track doesn't make a soundtrack. Apparently in Tamer' case they reused some of the melody from it from what they said (correct me if Im wrong because I have yet to see Tamers in Japanese).

On YouTube comments while I think it's way too early to talk about this, many hate comments for the Tri Dub teaser for the music. Many "How could they! This is disrespectful to Koji Wada!" from English Speakers and from what I've read from Spanish speakers I always read something like "What is this garbage? Digi Rap?! This is a fail! Give us the Japanese music and Koji Wada!" (will get into this topic later in my post).

This conversation I had on Discord has sparked my interest about what everyone thinks about the Dub music. not just the opening songs but also the overall soundtrack. In the English dub apparently is the only place in the world that has a redone soundtrack and new vocal tracks for the openings. Everywhere else in the world has ether done one or two things, they ether did a cover of the songs in the territory's respective language like in Mexico and left the Japanese soundtrack intact or they made a completely new song and left the Japanese soundtrack still intact like for example Italy (correct me if Im wrong!).

1.Series Dub Music
I personally like the Dub music in it's own way. They fit the tone of the scenes they placed them on. I've only seen Seasons 1 - 4. I've never seen anything of Data Squad or Fusion because I only had standard television (I never had cable or dish). I've seen a bit of Adventure 1 in Japanese, I find the music to be good but I think I might find Braveheart annoying somewhere in the middle because they play it in every episode when the Digimon Digivolve and the fight occurs (maybe if I dont binge watch the Japanese version it would be different?). Im born in the states, usually in kid shows and kid anime they never play a vocal song during an episode with the exception of the opening. If they do then it's a once in a while thing with a new song like in Pokemon, YuGiOh, and Cardcaptors/Cardcaptor Sakura. With the English version they play a non-vocal song when the Digimon Digivolve and fight. I'll be honest here and say it makes an "ah moment" as a Digimon Digivolves and the follow up track making fights exciting. It gives a vibe I get from watching Godzilla films as a kid because I love Kaiju (giant monster) fights. The Digivolution track used for Tamers is my favorite out of the 4 seasons I've heard in comparison to the other dub tracks for the Digivolve sequences.

2.Movie Dub Music
While its hard for me to talk about "Digimon: The Movie" in comparison to the Japanese versions of the films it used because it is it's own separate entity. I have similar feelings about it as I do with the series soundtracks. I loved just about everything about the film's music. Seeing it int he movie theater as a kid pretty much sealed the deal about if I liked Digimon or Pokemon more because that was the talk at the time in the playground when I was about 6 or 7 when the film came out. The scene with Greymon fighting Patriotmon was better done in the English version with the Digimon Theme playing then Going Digital ending the fight. Another scene with Omnimon's creation composed by Udi Harpaz was the best track in the whole film in comparison to the Japanese version. I personally dont like the soundtrack of the first Adventure 02 film. I didn't like how the Japanese version is so silent and have this chill laid back soundtrack. None of the music used fitted any of the scenes compared to the English version in my honest opinion, it made the film almost unbearably boring for it's original Japanese 1 hour runtime.

3.Vocal Songs
The English songs for their time still hold up. The first song being used for seasons 1-3 are good in their own way. As much as I love the first Digimon theme, season 4's theme is by far one of the best that I've heard made for any dub for a kid anime. Other vocal songs used in the series make scenes exciting as I've expressed before. Different songs to use than just 1 especially for Adventure 02 having more songs. In Japan, opening and ending songs are usually to promote a CD or upcoming artists/bands. In some cases they commission artists to make songs for a series similar case to the Dub songs. None of the Japanese songs (not including Character songs) have ever had anything to do with Digimon from what I've heard except for one.

4.Early Hate for Tri Dub Music
I think it's way way WAY too early to talk about the music or freak out about the teaser using a techno beat rearranged version of the first English song. I've noticed since the unfortunate passing of Koji Wada there seems to be a big hate for the English songs for no particular reason. It seem to have started with the Tri Dub teaser as I mentioned earlier. I would like to think they would be modernizing the older music from the original series as the Japanese version has been doing for the already released 2 films. The teaser being a bit of hint of this I'd like to think this is the case. As much as it sounds distasteful, Paul Gordon also passed recently as well. He sang most of the English songs for the series. He has just as much value as Koji Wada does for Digimon songs. But as I said before, it's still too early to talk about the music so it could go both ways or in this case 3 different ways (no pun intended!).

5.Conclusion
I like both the English and Japanese soundtracks. I've heard a good chunk of the Japanese version from watching at least over 10 episodes of seasons 1-3 including Xros Wars even though I've never seen anything of Fusion. Some tracks do better than the Japanese in my opinion. Having a completely different score doesn't necessarily mean "its terrible!". It gives a reason to watch another version of a season you enjoy in a whole different perspective if something about it is different. I grew up watching Spanish dubs of films and find it interesting that I could watch something in a whole different language. I dont mind dubs if its animation or live action. I'd still watch it and give it a chance if I liked the film or show that much. I went insane when DVDs first came out because they always have a language option depending what it is. Watching Harry Potter in Japanese, French, Spanish was the best thing to happen. I feel the same when I watch dub clips of Digimon from other countries. I find it exciting! If it has a completely different soundtrack then I have more than a reason to watch it again other than being the same story. I dont have much of a reason to watch something like Pokemon in Japanese because 4Kids used the Japanese soundtrack. Same music ques and sound effects including the story having the same lines almost word for word with some silly line put in. In Digimon's case, it's different because one dub having a new "sound" makes the dub extra special not bad.

I believe in giving everything a chance. Its a bit saddening that people dismiss the dub music because it's "different" than the Japanese soundtrack. It has a lot of amazing tracks that overpowers the Japanese version in some ways. Having a different opening or ending song is not a good enough reason to dismiss the whole soundtrack in my opinion.

I've expressed how I feel about the Dub music. I hope I haven't left anything out. Keep in mind that I like both in their own unique ways and that I've only seen the dubs of seasons 1-4, I dont know anything about Data Squad and Fusion. I see them both as their own separate entities and identity.

How do you guys feel about the Dub music?
 

TMS

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(I've only seen the first three series dubbed and Digimon: The Movie.)
A while back I got into a discussion with a correspondent about the dub's background music vs. the original's background music. He was of the opinion (he grew up watching the Greek dub, by the way) that the English dub's background music was basically terrible, and for once I came to the dub's defense, since in my opinion its background music was one of the few things not markedly inferior to the original. It wasn't better, or anything, but it wasn't bad, and I even retain a fondness for it. In terms of songs with lyrics, typically the original's are much better, but many of the insert songs from the dub's first couple seasons weren't awful. There were only a few dub songs, like "Hey Digimon" and the "Digi-Rap," that deserved to be condemned to eternal fire. I like the original dub opening too when it's in instrumental form without the insipid lyrics. So, yeah, I think the dub music wasn't too bad. Certainly could have been worse. Wada's stuff blows it out of the water, but even Wada did "Seven," which I think is a dumb song.
 

Sabrblade

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A large amount of the dub music from the earlier series was recycled wholesale from Saban's preexisting media library, as the music had already been used in previous Saban shows like Masked Rider and Spider-Man. Even the Jingle Bells song from the third "World Tour" episode of Zero Two was reused from the first Power Rangers Christmas special "Alpha's Magical Christmas".

That said, while the music itself wasn't bad and at times was quite charming, it can't hold a candle to the original music and at many times was greatly misused. In such cases, a scene would either be accompanied by the wrong kind of music (i.e. - a humorous moment would instead have serious and "dangerous"-sounding music playing over it, or a scene meant to evoke a feeling of sheer terror and emotional dread would instead have triumphant and "inspirational"-sounding music playing over it, etc.) or a scene that would best require a moment of silence would instead still have some distracting music playing over it anyway.

And sometimes, a song would start playing at the most random of times, such as when the dub theme song randomly began playing at one point in the Garurumon/Ikkakumon/Togemon vs. Etemon fight in episode 20 of Adventure. The song played at a moment when Garurumon and Togemon were attacking Etemon and he simply neutralized both of their attacks. The song usually played in the dub at moments when the dub wanted to emphasize something cool that our heroes were doing, such as during the evolution sequences or when the Greymon in Movie 1 first lashed out at Parrotmon. But in this episode, the song played at a moment when our heroes were just beginning to get curbstomped by Etemon, as though the song's use was meant to promote the villain's power instead of that of the good guys. There was just no sense to its being played at that moment.

What's more is that there were many times where the dub music just didn't fit with the animation nearly as well as the original music did, as there were a LOT of cases where the animation and the original music were all synchronized with each other, such as with every single Armor Evolution and Jogress Evolution in Zero Two.
 
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MasterOfTartarus

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we in europe got it good, we got the japanese soundtrack with the lyrics sung by different people depending on the country.
though for the the movie they used the american song lol, i was like wtf is this?! :p
 

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I can really only comment on Adventure and OWG, so.. my opinion.. I like the OP (and ED) better in Japanese, but honestly, I love the dub's score and feel it has more power in both of these than the original Japanese.

But I don't blame people being irritated by the Digi-Rap. I don't much care for the opening and honestly thought the Movie rap was better simply because it actually had lyrics. I really wish they had done a new opening, but I can see why they didn't.

My wife is actually hoping for a return of Hey Digimon, since its pretty nostalgiac for her. I could go either way as long as it isn't overused.

Don't get me wrong though. I really love Butterfly and Brave Heart. Seven is my least favorite of the vocal tracks, especially when it played in the Jureimon episode. It completely threw me the first time I saw it. Just seemed out of place.. I also didn't care for the Tri. vers of Butterfly at all, sounds kinda awful to me.
 

breaker335

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There are a few gems here and there. Like "A World For Us All" I found better than the original Frontier theme. (Saban, why you no give us full theme? ;-; ) But a majority of the sub soundtrack I find superior.
 

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I love the English score. It's big, brass, exciting and whimsical, and I like the mix of insert songs they use. The original has it beat for sheer volume and eclecticism (though they're both quite eclectic). They're both going for different tones, but they both suit the visuals so well, just in different ways. I agree with you on the Movie soundtrack, ESPECIALLY Omnimon's birth. I can appreciate the original intent of the Japanese score, but it just doesn't get me as excited as the Dub score does.

The only criticism that springs to mind, is the use of "Hey Digimon". Like, it's not a bad song. In fact it's quite catchy. It worked for the ending of Adventure because it was an upbeat song to complement a bitter-sweet farewell. And in the Movie when they were riding through the fields. But Season 1 had a terrible tendency to play it during dramatic moments, sometimes seconds after characters lose fights, get kidnapped, or even die.

On the new intro in the trailer, while I love the original Intro (especially the Tamers variant with the electric guitar), I do have my reservations about the new one. It's got the same electro beat style, but it seems to be going for a darker riff on what came before. That might fit the new tone, but I don't know if it makes it as catchy. But I'll reserve full judgement until I here it clearly with visuals for context.

Also, it occurred to me that if they aren't using Butterfly for the intro segment of Reunion, this would be great for the Dub (evoking the same mix of nostalgia and slice of life, to fit the imagery) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sM4Sd4OK0z8
 
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Tsurugi

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I've listened to all the Japanese soundtracks until Frontier(I think) and most of Xros Wars' soundtrack, as well as some of the English soundtrack. Personally, both English and Japanese have great music in them, though for Data Squad I question why they went for a rock motif(it's not bad by any means, just odd to me). As for Fusion, it sounds okay, nothing to write home about, but it's okay.

I would've loved it if the soundtrack for Tri's dub was a mix of old and new songs from both sub and dub, but I doubt that'll be the case.
 

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You're talking about "I Turn Around", right? The song that was heavily inspired musically by "Semi-Charmed Life". I love it. I've been trying to figure out for years who wrote it. I think it would be great for the dub.
 

Sabrblade

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Another thing about the dub music is how, compared to the original music, it lacks in variety. It all sounds nice, yes, but it is all entirely of the same single kind of music: Orchestral. Again, it sounds nice, but it is very limited in variety when the original has a much wider range a selection of music. In addition to its own orchestral music, it features rock, pop, metal, classical, jazz, techno, choral, bluegrass (Movie 3), and more. There is much greater diversity and style involved in the original music than how the dub kept reusing the same few orchestral tunes over and over, which resulted in a lot of the same moods being attributed to many different scenes that called for something more in many cases.
 

AquaVersus

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None of the Japanese songs (not including Character songs) have ever had anything to do with Digimon from what I've heard except for one.
I've heard this sentiment many times before and I can't stress enough how incorrect I feel it is.

Just because songs like Butter-Fly didn't contain lyrical references to Digimon as a franchise/as the monsters themselves doesn't mean they had nothing to do with Digimon. I'm focusing on Butter-Fly here because there seems to be a lot of focus on Adventure's music (dub or otherwise) in this thread, and also because I heard this sentiment being applied directly to Butter-Fly just the other day -- but I think it holds true for other openings, as well. If you actually read a translation of the lyrics, I think you'll find that the song reflects the characters' struggles and the show itself in a stunningly clear way.

As for the dub music in Adventure/02, I generally dislike it. Adventure had that awful orchestral score that was carried over from both Spider-Man and Masked Rider, a catchy but also annoying theme song of little to no substance, and a cringe-worthy insert song ("Hey Digimon" completely ruined the last episode of Adventure for me). Adventure 02 was better, but not by much -- it carried over the boring orchestral score, but at least they bothered to introduce some interesting insert/fighting songs. "Here We Go" was pretty rockin' and I liked the ska music that was used for the movie, very interesting choice.
 
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iara

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I am convinced people only like dub music out of sheer nostalgia. That's it.


There was no need of changing so much. The music could have been the same. I am Peruvian, yet I understood perfectly what the Digimon OST tried to express. Feelings of love, friendship, pain, anger and the like are universal. Why try to "translate them" when sometimes they are already crystal clear?


Regards,
an actual translator
 

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You're right. However, as I'm sure Marc would point out, the music probably changed for financial reasons, since it would have been expensive to license all of the original music rather than use music Saban already owned.
 

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I've said many times before that the dub's music to me sounds boring and generic, by generic I mean that it sounds like every other American Saturday morning cartoon's background music or every other 90's Japanese anime dub background music. If you watch the early Saban dub's of Dragon Ball Z or Monster Rancher for example, you'll hear a similar orchestra to that of Adventure's dub, like stated above it was recycled from other Fox Kids shows. The Japanese OST is unique it was made for specifically for that series, you won't hear anything like it in any other anime.

The music in the dub was changed, due to money issues for the post aboved. In the U.S dubbing companies have to pay to license the original Japanese music. Iara the Latin American Spanish dub is one of my favorites, the voice acting is superb and the original Japanese music gives it the sense that this is how the series was meant to be. There were instances were I liked the Latin version, better than the original Japanese version to bad Fusion didn't get the same treatment in Latin America as other series previously did.
 
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Sabrblade

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If you watch the early Saban dub's of Dragon Ball Z or Monster Rancher for example,
Saban didn't dub Monster Rancher, though. BKN and Ocean Studios did.

The Japanese OST is unique it was made for specifically for that series, you won't hear anything like it in any other anime.
Erm, well, some of the music from the 90's Sailor Moon anime had a similar feel to the Japanese Digimon music, but that's mostly due to Takanori Arisawa having composed the music of both series.
 

iara

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It's always money ruining everything, isn't it?



Vice, sadly Digimon stopped getting good Latin American dubs since Frontier. Digimon Savers had the lowest form of translation ever (The translation team even STOLE lyrics from fan covers and claimed they were their own), and the quality overall was terrible, the team didn't understood what Digimon was about. Digimon Xros Wars was a direct translation of the English version, which by itself changed way too much and feels like a different series altogether. A different and way more awful series altogether.
 

Kataphrut

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I'm a full-on dub over sub man in all respects. I prefer hearing shows in my own language, I think Digimon has had reliably decent dubs across all seasons, and I find the little changes and ad-libs they did more charming than annoying. However, the one area where I will go full weaboo is the music. The dub music is crap in nearly all respects, that gets by mainly on nostalgia and 90s cheese. I reckon the tri dub made a mistake attempting to cash in on it rather than trying to be more faithful to the Japanese score.

There are some exceptions - I liked a lot of the movie music, sue me. Yes, that includes Kick It Up. Also, Data Squad had a pretty cool rock music soundtrack, especially for the digivolutions.
 

flintlock

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There was no need of changing so much. The music could have been the same. I am Peruvian, yet I understood perfectly what the Digimon OST tried to express. Feelings of love, friendship, pain, anger and the like are universal. Why try to "translate them" when sometimes they are already crystal clear?
You're right. However, as I'm sure Marc would point out, the music probably changed for financial reasons, since it would have been expensive to license all of the original music rather than use music Saban already owned.
First of all I completely agree with iara but if you think about it contextually Saban's decision do make sense. Saban literally created a huge fad earlier in the 90's by bringing over Power Rangers and Americanizing everything and changing everything they could so it would make a lot of sense that the suits would assume the same would work for an anime. And TMS you're right I'm sure it was a lot cheaper. IThey must have wanted themesongs that really hammered in the product name.


Can I just say something kind of controversial though. The use of bolero in the Digimon Adventure movie is so weird. It's like they couldn't actually score it. It has a certain charm but I always wonder what it would feel like emotionally if it had a "real" soundtrack.
 
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Rohan

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As someone who has bought both the soundtrack for the English dub of the movie and a "Best of" compilation of the original JP Soundtracks, I love both.

As for Tri, I know it'll be virtually impossible but I would've liked if the physical release in the West could have both the dub and the sub with music for each. A pipe dream, but it would've been nice.

 

Vice

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If you watch the early Saban dub's of Dragon Ball Z or Monster Rancher for example,
Saban didn't dub Monster Rancher, though. BKN and Ocean Studios did.

The Japanese OST is unique it was made for specifically for that series, you won't hear anything like it in any other anime.
Erm, well, some of the music from the 90's Sailor Moon anime had a similar feel to the Japanese Digimon music, but that's mostly due to Takanori Arisawa having composed the music of both series.
Oh yeah I know Saban didn't dub Monster Rancher, it's only ties to Saban is that it aired on Fox Kids in syndication and that was all. I only pointed out that the soundtrack was similar to Digimon's in a sense that it also uses an orchestra to replace the Japanese soundtrack. As many other Japanese dubbed animes did at the time.
 
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