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 Replacing the Dub Actors: A Disaster in the Making or Not? 
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Yeah, so most of us should probably know about this already. But, just in case, here's our Anime forum's topic about it. Basically, 4Kids Entertainment (the company that dubbed Pocket Monsters and now dubs Pocket Monsters Advance) and Pokemon USA used to both hold shares to Pokemon and shared the rights to the English dub. After season eight, which is currently airing in the States and is called Pokemon Advanced Battle, 4Kids chose not to renew their rights to the dub. Despite interest on the part of the 4Kids-contracted voice actors to continue with the series, including Veronica Taylor, Pokemon USA intends to replace the original voice actors with "sound-alikes." As far as I can tell, they're replacing the original cast because replacement actors will cost less than the originals. On April 29th, we'll get our first taste of the new cast for an English-made 10th anniversary special.

Is there anybody else who is upset by this decision? I generally think that the original voice actors on Pokemon do a good job in their roles, (as much as I've bit<b></b>ched about Ash sounding like a girl in the past,) and history shows that replacements tend to suck more than not. I personally think that Rachael Lillis does a great job as Jesse (and did a good as Misty, as much I didn't care for the character); Eric Stuart does a good job as Brock and has really brought a lot of personality to his role as James. Remember the first ten or so episodes of the dub where James was voiced by Ted Lewis? Way too serious for such a goofy character. And even though I HATED Ash's voice for a long time, I've gotten used to his high-pitch, and Veronica Taylor has comfortably found a way to voice both Ash AND May. Maddie Blaustein is unique in the Pokemon dub in that she tries to make Meowth's voice as close to Japanese version's Nyasu as possible, and even Max's voice actress deserves kudos for saving him from having a stock "little boy" voice.

I think the main reason that fans are outraged by the decision to replace the original actors, (besides the emotional attachment to the voices,) is that Pokemon just has WAY TOO MANY characters to replace in one shot. There's like 15 main characters, 390 Pokemon, a ton of Gym Leaders/Frontier Brains/recurring characters... etc. For example, Megan Hollingshead, who played Officer Jenny and Nurse Joy for six years, left 4Kids during Pokemon Advanced. A lady named Bella Hudson replaced Megan with authentic-enough imitation vocals, and fans generally haven't caused an uproar over Megan's replacement. The difference, though, is that Officer Jenny and Nurse Joy are comparatively minor characters, and only those two have been replaced. This switch to Pokemon USA actors will increase that effect tenfold. Now, on the other hand, perhaps the replacement cast will be acceptable substitutes or even better than the original voice actors, but I'm personally not expecting much. After eight years, you get used to hearing the characters have certain voices.

Here's a recap of the main Pokemon VAs we're losing and the main characters they voice...
Veronica Taylor as Ash Ketchum, Deliah Ketchum and May
Rachael Lillis as Misty, Jesse, the Pokedex (female voice) and Jigglypuff
Eric Stuart as Brock, James, the Pokedex (male voice) and many Pokemon including Squirtle
Maddie Blaustein as Meowth
Amy Birnbaum as Max
Bella Hudson as Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny
Ted Lewis as Tracey Sketchit, Giovanni, and others
Lisa Ortiz as Cassidy (and basically every female Gym Leader)


Last edited by Frost on Sat Nov 11, 2006 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Apr 22, 2006 7:48 am
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[color=#ff6ec7]Although I never watch the show (I don't get WB

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Sat Apr 22, 2006 10:04 am
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The new voices were horrifying! I could live with Misty's new voice (since it sounds kind of similar). I hope they didnt make their final decision about the voice actors yet....

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Sat Apr 29, 2006 8:27 am
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ive watched pokemon since i was like 8 years old, and i could never forget those voices. i watched the special today and i hated the voices soo bad. i think the worst change was brock. krisp is right, the current voice of brock fits him perfectly. if they go, i might even stop watching the show :? :( .


Sat Apr 29, 2006 9:03 am
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I just hated the special. It was a horrible letdown. The ending was nothing more than a cheap cop-out of another awesome battle between Mew and Mewtwo.

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Sat Apr 29, 2006 9:08 am
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Well, we got a sneak preview of the new cast in the "Mastermind of the Mirage Pokemon" special that aired this morning. I woke up early this morning for the sole purpose of hearing how badly Pokemon USA would embarrass themselves with a new cast of "imitations." Some of the new voices were worse than others, but I think it was painfully obvious that all of the characters were being voiced by imitators. I think if Pokemon USA is too cheap to hire the entire 4Kids cast back, they need to look into rehiring Veronica Taylor and Eric Stuart. Both actors have said that they want to continue working on Pokemon and that they were disappointed in how they were let go; therefore, it's just a bit strange that their characters sounded the worst of the new cast.

Ash: Hearing his new voice was not the best way to start the special. I think I literally cringed when I first heard his new sound, and I fail to see how any idiot at Pokemon USA could try to pass this off as an "imitation." Upon hearing Ash open his mouth for the second time, I instantly recognized the voice, because it had been used on Pokemon before, but I couldn't figure out which character had it before, I still can't now, and I'm going crazy because I can't place my finger on the voice. Everybody seems to think it was Richie, but I honestly can't remember what Richie sounded like; I thought it was Mikey from the Eevee Bros. episode myself. In short, Ash's new voice is a good imitation of the wrong character.

May: I don't even know what kind of joke this was supposed to be. This sounds NOTHING like Taylor's version of May, not even a really BAD imitation. People on Serebii's Anime forum have said the new May sounds like everything from a "grandmother" to "a sexually frustrated housewife." I wouldn't go that far, but May was supposed to be 10 at the beginning of Pokemon Advanced, and this new voice definitely does NOT sound like one of a preteen. So far "sounds like one of a 30 year old," has usually finished the phrase "May's new voice..." It's really upsetting that Veronica couldn't continue both Ash and May's voices; she needed some time to get used to both roles, and now they've kicked her off when she's gotten good at making sound Ash and May unique. I don't see an imitator getting anywhere close to May.

Brock: I think my initial reaction was "FAKJSFAKJKJ AHHHH BROCK SOUNDS TERRIBLE" and I still think so. The only scene in which Brock sounded anything like the Eric Stuart version was when he was lusting over Jenny toward the middle of the special, and even that was pretty painful. I'd be willing to let the new voice actors ease into their roles if they're going to be staying, but not this guy. He's just bad at voicing Brock, a character who is supposed to be in his late teens/early twenties, yet one that sounded like a senior citizen with a throat condition in the special.

Max: This was great. I could barely tell that they had replaced Max's voice actress. Unfortunately, I don't really care for Max, so this isn't as cool as it could have been, but I do hope the VA does this well on the main series. If the other members of Max's group were as imitated as well as he was, this wouldn't have been such a disaster.

Misty: It's pretty ironic that Misty probably had the best imitation voice actress and she'll be the one character that won't be appearing season 9. Kudos to whoever was voicing Misty because, even though I could tell she was imitation, she was really trying to emulate Rachael Lillis. She did a pretty good job; I could live with Misty's "new" voice if she became a fixture on the main show again.

Jesse: I was very relieved when Jesse's new voice actress did a good job because Jesse is my favorite character on the show. Again, the voice actress who performed as Jesse in this special deserves kudos for doing a good job in imitating Rachael Lillis. Again, I think I could live with this voice if carried over to the regular show, although it was just a bit on the nasal side. The Team Rocket motto could have been a complete disaster, but Jesse's voice actress pulled her weight.

James: It's not HORRIBLE, but it sounds even more goofy and nasal than Eric Stuart's current version of James. That's the problem though; the voice actor was clearly trying to imitate the nasally, annoying, accented version of James that has turned up in the later seasons, and I much prefer the cooler, less GAY version of James from Kanto to mid Johto. It wasn't the worst imitation of the special, but, like I said, it would have preferrable if actor tried to emulate the James that existed before Eric Stuart purposely started voicing James as if he were a flamer.

Meowth: This could have been a train wreck because Meowth is clearly the hardest voice to imitate, but the voice actor did a good job. The imitator's version of Meowth was just a little deeper and gruffer than Maddie Blaustein's version, but it retained the overall accent and "feel" of Meowth. As you can see, the characters voiced by Veronica (Ash and May) and Eric (Brock and James) suffered the worst from the new cast; meanwhile, I would be irritated, but could live with, the new voices for Misty, Jesse and Meowth.

Professor Oak: WTF? This wasn't that good, but Oak isn't a major character anyway, so I'm not going to complain too much. This was probably the worst of the imitators that actually sounded anything like the original.

Jenny/Joy: They only had about two lines of dialogue each, but they both sounded completely different. They CAN'T be THAT hard to imitate, though, since Bella Hudson has done a passable job filling in for Megan Hollinshead. It seems like Pokemon USA didn't even try imitators and just completely recast Jenny and Joy's voices. Again, these two aren't MAJOR major characters, so I think I can get over it.

In short, half of the imitators on the cast are okay, while the other half are major losers. It just seems weird that Misty, who will be more or less a one-shot character now, sounded the best, while Ash, May, and Brock, the show's three current MAIN CHARACTERS, faired the worst. But Team Rocket survived the transition okay, and since they're better than the protagonists anyway, I think I'm fine with that.

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Last edited by Frost on Sat Apr 29, 2006 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Apr 29, 2006 9:15 am
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My god, the voices were the worst I've ever heard. Even the pokemon sounded stupid (compare mews voice in Mewtwo Strikes Back to Mastermind of Mirage Pokemon). I seriously felt like vomiting everytime I heard someone or something talk (Dr. Yung was fine, but that was because we've never seen/heard him before). If these are the new actors/actress's, Kids WB is never going to be watched by me again. Right now they sound cartooney, which is great. But Kids WB made it sound like a soap oprah.

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Sat Apr 29, 2006 12:02 pm
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Just a bit of background: Up till now, I had been content to merely "lurk" on this site and occasionally the forum, mostly because I prefer to observe...and sometimes to pick up the odd game hint or secret when I'm stuck or would like to "polish my style"

I've been watching the Anime program since partway through the second season, and I went back and watched the entire first two seasons...and have seen every US-aired episode since. I like the previously-used voice actors and I enjoy finding the same voices in other programs (For example, I'm sure many of you know that Eric Stuart (Brock) also does the dub for Seto Kaiba in the popular Yu-Gi-Oh! series)

I recorded this "Master of Mirage Pokemon" show because I was looking forward to this airing, hoping it might be as anticipated as "Destiny Deoxys". Talk about disappointment!!! I actually had to rewind the show after the first ten seconds because I couldn't believe my ears! Where was Veronica Taylor??!! This had me so shocked that I actually came out of lurking to give my comments.

No, I wasn't aware that they were planning to change the voice dub actors...not until I went onto this forum to find out what the blazes was going on. Is it too late to "mail bomb" the executives of Pokemon USA? You know...send them scads and scads of letters asking them why they have chosen to lay off the previous cast and choose poor replacements? Do you think that if enough people squawk about it, that they might choose to (re)write contracts for some of the character voices, especially Veronica Taylor?

Just wondering...

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Sat Apr 29, 2006 8:41 pm
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On the subject of the vioce actor issue, Pokemon USA posted a response on pokemon.com, stating that the "old" voice actors had "conflicting contractural agreements" (whatever that means) and the new ones may be here to stay.

Now, Cartoon Network wants to pick up Pokemon in its final hour. Do we want to see a good show with bad voice acting? It's going to go out like a light! Right now, fans are emailing the execs that own Cartoon Network telling them how much Pokemon is going to suck if they buy it as-is.

Anyways, on YouTube, someone made a "commercial" of sorts asking for the old voice actors.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFLqzxbU_mE

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Sat May 06, 2006 8:44 pm
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The new voices are the worst. Have you heard the homey Harley. With his new voice he's no longer the homey.

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Sat Dec 02, 2006 2:00 pm
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Thank GOODNESS there was a thread about this... I have to completely agree with Frost's post back from 2006 there... yes I am a little behind the times here but Battle Frontier only just began airing here in the UK a month or so ago. Regardless, uve gotta admit its kind of confusing to watch the same characters... but they sound completely different! However I do like the new, more action-packed battles they've got going. I do think they are losing sight of the original plot though wit this... I mean, one of the Frontier brains has {registeel}!?!?! What's up with that!?! I was under the impression there was only one! Yet they talk about it as if its a common sight! *Pure anger at innaccuracies of TV adaptions everywhere* lol [end rant] :)

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