Anime Underground 15 Times English Anime Dubs Made Drastic Changes to Anime  

Crystal Brackett
990 votes 327 voters 14.8k views 15 items

List Rules Vote up the anime where English dubs made the largest changes to the story.

As anime make their way overseas, they're localized and adapted to fit Western audiences. While there are definitely some amazing English dubbed anime, a fair share of the localization just doesn't match up. Writers and American daytime TV will change an anime to be more palatable for the little types in the Western side of the world, dismantling and ruining the original intent and purpose of the Japanese creators. 

Sure, there are cases where anime dubs change the script for of translation purposes but, regardless, such changes have definitely resulted in some of the best anime series turning into one big joke. What's even more unfortunate is that the English dubs can be changed multiple times, meaning that one agency changes an anime and then a second agency changes it again. This gives viewers a haphazardly sewn and censored version of the animation and voice overs.

You're about to dive headfirst into anime dubs that made big changes and succumbed to the burden of English adaptation to the point where it completely destroyed the original integrity. Vote up the anime that has been changed most drastically by its English localization. 

1 171 VOTES

Sailor Moon

Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

The heavy amount of changes that this poor magical girl anime endured during its original run on US television is pitiful. The lesbian relationship between two of the sailors was changed to a slightly awkward cousin relationship. In addition, not only were entire episodes removed, which tainted the backstories for some characters such as Sailor V, but the entire fifth season was left completely out. The fifth season involved the gender-swapping Sailor Starlights and was considered too controversial to be aired as a popular kids show in the '90s.

Premiered: 1995

Number of Seasons: 4

Also Ranked

#41 on The Best Cartoons of the '90s

#27 on 25+ Anime With Great Rewatch Value

#23 on Which Anime Universe Would You Want To Live In?

#87 on The Best English Dubbed Anime of All Time

153 18
Is this change dramatic?
see more on Sailor Moon
2 126 VOTES

Dragon Ball Z

Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

Poor Dragon Ball Z endured extreme censorship  in America, where the show was marketed toward kids watching daytime TV. Since the original bloody battles, lewd behavior, cursing, and drug and alcohol use were a dangerous concoction for their TV time slot and demographic, these scenes were either edited visually or completely removed, sometimes resulting in entire episodes being replaced.

Blood was turned green, alcohol was removed to create empty glasses, and cigarettes were completely erased. To make things more palatable for younger audiences, all references to Hell were removed, with one particular scene resulting in new reference to "HFIL," the new "Home for Infinite Losers."

Premiered: 1989

Number of Seasons: 16

Also Ranked

#4 on Anime You Wish Was Streaming on Netflix

#30 on The Best Cartoons of All Time

#18 on The Greatest Animated Series Ever Made

#6 on The Best Anime Series of All Time

113 13
Is this change dramatic?
see more on Dragon Ball Z
3 111 VOTES


Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

When Yu-Gi-Oh! made its appearance in the West, it was tactfully reconstructed as a card-game anime that was purely meant to be marketing fodder for young children. The original anime, which still included Dual Monsters, was more of a twisted, dark fantasy anime where Yami Yugi viciously murdered some of the opposing players in his "Shadow Games."

Much like the American horror classic Saw, the participants in these games gambled with their lives. Many players met their horrific ends by being burned alive, falling to their death, or suffering from grotesque visions of body horror while descending into madness. Of course, all of the death sequences were removed in the English adaptation and 4Kids Entertainment replaced these scenes with a fabricated "Shadow Realm" instead.

Premiered: 1998

Also Ranked

#73 on The 100+ Best Anime Intros of All Time

#65 on The Best Anime on Crunchyroll

98 13
Is this change dramatic?
see more on Yu-Gi-Oh!
4 114 VOTES

Ghost Stories

Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

Ghost Stories was an anime that didn't do too well in Japan, so when the time came for it to be adapted to the English language, the voice actors literally did whatever they wanted for the script. The majority of English audiences have actually come to revere this anime as one of the worst, yet funniest, dubs to ever exist. It turned spooky ghost stories into something that you'd watch on Adult Swim between Sealab 2021 and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The voice actors never hesitated to admit that they completely ravaged the script to make it a dub that's an adult comedy, with the intent that it be verbal garbage to laugh at. 

Premiered: 2000

Also Ranked

#14 on The Best Anime To Have On In The Background

99 15
Is this change dramatic?