Help Bring Back the Original Main Voice Actors and Re-Dub Pokémon from Seasons 9 - Onward!
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The Pokemon Anime's English dub had undergone a sudden switch of the voice actors and most of the crew when Pokemon USA (Now known as "The Pokemon Company International") decided not to renew the contract and took the rights to the dubbing of the series from 4Kids, after the completion of the Advanced Battle Series: 4Kids --> TPCi Dub Change. Starting with, "The Mastermind Of Mirage Pokemon," TPCi have been dubbing the show with cheap "sound-alike" voice actors with TAJ Productions, and now DuArt Film & Video, who are still running the English dub into a lesser state to this day. Only two of the original voice actors, James Carter Cathcart and Kayzie Rogers, stayed with the dub somehow at the time, and the former is the reason behind the mediocre script writing/dialogue these days. Rodger Parsons (also known as Ken Gates), the previous narrator of the first six seasons up until the twentieth episode of the Advanced Series, of the 4Kids dub, also returned at the time, along with Ted Lewis who voiced Tracey Sketchit and Giovanni.
Sadly, a majority of the 4Kids main voice actors were not given a chance to return at the time whatsoever, to the dub, and the only ones who did were the prior four, which in itself was strange to find out and questionable. Unlike the previous cast and staff, who care about the quality of the series and its fans, this current cast and staff are not the same. As of 2016, the current dub of the show has had four different voice directors. The first was Armen Mazlumian of TAJ from 2006-2008, who according to fans on Serebii Forums like "The Great Butler," had the voice actors only do one take and that was it. The second was Tom Wayland from 2008-2015 (notably a former 4Kids voice actor for Mew Mew Power and One Piece, but not for their work on Pokemon), who started his work with the switch from TAJ to DuArt, and was fired last year, due to being accused of rape at Anime Boston in April 2015.
Tom essentially told the voice actors to do whatever they liked, with only a nudge in the direction he wanted: Tom Wayland's "Direction". The third, and most recent, was Theresa Buchheister, who was recently also let go for reasons unknown. She also had the voice actors do only one take.
Recently, DuArt decided for their fourth voice director to be none other than a 4Kids voice actress TPCi let back onto the show, named Lisa Ortiz: Lisa Ortiz as DuArt's 4th VO Director. She is, like Tom Wayland before, not directing the current TPCi cast well and is casting herself everywhere.
All four voice directors made no difference to the voice quality of the series, and the English dub has stayed unbearable to watch or even listen, as you can see. Some of 4Kids' voice actors from the previous eight seasons have returned to Pokemon as of Pokemon DP: Battle Dimension, and both Rachel Lillis (Original Jessie and Misty) and Stuart Zagnit (Professor Oak) did return to dub Maylene in the Battle Dimension series and Cedric Juniper in the Black & White Dub, respectively.
Clearly, we suspect corruption as well as double standards here. By this logic, Veronica and the others, whom they refused to allow back to the series could've done so, if even given the chance, as well as all actors/actresses being able to reprise their roles if DuArt/TPCi should see fit.
Now in the case of those who did return, a majority of them were not allowed to voice their original characters. This was stated by Stuart Zagnit himself, who asked to return and voice Oak, and was told "no" by DuArt when he asked to do so. Furthermore and as alluded to previously, three of the former main cast members, Veronica Taylor, Eric Stuart, and Amy Birnbaum were never approached to return. In addition, there were many others like Brian Maillard, Andrew Rannells, Michael Haigney, Kathy Borland, Andi Whaley, and many other 4Kids actors or crew not approached by TPCi. To put it simply, only a select few of 4Kids' actors were approached to do so, clearly indicating DuArt Film & Video has some questionable internal politics as to who they let return and who they do not.
As of the current Pokemon The Series: XYZ dub, the Pokemon English dub has decreased in quality exponentially. The background music and opening themes are shorter than ever ("Stand Tall" being only 29 seconds long in particular) and less of the Japanese music is kept than ever in the Pokemon dub objectively speaking. On top of this, the voicing as well as voice acting of the main characters is extremely poor and dull; with little to no effort put into their work since 2006, no emotion in their performances and sound as if they're merely reading lines off a script while voicing and not basically acting as the characters. It's unbearable, and compared to the original 4Kids dub, it's just plain bad. The current TPCi dub has no emotion or enjoyment in it whatsoever. While it is agreeable the anime is targeted for younger audiences still makes it inexcusable for the crew unable to attempt any effort into the show in such a poor manner. Do we really want them to make kids believe this is the best dub they can do? We sure don't.
The Pokemon Company International have also recently released DVD sets of the Original 4Kids Series' dub and Movies, albeit edited badly, with TPCi even removing Jynx from many of 4Kids' dubbed episodes. TPCi furthermore deleted scenes and episodes from the sets, and even made typing errors on the DVD credits of 4Kids' dub of the first Movie. That just shows proof by their unprofessional-ism how TPCi themselves are still a bit antagonistic toward their predecessors, 4Kids dub and crew in disregard: see user "akaun6899" and his posts on the matter in the following link- TPCi Bitter Over 4Kids.
It gets worse, though. TPCi's actors as well as actresses themselves are very antagonist towards the Anime fandom when receiving even the slightest bit of criticism of their voice over performances, acting very unprofessional in response to it.
For example, James Carter Cathcart, the current English voice actor for James, Meowth, Professor Oak, and Butch, has even stated online under the pseudonym "old guard truthseeker" on Serebii as well as Bulbagarden forums, that he thinks his voice as James is better than Eric Stuart's and Ted Lewis' vocalization, for those curious: James Carter Cathcart Says He's The Best James, and in general, James Carter Cathcart Lies to Fans.
Meanwhile, Michele Knotz, who is the current English voice actress of Jessie, Misty, and May, also doesn't like people referring to Rachel Lillis' Jessie vocalization or Veronica Taylor's May vocalization as superior or even prefer them over her. Michele Knotz can clearly been seen throwing a fit in the YouTube comments section of the following video due to this, also contradicting Tom Wayland's direct description above of his direction, to shift the blame to him, when it was her own accord to do what she liked- see the comments section of Michele Knotz Throwing a Fit- CuteMimi25's Video.
Furthermore, the current voice of Ash and Delia, named Sarah Natochenny, did once label critics of her performances as merely, "Haters gonna hate" in an interview with Dennis Daniel: Sarah Natochenny Puts Down Fans. She has had more time as Ash then his original VA and sadly has not improved vocally or emotionally at portraying him. Having said that, Sarah Natochenny is a great voice actor and is amazing in all her other voice work. She just lacks voicing or emoting the current Ash Ketchum the same way her predecessor has, making him sound too girly or like a teenage girl who smokes frequently. If you watch Battle Frontier to XYZ and compare her voice with Veronica's in Johto or Hoenn, you will see the difference.
Finally, Bill Rogers, who is the current voice of Brock, has also on record lied as "NewBrock" on Serebii and Bulbagarden Forums claiming the 4Kids' crew couldn't work on the dub due to contracts, yet in an interview with AnimeAmerica podcast in 2014, he admitted he did not know that the 4Kids' crew at the time was forced out by force by TPCi, basically meaning Bill Rogers lied to fans about the switch: Bill Rogers Admits He Lied. He once again denied his involvement in another interview in 2015, stating he thought the 4kids VA's left of their own accord. Yet his actions on Serebii proved he was lying.
Recently, another TPCi voice actor by the name of Daman Mills, who Michele Knotz often refers to her as her "bestie" also went after a fan who merely said that she "didn't care for [Michele's] acting." See the following as an indication of this statement being true: Daman Mills Puts Down Fan. Mills having very minor roles in the show now, due to Michele putting in "A good word" for him. Daman Mills berated and insulted a fan, because she didn't like Knotz' portrayal of the character of Jessie in Team Rocket. It was inadequate of him to go out of his way to belittle someone for a comment made.
Clearly, with a crew as unprofessional as the current one working on the dub, it shows how poorly handled the Pokemon Anime is nowadays in English by TPCi at present. Try looking for any sign of the first eight seasons on TV, and you will only find Battle Frontier to XY re-runs as proven by CITV UK and Cartoon Network USA. Ask yourself this, folks. Do you really want your kids watching a downgraded and awful version of a wonderful show and series you loved since childhood? One of our group members' little brother, as an example, has seen both shows, and enjoys the first eight seasons of the dub much more. Tons of kids out there who were fortunate to see the 4Kids Series, also prefer the old cast to the new one (see Youtube Video, "Kids React to Pokemon").
When it first started airing, the English dub of Pokemon quickly became a worldwide phenomenon. It had CD albums, soundtracks, tons of TV and movie merchandise related to the series and movies. The movie trailers and commercials were epic, the insert songs were nice to listen to, the background music wasn't as badly composed as it is now and a lot of the Japanese music was kept in the dub. Every episode of the original series was enjoyable, heartbreaking, funny and very emotional that influenced a lot of us as children. People would want to watch the show every chance they could. Movies were promoted heavily in movie theaters and they even had popular bands and singers such as M2M and Billy Crawford contributing music towards the soundtracks.
As of Pokemon USA/The Pokemon Company International's takeover, there has not been any sort of CD album or movie soundtrack released. The show is not as popular as it once was, and has gone from the now defunct, yet popular Kids WB channel in the States, to being stuck as a morning show on Cartoon Network, with opening themes that last half a minute to less than half a minute, due to commercial breaks. The script writing/dialogue is also bland and uninspired, and changes the characters we know and love completely, having Team Rocket rhyme unnecessarily all the time or abuse alliteration, such as with dialogue like, "Pilfering us up a bunch of Primo Pokemon" or "Slick, that should do the trick." Additionally, Ash continuously uses slang like, "a'course," "kay," "ya see," "ya know," in addition to "so psyched," while Brock is reduced to rhyming when flirting with women saying, "Like limpid pools on a babbling brook, let me draw closer so I can have a good look. Because when it comes to the beauty of Officer Jenny, I always get good and shook." Others also suffered, such as May having suggestive dialogue like, "That was so rough," or "I've never seen Ash work it so hard," Max having poorly written dialogue like "I guess trainers who use fightin' type Polka-mon sure know how ta fight," "Wow, you talk great," as well as Bonnie being given poor dialogue like, "Wowie," "Wow, wow, wow," "Try, try," and "Coochy coo." The difference is very notable and rather huge when you compare the two English dubs in script writing/dialogue alone.
TPCi has done a lot of music replacing that are not from the Japanese version. Some of the music TPCi has replaced play various music that don't fit right with the situation or even at certain moments. Granted that 4Kids chose wisely what music to play at right moments, TPCi composes and use their own music which sound awkward and inappropriate at any given moment. On top of that, there have been various deleted scenes from some episodes that are only in the Japanese version. Some are key points to the plot while some aren't but majority have been key points to the plot of each episode. Decisions made by TPCi so far have been incoherent.
Since 2006, it has been incredibly difficult to enjoy watching Pokémon again. The 20th anniversary of Pokemon came and it's passed the tenth year that The Pokemon Company International have been dubbing the series. The original voice cast have again expressed their desire to reprise the roles and even to this day, still provide vocal demonstrations and messages from their characters at cons for all the fans who grew up watching the show and new fans as well. We really need your signatures, THOUSANDS! As many as we can get. The Pokemon Company International ignore letters, tweets, or any other form of contact due to high volume of requests by fans. But if we can get enough signatures, we can make them listen and take notice of how much the dub means to the fans who still love and care about the show as much as Veronica Taylor loved her role as Ash Ketchum.
Furthermore, Veronica Taylor has hinted at many times that she would reprise the role of "Ash" if she was given the chance.
Here and in many other interviews, Veronica has proven that she still has a fond spot in her heart for Pokemon and that she would reprise her role if she were allowed. Eric Stuart, Rachel Lillis and Stuart Zagnit are among cast members who also said they would like to reprise their roles.
In case anybody is wondering what we intend to do with the petition, we wish to fix everything that was ruined since 2006. While we understand certain people wish to remain neutral and not take sides, this solution is a more of a compromise. We do not wish to terminate the current voices of Pokémon by replacing them. By obtaining thousands of signatures, we would like to have the old cast re-dub seasons 9 all the way to the current season the show is on with the current cast. But that's not all; we would like the dialogue to be re-written, we would like most of the Japanese soundtrack to be used that TPCi has replaced and as well keep every scene that TPCi has deleted from the show. If possible, everything can be put in a format of a DVD in case budget cuts are still a concern. What's more, it is cheaper to voice work in your own house rather than in a studio. Any kind of negotiation is possible if we keep an open mind on many possibilities.
Before you say "Give it up," or, "It happened, nothing will change," ask yourselves this; How would you feel if the same thing happened to Mickey Mouse, Spongebobg Squarepants, The Simpsons, Family Guy or Futurama? How would your kids or you as adult fans of your favorite cartoon show that brings you joy inside react if your favorite lead voice actor were replaced the same way with 'sound-alikes,' changed the music and had awful dialogue re-written that changed their character entirely?
How would you react if this happened to, "My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic", which is such a popular show? How would your kids react to see their show drastically change like that? The music replaced with awful tones, songs no longer in any episodes, no more CD's, no more movies released in theaters, the main voices and every pony they loved, changed and sounding nothing like before just to cut budget and save money? How would you feel about that: how would your kids react?
Don't just think about the adults who used to love the show. Think about the kids, the children who would rather see the Original Series on Netflix due to more experience, effort and caring voice acting and music, instead of watching a cheap version by a company who doesn't care for their fans and only care about the money with emotionless acting and bad music replacement on Cartoon Network. Why have "sound-alikes," when you can have the real voices who made the series popular return.
The choice is yours. We have goals, we have projects and we care. Sign this petition, not for just for SOVA, but for the kids of the new generation who love cartoons. If we get enough signatures we can make a difference. If you wish to learn more about how we plan to achieve our goals, please join our facebook group 'Save Our Voice Actors,' and learn how you can help. The more help we have, the more signatures we can obtain. We are not a hate group. We are just Pokémon fans like everyone else and who really care about having a better dub like those from Funimation and Viz Media. Please help spread our campaign to reach enough signatures and show the company that we care and we want the originals back. It's not just any anime or cartoon. This is Pokémon; Like Mickey Mouse and Looney Tunes, Pokémon was our childhood. And while the character Ash Ketchum showed us what it means to strive for our dreams, it was Veronica Taylor who gave character to the character and made us believe in his sincere charisma, the same way Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny was portrayed as by their respective voice actors. Help us strive for our goal. Help us save our voice actors. Thank you.
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