When Japanese animes get dubbed into English, it’s hit or miss. Nudity is covered up, violence is dumbed down, and (most) bestiality is glossed over. It’s the theme songs, though, that truly suffer. When you’re a kid hunkering down with a bowl of Fruity Pebbles on Saturday morning, you could care less. It’s not until years later, stumbling upon YouTube clips, that you are astounded that your ears didn’t bleed at the time.
That's why we're pairing the most awful English dubs with a wide range of artists who could create less horrifying alternatives. Read on.
We get it, Dragon Ball Z: you’re a bastion of manliness. The English theme song drives home this idea through cheesy prog rock riffs and signature anime grunting. We think RZA, a self-proclaimed DBZ fan and kung-fu movie buff, can do better. After all, rap is a genre known for glorifying masculinity, but RZA has always brought an element of inner peace into his verses, which fits nicely with DBZ’s spiritual side.6. Who Should Redo It:
Daft Punk5. Who Should Redo It:
Daft Punk is no stranger to anime, and they could afford to throw an underdog a bone once in a while. Meanwhile, Digimon’s theme song could easily be mistaken for a b-side of a godawful Daft Punk tribute band. Considering that the theme consists of a measly three or four repeated lines, it’s practically begging to be remixed by a couple of French droids who know their way around a synthesizer. In the end, this could strike a final blow in the contentious Pokemon vs. Digimon debate.
Who Should Redo It: Taylor Swift
“Every Heart,” the American Inuyasha theme, is a four-minute clunker about following your heart, staying true to your heart, and other heart-related mandates. It makes sense, as the whole anime is a will-they-or-won’t-they of Sam and Diane proportions (that just happens to be set in Feudal-era Japan). Who better to hone in on that angst then perennially heartbroken Taylor Swift? If she could handle John Mayer, she could definitely take on centipede demon poltergeists.
GWAR3. Who Should Redo It:
If Dragon Ball Z is the steroid-popping lunkhead of the anime world, Naruto is its extreme sports-loving, metalhead bro. The current theme is almost a doppelganger of Black Flag’s “Rise Above,” but we think GWAR, known for such Saturday-morning singalongs as "Fistful of Teeth" and "Love Surgery," would have more fun singing about one-tailed beasts, newborn demons, and shadow clones. Also, the gentlemen in GWAR could seamlessly fit into any demon army infiltrating a ninja village.
Who Should Redo It: Morissey
Though he isn’t always fond of certain humans, Morissey has an obvious soft spot for furry creatures. He could easily take on the current Pokemon theme, which is already maudlin and melodramatic: his two signature traits. Also, it’s starting to look like all American anime themes circa 1999 were created by the same prog rock-loving Rush fan. Moz would be the perfect jangly antidote to that, plus he could throw in a few verses about Team Rocket’s unspoken Will and Grace situation.
Who Should Redo It: Sleater-Kinney
The Sailor Moon theme is great for shower-singing or drunken karaoke, but the gang of schoolgirls turned cosmic warriors definitely deserve better. Despite Sailor Moon’s ditzy persona, the series was an empowering beacon for young girls who wanted a superhero equivalent to the Spice Girls. Thus, the theme song should be sung by a similar group of take-no-prisoners feminists. Replace the theme’s cheesy mall lyrics with Corin Tucker’s war cry, and you’ve finally got a song that will distract us from the heroines’ dangerously short skirts.