One Piece (partially found English pilot dubs of anime series; early 2000s)
One Piece is a Japanese manga series created by Eiichiro Oda that originally launched in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1997. An ongoing anime adaptation by Toei Animation began broadcast on Fuji TV in 1999.
In 2004, the anime series was acquired by 4Kids Entertainment. Their heavily altered English dub, which used voice actors based in New York, was cancelled in 2006. In 2007, Funimation Entertainment picked up the license and began dubbing the series in Texas. Their dub is ongoing.
Prior to 4Kids acquiring the show's license, Toei Animation had commissioned at least three separate English pilots to help sell the show internationally. Two were from the Canadian company Ocean Productions, while one was from the eventual licensee of One Piece, Funimation.
The first Ocean pilot was recorded in Vancouver, Canada and starred Andrew Francis as Luffy, Sam Vincent as Zoro, Jillian Michaels as Nami, Trevor Devall as Gaimon, Chantal Strand as Apis, and Don Brown as Bokuden. This version of the show was described as having a localized script with name changes and the addition of wacky sound effects but retained the show's original Japanese score, including a dubbed rendition of the "We Are" theme song.
The second Ocean pilot was recorded in Calgary, Canada at Bluewater. It was allegedly directed by Teri Snelgrove and was described as being more faithful to the original's script. It also retained the original Japanese score.
Funimation's pilot was also recorded in Texas. Unlike their current dub, Luffy was played by Eric Vale and Helmeppo was played by Chris Sabat. The dub featured some localized names and the original soundtrack.
Information on all three pilots came from episode 370 of the One Piece Podcast, where the crew were invited to Funimation's headquarters. Toei had given the company the earlier pilots to help assist in the production of their full English dub. Three extremely brief clips of audio from the dubs were included in the episode.
- 4Kids Announces One Piece Retrieved 28 Aug '17
- 4Kids Cancels One Piece Production Retrieved 28 Aug '17
- Funimation Acquires One Piece Retrieved 28 Aug '17
- Voice Compare: One Piece - Nami - Behind The Voice Actors Retrieved 28 Aug '17
- Untitled Document Retrieved 18 Dec '17
- Bluewater Studios Retrieved 28 Aug '17
- There was also a pilot dubbed in Calgary, and directed by Teri Snelgrove. It was done for Toei specifically probably to shop around to potential licensors. A Magical DoReMi pilot was also dubbed there, and yet again directed by Snelgrove. Retrieved 28 Aug '17
- Episode 370, “Barbecue Time” Retrieved 28 Aug '17