Shaman King | Episode 1: The Boy Who Dances with Ghosts Sub/Dub Comparison

Plot: Manta is a weird kid who loves nothing more than learning about the supernatural. However, he gets a big surprise when he stumbles upon a boy named Yoh at a nearby cemetery talking to real ghosts. No one believes him, and when he tries to prove it he ends up crossing paths with a nearby gang who promptly beat him up for trespassing on their turf. After talking with Yoh and learning that he is a Shaman, Yoh uses the power of the legendary samurai spirit Amidamaru to take care of the thugs.

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(I’ve had the first ten episodes of this show compared and sitting on my computer for years, and I only NOW realized I’ve never posted them here, so….err….enjoy! For future reference, Shaman King has now been added onto my rotation. I have no clue how I’ve overlooked it all this time. Also, sorry for any poor quality in the writing as a result of the age. I did go back and try to clean some things up but you can pretty much tell it’s an old post. ~Twix)

The titles are obviously changed for this series, but they never put them on screen in the dub so I won’t bother noting them when they come up. The titles aren’t even puns most of the time. In fact, this title is the only one that’s lame. Yoh, Morty! Get it? Yoh like ‘Yo’. It’s funny. The rest are perfectly normal…

I will, however, show each title screen since they’re edited away.

Text on the sign outside the school is removed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

All the signs and logos are removed from the external shot.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The book has Japanese on the cover, so this gets painted away and edited to “Ghost Stories.” Also, they changed the placement of the text because of the fact that Japanese is typically read from right to left instead of left to right.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Text on a sign on the gate is edited away.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

All the text on the grave markers is painted away.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Manta also looks up at the stars because Yoh says the stars look pretty tonight. In the dub, he hears weird ghost noises.

A very short part of the shot of Yoh getting up is edited out.

The theme song is completely changed for the dub. The song is actually pretty good, but the lyrics are fairly cliché and corny. The original song is good, too.

Also, the theme song is originally placed before any scenes are shown. In the dub, it’s placed right after Manta meets Yoh in the cemetery.

A sign outside of the school is painted away.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The sign outside of the classroom door, surprisingly, is actually changed instead of removed. The sign actually said “Middle School Grade 1: Class C” In the dub, this is just painted away and replaced with 107.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

In the original, Manta’s rambling on and on about the ghosts which prompts one of his friends to ask if he’s okay. Manta asks in a surprised tone and expression why he asks and the friend responds that it’s because there’s no such thing as ghosts.

In the dub, the friend interrupts his rambling about the ghosts to ask him if he studied for the science test today to which he responds in a surprised tone and expression that he didn’t know that they had a test today. The friend just says that he’s kidding, but he’s worried that Manta’s losing his marbles. Why change that? That’s perfectly translatable, and what they made in its place seems completely random. Why stop his story to lie to him as a ribbing then turn around and continue the scene in the same way? That makes no sense.

His ‘friends’ don’t call him shorty and other nicknames in the original. He yells because he’s frustrated thaty no one believes him. In the dub, his initial yell is “MY NAME IS MORTIMER!” and then he follows it up by being mad about the ghost stuff.

Name Change: Manta is changed to Morty. So he’s the nice old man from the Swiffer commercials. Well, I guess he likes being called Mortimer, which, get it, Mortimer? Mort? Morte? Dead? He likes ghost stories. Haha. Also, oddly enough, looking at the Wiki, his last name in the dub seems to be Manta…..Start making sense 4Kids.

What kid is named Mortimer nowadays anyway?

Yoh is originally listening to music on his headphones, which is why he can’t hear Manta. In the dub, you can only hear the background music, which makes it seem like he’s just ignoring Manta.

Also, I’m almost certain the scene where Yoh’s trying to remember Manta is shortened in the dub.

The text on the board is changed to scribbles.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Text on the boxes behind Manta is edited off.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Instead of writing “Three hours later” like the original, 4Kids speeds up an animation of an analog clock imposed over the scene….Because kids who can’t read definitely know how to tell time with an analog clock, especially one with no visible numbers.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The original has the word ‘here’ over the arrow pointing to Manta’s hiding spot. In the dub, they leave the arrow, but erase the text.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Entire Series Edit: Just for the sake of saving me a LOT of time and screenshotting – if there’s a sign or gravestone/marker, just assume it originally had text on it. I’ll note important signs and whatnot, but there are too many to keep screenshotting.

Name change-ish?: Ryu is changed to Ryo for some reason. Also, Ryu’s usually called Ryu of the Wooden Sword. In the dub, he has no title.

Ahem, 4Kids, you know how we talked about missing the forest for the trees? Well, you kept a very Asian-style picture of a Japanese Samurai with a name like Amidamaru and decided to remove the small Japanese text that was on the side of the picture.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Also, you keep a name like Amidamaru but you change Manta to Mortimer?

Ryu originally says he’ll make nattou (Japanese dish made with fermented beans and rice) out of the tombstone. In the dub, he just yells.

Ryu originally thinks Manta is the kid who has been trespassing in the cemetery at night. The dub doesn’t insinuate this.

Manta originally tells his friends that he was beaten up by Ryu. In the dub, he says he fell down a hill I guess while trying to run from Ryu. So…wait, we can’t insinuate that he got beat up? Even if we never see it on screen?

The eyecatches are removed of course.

Manta doesn’t mention anything about wanting to become a doctor in the original. He just says he needs to tend to his studies and that he can’t mess around like Yoh does.

Yoh tells Manta that his grandfather told him that evil people can’t see spirits and that since Manta could see the ghosts, he must be a good person. In the dub, he tells Manta that the cemetery is a great place to hang out and that they’ll deal with The Dead Enders while they’re there.

Amidamaru originally tells Ryu and the others that he is giving them a chance to redeem themselves for breaking his gravestone. Then we get a shot of his glowing, broken gravestone. In the dub, Amidamaru just thanks Yoh for giving him the opportunity to work with him. Is it some great honor to be called upon by Yoh? Also the shot of the gravestone is edited out entirely.

Over-Soul Merge is changed to Unity.

Amidamaru/Yoh originally tells Ryu that he won’t kill him because he doesn’t want a loser like Ryu to be a spirit like them. In the dub, he basically says next time he’ll do worse to him.

Manta originally explains exactly what transpired in his head. Yoh, and other shaman, can unite with spirits and basically become their mirror. Anyway that they move, the body of the host moves the same way with the same power. In the dub, Morty’s like “Wooooooowwww”

The word “Glue” is removed from the container of glue.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

After Yoh thanks Manta for helping him repair the stone, Manta wonders if it really matters since it looks awful and is covered in cracks, but Yoh says to not worry over such petty things. In the dub, he says he’d do anything after what he saw and then asks Yoh if he’d teach him to fight that way too, but Yoh politely declines saying the ghosts need a rest.

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I really enjoyed this episode. Hopefully this will be a series I’ll get attached to. As of this slightly revised writing, there’s a Shaman King reboot on the horizon, so hopefully that’s cool. I’ve wanted to check out the Shaman King manga too, so we’ll see where this journey takes us.


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3 thoughts on “Shaman King | Episode 1: The Boy Who Dances with Ghosts Sub/Dub Comparison

  1. I haven’t watched Shaman King since it was a thing on the FoxBox AKA 4Kids’ takeover of Fox Kids back in the day. While I’m not surprised with the edits, I think the removal of Japanese text of the Amidamaru picture is beyond stupid. The original Japanese opening themes are really good, but I could be biased because I’m a fan of Megumi Hayashibara as both a singer and a voice actress. Of course, I did put “Over Soul” in one of my Top 7 anime-related lists, so there’s that. Haha!

    • Some words like FoxBox, Fox Kids, Kids WB and Jetix give me such a surge of nostalgia, dude lol I never really watched it back then. I dunno why, because I’d think it would have appealed to me at that point in my childhood (Just starting to really become an anime fan). Better late (and with the original Japanese version available to me lol) than never, though.

      They did the exact same thing (erasing Japanese text in a largely Japanese shot) in an episode of Tokyo Mew Mew/Mew Mew Power. 4Kids never learned…

      I enjoyed Over Soul more and more as I compared more episodes. Excited to pick this project back up and enjoy it some more. 🙂

      • I hear you right there. While I didn’t watch Jetix that much, I certainly watched the rest of those programming blocks. You can also add some of Saban’s syndicated block (for me it was on UPN and after Fox Kids at the time) where I first saw DBZ. You didn’t watch Shaman King back when it first aired in America? I’m actually surprised, but I understand. I was getting more into anime around the time Fox Box was a thing and it was my main source of anime at that point of my life and I was just starting to check out the various series that were on DVD back then. Yeah, I didn’t see the Japanese version until later even though I didn’t fully immerse myself in the whole series. Better late, than never indeed.

        I’m not sure if I saw that specific episode review or not, but that just ticks me off when companies remove Japanese text from clearly Japanese art. Not only is it a slap in the face to the culture, but the audience isn’t that stupid and can figure it out just by the aesthetics.

        Awesome! That’s such a great song and I also like Northern Lights (the 2nd opening theme). It’s cool that you’re giving another series some exposure on your blog. I’ll be looking forward to more reviews. I had a similar excitement just having two anime reviews in a row this month after not reviewing anime in a while.

        Going slightly off-tangent, it still blows my mind that the creator Hiroyuki Takei would eventually collaborate with Stan Lee of all people with Ultimo.

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