I am Masaru! Cockatrimon Strikes!(JP)
There Are Monsters Among Us (EN)
Dub Writer: Jeff Nimoy
April 2, 2006 (JP)
October 1, 2007 (EN)
Welcome to Digimon Data Squad, known as Digimon Savers in Japan. After Digimon Frontier concluded in 2003, there was a three-year hiatus of Digimon Anime series. While I haven’t been able to find an official source as to why, it’s assumed by much of the fanbase that Digimon Frontier’s poor performance is to blame.
One thing about Digimon that puts it above Pokémon is that it takes risks and tries to do new things. It attempts to evolve with its audience. Frontier was one such risk that didn’t pay out, even if the series does have its fans (myself included). Data Squad was an attempt to both return to basics (such as the inclusion of Agumon) and grow up with the audience that enjoyed Adventure (Savers had a darker storyline with a more realistically-motivated villain than Adventure). The series has mixed reviews, though its English dub is the best one we’ve ever gotten. I’ll be discussing why as we go forward, but it’s not without its flaws.
And with that out of the way, let’s begin with the first episode.
A rogue Agumon escapes from the Digimon Data Squad and flees into the open world. With DATS Special Agent Yoshino Fujieda in pursuit, Agumon encounters Marcus Damon, a local Junior High student who challenges him to a fight. The two engage in a street brawl that ends in a draw. Having earned Marcus’ respect, the two bond and Marcus protects Agumon from Yoshino. But when Agumon gets blamed for an attack he didn’t make, he teams up with Marcus and digivolves to GeoGreymon to fight a rogue Kokatorimon. Seeing Marcus’ and Agumon’s power, the Commander of DATS swears to recruit Marcus at all costs.
The dub version starts with the opening theme Never Surrender. In the original, the theme doesn’t play until a few minutes in.
The dub introduces this cheap-looking title card, read aloud by a character each episode. The music used in the sequence never changes, even when it doesn’t fit the tone already set.
In a unique change for the series, the klaxon sound effect at DATS Headquarters is the exact same in both versions. I’m used to the dub subbing in their own sound effects for whatever reason.
The first characters we hear speak are Megumi Shirakawa, voiced by Stephanie Sheh; Kudamon, voiced by Sam Riegel, and Commander Sampson voiced by Jamieson Price.
Megumi sounds fine, particularly for a background character. Kudamon sounded more feminine in the dub, but Sam Riegel’s voice work is perfect for the character, honestly. He makes Kudamon sound very uppity and elitist, which goes a long way for the character. Sampson’s voice acting is surprisingly similar to the original version’s, and is a perfect match to the character.
The dialogue in the opening scene is very accurate, save for Kudamon’s line being changed from “eliminating” the target Raptor-1 to “capturing” him in the dub.
Miki: An unexploded bomb has been discovered in this harbor area.
Miki: A gas leak has been discovered in the vicinity.
For years the US has had its issues with bombings and shootings, so I’m not surprised at this change.
In the original, the officer Yoshino speaks to is unaware that the area isn’t fully evacuated. In the dub, he mentions there’s a “hold up” of some kind.
Yoshino Fujieda, one of the main characters, got the Adventure treatment with the dub addition of the nickname Yoshi. The series will bounce between the two names at random. She’s voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey, best known for voicing Sora in Adventure. Her portrayal of Yoshino is… Sora. She’s convincing enough, but until you dive further into the series, she’ll continue to sound like Sora and not a new character.
Yoshi’s partner Lalamon is not my favorite. Story issues aside, her dub voice is pretty annoying, sounding squeaky and unpleasant. The voice is better in the original.
And thus we’ve reached the point that is a major complaint about the dub.
Masaru: I don’t know who you are, but nobody’s allowed to invade on my turf!
Marcus: This is my training ground! One day I’m gonna a champion ultimate fighter!
In the original, Masaru’s goal is to become a street fighter. In the dub, he proclaims he wants to be an ultimate fighter. It’s never made fully clear what he means, though the running theory is that he wants to be a UFC fighter or something. The exact reason for this censor isn’t really known, but it’s either because street fighting is associated with gang activity so the US censors didn’t like it, or because the dub team didn’t want to be copyright-struck by Capcom for infringing on Street Fighter. Maybe both. Either way, this the biggest change to Masaru in the dub.
Masaru Daimon, Savers’ goggleless main character, becomes Marcus Damon in Data Squad.
Masaru: I’m the number one street fighter in Japan, Daimon Masaru-sama!
Marcus: Fans everywhere will chant my name! They’ll say “Marcus Damon is the best!”
Adding -sama to the end of your own name is very arrogant in Japan. The dub line is just kinda weird… in a funny way to me. I always giggle when the lip flap of an anime forces a weird line read.
Marcus is voiced by Quinton Flynn. He has a huge credit list, and I’m not even sure to say in my usual “You might know him as” speech, so just go look him up. He’s fantastic as Marcus, perfectly capturing his arrogance and childishness.
Agumon is voiced by Brian Beacock, who played Takato in Tamers. His performance sounds exactly like the Japanese counterpart, which is more aggressive than the take on the character in Season 1.
Yoshino: He’s even talking back at him!
Yoshi: Raptor-1 can talk…?!
Yoshino was surprised that Raptor-1 (Agumon) was talking to Masaru, as opposed to just beating him up or setting him on fire. Yoshi seems to be surprised Agumon can talk, which makes absolutely no sense when her own partner as well as several other Digimon at DATS can speak just fine.
Masaru: Quit it with that big ugly mug!
Raptor-1: I was born this way! [lol]
Marcus: Keep it up, and I’ll knock you out like I did these guys!
Agumon: What’d ya do, talk ’em all to sleep?!
Marcus is referencing the multiple casualties lying around the scene. This is a big misstep for the dub, as in the original, it’s not revealed to be Masaru, and rather implied that Agumon hurt all the humans. It’s supposed to be revealed later that it was Marcus to the surprise of Yoshino (and the audience), but the dub spoils it here. It keeps the scene where Yoshino finds out, but somehow she’s still surprised despite hearing him say this earlier.
Sampson’s line ordering Yoshino to separate Masaru and Raptor-1 is retained, but the dub’s delivery is much more aggressive. Which honestly makes sense, as Yoshino’s just been standing there, staring at the two for the last 30 seconds rather than doing her job.
…which she proceeds to still not do.
Masaru justifies the fight with the context of honor, saying it’s a fight between men. Marcus defiantly tells Yoshi he doesn’t need a babysitter and calls her “toots” (pronounced to rhyme with “putz”) which I don’t think anyone has called a woman since 1973.
Yoshino: (fearfully) O-okay!
Yoshi: FINE THEN!
One of the reasons I think Data Squad has a great dub is because it makes an effort to fix broken things (sometimes) from the Japanese version. Yoshino is supposed to be a law enforcement officer and Masaru intimidates her into backing down. Yoshi, on the other hand, takes more of a “fine, let him kill you then,” approach.
The issue is that Yoshino… is just not a great character. But we’ll get into that as we go forward. At least the dub response was funnier… for once.
This might be the first time in Digimon history that the background music works for the scene. It’s not just similar in tone to the original (though it is), it’s actually fitting for an action scene.
It isn’t until this point that the theme song plays in the original.
The Japanese piece is good, though not as good as previous seasons’. The dub has a great song, but it’s mostly better by the merit of how the show uses it, which I’ll get into later. As much as I like Frontier’s A World for Us All, I think Data Squad’s Never Surrender is my favorite.
Raptor-1: I wasn’t ready. But you won’t get me this time! I see right through your punches!
Raptor-1: Hey! I wasn’t ready! I was waiting for you to say, “1, 2, 3, Go!” Like this: onetwothreego!
Raptor-1 takes a groin shot at Masaru. The dub censored it with the cheapest flash impact screen to date.
At this point, Agumon and Marcus are trading punches repeatedly. And Yoshino just… stands there.
Commander Sampson just watches her stand there.
As do Miki, Megumi, and Kudamon.
…why do I get the feeling this isn’t the most effective government organiza– oh, I just realized what I was saying. Disregard. Sorry.
They literally watch the two fight, without intervention until the freaking sun goes down. Lord, the city needs to investigate this organization.
Agumon’s nickname for Masaru is Aniki, which literally means “big brother,” but has a very specific connotation as a term for a leader in a mafia or gang. In English, this is translated to “Boss,” which, while not as commonly seen, holds a very similar connotation in English. So kudos.
At least until Marcus uses the term “Employee” in response which kinda ruins it.
Now that it’s dusk and several hours have passed (and presumably those unconscious guys are still on the ground since no one has done anything for hours and they’re probably all dead from a lack of medical treatment), Yoshino finally does something.
Despite their earlier change to Kudamon’s dialogue, the dub has Agumon say he’s going to be destroyed if Yoshi gets him.
Masaru: It’s an aniki’s job to look after his follower!
Marcus: I’ve never had an employee before, and I’m not turning my only one over to you!
Clearly Marcus has never worked at a Wal-Mart if he thinks bosses are this loyal to their employees.
Lalamon’s Nuts Shoot becomes Seed Blast in the dub. Honestly, Agumon’s the only Digimon who needs an attack called Nuts Shoot.
As is custom for the series. Agumon’s Baby Flame is localized as Pepper Breath.
So one Pepper Breath is enough to throw Yoshino and Lalamon off your tail. How does she have this job again?
The closed sign is translated. (The English text in the Japanese screencap is from the subtitles.)
As someone who’s been reviewing Digimon dubs for years, one thing about this series always surprises me: they don’t add dialogue where the original had silence. Agumon’s line started a bit earlier in the dub, but for the most part, they let the silence hang to set mood.
In both versions, Agumon says he came from “the Institution.” Which DATS is never referred to as again (at least in the dub, I don’t remember for sure in the original) so I have no idea why they do this.
Yoshino: Eating coffee jelly outside is the best!
Yoshi: I love eating chocolate pudding. It reminds me of being a kid again!
Ootori Municipal Junior High School is localized to Ootori Middle School. The dub says he’s in 8th grade, which would make the otherwise 17-year old Marcus only 13 years old.
Either that or he got held back a lot.
When Yoshino was listing off all Masaru’s stats, the dub took the time to add in his mother and sister’s names, and the fact that his sister looks up to Marcus despite his acting like a jerk.
The Digital Accident Tactics Squad (DATS) is changed to the Digimon Data Squad (DATS).
That’s not how acronyms work.
Marcus calls Yoshi “Dollface,” which I think hasn’t been used since 1964.
Masaru: You mean [Agumon’s] not a frog?
Yoshino: Have you ever heard of a talking frog?!
Marcus: Maybe he went back to the “Digital World!”
Yoshi: Or maybe you’re hiding him from me!
It’s weird enough when the dub doesn’t add jokes, but now it’s removing them? XD
They don’t reveal his name in full for a while, but Captain Rentarō Satsuma is Commander Richard Sampson in the dub.
The music for DATS in the Japanese version is reminiscent of a 70s buddy cop show; it’s very lively and uses brass instrumentation. The English music gives the impression of a stuffy military base or police precinct, using violins and drums.
The not-yet-named Kamemon gives some tea to Marcus. In the original, he doesn’t speak. In the dub, he says “Enjoy,” and “Suit yourself” in a deep, dopey-sounding voice.
Masaru says that Agumon must have admired the Real World and came over from the Digital one to explore. Marcus suggests that maybe things were bad for Agumon in the Digital World and he had no choice but to come here.
Miki, the other technician at DATS, is voiced by Kate Higgins. I really like her voice.
Yoshino: Since he’s nowhere to be seen, it must be him who attacked the hamburger shop.
Yoshi: A lot of good [hiding Agumon] did you, since we confirmed it was definitely him who attacked the hamburger stand.
Except he didn’t, so how could you “confirm” that? Seriously, how do you guys stay funded?
Yoshino’s catchphrase “This is the worst!” is retained. That prodigious translation is Perfecto!
In the original, Lalamon suddenly detects a second Digimon signal (leaving me to wonder why DATS never noticed that before). In the dub, nothing of the sort is said.
Kokatorimon is retained, using the Japanese pronounciation (KOK-a-TOR-ee-mon) In Adventure they pronounced it “KOK-a-TREE-mon.”
Masaru: The moment you get scared of dying is the exact moment you’ve lost the fight!
Marcus: Besides, the ultimate fighter is always ready to make the ultimate sacrifice!
That’s such a bad line, Dub. But I’m at least glad they kept the death reference, even if they did that with it.
Digisoul is changed to DNA, which we’ll later find stands for “Digimon Natural Ability.”
Because there can’t be any souls in my children’s show! I don’t care what the theme song says!
Digisoul Charge! is localized as “DNA Charge!”
Despite the dub using “Digivolve” like the three series before it, the word EVOLUTION is seen on Marcus’ Digivice instead of DIGIVOLUTION.
It’s inconsistent, but I understand why. We’ll revisit this in a later episode.
This is why I like the dub music so much better this season. For the first time, the theme song makes for appropriate Digivolution music.
YouTuber Linkara refers to this as “The Wasserman Factor.” Specifically, it refers to when the music used in a series doesn’t match the level of excitement needed to bolster its action scenes. Data Squad is the first time the dub team figured this out, and Never Surrender makes excellent Digivolution music. It also tends to bleed into the fight scenes after, elevating the entire sequence.
I’d post up a pair of videos to compare the music, but unfortunately none of Data Squad’s music was ever released clean.
Edit: 1 March 2020: Until now! SeannyBravo has released several of the Data Squad music tracks with the dialogue gone and just a few sound effects remaining. Thanks!
The way they use the music here is key. It’s upbeat, it hearkens back to the theme song (which adds gravitas), and it keeps playing after the stock footage, giving the ensuing battle all the same benefits.
GeoGreymon and Mega Flame were retained.
Originally, Masaru fought the 13 men because they called him out over something. In the dub, Marcus fought the 15 “punks claiming to be ultimate fighters” because they were trying to take over his turf.
Both versions have a preview of the next episode, but Masaru narrates the Japanese one. The dub just uses clips from the upcoming episode with no narration.
Digimon Savers ends with a separate song:
The dub used an instrumental version of the theme song.
Very close to identical.
This is the most accurate dub review this site has done to date. Almost all the dialogue is word-for-word, and there weren’t a ton of censors, cuts, or re-contextualizing. Music was very close, voice actors are great picks, and the dub at least tries to make Yoshino useful.