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Akira Toriyama with his pet cat, Koge (1987)

AB Group

AB Groupe logo

AB Groupe was a French broadcasting group, and the distributor of the Dragon Ball franchise for European and French-speaking markets until late 2000s. They are responsible for creating many of the European dubs of the franchise.

In English-speaking countries, AB Groupe is mostly known for their dub of the Dragon Ball Z films (often referred to by fans as the "Big Green" dub), Canadian Westwood dub of Dragon Ball Z as well as the Blue Water dub of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball GT.

On October 11, 2018, AB Groupe was renamed Mediawan Thematics after the purchase by the French media conglomerate Mediawan on January 30, 2017.

Overview[]

History and work on the anime series[]

Azoulay&Berda

Jean-Luc Azoulay and Claude Berda in 1994

The company was founded as AB Productions in 1977 by Jean-Luc Azoulay (also known as Jean-François Porry) and Claude Berda as a music production company, the initials AB are based on their own surnames. In 1987, it went into the world of television, establishing with TF1 the program block called Club Dorothée, which achieved great success in the following years. Originally, the block consisted of now classic animations, mainly of Japanese origin, purchased at a low cost, but a change in the law in 1990, requiring television stations to broadcast a certain percentage of programs produced in France, forced AB Productions to expand the block of foreign animations with its own produced or co-produced cartoons and sitcoms for youth. In 1999, Jean-François Porry bought rights to AB Productions, which began producing TV shows and Claude Berda established AB Groupe which continue the duties of the former company.

The company owned AB Video which distributed content direct-to-video, AB Distribution which focused on distributing TV shows, AB International Distribution that distributed franchises outside France, AB Films Distribution which distributed movies, AB Toys that sold merchandise related to cartoons and anime, AB Hit a record label, AB Sat which is a digital television package and some TV channels are named after them - AB1 (generalist channel for young adults established in 1995), AB Cartoons (thematic cartoons channel distributed or produced by AB over the years, established in 1996 and renamed to Mangas in 1998), AB Animaux (thematic animals documentaries channel established in 1996, renamed to Animaux in 1999), AB Sports (thematic sports channel established in 1996 and sold in 1998 to Pathé and later to Canal+, closed in 2015), AB Moteurs (thematic automobile channel established in 1999, renamed to Automoto La Chaîne in 2018), AB3 (generalist channel established in 2001), AB4 (thematic channel in Belgium established in 2002 and renamed to ABXplore in 2017), AB Shopping (teleshopping channel established in 2010 and closed in 2017, only in Belgium)

They are responsible for creating French-language dub and many European dubs of the series. They created the English dubs of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball GT, as well as the second half of Dragon Ball Z (123-291), for their markets in association with Westwood Media, Ocean Productions, Blue Water Studios and Chinook Animation. AB Groupe is also infamous for sending numerous copyright takedown notices to Team Four Star for their Dragon Ball Z: Abridged series.

The "Big Green" dub[]

They also produced English dubs for most of the feature films and TV specials for UK distribution in collaboration with other production companies. These productions are notorious among fans for their poorly-written scripts (which were based off AB Groupe's own scripts for their French-language dub of Dragon Ball Z), bizarre changes to characters' names (for example, Piccolo is called "Big Green" and Saiyans are called "Space Warriors") and sub-par voice acting. Little information is available on the production surrounding these dubs, though it is presumed that they were recorded in either the Netherlands or France sometime in the early 2000s, although the precise location and dates remain a mystery.

Despite being aired on Toonami UK, only the movies Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might, Dragon Ball Z: The World's Strongest, and Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug were distributed on DVD there due to poor sales. However, Dragon Ball: Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle and Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure, the first nine Dragon Ball Z movies, and the two TV specials were also dubbed by this company. All of their dubs of the Dragon Ball Z movies/specials have been released on VHS and DVD in the Netherlands and other select European countries. Some of the names of the films were changed, but most resembled the Japanese film titles. These dubs are known by fans as the "Big Green" dub.

Songs[]

The company's founder, Jean-François Porry, is known to be the songwriter of various intros and songs for AB Groupe, including Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball GT.

Intros[]

Songs used in France as anime intros. They were later exported along with the anime to other countries, where they were released unchanged or translated.

  • Dragon Ball (Performed by Francine Chantereau)
  • Dragon Ball (Performed by Ariane Carletti)
  • Dragon Ball Z (Performed by Ariane Carletti)
  • Dragon Ball Z: Version 1995 (Performed by Ariane Carletti)
  • Dragon Ball Z: Movie version (Performed by Ariane Carletti)

Physical releases[]

Only available in physical editions on cassettes or discs. Some were also released outside of France, for example in Spain.

  • Dragon Ball: Nouvelle version 1995 (Performed by Ariane Carletti)
  • Dragon Ball Z 2000 (Performed by Ariane Carletti)
  • Cherche (Performed by Ariane Carletti)
  • La chanson de Bulma (Performed by Ariane Carletti)
  • Le secret des 7 boules de cristal (Performed by Ariane Carletti)
  • San Gokou (Performed by Ariane Carletti)
  • Vive Sangoku et Vive Dragon Ball Z (Performed by Ariane Carletti)
  • Dragon Ball: Génération Bioman (Performed by Bernard Minet)
  • Dragon Ball GT (Performed by Bernard Minet)
  • Dragon Ball et Dragon Ball Z (Performed by Bernard Minet)
  • Dragon Scatt (Performed by Bernard Minet)
  • Dragon Ball Z Rap (Performed by Bernard Minet)
  • La marche des héros (Performed by Bernard Minet)

See also[]

Reflist[]

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