In 1985, the show was syndicated in the United States under the title Tranzor Z from 3-B Productions. Unlike the generally faithful treatment other countries gave their versions of Mazinger Z, 3-B's version was heavily edited and shortened to 65 episodes (the standard minimum length of a daily syndication package in the US). It also featured a modified storyline that was altered from the original (while still following roughly the same course), and most of the characters were given American-style names
3-B Productions was a short-lived company that grew out of the production team who worked on the US version of Space Battleship Yamato ("Star Blazers"), at Sunbow Productions.
Diana A (Edits made it an upgrade of Aphrodite A)
Reasons for the EditsEdit
The "Americanization" of Mazinger Z for US consumption was done in part because of the stricter standards in regards to content for children's programming at that time. A large percentage of the action scenes were deemed unacceptable by Standards and Practices; the original version contained numerous scenes of urban destruction, murder, torture, dismemberment, male-on-female violence, etc. Additionally, many scenes of a "suggestive" nature were deleted; this included nearly all occurrences of Aphrodite A actually launching its breast missiles, usually replaced by a freeze-frame of Sayaka/Jessica's thumb on the firing switch cutting to the missile(s) already in flight. In other instances, footage from Great Mazinger (the sequel to Mazinger Z) was spliced in on occasion to replace removed footage (despite the obvious visual differences between the two titular robots). The deletion of certain key episodes also prompted some changes; for example, the episode depicting Aphrodite's destruction was not included in the Tranzor Z package, so the subsequent introduction of Diana A was handled as an off-camera upgrade of Aphrodite (even retaining Aphrodite's name) and not as the introduction of an entirely separate robot.
The Alternative, Better DubEdit
There was an earlier English dub of the show, commissioned by Toei Animation and produced by M.&M. Communications Inc. (a subsidiary of MK Company), according to the credits on the actual episode. The English dubbing was recorded at Commercial Recording in Honolulu, Hawaii and was produced by Seito "Tom" Ikeda and Dana Ikeda. The Technical Advisor was Koji Tomita and translation was handled by May Nozoe. This version was far more faithful to the original Japanese version, retaining the Japanese names for all of the characters (with slight variations in a few instances). The opening and ending themes and insert song "Z Theme" were translated into English by William Saylor and sung by veteran anime theme singer Isao Sasaki; these songs were released as a single in December 1977. According to some sources, only 29 episodes were dubbed by M.&M. Communications.
In addition to being aired on television in the Philippines, a few episodes of this English version of "Mazinger Z" were released on home video in the United Kingdom in 1983 (now out of print). Prior to the series' localization for U.S. TV syndication as "Tranzor Z," the Toei/M.&M. dub was also shown on U.S. television around 1979 on the Japan-themed series, Beyond the Horizon, which was produced by TeleJapan for PBS, and gave westerners a look as to what Japanese television offered (PBS also ran TeleJapan's Faces of Japan documentary series in the mid-1980s). Beyond the Horizon later ran on the Christian Broadcasting Network.