What would the 30th anniversary of Dragon Ball Z be if it didn’t grace the biggest comic book convention in the world, San Diego Comic Con? It’ll be a shame really, but thankfully that’s not the case as the American Dub cast made an appearance at SDCC 2019 a few days ago to meet and great with the fans and even answer a few production questions.
The panel included Sonny Strait (Krillian), Monica Rial (Bulma), Christopher Sabat (Vegeta), Sean Schemmel (Goku) and long time Dragon Ball Z super fan, Mohamed Sanu of the Atlanta Falcons as they talked about their love for the series and what it means to them.
As reported from comicbook.com, they were asked about how the actors got ready for their roles and Schemmel mentions “that he read the manga and tried to wrap his head around how much screaming he had to do.” On top of this, he needed to go over the lore of the entire series and even brush up on events that happened on Dragon Ball for Goku.
For the voice of the mighty prince Vegeta, Christopher Sabat, he started later then the others and was vital in “helping Funimation find someone who could voice the leads” which in turn led them to meet Strait and the others. Sabat and everyone else didn’t realize how big and popular Dragon Ball Z would become over the years and because of that he didn’t really take care of his voice. But don’t worry his Vegeta voice, alongside Schemmel’s voice are in “great condition now.” And speaking of Strait, did you know that his Krillian voice was based on him doing Popeye the Sailor on helium? He originally did it as a joke, but it won out and he got the role!
For Monica Rial, Dragon Ball Z had a profound effect on her n Spain when she relocated their with her parents many years ago as a child. Whenever her brother would watch it, she would voice the characters for him — he didn’t speak Spanish as well as the rest of the family.
Schemmel quipped his confusion over the Super Saiyan form and how a person can get powerful from just screaming. Sabat also said his first impression of the series was when he was handed a trash bag full of old VHS tapes of the series for him to study. It was “really bizarre” for him due to the zero explanation of it. Thankfully though, it all worked out in the end. Schemmel then chimed in that the “anime’s serial format was different compared to most animated ones in the U.S which were episodic, it was a first for many fans” to watch something like this during those original Toonami airings.
A question that was brought up by the attendees was how did the cast know that the show was a big thing. Schemmel said its when he saw Goku in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. For Strait, it’s seeing the massive signing lines they have to do. And they all said that it was those original conventions they went too when the first dubbed episodes came out all those many years ago.
Next up, was how working on the show lead to them getting closer to their own families. For Rial, her parents never wanted her to be an actress, but the moment they heard her voice in the anime all reservations they had where gone. The same occurred with Strait and his mother who stopped pushing him to go into accounting once she heard him on the show. Schemmel summed it up in a follow up question about the popularity of the show by saying, “It happens when entire families become fans after one of them grew up with it.”
After this the voice actors talk about their favorite moments from the series like Schemmel saying the Majin Vegeta arc for himself and Rial talking about the one scene where Bulma finds out that Vegeta died. They even pleaded with the Funimation folks over in Japan to bring back a few lost characters in Marro and Launch. They even talk about dream fights like Bubbles vs King Kai, but Rial even adds that she wants to see Bulma fight in the series too. And honestly, I think that should be totally doable knowing Bulma’s attitude. After this, all of them quipped about how their characters grew from Dragon Ball Z and into Dragon Ball Super, with Goku becoming a farmer. Vegeta a father, Krillian enjoying the married life and Bulma a bit more of a momma bear.
They then end the panel, with Schemmel saying that where they are at right now in Dragon Ball Super may be nearing the end, but it is really just the beginning. He wouldn’t mind playing Goku for the rest of his life and that he owes everything he has to this timeless anime.