In 2005, Dragon Ball was still enjoying great success in the United States. The series was airing on Cartoon Network and FUNimation had established itself as a super power in the American anime industry.
The “Saiyan Showdown” documentary was made during the time when Dragon Ball Z was entrenched in the minds of fans.
FUNimation had decided to redub the first 67 episodes of Dragon Ball Z with the current FUNimation cast, to replace the original Ocean Group dub from 1996. The new versions were going to be called The Ultimate Uncut Editions, and the Saiyan Showdown was a bonus video that came with the first disc of the series.
The Saiyan Showdown documentary consists of interviews with Sean Schemmel (Goku) and Christopher Sabat (Vegeta), as well as two experts in the anime industry, Milton Griepp, the President from ICV2, and Robert Bricken, former Editor of Anime Insider Magazine.
Dragon Ball fans from an anime convention are also asked questions about their favorite character, and why Dragon Ball is an important show for them.
A YouTube user was nice enough to post the videos online, and I found them during my research for the book. I mined them for some quotes and decided to share them on the blog.
Many of the quotes provide excellent insights and perspectives, and plenty of food for thought.
Here are the videos in their entirety, followed by notable quotes from this DBZ documentary. The length is 26 minutes and 57 seconds long.
Saiyan Showdown Videos
“I have a deep affinity for Goku in particular. That will always have a core place in my heart. And I think there’s no better place I could have started.”
“Absolutely life changing. Absolutely. And I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
“We went to New Orleans, and they had us on this whirlwind autograph tour at these schools, and they had a lot of security there, and we had to leave early, and the kids set the school on fire because they didn’t get Goku’s autograph! [laughter].”
“I think Goku believes that everybody can be good. Absolutely. Because he can see. He sees through all the things that make people covered, evil, cloudy. He looks through that. That’s part of what makes it dangerous for him, because, and I’ve been guilty of this in my life, I’m just like, “I like you, and you like me, and you’re not going to hurt me!””
“Goku is not ever selfish. He’s never like, there was a line that made him sound really selfish, “Oh, I hope I don’t get killed if I do this,” or something like that. I was like, “No. He doesn’t, he’s not worried about it. He’s worried about saving other people. He’s not worried about saving himself.””
“He’s just, enlightened. He’s so in the moment with his training, and everything is so positive that he’s unsinkable.”
“Goku is just simply more talented. Vegeta has the training, he’s got the money. He’s the rich Harvard kid [who] doesn’t have to try. Goku’s the punk from Texas. Goku is the Lance Armstrong to the guy who had all the… . Here’s a kid from Texas who is going to go win the Tour De France 5 or 6 times.”
“Vegeta and Goku come together because there are things that Vegeta has to learn, and Goku is a compelling enough force to make him learn those things. And vice versa. That’s why people come together, I think.”
“He’s got short man syndrome [laughter]. Vegeta.”
“What made Dragon Ball Z a huge success is that it has the most incredible, epic story. The story just, once you get into it, it’s like animated crack.”
“When all of a sudden you are walking around, going out to eat, and the person walking in front of you has a Vegeta shirt on. Or when you start seeing kids blasting with their hands at the mall, you start realizing that the thing you are working on has bled into the culture.”
“I don’t think I can ever get tired of it. I thought there was a point where I’d be tired of it, but I think that anyone who has been on the DBZ series knows that … it changed everyone’s lives who worked on it. This isn’t some sort of weird, spiritual thing. It’s weird to look, you’re in the grocery store, and you see a magazine that has anime on it, and you see your face in it. I don’t even know where I’d be right now… there’s a good chance I’d still be reading a [too quiet to hear] spot or something like that, the ‘Fall Men’s Collection.’”
“The first battle between Goku and Vegeta is extremely important, because it’s the first fight that everyone really wanted to see.”
“Vegeta, at least the way I saw Vegeta, he was probably the single most bitter, angry man alive.”
“But at the same time, Vegeta cannot exist without Goku.”
Milton Griepp, President of ICV2 Trade Publications
“I remember I was in a store in France, and American comics were very popular in the rest of Europe and in France then, and X-Men was the most popular American comic. I was talking to this retailer and he said, “This comic here is selling better than X-Men in my store.” And it was Dragon Ball Z.”
“Dragon Ball Z just had a special look about it. That carried onto retail, from 1999 to 2000. It just had such a stylish appearance that stood out among all the other anime products.”
Dragon Ball Fans at Anime Convention
“The best thing I like about the show is the action. And Goku. He’s my favorite character. He sets it off for me. When he powers up to Super Saiyan, it’s on!”
“They’re not just normal humans, walking around talking. They have abilities that nobody else has. They can fly, they can shoot energy balls, they can go forever in fighting.”
“It has the drama. It has the romance. It has your goofiness. It has high action fights. What more could you ask for, really?”
“I watched Dragon Ball Z with my brother a lot. He passed away a few years ago, but that’s something that he and I would always watch. We were big fans of Dragon Ball Z in the beginning. We went on to GT, and then back to the original Dragon Ball series itself. We really liked it a lot. It was part of a bond. I know it doesn’t really sound all that great, but it was something that we watched a lot together, and looked forward to watching together. Even now it’s a big part of our relationship, even though he isn’t here.”
Robert Bricken, former Managing Editor of Anime Insider Magazine
“Vegeta is the one that Goku needs to balance him. The one who is dark, who is mad, everything like that. They show the two polar aspects of humanity. Especially Vegeta at the beginning of the Saiyan Saga, when he is pure evil. It’s a perfect polar opposite.”
“It’s safe to say that without the two of them, and their rivalry, the series would not have continued on. And that was all based on the original fight between Goku and Vegeta on earth.”
“It is that rivalry that drives them forward, both those characters and the series forward as they go on their adventures. And Vegeta can always turn to Goku and say “You can’t fight him because I’m going to.” Things like that.”
“We did rank the top 10 anime battles of all time, and while there were other Dragon Ball Z fights on there, the original fight between Goku and Vegeta was number 1 in all of anime-dom. It’s such a visceral fight that even the later Cell and Majin Buu fights don’t come close to matching, they’re so bloody and beaten, and Goku is practically dead by the end of it. It’s the fight that all other Dragon Ball Z fights would be judged by.”
“I think Dragon Ball Z is the greatest action anime of all time. It really set the tone for all other anime action. It was the most popular in Japan, and the most popular over here. The whole core of the action, the fight that raised the bar for the action in the entire 200 plus episodes, was the Goku vs. Vegeta fight. And then later on when Vegeta turns into Majin Vegeta in the Majin Buu saga, the early stages, that is probably, for me, the most emotionally satisfying moment there, because Vegeta and Goku had this history together. None of it would have been possible without that fight. Not the popularity of the series, not the incredible action, not the emotional resonance that I think has made Dragon Ball Z so popular throughout the world.”
How do you feel about the quotes above? Did any of them strike a chord?
I found the perspectives of Sean Schemmel and Christoper Sabat very interesting. But the most memorable quote to me is from the young man who used to watch DBZ with his brother, who then passed away. Very touching.
I’m glad that this resource was made available to provide a glimpse into a special moment of time for DBZ fans.
Let us know how you feel!