Dragon Ball voice actors have confirmed that the Majin Buu arc of Dragon Ball Kai is in production at FUNimation. Sean Schemmel and Kyle Hebert made the announcement through social media.
Christopher Sabat said the Majin Buu arc will be 66 episodes long.
New music will be composed for the episodes, replacing both the original Shunsuke Kikuchi score from DBZ and the Kenji Yamamoto score from Kai. But the composer has yet to be announced.
No other voice actors have confirmed their roles.
There are no release or broadcast dates.
The Whole Kai Story
On November 6, 2011, it was announced in Japan that Dragon Ball Kai would continue through the Buu Saga. The Japanese dub would be a Japanese export only, meaning that it wasn’t going to air in Japan and other countries would license and record their own dub.
Since then there had been no official news.
Christopher Sabat confirmed at IchibanCon (January 11 – 13, 2013) that he was aware of the Buu arc of Kai being in production, and stated:
It is true that Dragon Ball Z Kai has been planned for going all the way through the Buu saga. I think it’s awesome. That’s very exciting for us, too. I like to see all the Dragon Ball Z people. After working with those guys for like, 10 years, I’m friends with most of them.”
Then at Oz ComicCon in Adelaide, Australia on March 16 – 14, 2013, Christopher answered a fans question and said, “FUNimation have just licensed 66 more episodes of Kai.”
Fans were excited about his answer, but neither the licensing or the 66 episodes were confirmed by an official statement.
On March 26, FUNimation denied it on their official Facebook page.
“It is not true. He probably said that he would agree to be part of the project if we did, which is what he’s said at other conventions.
Well that’s a bit odd, since Christopher is the lead voice actor, voice director and producer of Dragon Ball Kai.
Maybe Christopher answered the question before FUNimation wanted him to, and so they denied it outright. Although lying to your fan base isn’t a good thing to do.
In any case, on April 22, Sean Schemmel (the voice of Goku) tweeted that he had been in a new interview on an audiophile website.
INTERVIEW: Voice Actor – Sean Schemmel a.k.a Goku! tmblr.co/ZCnUgujGr11v
— Audient (@AudientWorld) April 22, 2013
In addition to talking about his love of audio equipment, Sean said the following.
“The Dragon Ball series has a special place for me in my heart. … And I am about to finish the Buu saga for DBZ Kai.”
Just got the blessing to announce I will be returning as Gohan for the Buu Saga of Dragonball Z Kai. … Pretty psyched to return to the role that began my VO career. Recording in a few weeks.
What Does This Mean for Fans?
Since Sean said he is about to finish recording, and Kyle says he will be recording in a few weeks, we can gather that the dub is in production and it’s only a matter of months until it’s complete.
The original Majin Buu arc was 92 episodes (200 – 291) including Great Saiyaman and Other World Tournament (200 – 219), so if Kai is 66 episodes long, that really isn’t much of a reduction by Kai standards. They did the rest of DBZ up to this point in 97 episodes.
In terms of production timeline it’s also logical to conclude that FUNimation wants to capitalize on the current Dragon Ball fever that is sweeping the world with the release of Battle of Gods. So it’s possible that the series will air on TV or be published on DVD or Blu-ray in the Fall or Winter of 2013.
In somewhat related news, Norihito Sumitomo, the composer for Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, said on his official website (in 3.29 news) that the film is planned for screening “in 40-plus countries around the world.” If he’s right, then that is BIG news.
With Christopher Sabat, Kyle Hebert and Eric Vale attending Anime Expo as Guests of Honor from July 4 – July 7 it’s likely that an announcement will be made. And I’ll be there to find out.
This is not a new Dragon Ball series and it is not Battle of Gods, but in some ways we’re getting exactly what we wanted. The voice acting will be fresh and the quality of the audio and video will be high.
Are you excited to see Goten, Mister Satan, Videl and all your favorite characters again? Do you want the entire cast of voice actors to reprise their roles, or would you like new talent to take over?