What happens when Dragon Ball Z meets Dragon Ball Z? The most incredible event in Dragon Ball Z history!!
On Saturday, May 25, at the Animazement convention in Raleigh, North Carolina, Dragon Ball Z voice actors from Japan were on stage with Dragon Ball Z voice actors from the United States, for an over one hour long discussion with fans about the world’s greatest series.
The Japanese guests included Masako Nozawa (Goku, Gohan, Goten, Bardock, Tullece), Toshio Furukawa (Piccolo), Ryusei Nakao (Freeza), and Yuko Minaguchi (Videl, Pan).
The American guests included Sean Schemmel (Goku, North Kaio), Kara Edwards (Videl, Goten), and Kyle Hebert (Teen Gohan, the Narrator, Ox-King, West Kaio).
This was the largest event at the convention, and I estimate there were over 1,000 people in attendance. Fans lined up for hours in advance to get a seat.
The result was unreal! I was there in the front row in order to take photographs, record it, and be sure that I could share it with you today.
This is also the largest post I’ve ever done and required a huge amount of work, so if you couldn’t make it in person, this is the next best thing.
The World’s Strongest Assemble
Here is the event from another angle:
Emcee: Some of the greats of Dragon Ball Z, all in one room.
Audience: *Applause* Woooooh!
Emcee: This is a groundbreaking event and I can’t think of any other con that has done this yet.
Audience: Nope! *Applause* Yeah, Raleigh!
Emcee: So without further ado I’d like to turn it over to our guests. I believe they’d like to introduce themselves, say a few words, and then we’ll begin. So [to begin], Kyle?
Kyle Hebert: Heeyyy, I’m Kyle Hebert. How’s it going, guys?
Audience: Kyle! *Applause*
Kyle Hebert: 13 years ago, this summer is when I first landed an audition on this little show called Dragon Ball Z. And then I was hired to be teenage Gohan, the Great Saiyaman! And the Narrator, [In the Narrator’s Voice] “Next time on Dragon Ball Z!” And Chi-Chi’s dad, Ox-King. [In the Ox-King’s voice] “Oh, boy, Gohan’s here, hehehe.” [In Paikon’s voice] “And Paikon,” [In West Kai’s voice] “and West Kai too.”
I can’t believe I’m so lucky to be up here on this stage with this amazing gathering here, with the seiyuu, and some of my American compadre’s here. We are so blessed, this is amazing, and thank you for coming today.
Yuko Minaguchi: [In English] Hello everyone. My name is Yuko Minaguchi. My character is Videl and Pan. Let’s all have fun!
Kara Edwards: Hello everyone. My name is Kara Edwards, and you know me as the voice of Videl as well. Hehe. And also Son Goten. I have to say that I am so overwhelmed. First at just how many of you showed up, and it makes me so happy because I have been out of my mind excited about this. I have waited 13 years to meet these people. I deeply wanted everybody to understand what a big, big deal this is, and it looks like you guys totally get it, and I’m so excited by that. It’s an honor to be here, I’ve cried twice already. Thank you for having us here. Thank you.
Toshio Furukawa: [In English] Hello, everyone! I’m Toshio Furukawa from Japan. I am a voice actor for motion picture and drama, and character voice over animation and games. I’ve played a variety of characters, like comedians such as Ataru Moroboshi from Urusei Yatsura, and Shin from Fist of the North Star, Piccolo from Dragon Ball Z, and Portgas D. Ace from One Piece. I am so glad to join this event at Animazement. I expect to have a very good time with you.
Masako Nozawa: [In Goku’s voice] “Ossu! Ora Goku!” [Hi! I’m Goku!] Let’s shoot Kamehameha, all together!
Audience: Wooh! *Applause*
Sean Schemmel: Oh! Hehe. Sorry, I Goku’d out there for a minute. My name is Sean Schemmel, ah, I… I can’t introduce myself now. I’m normally a very talkative person and I’m having trouble making sentences right now. We are sitting in history making, right now, be aware of that. Also there was a full moon last night and none of us turned into monkeys. I just want to say how thrilled I am. Oh by the way I play Goku on the American version of Dragon Ball Z. I’m beside myself, I’m thrilled to be here, and I want to turn it over to Freeza. Kamehame-hi!
Oh, and at the end of this we’re going to beat the crap out of him.
Ryusei Nakao: [In Freeza’s Voice] Hm hm hm hm. Hello earth people, [In English] my name is Freeeeeza!
I am Ryusei Nakao, I play Freeza on Dragon Ball. We have wonderful guests today and a wonderful audience, so we are looking forward to having a very wonderful panel.
Emcee: Without further ado we will open it up to questions from the audience. Somebody raise your hand, I know you’ve got questions. This is never going to happen again, probably.
Questions for the Ultimate Warriors
Question (from me): This question is for Sean and Masako. Sean, how does it feel to be sitting next to Masako Nozawa? And Masako, how does it feel to be sitting next to Sean?
Sean Schemmel: I will defer to Masako first. Ladies first.
Masako Nozawa: … eh? [The translator explains the question to her again, but Masako looks very confused.]
Kyle Hebert: [In Narrator’s voice] Goku is beside himself.
Masako Nozawa: I thought he was Goku.
Sean Schemmel: [In Goku’s voice] “I’m confused.”
… Is there more? I didn’t want to interrupt. Is that okay?
Masako Nozawa: No, I’m done.
Sean Schemmel: Haha. Umm, I’m having a hard time not crying.
Audience: Awwww. [Followed by,] Man up, Goku! *laughter*
Sean Schemmel: So I was telling, uh, Freeza, at lunch, that we as cast members have been working on the show for 13 years and exchanging energy [across the oceans], and now we’re all in the same room. It doesn’t get better than this. Career number one highlight. And I, I don’t have, I can’t talk right now.
Question: Alright, so I have 7 dragon balls. [He holds a case of all seven dragon balls.] What is your wish?
Kyle Hebert: More Dragon Ball Z. [Audience: Yeaaagh!] More Dragon Ball Z. More, more shows, we want ‘em, bring it back.
Yuko Minaguchi: I think so too, hehe. I like Dragon Ball. I hope it continues forever.
Kara Edwards: I can’t think of anything else I would wish for. For us this is such a big event, Kyle, Sean, and I, we’ve been texting eachother and emailing eachother for months, just so excited. All three of our characters, it’s just so incredible. In life you want to think that your work matters, and when you sit here you realize how much it matters, and how honored we are to be a part of this. So yeah, my wish has already been granted.
Toshio Furukawa: Portgas D. Ace, alive again. And I’d like to return to my mother’s body [referring to Yuko].
Yuko Minaguchi: I am Rouge, his mother [in One Piece].
I’d like to join Goku and walk the earth, and make friends with everyone.
Sean Schemmel: And now I’ve got to follow that? Hehe. ‘Cause my first thought was, “I hope we get to dub the Battle of the Gods movie.”
Audience: Yeaaaaggghh!!! *Applause*
Sean Schemmel: That would be my wish at this point. I haven’t heard anything about it yet, so we’ll see what happens. Dragon Ball Z is the gift that keeps on giving.
Everything in my life I owe to Akira Toriyama-sama. Everything I’ve done since then, it’s changed my life in ways I haven’t articulated to you yet, so really, more of that. Dragon Ball Z forever, that’s all I can say. More Dragon Ball.
Ryusei Nakao: When I get all seven dragon balls, I will make my wish and turn Freeza into a good guy, and not be a villain.
Masako Nozawa: Haha.
Sean Schemmel: Then we’d have nobody to fight!
Question: What is your favorite episode of Dragon Ball?
Kyle Hebert: I guess I’m first. I don’t remember the episode number or episode title. But after my version of Gohan was introduced, and he’s kind of a dork, all that stuff, there’s a moment in the tournament arena where “things get real,” and then he goes “beyond a Super Saiyan,” and his eyes roll back in his head, he yells and screams, and the tournament tiles start levitating. It was the first time he screamed and frightens everybody and I’m like, “That’s cool!” Then he goes back to being a nerd.
Yuko Minaguchi: My favorite is the one we just did – new movie! Hehe.
Kara Edwards: This is so funny because we were seriously just talking about this during lunch. I think my favorite episode is when Videl learns to fly. First of all because I played both Videl and Goten, which is so much fun to do, back and forth between the two of them. But also because it’s the first episode I can think of that is so subtle and quiet, not the pounding music through the whole thing. It’s also a lot about culture, developing your Qi, your energy, and we seriously just had this conversation. I love that episode, it’s one that I love to watch again.
Toshio Furukawa: [In English] Where Piccolo trains Gohan.
Masako Nozawa: There are many favorite Goku episodes, but if I were to choose one, it’s the story where Gohan is being trained by Piccolo. It seems like Piccolo is always, always mean, and picking on Gohan, but that’s not the case. There is one time where Gohan was really famished, and he finds that there is one single apple left, and that is Piccolo leaving that apple for Gohan. And so you can see that Piccolo is a good man at heart.
Sean Schemmel: Piccolo actually happens to be my favorite character on the show. People always assume… I love playing Goku, but as far as a viewer of Dragon Ball Z I’ve always loved the Piccolo character, he’s just so cool. But as far as my favorite scenes are, again, how do I follow that? Hehe, I’m trying to think of a good analogy but can’t think of one. I love the Goku, Gohan, hanging around in Super Saiyan, father-son moments, that whole story arc there where they just stayed together as Super Saiyan all the time, not fighting. I love those scenes because Goku is gone all the time.
My words somehow feel way more important because everyone is translating right behind me, I feel like I’m on the UN [United Nations], like I’m really important, even though I’m not, haha. “Wow, people are translating for me all the time, so cool!” So those are my favorite moments.
Ryusei Nakao: It’s hard to pick my favorite episode, as Freeza is a villain and all of his episodes are villainous appearances. But as far as recording, Mako picked on me saying, “You really are a bastard!” So I was always sad during the recording. When it comes to memories of Dragon Ball, those are all my sad memories. [Ryusei says this in a tongue-in-cheek manner]
[“Mako” is the nickname of Masako. Nobody knew this until Ryusei started calling her Mako at this convention.]
Question: Thank you for being here. I grew up watching Dragon Ball Z as a kid. What was it like to go back and voice the Dragon Ball Z characters again in the video games, TV specials, and the movie?
Kyle Hebert: The first time we went through and were dubbing Dragon Ball Z and it came to an end, episode 291, it was like, “Oh my gosh, it really does end.” And then we got GT and we got through that, and then the games started coming out, so it was like “Wow, we get to revisit the characters. This is cool.” We had already done all the movies and everything, so we’ve been really, really grateful that we got to come back for, I’ve lost count of how many games there are, from Budokai all the way up to Kinect this year. I’m sure there will be more because there’s an audience for it. And we’re so grateful that there is. Fingers crossed we’ll get to do it again, because the games are the gift that keep on giving. We keep voicing them, you keep buying and playing them, and everybody wins.
Yuko Minaguchi: When we go back, there would be some while before we were able to voice the characters again. But really, it’s a good feeling to go back and play her again.
Kara Edwards: I’ve been really, really lucky. When I started Dragon Ball Z it was my first ever [voice acting] job. I was incredibly naïve throughout the entire process, so I relied heavily on the directors to say, “Do it like this. Say it like this.”
I played the games and different things, but because of the conventions that I’ve been to I have been able to explore the character a lot more. Hearing the things that you guys have said to me, I understand the character so much better now than I did then. Although keep in mind it’s just a lot of yelling. But during those little individual scenes where you can go and act out dialogue, throughout the years it’s so much fun to revisit it because of the different things I’ve been told. It’s like, “Ah, I’m going to do it like this, because you’re right, that really matters.” I think the characters continue to grow. It’s so rare in voice over that you actually get to continue to do voice acting and get better and better and better. What an honor, this is so cool. I like it! Thanks guys!
Toshio Furukawa: [In English] It has been such fun, for a long time. I would like very much to keep going.
Even when it’s been a while and you go back to do the voices for video games or a full feature, I never have a hard time getting back into the role of Goku because Goku always lives inside me and I live together with him, so it’s just a matter of stepping up and having him come back into my thoughts.
Sean Schemmel: What was the question?
Masako Nozawa: Hahahaha.
Sean Schemmel: Really, I couldn’t hear the question. The games? [Kara repeats it] Oh! Thank you. Haha. I really didn’t know because I was listening and thinking.
Okay, for me it’s not about the games versus the characters, it’s about Z versus Kai. Because when we started Dragon Ball we started right in the middle of the Ginyu Saga and then finished it. Then we did moves in-between, then went back to the beginning, then GT, then started doing games, followed by a big break. By the time we did Kai I was a more seasoned actor and the scripts were identical to the Japanese. It’s unheard of in the industry to be able to revisit your character like that. Most shows don’t get redubbed into a new reboot like Dragon Ball Z Kai. I felt like I was a better actor and played the character better, because Goku was my first audition ever, so [this time] I was able to perform better.
I agree 100% with Masako Nozawa… here, I’m talking to her like she’s not here (because I’m so shy). In my career I’ve done a lot of different voices, but Goku has a special place, separate from everything else I’ve done. I’ve said this before.
What she is saying reminds of what Thich Nhat Hanh says about the Buddha, “I take refuge in the Buddha, the Buddha takes refuge in me.” I take refuge in Goku, Goku takes refuge in me.
That’s my perspective, and I agree with her, completely.
Audience: *Loud Applause*
Ryusei Nakao: Just like Masako over there, there was a 10 year break between the end of Z and [the start of] Dragon Ball Kai. It was a very great occasion to assemble the old cast members and redub Kai. In the interim there were a lot of video game projects, so I never had to leave the character for that long. If you look at the current series, you have so many new young voice actors to work with, and different cast members. It was a great occasion to go back and join the veterans, and even my senpai, to go back and reassemble the cast members of Dragon Ball.
There was one thing on Dragon Ball Kai. Even though it was only 10 years ago, every time I’d pull up to the studio, Mako would say, “Okay, what’s going to happen next? I have to know.”
Masako Nozawa: Hahahaha!
[A young man stands up wearing a full Super Saiya-jin 3 costume]
Masako Nozawa: Eh! Ohhh.
Question: First I just want to say that it’s an honor to see all of you here. This is for Sean Schemmel. I love watching Dragon Ball Z, and for years I have been cosplaying as Goku. I just absolutely love your character, man. My philosophy in life is to live like Goku. You don’t understand. I drove 10 hours just to meet you. [Sean: Thank you] Just one question. I would like to shake your hand. [Sean: Okay] And I’d like to do a Kamehameha with you.
Sean Schemmel: Okay, but I won’t do a Kamahemeha without Masako Nozawa.
Audience: *Loud Applause*
Masako Nozawa: [Looks around confused] Eh!?
Sean Schemmel: He said he wants to do a Kamehameha with me and I said I won’t do it without you.
[The translator translates the message, but she’s still confused]
Sean Schemmel: Maybe you can dub me and I can dub you.
Masako Nozawa: Kamehameha? Okay!
Sean Schemmel: Should we do it together? I have no idea how we’ll do this.
[The young man approaches the stage, and they work out the logistics of doing this in sync. Should they face eachother or face the audience, and so on. He shakes Masako’s hand and bows to her.]
Sean Schemmel: Okay, we’ll stay standing up here, and we’ll do it together.
[The young man walks onto the stage to meet his heroes]
Masako Nozawa: Ka… Me…
Sean Schemmel: Wait, wait, we’re not ready yet!
[They talk amongst themselves and the audience becomes excited]
Masako Nozawa: Ah, I see! Alright! This is how we’re going to do it! Go!
Sean Schemmel & Masako Nozawa & the Young Man: Kaaaa…
Audience: YEAAAAAAHHHHHH! WWOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHH! *Loud Applause*
[The scene from Kyle Hebert’s perspective, provided by Kyle himself.]
[The young man then bows to Sean and walks back to his seat.]
Masako Nozawa: [In Goku’s voice] He is a Super Saiya-jin.
Young Man’s Fiancé: [Shouting] Can I just say that’s my fiancé, and I love him SO much right now!
Sean Schemmel: He’s totally getting laid.
Audience: *Laughter and Applause*
Masako Nozawa: Haha!
Sean Schemmel: I’m a little bit ‘Master Roshi.’
Question: I don’t know how to follow that up. My question is for both Goku’s and Piccolo. When you went to the studio to record that episode where Chi-Chi forces you to get your driver’s license, how did you feel?
Masako & Toshio: Haha.
Toshio Furukawa: [In English] I cannot drive. I can barely walk.
Masako Nozawa: For the driver’s license, I went in there feeling there was no need to get psyched up. Haha.
Sean Schemmel: [To Masako] Do you have a license, do you drive?
Masako Nozawa: Hm? I do have a driver’s license, yes.
Sean Schemmel: That’s probably one of my favorite story arcs in Z. The driver’s license episodes are absolutely fun and hilarious. I’m surprised they weren’t in Kai. I think it’s a really great side story, I really do.
Ryusei Nakao: Mako plays Goku, but when she drives in real life she turns into Freeza.
Masako Nozawa: Haha!
Question: Hi. I just want to know how it feels, knowing that… Sorry, I’m trying not to cry, that you’ve lent your voices to the characters that inspired many of us as children, and even now, to be brave and have courage when they face in the face of adversity?
Audience: Awww. *Applause*
Kyle Hebert: Dragon Ball Z is very important for many reasons personally because it kicked off my voice acting career and changed my life, quite literally. One of the huge perks of what we get to do in our industry is to meet you guys and get face to face feedback at conventions like Animazement. And to hear the stories about how their lives have been touched and inspired through the years.
And when we here constantly, “You were my childhood,” I didn’t fathom or imagine that it would ever come to that. That I would ever have a point in my life where I would be inspirational to someone for some performance that I did. And that is an amazing, amazing feeling that goes beyond any description. Honestly.
[Kara Edwards and Yuko Minaguchi are laughing quietly about something among themselves]
Masako Nozawa: But remember, you’re never alone.
The Dragon Ball family is always going to be with you, so you’ll never be alone.
Kara Edwards: I don’t think anything better than that could be said. But okay, I’ll say something. For me, I remember a very poignant moment, probably about 2 years ago at a convention as Videl, and someone asked me how I see myself in Videl. I hadn’t really given it that much thought, but as I started describing her, I said “Well she’s this girl who is tough, she knows things, and she’s smart and capable, but in the story she’s very insecure and just wants a boy to like her.” And it struck me, I said, “Oh my gosh, that is me.” Such an overwhelming [feeling].
And then I had a conversation about a year ago with a fan who was telling me how Videl shaped her life and got her through being bullied at school. Several things [like that] coincided. This changed me. It changed the way I look at the character and it changed the way that I voice the character as well.
Toshio Furukawa: [In English] I always *Inaudible joke*
Sean Schemmel: I have spent a lot of time analyzing this from [the perspective of] ‘how do we affect children.’ When we started working on Dragon Ball it was like, ‘Cool, you’re on Dragon Ball!’ Now it’s like, ‘You’re my childhood. You’re a legend.’
I spent a lot of time laying in bed at night thinking, ‘my vibrations and my voice are going into children’s heads as their brains are forming and neurons are connecting together,’ so I was laying in bed at night [wondering] how it would affect them, and how children could also hear the truth of what you’re doing underneath the vibrations of your voice, and I was hoping that I did the right job and that I portrayed the character, or as I like to call it, channeled the character properly. It is one of the most gratifying things to hear, it’s one of my favorite types of responses.
On a completely comedic note, I was in a subway in Manhattan and this Indian man in his early 20’s came up to me and said, [In Indian accent] “Oh I know you. You are the Goku!” I said, “What, how did you know?” He said, “I watched all your Google videos. To meet you on the subway? I have job audition today. I will get the job because I met Goku!”
Sean Schemmel: I don’t know if he got the job or not, but it is a surreal and humbling experience to think that through the power of television and storytelling, that you could have an effect on that.
You want your career to go places, things to happen, for it to improve, but it’s never going to get better than that. That’s it. To have that effect on as many of you as it will have that effect on. Thank you for the honor.
Audience: Wooh! *Applause*
Ryusei Nakao: It’s been 35, actually 40 years since I was married, and I now have two kids. When Dragon Ball started, my kids were in kindergarten. In the beginning, my kids were not interested in voice acting and did not have much respect for me, not until I started on Dragon Ball anyway. When they found out I was the voice of Freeza, their respect for daddy changed. They were so excited that they would bring their classmates home and say, “Listen to daddy do Freeza.” That was when I really felt validated that I was a voice actor.
Sean Schemmel: His two kids are awesome, and that says so much about him as a dad.
Question: If you could be any other character on the show, who would you be and why?
Kyle Hebert: I would love to be Piccolo because he is an awesome, awesome character. He is the very first character I saw when I first saw an episode of Dragon Ball, back in ’95 or ’96, before Cartoon Network when it was airing like, once a week at like, 6 am. It was also the show that made me learn how to program a VCR because I didn’t want to get up at 6 am on a Saturday. It’s bad enough that I had to get up early for the weekly grind, so on Saturday I said, “I’m going to sleep in, pop in a tape, and record Dragon Ball Z so I can watch that episode.” The first thing I saw was Piccolo, and then his arm gets blown off! I’m like, “This is cooool!” That’s the only justification. Piccolo is cool. He’s just cool.
When I do Paikon, it kind of sounds like how I would act as Piccolo if I were cast.
Yuko Minaguchi: If I had a choice I’d like to do a good looking villain, like Freeza or Cell. I would not like to play Majin Buu because he is too ugly.
[A cosplayer in the audience is dressed as Majin Buu, sitting in the second row. He puts his hands up in surprise. Yuko sees him and then laughs in embarrassment.]
Kara Edwards: Piccolo is also my favorite character, and that would probably be pretty funny. If I could voice anything else, it would be as a joke to go in and voice the Narrator. I always thought it would be hilarious, [High pitched female voice] “Next time on Dragon Ball Z!”
Toshio Furukawa: [In English] I will say Freeza. *inaudible*
Masako Nozawa: *laughing* I’ve never done the voice of a villain, so if I were to choose I would like to play Freeza.
Sean Schemmel: I guess that means I have to want to play Freeza also. First off, I like to imagine that the Japanese actors are talking about a lot of other stuff while we’re talking, like what they’re going to have for dinner, and then they get around to the panel, and that’s the comedic dialogue going on in my head before they actually get to that, but it’s probably not happening.
This is going to sound stupid, I’m a big Piccolo fan also, but I want to say Bubbles. That monkey is so funny to me! “Ooh ooh ah ah!” It would be very fun for me. So yeah, Bubbles.
Ryusei Nakao: You know that everyone wants to play Piccolo, but I know that I wouldn’t be cast as Piccolo, so I’ll say Bulma.
Masako Nozawa: Haha!
Audience: *Laughter and Applause*
Sean Schemmel: That reminds me of how Christopher Walken would do the Dragon Ball Narrator. [Christopher Walken impersonation] “Next time… the fighting… balls!”
Audience: *Laughter and Applause*
Question: It’s a pleasure to have you here. My question is, there’s a movie poster up there for Battle of Gods. Will we get to see it today?
[The cast talks amongst themselves for about 15 seconds]
Ryusei Nakao: No!
Translator: Unfortunately, no.
Question: What do you each think about the character’s involvements with Mr. Popo and King Kai as they help train them and all the other characters, that pretty much fight in huge battles?
[The cast is confused by the question]
Kyle Hebert: … Whaaat? [Butthead impersonation] I don’t understand the question, Beavis. [Beavis impersonation] “Yeah, yeah, Mr. Popo.” [Bill Cosby impersonation] “I don’t understand the question, you seeee.”
Question: I’ll try to reiterate. How do you feel about the character’s involvement with Mr. Popo and King Kai, training the characters to fight in huge battles?
Kyle Hebert: Huh? [In confused voice] “I don’t understand the question.”
Emcee: He’s asking about the secondary characters like King Kai and Popo, training all those huge fighters to have huge battles. How do you feel about that?
Kyle Hebert: I guess someone’s got to do it. Haha, right? Someone’s got to lead the charge! I’m glad someone did it. Otherwise I guess there wouldn’t be a Z Team, you know?
Sean Schemmel: As far as Goku and King Kai, since I play both voices, there’s definitely the theme of the student-master relationship on different levels. He begins his training with Master Roshi, reaches a certain level and goes beyond Master Roshi, and then starts to train with King Kai, who from what I understand is a type of god. As far as Mr. Popo is concerned, I can’t, I don’t know if that’s because of his cooking abilities. How do I feel about it? I don’t know how it really works in the story while they’re there, and I understand the King Kai, Goku relationship better. That’s the best I can do. Sorry.
Kara Edwards: We didn’t really hear what you said or understand it.
Kyle Hebert: The Narrator just reads the script. [In the Narrator’s voice] “Next time. Last time. This time!”
Question: Do you have a real life rivalry like Goku does with Vegeta?
Sean Schemmel: Are you asking us if we’re rivals in the show and also rivals as actors?
Masako Nozawa: Eh?!
Sean Schemmel: Chris Sabat is one of my closest friends. Like many friends, we have had some fights. A lot of times they did coincide with the show. Recently our relationship has become very good, we’re very close friends. But yeah, I’m difficult to work with sometimes because I’m a little bonkers. But I think it’s very interesting how Dragon Ball paralleled with my life and Goku was a refuge when I was having difficulty in my personal life. I think the Goku, Vegeta relationship is a standard archetype, well, wait, how is it an archetype? I’m having a hard time making words for this, which is rare. … No, we’re not rivals! We were for a little bit, but now we’re not. Haha. Sorry.
Sean Schemmel: [To Masako] Did you ever fight with Vegeta, the actor?
Masako Nozawa: The actor? No, because we’re male and female, that would be strange, haha. We don’t fight.
Question: My friend wants to know, why is Goku afraid of Chi-Chi?
Masako Nozawa: I can answer that. Goku does not know the meaning of marriage. When they were little, Chi-Chi asked Goku to marry him, and Goku not knowing what that meant, he said yes. Since then, from the next day on, they were married.
Sean Schemmel: My answer was going to be because Chi-Chi’s a bitch. But Masako’s answer is more accurate.
Audience: *Huge laughter!*
Masako Nozawa: [Looking to Sean] Hahaha!
Question: You all have inspired me a lot of times. I was wondering, is there any scene from Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, or Dragon Ball GT, I guess, that you went through or there was some scene that was iconic to you, and inspired you to try harder or do something better?
Sean Schemmel: As Goku or any character?
Question: As anybody, anybody who inspires you.
Sean Schemmel: I was going to say that Freeza inspires me to be more evil.
Kara Edwards: There’s a scene where Videl is fighting Supopovich, and it’s a brutal beat down, disgusting. She gets very, very hurt going up against this ridiculously large man, and I think it’s a metaphor for a lot of things in life. When you’re up against insurmountable obstacles, you might get a little banged up and *inaudible,* but [you can make it through].
It’s either that or when Goten and Trunks decide to pee on the wall and write their name.
Ryusei Nakao: The final form of Freeza for the Japanese version was inspired by aristocracy. [In Freeza’s voice] “Oh ho ho ho.”
Sean Schemmel: The inspiring message from Goku, at least for me personally, is not giving up. When the chips are down, your friends are dead, what are you going to do?
I’m not going to go into great detail, but when the chips were down and my life was not going great, I thought of Goku and what he means to me. And how having been in the show inspired me to keep going.
Especially in the entertainment industry, which is very challenging. And in my personal life, big messages. What are you going to do? No matter what, don’t give up.
Did anybody else have a personal story? Anyone, Kyle? Sorry for jumping ahead.
Kyle Hebert: The indomitable spirit behind the scenes. There’s not any one particular scene.
Sean Schemmel: The other message could be to suck all the energy away from your friends to build a Spirit Bomb. Just think about that.
Kyle Hebert: Of course we can’t rely on seven dragon balls to summon the eternal dragon to grant us any one wish. “Let’s bring Krillin back!” And give him a nose.
Question: Hello! My question is for Freeza!
Ryusei Nakao: *surprised*
Question: Once you’ve completed your world goals, will you fall in love?
Ryusei Nakao: [thinks for a moment] Probably not, because Freeza does not fall in love.
Question: Is there a particular scene where you felt a lot of emotion?
Sean Schemmel: When you’re acting, you’re in character. At least that’s how I am. If Goku is sacrificing himself and he’s about to take Cell to King Kai’s planet and die, and he’s all happy, then I’m in the emotional state of Goku. If Goku is happy to sacrifice himself, then I’m happy, you know what I mean? I might be sad that I’m not going to work next week, but, uh, I’m in the emotional state of the character. When I watch it after the fact, maybe [I will feel different], but [when acting] I’m wherever the character is.
Question: What are your thoughts on Team Four Star’s [Dragon Ball Z] Abridged series?
Audience: Woah. What? *clamoring sound*
Sean Schemmel: With all due respect I’m not even going to… I think it’s funny, but this is a Dragon Ball Z panel, you know? That’s my feeling on it. It’s funny, and I haven’t met those guys but I’ve seen them before, and it’s a very weird experience for me. I’m not going to comment, but if the other cast members want to comment, that’s fine.
Question: Hi. This is for Sean and Masako. How do you feel meeting eachother as Goku?
Sean Schemmel: I personally booked this convention for that specific purpose. So I am thrilled, and it’s an honor, and I barely feel like I even have a right to be on the stage. I’m blown away.
[To Masako] They want to know how you feel about me, but you don’t have to say anything, haha.
Masako Nozawa: It makes me very happy to meet my counterpart, especially because he is the opposite gender. I may be a woman, but I’m still male in the character I play, so it’s interesting to see how the male version of Goku’s voice actor appears.
Kara Edwards: I want to say something about having a counterpart to one of your characters. There’s an instant kinship. It’s an experience because it’s one we’ve both been through. Even though the experiences we have over this weekend are different, and we come from two different countries, it’s still something that the two of us have shared. Only the people that have voiced the same character in their languages can share that. It’s such a small group of us, and it’s such an honor.
We met yesterday at the cast dinner, but I was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t even get through dinner. She was sitting behind me and I could have turned around to say hi to them, but I was like, “Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.” It wasn’t until the very end of the meal that I was able to turn around and say hello. Just such an honor.
Sean Schemmel: I’m curious to ask, uh, Freeza here, and Goku, I can’t help it since I have them here. Have you seen much of the English version? I’ve shown some Freeza, to, uh, Freeza.
Masako Nozawa: Hahaha!
Sean Schemmel: Have you watched it in English? I won’t be offended if you haven’t at all? Yes? Okay, does it totally suck? Be honest, it’s okay.
Masako Nozawa: Yes. I have seen parts of the English Dragon Ball. I don’t speak English, but there is something universal about that series, and I can tell, it [the acting] fits naturally.
Yuko Minaguchi: For myself, it also felt natural. [Yesterday] It felt like I met another family member.
Audience: Aww. *Applause*
Question: Do you guys have a favorite line or several favorite lines?
Sean Schemmel: Freeza asked me this last night and I had a response, but I’m going to think about it again while he answers.
Ryusei Nakao: I only have one line. [In Freeza’s voice] *Shouts in Japanese* – “That hurt!!”
Kara Edwards: As Goten, in the episode where Videl is learning to fly, she is trying so hard to get this and wants it so bad. She is sitting there and struggling, and then all of a sudden in the background you hear, [In Goten’s voice] “I’m a birdy! I’m a birdy!!”
Sean Schemmel: I was thinking of two lines. A lot of people like [In Goku’s voice] “Ally to good! Nightmare to you!” That one’s pretty fun. I like that.
There’s actually a scene that ended up being an outtake, where Goku is looking for the androids, and I could not get it right. The line is, “I wish they would have shown me a picture of them,” and I kept saying, “I wish they would have shown them a picture of me!” I kept laughing and laughing. I did it like twenty times. Christopher was like, “I. Wish. They. Would. Have. Shown. Them, or You, a picture of them…” Ha, I can’t even get it right now. I like outtakes, I like funny lines.
You know, the sentimental lines like “Goodbye, my friends.” All those special moments. Kamehameha’s always really fun. Kaio-ken is always really fun. The Spirit Bomb got tiring because his arms are up for so long, “Get your damn hands up!” My favorites are usually the outtakes, but there’s a lot of good features and positive things that Goku says, those are very inspiring and great to perform. My favorite lines are probably King Kai and his jokes. “I sold my car for gas money.”
It’s difficult to remember all the favorite lines at times. At least it is for me. [To Masako] Do you have a favorite line? No pressure.
Masako Nozawa: I have two.
[In Goku’s voice] *Speaks seriously* “Only you I will not forgive!”
[In Goku’s voice] *Speaks very silly* “I’m hungry!”
Audience: Wooooh! *Applause*
[Sean gets all giddy]
You guys may not realize this, but when sitting next to her as she does Goku I can feel her change into something else. I can feel it. Suddenly I can feel Goku. It’s amazing.
Toshio Furukawa: Chiken… Oh, mistake [wrong character]. I mean, Makankosappo!!
Kyle Hebert: Mine is like a hybrid of the Narrator and Gohan. [In the Narrator’s voice] “Next time on Dragon Ball Z. [In Gohan’s voice] Fight you? I want to kill you.”
Kyle Hebert: And then the Cartoon Network version: “I will destroy you.”
Sean Schemmel: Kyle, you remember that part where Gohan is doing the Great Saiyaman and is trying to look cool, and doing a pose, I don’t remember what he says but he comes off as so dorky and nerdy?
Kyle Hebert: Yeah, it’s the Saiyaman rap. I don’t have it memorized, but I need to. The first time I tried to do the Saiyaman rap I was doing it like James Brown, “Hooh, Ahh, Yeh, Ah!” Chris Sabat was like, “No, stop, just stop. It’s not like that. You need to white it up. Make it really white. He has no sense of rhythm. Nerd it up.”
Kara Edwards: We both feel that the episode where Videl learns to fly is a very special episode, so we were thinking I would say one of our favorite lines and then she would follow me.
[In Videl’s voice] Gohan, I’m flying!
Yuko Minaguchi: [In Videl’s voice] Gohan-kun, I’m flying!
Emcee: Okay, we’ve got time for two more questions.
[Hands fly up all over the audience]
Question: This comes from the bottom of my heart, and this goes out to everybody who is here as well. I’m 21 years old now, and for years I’ve watched Dragon Ball Z. To see all of you here is the highlight of my life. And as a martial artist, my perspective is that you guys have inspired me in so many ways. The show has warped my mind, my body, my soul, into what you see right now, which may not be much, but I guarantee you in a few years it will be. In a few years, everything I have learned from you by watching Dragon Ball Z, I will incorporate it into my life, my mind, my soul and my spirit. So I just want to say thank you.
Question: I promise you this is not a question about Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. This is a question for you, Kyle, because I have been wondering this throughout the whole, entire series. Everybody I ask cannot come up with an answer for this question.
How did Paikon die?
Audience: [Random guy shouts] Thank you!
Question: He has to be one of the most powerful characters, and can take a punch from a Super Saiyan, so I’m sure a common cold would not kill this man.
Kyle Hebert: [In a dumbfounded voice] I honestly don’t know. He doesn’t have a nose either, so I don’t know. Maybe it was just an oversight from the writers.
Masako Nozawa: Paiku-han’s not dead.
Masako Nozawa: Because he has a halo he can come back from the other side. As long as you keep your halo on you, it will be for a limited time, but you’re allowed to come back. Don’t worry.
Emcee: Let’s hear it for these wonderful people.
Audience: Yeaaaaaaagghh! *Standing ovation and long applause*
Sean Schemmel: Let’s have the whole room do a Kamehameha. The whole room.
Audience: Yeagghh! *Applause*
Masako Nozawa: All of us together. Ready?
[Everyone in the audience stands up and gets into the Kamehameha stance.]
Masako Nozawa: Let’s go!
The Entire Room:
Audience: WOAGH!!! WOOH! *Loud Applause*
Rock, Paper, Scissors with Goku!
Emcee: Most of you may have noticed in the program that there was an autograph session. To make it interesting we’re going to play a little game of Jan-Ken-Po.
Masako Nozawa: What’s going on? How many people are going to play?
[A translator explains the rules. She says that because there are so many people in the audience that they have to reduce the number of people who will receive signatures from the guests, down to less than one hundred. So the way it works is that everyone will play Jan-Ken-Po (Rock, Paper, Scissors) with Masako Nozawa. They keep their hand raised for as long as they survive the game. For example, if she throws rock, and the person in the audience throws scissors or also throws rock, then they are out. The survivors of the game get signatures.]
[Masako runs through some practice sessions with the audience to make sure they understand. Once they’ve got it, the real game begins.]
Masako Nozawa: 1, 2, 3, Kame-hame-ha!
[Masako plays scissors on “ha!” and several hundred people who played paper or scissors lower their hands.]
Audience: Ohhh. *grumbling*
Masako Nozawa: Alright! One more time! 1, 2, 3, Kame-hame-ha!
[Masako plays paper on “ha!” and the number is reduced by so much that now there are less than one hundred people remaining.]
[People who lost the game start to shuffle out, disappointed.]
Audience: [From an appreciative winner] Thank you!
[After the panel clears out, about a hundred people remain in the audience and line up to have their Dragon Ball memorabilia signed by all of the guests, one after the other.]
It doesn’t get better than this.
With 1,000 dedicated Dragon Ball fans in the same room as the Dragon Ball Z cast, the energy in the room was incredible. And the group Kamehameha was a dream come true.
With all of these super powerful warriors in the same place, I’m surprised the world didn’t explode, or that they weren’t attacked by a random group of aliens.
If you were there, leave your comments below on what it felt like. And if you weren’t, then share how it feels to experience it for the first time!