Two Videl’s from two different countries, brought together in one place for the first time.
Kara Edwards and Yuko Minaguchi, the two voice actresses who play Videl, were on stage to share their experiences with fellow Dragon Ball fans on Sunday, May 26, 2013 at the Animazement convention in Raleigh, North Carolina.
I wasn’t able to attend because it coincided with the Ryusei Nakao (Freeza) panel next door. Fortunately some fans filmed the panel and posted parts of it online.
The questions are edited out, but I have transcribed what is available.
Enjoy the unique insights and experiences.
The Great Saiya-woman is Here!
Kara Edwards: I think what we’re going to do, is just take some questions.
“Isn’t there something you can go and eat?!”
Kara Edwards: I was told to just, [In Goten’s voice] “Gohan, I wanna go and eat!” [in a sort of drunken hillbilly way]
It was very hard. I’m not the only actor from the show to have said this, I did have damage done to my vocal chords from the show. I continue to do vocal therapy to this day, because I do so much voice work that my vocal chords swell.
Anybody who is interested in voice over, I cannot express the importance of proper training [enough]. You can have a great voice, you can alter your voice, but it does not matter, you can still damage your voice if you don’t know what you’re doing. Yeah, I’m in vocal therapy right now.
It’s just one after another, after another, after another. It is vocally exhausting to get through them.
I think if I were given the opportunity to do it all over again I would like to go a little bit closer to the original with Goten, and take away that weird thing back here [the raspiness].
I see voice in direction, I don’t see voice as sound, I see voice in front, back, left, right, and I always have, I wasn’t taught that.
Yuko Minaguchi: I started theater when I was 14, and that’s how I started, but there are voice acting schools in Japan, and actually a lot of them.
Kara Edwards: I like that our answer is universal here. Take a class. I often joke about, “Here, let me give you the phone number to call and become one [a voice actor].” It starts with training, the same thing [for me], I started acting in high school plays. My first job was Dragon Ball Z. Actually my first time ever speaking into a microphone, I was literally hired off the street by Disney while getting out of high school. I did a radio show there for a long time, for Disney. Even then I still took classes.
I think improv is the single best class you can take to learn about character development, staying in a scene, committing to a character, timing, how to do things on the fly. I think improv training is the absolute best voice over training there is. There are also a million teachers out there that are really reputable. There are a lot that are really not reputable, so ask around and get really good recommendations.
I had heard they were going to do “Evolution.” I’m sorry. I was so…
All I heard was “Live action Dragon Ball Z,” that is all I heard, and I was literally on the phone freaking out going, “I can be her, I am her, I look like her, I will get plastic surgery! Anything for my character! Please!”
And that was a million years ago, so I think I’ve given up on that hope. By the time it happens I may be able to play Videl’s grandmother. But what an absolute cool thing that would have been if they had just done it well. No offense to Evolution.
We talked about this in the panel yesterday, if you made it, we were asked this question and we talked about it, and I don’t know if it’s a specific line that sticks out for us.
For me it’s so much about energy, Qi, and I want to know how many people sat in their bedrooms with their legs crossed, harnessing their Qi.
Yes we do, we wanted to say a line, and we came up with, “Gohan, I’m flying!” And afterward I was thinking, “I don’t even know if that actually gets said [in the show].” Haha.
Yuko Minaguchi: She’s trying to harness it so much, and meanwhile Goten is like, “What, like this?” And he’s flying across the skies.
Kara Edwards: [In Goten’s voice] “I’m a birdy! I’m a birdy!!”
Kara Edwards: To overcome the obstacle and succeed and reach her goal. I think there are so many beautiful metaphors for life. But to actually get the opportunity to be the little, “I’m flying! I’m a Super Saiyan!” It’s so much fun to be able to get to go back and it’s ridiculous to be able to do the same scene.
Yuko Minaguchi: [To Mister Satan], “Papa! You’re not tough at all!”
Kara Edwards: *inaudible* [To Chi-Chi] “Seriously woman, what is wrong with you?! You’re a bitch!”
*laughter and applause*
Kara Edwards: Sorry, mom.
Yuko Minaguchi: So Videl started out as a high school girl. Then all of a sudden, before you know it, there is Pan. So I wondered, “How did that happen?” But actually, in the new movie you’ll find that out. So check that out!
Kara Edwards: As far as the character Videl goes… [Points to the right] I want to be part of whatever is going on in there! [Referring to the Ryusei Nakao panel next door, with live voice acting, laughing and fight scenes]. I was very, very young when I started Dragon Ball Z. Dragon Ball Z was my first paid voice over job. And we were so reliant on the directors to tell us what to do. I don’t know if I had even taken an acting class outside of high school [plays] at that point.
Having gone back and watched the episodes over the years, I always felt that maybe my Videl, I mean she’s a beloved character so maybe I’m wrong, but I always felt that my Videl was a little too angry.
She’s a superhero, she’s awesome, but she’s so angry ALL the time. They would always say [to me], “It’s you, but really mad all the time.” Even [when] just talking, [In Videl’s voice] “Gohan!”, and, “I remember that the golden fighter had that type of hair!” If I were ever given the opportunity to do the voice again, I think I might explore keeping her awesomeness, but making her a little more tangible.
Kara Edwards: I can remember a lot of the details of the Supopovitch fight because it was the only time in the booth that I cried. Because it was physically painful, to go this lengthy period of time reacting to picture. And in the end she develops a tear and I realized I had begun to cry, because it hurt. And it’s an awful scene, just a horrible scene to watch, in the end he’s crushing her head, you see the pain, and it’s one of the most believable fights in Dragon Ball Z because you feel the pain.
Question: It was one of the first fights and action scenes in Dragon Ball Z where I felt bad for the character, for Videl.
Kara Edwards: Oh, it’s brutal. Tell me the last line in the scene.
Question: Go, Gohan, go be a hero again.
Kara Edwards: [In Videl’s voice] “Go, Gohan. Go be a hero again!”
Yuko Minaguchi: Ms. Nozawa-san would yell at the voice actor playing Supopovitch, “Knock it off! Just cut it out!”
Question [from a cosplayer dressed as The Great Saiya-man]: My question is of course about the Great Saiya-girl, and your experiences voicing Great Saiya-girl.
Kara Edwards: It’s Great Saiya-woman, isn’t it? It should probably be Saiya-girl, since she’s like, 17.
Yuko Minaguchi: Videl has a strong sense of justice, but by meeting Gohan she learns that it’s okay to use her power just for the means of justice, and that’s why she wanted to get stronger.
Kara Edwards: I was so excited to finally get to be as goofy as Kyle, when he’s in there being Gohan, [with his funny voices] and so goofy, and finally break down the shell of this very, Videl is so remarkably capable as a woman, to finally break her down and have her say, “Yeah, I’m a superhero.” And get to change the voice a little bit, [In Great Saiya-woman’s voice] “Just as awkward as he is!” Was really fun.
Kara Edwards: She referred to me saying, “It felt like meeting family.” If you guys were on the panel yesterday, I turned into a big old baby at that point, like “Blah!” There have been so many moments that I’m scared my brain is going to forget. I’m trying so hard to, to almost write them down, I’m so grateful for Facebook because I have Facebook’d, Tweeted, Instagrammed, and Vine’d, and socially networked this event to such a psychotic level because I’m so scared of forgetting any moment of it. This is so bucket list.
This is a very, very, very big thing for me. I cried when I found out that they would be here, and I have been so excited to meet everybody. And to have everybody be so incredible, it has just been overwhelming. That moment, I definitely won’t forget that.
Kara Edwards: Okay, I’ll tell a funny story in case you don’t know. Kyle Hebert, who voices Gohan in Dragon Ball Z, and I have known eachother for almost 20 years. We got our start originally at a radio station called Radio Disney. We hosted a show together, called the “Squeege and Kara” show, for six years. He was a huge Dragon Ball Z fan. He was the one who said, “We have to go to this open call audition in Dallas.” So I said okay and tagged along. He gets cast as Gohan and I end up getting cast as his girlfriend and little brother. We’re on the radio at the time and the show comes out, and people start recognizing our voices and it’s a major conflict of interest. They’re calling the radio station saying, “Do you guys know she sounds a lot like Goten and Videl?” And we couldn’t say a word, so we were like “Huh. We hear that occasionally. That’s so weird.” So it was really funny to get cast as both of these characters.
The most difficult thing playing that episode where Videl learns to fly, is that the entire episode is basically about Goten, Gohan, and Videl. We had to be very, very conscious, more than at any other time in the show, to make sure the character’s sounded different so there was no confusion. It was really hard to keep Videl low but still sound young, and Goten high but still sound like a boy. It was a challenge, big time.
Kara Edwards: Videl is a superhero, so I wish there was some type of bizarro, you know how sometimes in an anime series there is a weird episode at the end where everybody is like, “What? What does this have to do with anything at all?” But it’s just about one random character who had 4 lines [before] and all of a sudden for one episode they’re the main character. I wish they would do that for Videl and explain how this little teenage girl who was in high school became a superhero. I think that would be the coolest episode ever.