Dragon Ball Kai FUNimation QA at AX

Anime Expo 2011 Funimation Booth SignDuring the Anime Expo 2011 I dropped by the FUNimation booth for an impromptu Q & A with Lance Heiskell, FUNimation’s marketing director.

The questions were completely spontaneous, and so were his replies; very casual and unofficial.

“How is Dragon Ball Kai doing so far on American TV?”

According to Lance, “Ratings have done very well, and new episodes will resume in fall 2011.” Reruns are currently airing on Nicktoons.

“How about the censoring of the show? This is a sensitive issue for a lot of Dragon Ball fans.”

Lance said, “It has to be edited on TV because it’s a commercial network.” He said shows have to appeal to marketing standards and demographics, otherwise advertisers won’t buy ads. Referring to the 4Kids channel version of Kai, he added that, “4Kids is even more edited.”

“What is FUNimation planning to do about the Kenji Yamamoto music scandal?”

Lance said he is fully aware of the scandal; however, “It’s a sensitive issue. I can’t comment.”

For those who do not know, Kenji Yamamoto was the composer for Dragon Ball Kai, and he got in trouble for creating music that was too similar to other musicians and film composers. His music was pulled from the Japanese version’s last few episodes and replaced with the original DBZ score, and American fans waited to see how FUNimation would respond.

When pressed further, Lance went on to say that he knows how FUNimation is going to handle the situation, but making comments would be disrespectful to the license holders involved, which include Toei in Japan.

Then we talked about The Dao of Dragon Ball book and how he may be able to help.

That’s it! Short and sweet.