With Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero out in Japanese theaters, Masako Nozawa and Toshio Furukawa, the voice actors for Gohan and Piccolo respectively, sat down for a joint interview. Super Hero is coming to the United States on August 19.
Gohan and Piccolo are the main characters in this Dragon Ball film. Nozawa is also the voice actor for Goku and Goten, but her role as Gohan is most notable for this movie and the focus of this interview.
Gohan and Piccolo have a long history, going back to season one of Dragon Ball Z. Like their characters, the two voice actors have also developed a chemistry over time.
“At this point we’re like family, so we can act off each other like it’s second nature,” Furukawa said.
Nozawa added, “We basically know what the other person is thinking without saying anything, so there’s no real need to talk and prepare before recording starts.”
Piccolo and Gohan have served as important characters to each other. When Goku died in the battle with Raditz, Piccolo trained and raised Gohan in the ensuing year that Goku spent in the Other World. They later shared a touching moment before the Cell Games, as Gohan asked Piccolo for the same outfit Piccolo wears in honor of him being his first teacher.
The two voice actors were both asked what they felt the other’s character meant to their own. Nozawa had this to say about Piccolo’s impact on Gohan.
“I think Piccolo is the person Gohan trusts the most in the whole world. Of course he trusts his father, Goku, but in many ways Piccolo is a father figure to Gohan. There’s a scene in the movie where Gohan is asking Piccolo for help, even though he probably knows Piccolo will get mad at him for it. As though Piccolo has better things to do, right?”
Furukawa had a similar angle.
“I think he sees their relationship as master and student. On the one hand, as one of the Z Fighters, Piccolo is a force to be reckoned with, but on the other end of the spectrum, there’s a surprising kindness to him, which really comes through in his scenes with Gohan, and I think that’s what makes him so interesting. I’d even say he’s twice as interesting because of Gohan.”
The two were also asked about some of the new characters in the film, Gamma 1 and Gamma 2. For Nozawa, they hardly felt like new introductions.
“For me, when it comes to Dragon Ball, even when I see a new character for the first time, I feel like they’ve always been there. Even for villains, I just think, ‘Here we go again, looks like they’re up to their old tricks.’”
Furukawa was full of praise for the two Gamma’s and what they offer.
“I felt like these villains were a new breed compared to the ones that have come before. Gamma 1 and Gamma 2 are handsome and have these ‘cool-guy’ voices to match. Another thing that struck me was how some aspects of their personalities blur the line between good and evil in a way we haven’t seen before with villains like Freeza, Cell and so on.”
Speaking on the movie as a whole, Nozawa signed off the interview with a line to get any fan excited for what’s to come.
“I feel like we continuously raise the bar in terms of enjoyment with every new project, but this movie doesn’t just set the bar higher than ever—it reinvents it. So I hope you’ll all enjoy the movie!”
Furukawa added, “Dragon Ball is a franchise that’s so popular around the world, to the point I’d even say it’s a bridge between cultures. It’s something that’s bigger than borders, nationality, religion, and so on. It’s something that everyone can understand and appreciate, and I think that’s amazing.”
How do you feel about Nozawa and Furukawa’s comments on Gohan, Piccolo, and the Dragon Ball franchise?