Ryusei Nakao Panel at Animazement

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Ryusei Nakao gave fans a chance to voice act as Freeza from Dragon Ball, with Freeza himself supporting their performance.

While the other voice actors at Animazement held open format panels consisting of nothing but time for questions, Ryusei Nakao came with a specific plan.

Held on May 26, 2013 and titled “Ryūsei Nakao Off-line!”, he began by playing a DVD with video clips from his previous performances, including a live action video montage, Freeza fighting Goku on Namek, Caesar Clown laughing in One Piece, and various other characters. All of them showcased some type of laughter.

It was a strange and unique way to start off the panel.

He then prepared the audience to have some fun.

Get Ready to Laugh!

Ryusei Nakao: Hi everyone. Thank you for coming!

I do voice acting in Tokyo, Japan. As you just saw, we do a lot of laughing in voicing anime. So I’d like all of us together to practice some laughter today.

And when you look at Freeza, his first form of laugh is like, “Ho ho ho ho.” His second form, “Ni hi ha ha ha.” Third form, “Ha Ha ha ha ha.” Final form, “Hm hm hm hm hm.”

Today let’s do some Freeza laughs, and after Freeza, we’ll do some One Piece, “Trolo lo lo lo lo.”

Okay, any volunteers?

[The next 40 minutes of hilarity is best seen instead of read. Fans from the audience attempted to do Freeza’s laugh and speak his lines in Japanese, followed by Caesar Clown’s. It was always funny, and some of the voice acting was very well done. I later heard that the audience’s in the rooms next door were very curious about all of the laughter.]

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[Each group of 3 to 5 volunteers was voted on by the applause of the audience, and the winner received a tiny Dragon Ball figure or special One Piece card with an image on it.]

[The last 15 minutes (starting at the 43:15 mark) were left open to questions and answers.]

Question and Answer

Question (from me): Why do you think Akira Toriyama created the Freeza character? And how would you describe Freeza’s role in the Dragon Ball series?

Ryusei Nakao: I think that Akira Toriyama sensei wanted to create the strongest of all villains with Freeza. I think he wanted to come up with the villain that would change forms all the times against Goku. That’s probably why Freeza has his stages 1 through 3, and also his final form. The final form of Freeza, the one that is strongest and most devious, is also the one that is the most soft spoken.

Through Freeza’s transformations, you start with a tough looking first form, but through the transformations of second, third and final form, you get something that is a very tough opponent. But because of that you have a very contrasting, gentle form of speaking that comes from Freeza.

Question: The character Freeza, voicing him for Dragon Ball Kai, were there any differences in your approach?

Ryusei Nakao: There were 10 years between the first Dragon Ball Z and revisiting Dragon Ball as Dragon Ball Kai. Between those times, Freeza had become his own character, so I didn’t have to do anything to revisit him and get back into character.

Question: It’s rare that you get to play him, but Coola, Freeza’s brother, they are very similar, but is there anything that you do with his voice to separate him from Freeza?

Ryusei Nakao: I don’t get to see Coola that much because he’s only a movie character. But since he’s an older brother to Freeza I like to play him as a more mature personality.

My cute little brother Freeza. Haha.

Question: Thank you for coming out and visiting us. It has been a real treat to have all of you guys out here. With Kai it’s very interesting to see the character of Freeza again after so many years. You’ve had that, the video games, and even a couple of the movies you’ve had many chances to revisit the character. But you’ve done other characters as well, so are there any other characters you would love to have a chance to revisit like you did with Freeza?

Ryusei Nakao: Hairi. One of my top 3 characters that I’ve performed.

Question: Going back to Coola, can I hear you say one of my favorite lines from the movie? “This is not about avenging the death of my brother, this is about killing the Saiyan who smeared our noble name in the mud. Understand?”

Ryusei Nakao: It’s been a while, so I don’t remember the line exactly.

[Ryusei asks the guest to repeat the line in English, and then the translator converts it to Japanese on the fly.]

[In Coola’s voice] “Hm hm hm hm, goyo *too fast of Japanese* fukushu to wa nai. Watashi no tame no tatakai.”  – “This is not to avenge my brother. This is my own fight.”

Question: My question is, could you perform in your Freeza voice, “Kanzenshuu is the greatest.”?

Translator: What is that?

Question: A Dragon Ball website.

[Note that Kanzenshuu.com is the largest Dragon Ball website in America. The founder of the site, Mike “VegettoEX” LaBrie was sitting in the audience alongside the other fans.]

[In Freeza’s voice] “Hm hm hm hm. Chikyujin, okiku, Kanzenshuu wa saiko desu.” – “Hm hm hm hm. Listen well earthlings, Kanzenshuu is the greatest.”

Question: Thank you for coming to Animazement. It’s always a joy to have you here. I know you’ve done other rolls that were originally from here and then sent to Japan. There’s a clip going around on the Internet of Freeza singing the “Nations of the World” song from Animaniacs. How was it singing that little song, and do you happen to remember any of it at this time?

Ryusei Nakao: *gasp!* You remember well. That was the toughest job I ever had. I’ve done a lot of songs for NHK and other children’s shows. And I’ve also done songs for Disney as well. But the most difficult song, number one!, was that song for Animaniacs. “Na na nah nah nah nan a na nah nah na nah na nahhh! Na na nan an nan a nanna na nah na na nahh!” I still remember that song.

I saw the brother characters voicing alongside the little brother of bugs bunny. When I heard the episode I thought, “We’re not going to dub this over, we’re leaving this as the English dub.” The director smiled at me and said, “Please?” That was the most difficult song that I ever took on.

I can’t come up with the country names now, but if I were to do it again as Freeza it would go, “Na na nah nah nah nan a na nah nah na nah na nahhh! Hm hm hm hm! Da da dah da dah dahh!”

Among other character songs, there’s a song done by Mayumi. I never thought that Mayumi would end up singing, so that was another tough job. You would not think that Mayumi has a face for singing, haha. I don’t know if character songs are legal over here, but our company puts them on the market [in Japan].

So it’s time to wrap up the panel, but I think there are enough presents for everyone. I think we can all grab something on the way out.

Audience: *Applause*

[At the end of the panel, Ryusei shook hands with everyone in the audience, one by one, and gave them a One Piece card.]

Ryusei Nakao was a very friendly individual with a continual smile on his face, and he was very much the opposite of his villainous character. But when you heard him laugh or perform the lines of his most famous role, you knew you were in the presence of royalty.