The Early Days Of Dragon Ball Z, As Told By Its Voice Actors

The Early Days Of Dragon Ball Z, As Told By Its Voice Actors
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The internet has changed the way we experience nearly everything — including, in this case, what being a part of Dragon Ball Z is like.

Here in a video interview with reddit, Goku and Vegeta’s voice actors in the English dub of Dragon Ball Z explain how different things were back when they were first recording Dragon Ball Z. This would be sometime in the 90s.

Chris Sabat, the man behind Vegeta, says that his relationship to Dragon Ball was much like a fan’s back then, as he experienced everything in ‘real time,’ so to speak. Because the internet wasn’t as big back then, he couldn’t just go online and read the manga, or watch a fan dub, or even just see what other people were saying about the show back in Japan. He only knew about what he was recording in that moment, which could make things really tense or exciting.

Sean Schemmel, Goku’s voice actor, describes how panicked he would become after seeing Goku get really hurt in the show. He had no idea what would happen next, after all. Preparing for the worst, he would ask people if he could borrow money. Just in case!

Really, it’s a great watch — especially if you missed the “ask me anything” interview that the rest of the video spends time with. I particularly like the bits where they talk about what screaming on the show is like.

Nowadays, I imagine being a part of Dragon Ball pretty different. The voice actors probably have a way better sense of what’s going to happen before the latest Dragon Ball stuff makes its way to the West. That said, they also talked about the ways in which they were allowed to tweak the dub for the English release — so surprises are still possible!


  • I remember seeing video of them in the recording studios actually mimicking the characters stances during power ups jut to get into it. So very cool. Then we get GT and now Super…… It hurts more than it should

    • I kind of had hopes for super. It sucked, but right when they decided that Goku and Beerus were going to break the universe, I was like “FUCK YEAH! YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS??? REBOOOOT!”.

      I mean, that would have made sense. It would have been logical. Goku breaks the universe and so it gets reborn comic book style with everyone weaker and relationships reset. After all, where the fuck do you go after literally ascending to Godhood and fighting the God of Destruction, narrowly stopped all of existence from being destroyed? How do you still have stakes and hardships after that? You’re main character literally become a goddamn god.

      But no, no universe wide reset based on an awesome last fight that would see things be scaled down to normal levels (Could you imagine a new Dragon Ball Z where Goku is a human, and only has basic Ki powers like when Videl flew wokily?). No, it just… continued

  • It must have been an interesting ride. They started DragonballZ at a time when anime had to pick a side, either exclusively for kids TV or exclusively for adults. Then eventually DVDs, streaming, etc came along and changed the entire nature of what they were doing. FUNimation used to be the absolute worst. They’re not perfect now but they actually do a pretty good job of pumping out faithful dubs of a relatively wide range of shows.

  • Did someone say one punch man?

    i lvoe DBZ, wpen my whole highschool career recording it on VHS and watching it when i got home. then they would get 75% of the way through the story arc, then restart it from the beginning again. pricks. i loved Z alot, i still get goosebumps when i hear the intro song “dragon, dragon, ball dragon, dragon ball z, dragon dragon, ball dragon, come with me” any ways….
    i have been watching super and not thinking too hard about power levels and stuff like that, but i swear goku and frieza did more damage to landscapes powering up then what a god of destruction and ssj god goku did.
    ill keep watching it though, coz you know, im a fanboy from way back.

    just in the same way i tried to re-watch G1 transformers a couple of years ago in my mid twenties and it was painfully bad, but i did it anyway coz Transformers G1.

  • I got into DBZ before it was dubbed, so I watched most of the Cell saga in Japanese and had fan-made transcripts which I bought from a shop in the city. I’d pause the tape and read the “Engrish” transcript to catch up on what was being said in each episode.

    We’re talking 1994 here, so internet wasn’t happening properly yet. The tapes I was watching were tapped from Japanese television with ads and all. They must have been copies of copies because occasionally the quality would spaz out. I bought the tapes at the same shop that sold the transcripts.

    I watched the first season of the English dub on TV as it aired, then watched the 1st half of the season season later on DVD; I hired them from Blockbuster or something. TBH, I couldn’t get into it as much. To me, the characters spoke Japanese and I kinda hated Goku’s voice (ironically, the same thing happened with Naruto; english Naruto is horrific).

    Q: Is there a specific part of the English dubbed series that is amazing TV that, being a fan of the show, I should probably watch?

    edit: ah crap, I didn’t realise how old this article is =[

    • The Dragonball Kai dub. I don’t think 2014 (Buu saga-End) has been dubbed yet and is only Japanese at the minute.

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