With a franchise as big as Dragon Ball, there is a ton of pressure on those involved to deliver the best they can in order to please a world full of fans. This is magnified for those in the lead roles, like the English dub voice actor for Goku Sean Schemmel.
Comicbook.com recently had a chance to speak with Schemmel about his role in the Dragon Ball franchise, and he got real about the pressures being put on him for playing Goku.
Dragon Ball fans can sometimes come off a bit strong, so Schemmel just wanted to clear the air a bit with them, “TThere area certain rabidness and demand from fans that I think is a little unreasonable, but I understand it because I’m passionate about the things I’m passionate about, too.”
Some fans can think Schemmel isn’t doing his best, but he’s just asking for them to ease just a little, “It’s like I love the passion and I’m definitely appreciative of the fans and what they’re doing and what they say, but just relax a little bit.”
Further emphasizing how much work is going in everyday with each new episode, Schemmel wants fans to know that the staff is trying to deliver the best they can, “We’re trying the best we can, and Funimation is working hard along with Toei to give the best product for American and English-speaking audiences that we can. And I agonize over every line to this day, and I’ve been doing this 20 years and I still get flack.”
When fans argue he doesn’t understand Goku well enough, Schemmel wants fans to understand that there’s more to it than that “Even if I knew it better, I don’t know if it would change my pitches and [inflections] because when you have a line of dialogue, there’s only so many ways you can say that line. There’s only so many ways you can do it.”
In fact, Schemmel’s first stab at the role had him fill in for, and match, someone else’s performance, “…what people also don’t realize….I took over for a Canadian actor who figured out the voice, did the voice his way, and I was required to copy that and then make that my own with very little information from Japan. And I think I did a pretty good job.”
Schemmel wants fans to know that even if Dragon Ball Super were being adapted into an English dub in the most ideal situation, it still wouldn’t completely be under his control as it’s a very specific set of circumstances needing to be in order:
“…[H]ere’s the ideal scenario. Akira Toriyama decides he wants to make in English. He comes to America and helps cast it. I have a discussion with him about the character. We get in great detail about it. He’s there in the first few sessions to guide my style, which has happened to me on other shows where I’m creating a voice from scratch. That’s the ideal scenario where I really feel like I can deliver exactly what every fan wants, and they couldn’t argue with it if Akira Toriyama was there.”
But there isn’t an ideal scenario currently, and at the end of the day, Schemmel just wants fans to realize that it’s a delicate process. There are pressures to playing Goku not only from fans, but from everyone involved with the process, “But [fans] have to understand that this show was passed to multiple hands and multiple channels, and everybody at Funimation and everybody … It’s my attitude and the directors, we are all just busting our asses trying to get the most data we can.”
The first Dragon Ball Super film, now titled Dragon Ball Super: Broly, is set to release this December in Japan, and has released its first trailer. The film will focus on the Saiyans, the “origins of Goku’s power,” and has been confirmed to feature a rebooted take on the famous raging Saiyan Broly. The series will get a major makeover when its first film drops, and fans can thank Naohiro Shintani for that.
The beloved animator was brought in by Toei Animation to oversee the movie, and was approved by series creator Akira Toriyama. He’ll be contributing to the film’s script and character designs. Fans will get their first look at the new film during the Dragon Ball North America Tour and San Diego Comic-Con, as well.
Dragon Ball Super is currently airing its English dub on Adult Swim during the Toonami programming block Saturday evenings at 9:30 p.m. It is also available to stream on Funimation and Amazon Video. The Japanese language release of the series is complete, and available to stream on Funimation, VRV, and Crunchyroll.
If you want to catch up with the English dub, the first 52 episodes of Dragon Ball Super are now available to stream on FunimationNOW, VRV, and available to purchase on Amazon Video as well. The 52 episodes span the full range of what has aired in the North America and covers the “Battle of Gods” arc, “Revival of F” arc, the “Universe 6” arc, and bringing the series right up to the current TV airings of the “Future Trunks” arc.