Voice Actors Talk Dragon Ball Super: BrolyJanuary 5, 2019
It goes without saying that the Dragon Ball franchise is extremely popular worldwide. The newest addition to the Dragon Ball family is the movie Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Directed by Tatsuya Nagamine, this film has some veteran voice actors from the franchise that many fans will recognize. Recently, we had a chance to be on a conference call with Sonny Strait (Bardock), Ian Sinclair (Whis), Monica Rial (Bulma) and Vic Mignagna (Broly) who talked about not only the characters that they voice but their own journeys as part of the Dragon Ball family.
On the character’s defining qualities:
Sonny Strait: I would say Bardock’s defining quality, especially in this movie is honor. He sees what’s wrong and what needs to be done to make things right and does the best he can in that regard.
Ian Sinclair: Whis has a playful curiosity, he is just so curious about these things from Earth that are so alien to him. As it pertains to this movie I would say he is along for the ride and enjoying the view as much as the audience.
Monica Rial: As far as Bulma I would say her driving force is hope. I feel like in this particular film hope plays a big part of it because not only is she hoping that going to this certain location with her friends will aide them, I think she’s hoping that everything will work out for Broly.
Vic Mignogna: I’ve played Broly for a long time but this is a new Broly and this character is Toriyama’s vision for the role which is infinitely more developed than he ever was before. I was really thrilled with everything that was brought to this character and I think the audience is really going to feel this character and why he is the way he is.
On the growth of the Dragon Ball franchise:
Sonny Strait: It just seems to get bigger every year. Twenty years ago I thought this would last about two years and now it’s grown into this giant monster and it’s amazing and it’s mostly the fans that have kept it going this whole time.
Monica Rial: I think for Vic and I, we started about the same time back in Houston and anime kind of took a dip in the early 2000’s, I mean one of the studio’s we worked for shut its doors, so for us to see this resurgence, not just Dragon Ball but anime as a whole it was really heartwarming. It was like a phoenix rising from the flames, we thought it was on its last legs and here we are.
Ian Sinclair: It’s been crazy to see how anime used to be something shared amongst a small group of friends, how you could be made fun of for watching a cartoon, but now you can wear your Dragon Ball t-shirt with pride.
Vic Mignogna: It’s funny what Monica just said because I was thinking of the same thing. I have such a vivid memory of a convention that Monica and I were at and we were signing next to each other, and there was a line as far as the eye could see, the autograph line, waiting for us. I looked at Monica and said, ‘can you believe this, how did this happen?’ When we started it was this weird thing, I didn’t even know what they did with it after they recorded it, they must sell it because they have to be able to make money to make more, for me it was an actor getting a chance to act. Each and every day I am humbled and blown away at the chance to be a part of this and I also believe Dragon Ball was a big part of making anime mainstream.
On whether this film was made for old fans or to draw in new fans:
Sonny Strait: That’s an interesting question. I don’t think it’s designed to draw in new fans, I think Akira Toriyama brings an emotional resonance with everything he does and you can feel when he’s not a part of it. He’s definitely a part of this, that’s for sure.
Ian Sinclair: We always wanted reasons on why everything went down and here it is, with solid reasoning and why everything happened, I think it’s really good. I think if any of the movies were to bring in new fans Broly might be it because it’s a classic Dragon Ball movie, it is so well done.
Monica Rial: I think it will eventually bring new fans to the property but I think this movie, especially the first half, was done for the old fans. It fills in a lot of holes, things people are unsure about and I think its Akira Toriyama’s way of saying hey fans, thanks for being patient, now I’m going to tell this story in my voice.
On whether Vic Mignogna had to make any adjustments playing Broly this time around compared to before:
Vic Mignogna: Again, this is a completely new Broly so his motivations and his backstory and the attitudes of the character are different. It’s not the old Broly and that was very important, in fact early on, when I first heard there was going to be a Broly movie I was kind of impatiently waiting for the call. I didn’t get one for a while so I thought oh no, this is a new Broly, what if I’m not going to get to do it. Needless to say, I was very excited when they finally brought me in to do it because I’ve loved the character, I just wanted there to be more to him. I want to stress again the sympathy, the empathy that people are going to feel for the character in a way they never did before. He’s not just this big, dumb, muscular fighting machine, there is a real story and motivation behind it all that I think people are really going to enjoy.
On whether the voice actors could feel the gratitude and emotion in the script:
Monica Rial: Obviously we can’t talk too much about it but I would say visually, the animation itself an in the script the emotion is very apparent. When we were at New York Comic Con, the Japanese cast and creators kept telling us we were going to cry and at that point, I really didn’t understand what they meant by that but once I watched the film I understood. It’s not a bad cry but you will definitely tear up a little bit, I know I did.
On how Sonny Strait approached playing Bardock:
Sonny Strait: Well, it is a different story, I think it’s a story that Akira Toriyama really wanted to tell with him but he was basically the same guy, just if that guy had a different life experience. It was interesting to play it that way because I was like ok, what would still be there in his old voice and what would be changed. There was a bit of softening in his voice, depending on who he was talking to, which he didn’t have before so he’s a much more dynamic character.
On whether the film has a high level of intensity from start to end:
Ian Sinclair: It is not a film that is one big fight. It really balances story, character development, and action really well and it doesn’t skimp on any of them.
Monica Rial: It’s really interesting because it’s almost a film in parts but very fluid parts, if that makes sense. It is like three different parts that are all tied together seamlessly and it’s really wonderful how they’ve put it all together.
Vic Mignogna: When we started dubbing this film it wasn’t even done yet in Japan, which means a lot of the voice actors were literally dubbing to storyboards and still drawings and to see the finished film…oh my god, so much action, so much life and movement. It was really a kind of neat education, like wow, that’s what they start with, they move to this level and this is how it ends up, it’s really amazing.
I want to thank Ian, Monica, Sonny, and Vic for taking the time to do this conference call.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly hits theaters in North America January 16th, 2019