Dragon Ball Anime Stars Explain Why They Often Avoid Reading the Manga

The Dragon Ball franchise has exploded into a worldwide phenomenon in the last view years - in more ways than one. Sure, Dragon Ball Super has sparked attention and acclaim from the global fanbase, but feature-films and video games have been just as lucrative, and even the manga has gained newfound popularity!

With Dragon Ball gaining more and more popularity on both the page and the screen, which would make you think the creative teams of one platform would be in sync with the team on the other. However, as Dragon Ball Super English Dub stars Sean Schemmel and Monica Rial told Comicbook.com in a recent interview, they don't keep up with what's happening in the Dragon Ball Super manga - and never have!

"Viz [Media] does a great job and that's how we get the manga, but then I'm thinking, "but is this what it really means? What if I took it to a different translator?" Schemmel said. "And then, I get married to it and then when we have our translation and I get uncomfortable in the recording sessions. So I'm waiting for it all to be done, so I don't read ahead. I stay in the dark on purpose - also cause Goku doesn't know [anything] ahead. So I want to keep it fresh; if I already know it's coming, it might affect my performance so... I don't even know what happens at the end of 'Super.' I stay current with the episode I'm working on, on purpose."

That's about the only explanation that reads as both practically valid and professionally sensible on Schemmel's part. Dragon Ball fans might love following the manga arcs and imagining those ideas (which are closer to Toriyama's true vision) being adapted into anime; however, for the voice actors, the finer points of interpretation and translation understandably get a lot more tricky if there's a preconceived notion of how those story/character arcs should play out. At least, that's the idea that Monica Rial echoes in her own explanation:

"I think a lot of us choose not to read the manga for those reasons," Rial explained. "We don't want to get attached to something that's in the manga that might not show up in the anime or you don't want to foreshadow. Like, cause if we do, if we know what's coming, then even if we don't mean to, sometimes in our reads and in our scenes together, we might accidentally put some subtext in there, and so it's sometimes better to just, find out when the character finds out."


Dragon Ball's manga has seen much bigger success as Akira Toriyama's protege Toyotaro has taken over duties on the manga, launching an ambitious new story arc that has fans thrilled. So hopefully, when Schemmel and Rial return for the next Dragon Ball anime, they'll get to discover the thrills of the manga's "Galactic Patrol Prisoner" arc for themselves.

Dragon Ball Super currently airs its English dub on Adult Swim during the Toonami programming block on Saturday evenings. 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 FunimationNOW and Crunchyroll. The manga has chapters that can currently be read for free thanks to Viz Media, and Dragon Ball Super's big movie, Dragon Ball Super: Broly, is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.