SDCC 2019: Dragon Ball Z 30th Anniversary Panel

Dragon Ball has become a worldwide phenomenon, and San Diego Comic-Con is ready to celebrate one of its biggest phases. Dragon Ball Z is celebrating its 30th anniversary at the convention, and has your breakdown of the panel below:


To start off, the voice of Krillin comes out with Sonny Strait. Monica Rial comes out next before Christoper Sabat comes out to represent Vegeta. Finally, Goku comes out himself with Sean Schemmel at the helm. A longtime Dragon Ball Z fan comes out with Mohamed Sanu from the Atlanta Falcons.

When asked how the actors prepared for the role, Schemmel said he read the manga and tried to wrap his head around how much screaming he had to do. He also went over the lore of the original series and brushed up on the original Dragon Ball anime. Schemmel didn't know he was playing the main character for like two weeks until Sabat informed him.

As for Sabat, the actor began later than others after he was cast as Yamcha for an anime film. He was trying to help Funimation find someone who could voice the leads, and that is where they met Strait amongst others. Sabat went on to say the crew did not realize how the gig would turn out, and he did not take great care of his voice. However, Sabat and Schemmel said their voices are in great condition now.

Strait? He said he was inspired to voice Krillin by doing Popeye the Sailor on helium. He originally tried out for a different role, but his gag take on Krillin won.

The second question has to do with their first impressions. Rial said her first impression was seeing the show in Spain as her family lived there. She would watch the show with her brother who didn't speak Spanish very well, so she would voice all of the characters for him. Years later, the two things which followed her from Spain were Dragon Ball and the Macarena.

Originally, Schemmel said he was confused about the Super Saiyan form. Like, how could someone get more power from screaming? But he is glad to have figured it out and seen then phenomen be introduced.

Suon chimes in, saying he's been a fan of the franchise since he was a child. He would watch the show everyday after school on Toonami with his friends. And Sabat? His first impression was a trash back; That is because he was handed a trash bag of VHS tapes which were given to study. Sabat said it was really bizarre because there was no explanation for it, and nothing had been ever seen like that in the West. Schemmel said the anime's serial format was different compared to most animated ones in the the U.S. which were episodic, making it a first for fans.

The third question has to do when the panelists realized the show was a big thing. They all said those original conventions after the show was dubbed were huge, and Schemmel says it is hard to believe Goku has a balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Strait says they knew the show was number one with fans, but they did not expect signing lines to be quite as long as they were. And even today, the response by fans is still massive.

As for Rial, she says her father (who is from Spain) never wanted her to be an actress, but he became a big supporter as he was a fan of Dragon Ball. Strait said the same thing as his mother wanted him to go back to school for accounting, but she quit pushing once she heard him on Dragon Ball.

Suon said he knew Dragon Ball was a big deal when his mom would make sure he got home early just so he could watch the anime.

The fourth question asked is about how the stars have noticed how long the series has been popular. Schemmel says it happens when entire families become fans after one of them grew up with it. Strait said his step-son was a big fan, and now that boy's son is also a fan.

When asked how Dragon Ball Z has inspired his life, Suon says he has cleats for all of the characters from Goku to Vegeta and Krillin. He says it inspires him constantly to do better on the field, so Schemmel began training Suon on the stage. The actor chimed in and said he got into martial arts because he wants to be closer to the hero. But all of his old classmates were Dragon Ball fans, and they thought Schemmel being there was the best.

Schemmel says his favorite parts of Dragon Ball Z where in the Majin Buu arc with Vegeta. He also loves the Father-Son Kamehameha. As for Sabat, he loves a lot of the filler stuff; The driving school episode with Piccolo. Sabat encourages the Toei Animation folks to bring back Marron and Launch to the series and maybe have them fuse. As for Rial, she said the scene where Bulma learns of Vegeta's death was a favorite, but the scream she gave actually made her cry because it was so emotional.

And Suon? The football star says his favorites are when Goku goes Super Saiyan for the first time. His favorite Vegeta moment comes in the Majin Buu arc when Vegeta smiles.

Another question asked is dream fights. Schemmel wants Bubbles to fight King Kai or Greggors. Strait was a full-on cage match with all of the villains while Rial just wants Bulma to fight period. Suon wants to see Whis and his sister fight which the whole crowd agreed with.

The next question has to be advice for what the panelists would give to their characters. Rial tells Bulma to document things better. Strait tells Krillin to go home if he feels overwhelmed, and Schemmel jokes Goku needs to grow more Senzu beans. Sabat tells Yamcha to find someone else to date and maybe to tell Vegeta it is a bad idea to fight Freeza.

When asked their favorite things they've learned in Dragon Ball Super, Schemmel loves Goku was a farmer and could not use cellphones. He loves the Saiyan is a strategist, and he loves all of the hair colors. As for Sabat, his favorite thing is Vegeta and Bulma are married and love each other; Vegeta does love strong women. The Saiyan has become more balanced. Dragon Ball Super lets fans know these characters even better and in more nuance.

Rial is excited to see Bulma become the mama bear of the series like in the Broly film; She has also become stronger in mental fortitude and hard-headedness. As for Strait, he things Krillin is even stronger now because he is fighting for both Android 18 and his daughter. Strait says the show itself has evolved, and Sabat says he loves where Yamcha lives now. The show sees him in an apartment, and it is the single most boring place in the world. There is one picture above the bed which changes to Sabat's curiosity.

Schemmel says he really loves the universe where Brienne and the Love Universe comes; Universe 11 too. Strait says Krillin would just want to go home, and Rial would want Bulma in Universe 7. Sabat is fascinated by the universes which got destroyed a long time ago, so he wants that story explored.

Sabat says he's been leaving time capsules around the world; He tells fans to go train, and they will come back later all buffed up or having met their goal. He found his first in Australia not too long ago, and he thinks there are more on the way.

Schemmel has been told this is just the beginning. The critical mass is continuing, and they are telling the group everything will be taken to the next level. Rial says she can't wait to meet fans' kids' kids.

For the 30th anniversary, Strait says thank you for all their support. He did not think he would have a career out of this. As for Rial, she echoes those thoughts and hopes to continue coming back with new projects. Sabat says his one thing to pass on is to "hit that like and subscribe button" jokingly. He says no one expected this success and is so grateful. Schemmel agrees because everything he has in his life he owes to Dragon Ball. If they call for more Dragon Ball, he will be there. He is ready to do it for the rest of his life.


So, are you a big fan of this iconic anime after all these decades? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!

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.