Excitement has to be at an all-time high for Toonami fans as we head to the stretch run of 2015. This past week Toonami Asia distributed a press release, revealing that they would be debuting an all new English dub of the new Dragon Ball Z series, Dragon Ball Super. That’s right, the new series that premiered in Japan back in June of 2015. While I know many people were excited about this news, many began to speculate on all of the logistics of the announcement. What company would be dubbing it? Did FUNimation play coy at New York Comic Con and have a dub all set up? What does this mean for Toonami in the U.S.? Why will it premier of Toonami Asia first? Like I said, many questions began to pop up once the news was confirmed. So what can this mean for the future of the franchise and the action block in the U.S.? While I have no inside information, all I can do is speculate on what this could mean for anime fans here. Things can only go up from here, and that’s a pleasant thought for the future.
First off, this is a great sign that the new series is getting an English dub even if FUNimation isn’t the ones responsible for it. While it won’t be airing on the stateside version of Toonami (yet), this is the first big step for a show to be viewed in the U.S. Jason DeMarco has stated time and time again that Toonami will never air any subbed anime. So if DB Super is getting a dub then that should mean that it will be on Toonami at some point (barring anything major stopping the action block). After all, this is the franchise that made Toonami a powerhouse back in its first run on Cartoon Network. Back when I was younger, my friends and I would rush back home after school to make it in time for DBZ (and I know I’m not the only one who had that experience).
Let the nostalgia commence! DBZ was a staple for Toonami, and to me, was the biggest reason why the action block was as popular as it was. When it was later moved to Saturday’s on its Cartoon Network run, DBZ wasn’t featured much, if at all. Yet the show still held interest with fans, with movies that were aired (and fans talking about the show since it was so popular). When it comes to anime, DBZ ranks higher in popularity compared to Cowboy Bebop and Full Metal Alchemist. So even with it being nearly 2o years since the franchise had a new series. Proving that there is still a demand for more DBZ content.
Fastforward to Adult Swim’s Toonami, and adding Kai to the lineup should have brought back a lot of older fans. With the series starting off the block night after night, it’s been proven that Kai deserves to bat leadoff. It’s the block’s highest rating show, and consistently brings in viewers that potentially dominate the night. The name DBZ is just too well known for it go unnoticed from casual viewers.
It makes a great deal of sense for Toonami Asia to get Dragon Ball Super but I was not expecting that to be where it aired in English first.
— Kamen Bus Driver (Sketch) (@Sketch1984) November 10, 2015
So the biggest question poised after the announcement was who would be producing this English dub? Kanzenshuu.com was able to get confirmation from a source/representative at Funimation that they are not connected with Toonami Asia or the production of the new English dub next year. So that makes me wonder what company is making the dub? I’m not too familiar with other dubbing companies outside of those in the U.S. (FUNimation, Viz Media, Sentai Filmworks, Aniplex USA, Ponycan, and NIS America). I’m sure they are just as talented as the ones that American fans are accustomed too. There are other English dubbing companies in Canada like Ocean Group or Blue Water Dubbing Productions, but I’m unsure if that company or any other will dub this series for Toonami Asia.
Could this cause DBZ fans some concern since FUNimation isn’t currently working on a DB Super dub (according to reports)? Right now we can only speculate that they are working on other projects (until more information is available). With contract talks and licensing agreements being made, the dubbing company can’t just outright say they are going to work on Super, especially if they aren’t involved. There are always clauses and gag orders that prevent people from being able to announce anything to fans who desperately want to know (and actors who are looking for work). So as of now, it looks as if a new company will get a chance to dub the iconic franchise’s new series. That isn’t the greatest news in the world, but I don’t think it can detract fans from the franchise.
However, I do think that FUNimation has every intention of dubbing the series at a later date. This franchise has had a relationship with dubbing company for years now. Anime representatives and executives know how much FUNimation takes care of their property to give fans the best quality they can. So even with this other English dub being produced, I bet FUNimation will get their chance later. It would certainly feel weird if Sean Schemmel and Christopher Sabat weren’t reprising their roles for the franchise. Changing the characters voices now could stop the momentum it has kept in the U.S. I’m not a huge fan of switching cast members in the middle of a series (Shakugan no Shana as an example), so I’m wondering if this will just be a separate dub that the viewing audience of Toonami Asia can view. That way once Toonami in the U.S. can air the show, it would be a FUNimation production.
In any case, there shouldn’t be a huge rush to get Super on the U.S. version of Toonami anyway. Right now fans are heading the climax of Goku vs. Freeza, which means there are still plenty of episodes left with DBZ Kai. Fans still have the Cell saga and Majin Buu arc to look forward too. Not to mention that there will always be a sliver of hope that movies would return, giving fans a chance to watch the latest films on TV. Also there will be a few marathons in between giving fans and Toonami executives a break from giving new content week after week. So instead of rushing to get new content, those breaks can allow Toonami to plan when a new show will air on their schedule. Besides this timeframe can give FUNimation more time to dub (if they are in fact dubbing the series).
Even with the scenario of a different company dubbing Dragon Ball Super, I’m very excited that the new series will be receiving an English dub so soon. Right now, only 18 episodes have aired (according to Wikipedia) and looks to be broadcasted on Toonami Asia mid-2016. That could mean June or July, or even sooner (my guess is April at the moment). All this does is bring more excitement to a franchise that has dominated the anime scene since the 90’s. If you need any more proof of that, just look at what the latest movie (Dragon Ball Z Resurrection of F) did in the box office. Toonami Asia has been airing Dragon Ball Z and Kai for their fans, so obviously bringing in the latest series was the best decision for its future. The crave for more DBZ content just continues to grow and this new series will be welcomed with open arms.
DBZ is the Ruler of Anime
— adultswim (@adultswim) November 9, 2015
So for those worrying about a new dub, and it debuting on Toonami Asia should stop before they get a headace. Getting a show on the action block is a long process, which can drag on. I for one can’t wait for whoever dubd the series for the rest of the world. With how popular and commanding DBZ Kai is (viewing numbers wise), it’s great to know that a new series in the franchise is being made. Now once Kai is over, Toonami can move on to Super seamlessly. Thus, the audience that are strictly DBZ fans can continue returning every Saturday. I will try to keep an eye on how the cast of Toonami Asia’s dub will sound. But it’s just a pleasure that fans get more and all Toonami can do is reap the reward.
C.J Maffris is an editorial writer for Toonamifaithful.com. His writing level is over….nope not going to say it. Feel free to make bad DBZ puns with him on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris