For the fifth and final part of our Dragon Ball Super: Broly premiere interviews, we sat down with the man of the hour, Vic Mignogna, the voice of the title character of this highly anticipated film, to ask him his thoughts regarding Broly and the Dragon Ball franchise in general.
Due to time constraints, we were joined with another reporter, Yukiko Sumi from the Weekly LaLaLa, and for the benefit of both our viewers and with her permission, I have also included her questions and answers from this roundtable session as well.
Hey, everyone. I’m Daniel Limjoco (@AnimeSavior) from ToonamiFaithful.com and @ToonamiNews, and I’m hanging out with Vic Mignogna, the voice of Broly, as well as the voice of Edward Elric from Full Metal Alchemist, Ikaku from Bleach, Nagato from Naruto, Rohan from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, among other roles.
For those new to Dragon Ball and never watched the previous Broly films, or they have and just need a refresher, tells about a bit about your character Broly?
Vic: We’ll, Broly has been around for about 15 years. But what I recently learned was that the original Broly from the movies or the video games up to this point were not a creation of Akira Toriyama. That he was not involved in the creation of those Broly movies, 8, 10, and 11. So what I found out when I heard that this movie was coming out, the people that were involved were quick to tell me: “This is not that Broly. It’s Toriyama’s vision of that character, and it’s a different Broly.” So the original Broly was just a big, mean, angry guy, and didn’t have much backstory, didn’t have a great deal of character development, just fought and yelled. Fought and yelled: “Kakarot, Kakarot, Kakarot.” This Broly is so much more compelling, so much more interesting, and so much more developed than he ever was before. You will learn more about him and what makes him tick and why he does what he does. And I would dare say you will even…your heart will go out to this guy. You will sympathize with this character in a way that you would never imagined you would have with the Broly up to this point.
Was it hard to act the new Broly?
Vic: No, it was a great joy. It was much, much fun. One of the things that I always had wished for Broly is that he would have more story. That would you would learn more about him. And I think that is probably what a lot of people wanted. Over the years, people that I would talk to, hundreds and thousands of fans who loved Dragon Ball, they love Broly but there’s not really much story or history about him. So it was a great deal of fun. Very very much pleasure in playing the character, this new version of him that is much more developed and fleshed out than before.
When it was announced that Broly was returning, fans jokingly said “RIP Vic’s vocal chords” as we’ve heard many horror stories of you being so into voicing Broly that you lost your voice for days after recording a Broly film. Take us a bit into the passion and energy required to perfect Broly’s voice.
Vic: We’ll, I will say this. There are some voice actors that I have heard say that there is a technique that you can use that you can yell all day long and it won’t hurt your voice. I don’t believe that. I don’t think there is such a technique. I think that if you are really going to yell, that you need to really let it go. And that honestly I think the audience can tell when you’re just kind of faking it, when you’re holding back. So when you’re going to do a character like this, you got to give it everything you got. And I told Justin Cook and Chris Sabat when we started the recording for this movie: “You will get every ounce that I have.” However, you don’t want to lose your voice the first day of recording, because then you can’t finish dubbing the movie.
So the way that we approached it was that I spent a week at Funimation and we would record for two hours a day. So we would go in at around 6:00, and we would record from 6-8, and then I would go home and I sit quietly and drink plenty of water and drink some hot tea with honey and then try to get a good night’s rest and the next day the voice would be back and we would hit it again for two hours. We spread the session out over a week so that I didn’t wear my voice out on the first day.
What does it mean to be a part of the Dragon Ball franchise?
Vic: It’s a great honor. I remember when they first asked me to play Broly 15 years ago. I didn’t know a lot about Dragon Ball but I knew that it was an iconic show, so even back then I was very honored to even be a part of it. And like when the fans are like: “Ooh, do you hate Broly?” I’m like: “No, I love being a part of Dragon Ball. It’s not easy to do all the yelling, but I do love being a part of it.” So it means a great deal to me not only to be a part of Dragon Ball for the last 15 years, but now especially to get to play this new version of Broly that is so much more well fleshed out than he ever was.
Daniel: Definitely looking forward to seeing this new Broly for myself.
Vic: I know, it’s a great movie.
From what you have seen, what are your impressions of the film and what do you think fans should fans expect going into Broly?
Vic: You know what? I think the fans are going find this to be one of the best Dragon Ball movies, if not the best Dragon Ball movie that’s been out. And I’ll tell you why, because everyone expects great fight scenes and there are plenty of them. The visuals and the battle scenes in this movie are second to none. They are so dynamic and so well done. However, in addition to the fighting scenes being great, there’s actually a story. There’s actually a background and a history for this character that to this point has not really had much of that. So I think it’s going to please fans on many levels. I think they’re going to love the fighting and the battles. And I think they’re going to love the music and they’re going to love the animation. And I’ve been told that all of the voice actors involved really brought their A game and I know the people at Funimation are very very pleased with the way everything sounds.
What is the hardest part and the most fun of voice acting?
Vic: Well the most fun is getting to play all kinds of different characters. For instance, if you were making a movie and you were thinking of casting me in your movie, you would look at me and you would think: “Oh, ok. This is what he looks like, this is how he comes across on screen.” There would only be a couple of roles where you would consider me for. But in voice acting you could play anyone. You don’t have to look like the character. You don’t have to share a lot of the common physical traits. I’ve been involved in over 300 different animated series and video games and played all different types of characters. So the most fun for a voice actor is to get to play characters that you would never get to play on-screen. The hardest part I would probably just say is the vocal strain of it because a lot of times there are fighting, yelling, [and] loud lines. Even in Fullmetal Alchemist, Ed had to fight, Ed has his crazy short rants when he called short. So even in that show, there was plenty of that. I love playing characters through all their emotions. I really, as an actor, I love the scenes where a character is really emotional about whatever. Either they’re really scared, or they’re really sad, or they’re really nervous, or they’re really angry. I love playing characters through all the different emotional highs and lows. But the only challenge is the vocal strain sometimes. That’s why I always love playing characters like Fai in Tsubasa or Crow in RWBY, they don’t yell and scream much, they’re just pretty calm and evenly tempered all the time. You can do that all day long.
Beyond this film, where would you like to see Broly (assuming he survives) and the Dragon Ball franchise in general next? What’s on your personal wish list?
Vic: I’ve been told by those who know that the previous Dragon Ball Super movies, [including] the characters that showed up in the movie, ended up in the series. And I am hoping that will be the case with Broly. The movie certainly leaves it open for that possibility, shall we say. So I am so excited that he is a part of the canon now and I would love to see him show up in more Dragon Ball in the future. I think fans will enjoy him a lot and I would certainly love the opportunity to play him more.
Daniel: I remember when Broly was introduced, some fans were like: “Broly again?” But as we see the trailers and what Toriyama has said, it’s shifted a lot towards: “Hmm, maybe bringing Broly back was the right move…”
Vic: You know, maybe you didn’t like him much, but…
Daniel: Oh, no. I’m totally fine with Broly returning…
Vic: Broly was a fan favorite. He’s one of the favorite villains, if you want to call him that, he’s one of the favorite movie villians, and so I think the people that really liked Broly from the original movies will absolutely lose their minds over this Film. They’re going to love it.
Daniel: I’m looking forward to it.
Do you think that in the 15 years you have voiced Broly that Dragon Ball would be what it is today?
Vic: Never. And I don’t think Chris Sabat, or Sean Schemmel, or Eric Vale, or any of the cast imagined back when we started doing this that long ago. I don’t think anybody imagined that it would be still going and going strong. Dragon Ball is iconic, like that show is largely responsible for, I would say, anime being as mainstream as it is today. There are only a handful of shows like that way back when that were dubbed and had any kind of mainstream appeal. You had your Pokémons and your Digimons, and Dragon Ball, and when I was a little boy, Speed Racer. But anime wasn’t that big. It was more kind of a niche, a kind of a little subculture of its own. And Dragon Ball helped bring it into the mainstream. So I don’t think anybody imagined back then that it would be still going strong many years later.
Daniel: I’d have to agree. I was just a little kid when Dragon Ball Z came out and seeing back then to seeing today, I even find it crazy I’m still enjoying this show as a fan today and even contributing to a site that reports on Dragon Ball and Toonami as a whole.
Ever since Space Dandy aired on Toonami in 2014, Funimation has upped the amount of simuldubs they have produced, which has culminated to Broly premiering dubbed in US theaters a month after it premieres in Japan, a very fast turnaround compared to the English dubs of many other anime films. Can you give us an idea of how close this time crunch is and the level of difficulty compared to a film or show that might have several months or even years of breathing room to dub?
Vic: We’ll it’s incredibly challenging. That’s not easy to turn a dub around within a week of them being premiered in Japan. Like that’s crazy. That’s an enormous challenge. But Funimation a couple of years back had decided that one of the things that the fans really were asking for was to get the dub as soon as possible. And so they took it to great lengths to make it possible. To make deals with the Japanese production companies to get the materials, the animation, the scripts, the music and effects and tracks, to get those as soon as possible so they could turn them around as soon as possible. And now Funimation has developed that into an art form. Like it’s unbelievable. I directed a simuldub last fall called Juni Taisen and it was really challenging to have to cast it and record it within a week, because each week a new episode comes out. That’s setting the bar very high, if you know what I mean. Like that’s a big challenge for Funimation for wanting to try to do that. But they have excelled at that.
Do you have any final message to Dragon Ball fans?
Vic: My message is that everything you love about Dragon Ball is in this film and more things that you didn’t expect are in this film.
Daniel: I think that’s about it, so on behalf of the Toonami Faithful, Toonami News, and DBZ fans everywhere, thanks for talking with me and to everyone, look forward to Dragon Ball Super: Broly premiering in select theaters on January 16 and keep watching Dragon Ball Super every Saturday Night on Toonami.
Vic: Thank you so much.
Images and screenshots are courtesy of Funimation.
What are your thoughts of this interview? Are you looking forward to watching Broly? Let us know what you think at the comments below or directly on our social media.