At Anime Expo 2017, it came as to no surprise that Sean Schemmel (Goku, King Kai) and Christopher R. Sabat (Vegeta, Piccolo) returned as guest speakers for the DRAGON BALL SUPER (DBS) panel. Hearing Sabat speak in that gruff Vegeta voice was a real treat. It brought back my childhood memories of DRAGON BALL Z (DBZ).

The deafening crowd would agree as he took entrance along with Schemmel and two other guests. One was Ryo Horikawa, the actual father (not literally) and Japanese seiyuu of Vegeta. The other was Jason Douglas (TWD’s Tobin, BORDERLANDS 2 Krieg), the English voice of Beerus. All of them entered in their respective character’s voices with the exception of Schemmel because Goku himself doesn’t need lines.

“I’m a member of the greatest band in the world that doesn’t play music called Dragon Ball and you’re all a part of it,” Schemmel said enthusiastically as he strolled out from the backstage to sit in his guest chair.

From left to right: Jason Douglas, Christopher Sabat, Sean Schemmel, and Ryo Horikawa

Turnout was huge, as expected of such a popular series as DRAGON BALL. Most of the audience was comprised of people who had started with DBZ (I’m one of them), so that’d make them be in their mid to late twenties or even early thirties. Only a few were newcomers. It was surprising to find that there were family members as well. I found it quite funny when the question of forcing your kids to watch DRAGON BALL was asked.  

“I meet parents who’re like: ‘you have to watch it or I’m indoctrinating you to Dragon Ball,” Schemmel said.

READ: Missed out on AX 2017? Get a recap of what’s good with our article here.

Jokes aside, which there was a lot of, the Q&A panel mainly focused on the characters of the guests as well as their experiences with their characters. One interesting character that’s still pretty new to the series is the God of Destruction Beerus, who first debuted in the DBZ: BATTLE OF GODS film. The film would later be redone as the first arc for DBS. Douglas, whose only other contribution to the series was King Cold, received the part for Beerus because Sabat felt he really sounded like the Japanese seiyuu that portrayed him.

“It’s interesting because coming in I had done King Cold for DBZ Kai and then Chris brought me in to do a role for Borderlands 2,” Douglas said. “Then he brought me in to read for Beerus. At the time I didn’t have a clear idea that he was going to be such important ongoing character for the franchise. I thought there was such an interesting and clever way that he was conceived and drawn.”

Who is Beerus?

The God of Destruction, voiced by Douglas, charging an energy blast

Beerus, design wise, is based off the Egyptian Sphinx cat and as Douglas puts it during the panel, his design is definitely interesting. So just how does he fit into the series?

“Beerus is a force of nature,” Douglas said. “He views himself as being the ultimate potent force of destruction. He’s a star killer and planet destroyer. What touches off is Beerus having a dream. He’s visited by a vision. He’s got to find this Super Saiyan God [Goku] because it might present a challenge.”

Just as Douglas described, Beerus destroys planets to ensure that new planets are created. Although this is his job as God of Destruction, Beerus destroys as he sees fit. This no doubt causes problems for other gods, especially those of creation, and upsets the balance of the universe. Furthermore, only one condition may save a planet from its fate from Beerus and that is food. Good thing Earth has a wide variety of dishes. However, that’s not all. According to Douglas, he has to find this Super Saiyan God and that turns out to be none other than Goku.

A Possible Bond Amongst Gods

In a way, Beerus acts as the catalyst for Goku to attain his Super Saiyan God form. Obviously, Goku saves the day and prevents the Earth yet again from being blown to smithereens. In fact, like in true DRAGON BALL or shonen action anime fashion, Beerus becomes an ally. This isn’t surprising at all but the relationship between him, Goku, and even Vegeta is quite interesting mainly because he serves as their mentor later on. For Goku, it’s a sign that he gets to fight and overcome someone stronger.

A day of training on Beerus’ planet.

“It’s different,” Schemmel said. “Beerus is a different kind of villain versus a malevolent villain [like Cell or Frieza] bent on destruction for a mean reason. Beerus is simply what he is.”

CLICK: You’ve learned a bit about Beerus? Now meet the Super Saiyan God that fought him.

Contrary to the belief that Frieza is indeed a malevolent villain, both Sabat and Horikawa agree that he served as Vegeta’s mentor. This may be the sole reason why Vegeta may seem merciless at times. I mean he was introduced as a cold-blooded villain before turning anti-hero and then a hero. However, when it comes to Beerus, Vegeta totally loses his serious demeanor and acts like a servant of sorts to Beerus, more so on the comedic side.

Still, it’s strange to see Vegeta actually training under someone, but I would definitely train under a god. However, it’s a given that Beerus also serves as another catalyst for Vegeta as the Saiyan Prince still wants nothing but to surpass Goku’s strength. As Horikawa states, Vegeta’s relationship may grow with Beerus as DBS progresses further. It’s definitely Beerus may see something more in these two Saiyans. Perhaps the most interesting question that really caught my attention was Schemmel’s theory.

A New God of Destruction or Creation?

“I have this theory,” Schemmel said. “Ryo, do you think Beerus and Whis may be grooming Goku and Vegeta to be a new god of destruction or a new god of creation? Do you think Vegeta is the new god of destruction?”

And then saw Horikawa nod in response and reply with a yes to Schemmel. The crowd around me was definitely intrigued by the question with the clapping at the time. I doubt that Goku will be either, but I can see Vegeta being some kind of God of Destruction. Let’s face it: it’s Vegeta. How could he not have this kind of power?

Super Saiyan God Blue, as in Super Saiyan in god form. Is there more power beyond this form?

It’s an interesting theory that was left open for me as well as others to ponder, but not a lot to take in. However, it did have me thinking that since Goku and Vegeta are always striving to grow stronger that there may be something later on in the series that may happen. Perhaps another new form? The theory was also subtly brought up again when Douglas talked more about Beerus’ destructive power and the reason he sought out Goku. It had Schemmel ask if Goku is a force of nature as well, which I would definitely agree on since Goku is always enjoying the fights. It’s more of a personality thing really.

Closing Thoughts

There wasn’t much else to the panel aside more questions from the audience for the guests, but I feel I already touched upon the more important questions as well as the importance of Beerus’ character. I’d have to say, it was a wonderful experience learning about the experiences and motivations of the guests themselves, who have been working on the series for eighteen years or more. The only exception is Douglas of course as his character is still relatively new.

READ: Anime Expo comes once a year, check out how you can prepare for next year with this article.

“I’m very proud of [the series] and very happy of my acting in Japan because so many fans in the US are willing to see it,” Horikawa said. “It’s a very wonderful thing!”

“That’s beautiful,” Schemmel said in response. “I wake up every day and still think [the series] is a dream eighteen years on. It’s the best job in the world.”

“I didn’t even imagine we’d be doing this [at AX] four years after we started,” Sabat said. “It’s blowing my mind.”
“When I started doing anime twenty years ago, these guys were, at the same time, starting to do Dragon Ball,” Douglas said. “I never dreamed that I’d be a part of it because it was not in my backyard. But when I started working with Chris and these guys, it was a dream come true. Dragon Ball is one of the best written and best-conceived shows out there. It’s just an honor to be a part of it.”

Feature image and guest image edited from Funimation stream. 

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