Honey-chan had the opportunity to interview the legendary English dub voice actors of Dragon Ball Super for the upcoming film Dragon Ball Super: Broly. This is a 3-part interview, so make sure you read part 1 for Sean Schemel and Chris Sabat. On that note, let’s move on to the voice of Beerus, Jason Douglas.
Interview with Dragon Ball Super: Broly English Dub Cast (NYCC 2018) Part 2: Jason Douglas (Beerus)
Have you seen a rough-cut of the movie?
I have not. As we speak, that film is technically still in production. I know Chris Sabat as his role as facilitator and producer for the English dub has seen a rough cut, but very few others have.
What was it like when you first auditioned for the part of Beerus? Were you selected, did you audition?
You know, that’s a funny question. I feel like my audition for Beerus was actually my performance as Krieg from Borderlands 2. That was a game where I played as just [makes an outrageous impression.] all the time. It’s very much in his throat. He had a lot of lines to chew on and spit out and still be very articulated. And shortly after doing that character, I was invited to...I don’t know if it was a traditional audition. I had to voice Beerus in his first appearance which was a video game.
It might have been Xenoverse. It was his first appearance before Battle of Gods and we didn’t know a lot about the character. So if you listen to the voice it’s a little off from what we do now. But at that point, I had done a character that I think we didn’t know what the future of Beerus was gonna be. And then there was a trailer before Battle of Gods before we did the movie if I recall. And by then it was sorta like “Oh yeah, Beerus is sorta gonna be a big deal in this film.” That was very exciting to me because I’ve been doing anime since the late 90s but I was doing it elsewhere, like I wasn’t anywhere near Funimation. So I was doing a lot of stuff when Dragon Ball was starting to air in the United States. So it was just an incredible privilege for me to find my way into this franchise at this point in the game.
Well there are some people from the Xenoverse games that were actually recast for this series. Were you always intended to come back for Beerus if he ever made an appearance in the anime?
That’s probably a question for Chris Sabat actually. I felt like they were pretty pleased with what I was doing right off the bat, and I love playing characters that are either against my type or just outside of what is the norm for me. Beerus has presented a chance for me to really play as an actor. I think when we turn in really great performances it’s because we’re having fun and synced up with the character because of great writing or in the case of anime, we have the great animation in front of us. Sometimes our experiences voicing a character can feel sort of flat because maybe there’s something about the character that doesn’t resonate with you as an actor, but every once and a while there’s this method that happens with great writing, great animation, comes together with an actor that really just is able to bite into it and so I feel like for me that’s been my experience voicing Beerus.
Are you based in Texas or L.A?
I do work in L.A from time to time. I work regionally quite a bit, but I am based outside of Texas.
So there have never been any instances where you had to record for Beerus outside of Source Connect?
I don’t think I’ve had to. For this show I always make it a point to try to be there and I don’t think I’ve had to record him elsewhere. I know Sean mostly records Goku outside of L.A. And I think there have been times when we had to do the same with some other actors as well.
Interview with Dragon Ball Super: Broly English Dub Cast (NYCC 2018) Part 2: Monica Rial (Bulma)
[That day just so happened to be Monica’s birthday!] Happy birthday!
Oh, [laughs] thank you! Never thought I would be celebrating my birthday at Madison Square Garden for New York Comic Con!
In one of your other interviews, you said that you were exposed to Dragon Ball through the Spanish dub, correct?
You’re currently the voice of Bulma and there have been many different incarnations of her in many languages, and even three in English.
Have you taken any inspiration from of the portrayals, not just the Japanese, to influence your performance?
Most definitely Hiromi Tsuru and, even now with Aya Hisakawa, have influenced my thinking of the character. Also Tiffany Vollmer because Tiffany was on television in the 90s, and that’s what a lot of people grew up with, so when I started on Kai, I wanted to make sure that I was kind of paying homage to what she had already done, because I didn’t want people to watch Dragon Ball Z and then watch Dragon Ball Z Kai and then go “Whoooooa, that’s totally different.” And so, there were a lot of people who said “Oh I didn’t even know it changed.” and I was like “Good, that was the plan.”. And then, once I got kind of into things, we got to Blue Saga and I felt that I could make it more my own and I kind of drifted away from them. I love the Spanish actors, but I don’t even know who they were because there was a Spanish dub in Spain so I’d have to look it up. It’s funny, because I just did Spanish press all morning for the English speaking dub [laughs], so all morning I’m like “Hola, si Dragon Ball Super: Broly!” and when I went to the panel I’m like “Oh no, I have to think in English now, I gotta turn that switch.” But yea, it’s been such a wonderful journey and I’ve really enjoyed it, and Tiffany is the one that I kind of watched the most...besides the Japanese.
Speaking of the Japanese, we don’t know how involved you’ll be in this upcoming film but we don’t know if there will be more Dragon Ball to come after this film. With the recent passing of Bulma’s original voice actress and obviously you’ll be playing off of the new voice actress, do you think that might influence your performance as well? or have you finally found your own homage to all of these different voices and nothing really needs to be changed?
Yeah, that’s a good question. I think now I feel comfortable enough that it might change a little bit, of course when you hear something over and over and over again, the inflections might change. But I’ve also had the privilege to voice other roles that Hiromi and Aya has done, so I’m very familiar with Aya Hisakawa’s voice in general, so I feel like I’m so comfortable with Bulma now that it won’t affect it as much. But I am very excited to hear what Aya does with it because she’s Kero in Cardcaptor Sakura and to think she’s now Bulma—and from what we heard from little clips, she’s doing a wonderful job. I just hope I get to meet Aya because I didn’t get to meet Hiromi and it hit me a lot harder than I thought it would. It was one of those things where you’re like “Oh, that’s sad”, but then two days later, you’re crying. It’s like a friendship and a kindredship even though I haven’t met them, and every time I heard her voice in a game or episode, there was something comforting about it. One of my favorite things that has ever happened in a convention was at Anime Boston with the One Piece seiyuu for Franky, and he pulled me aside with a translator and said “Hey I just want to let you know that I knew Hiromi, we were good friends and did a lot of theater together. I watched you with your fans and I just wanted to let you know that she would be very proud of you”. So I was just sitting there crying in front of everyone, but I hold that to my heart.
Have there been any times when you inputted something in your lines, like what you did for Panty and Stocking?
Not really. Of course, Toei will say you have to add this and do this, but I wouldn’t say they’re invasive. When you go in and the script is a little stilted or it doesn’t feel comfortable, we have no problem going “Hey, is it alright if I say this? I mean the same thing but it’s a little loosey and sounds more like people talk. If you’ve ever read a flat translation, it kinda sounds like Yoda talking. So we try to fix it, but the adapters work so hard. Sometimes, in the booth, we’ll make little changes here and there. And, of course, Sabat is the last one to record so that’s why he gets all those awesome zingers.