If you wish to plow through it, the entire story is up for digestion over on my personal blog — we will mostly just stick to the “news” here so as to not completely clutter up the page.
Amidst the fire alarm nonsense at Otakon this past weekend, I had an opportunity to ask voice director and actor Yūji Mitsuya if he would be returning to the role of Kaiōshin in Dragon Ball Kai when it eventually makes its way to that story arc.
Mitsuya responded that he was not sure, himself. Despite being friends with the director of the show, he was not convinced they would be able to afford him! He mentioned how he would even be willing to take a reduced rate on the job, showing a pretty heavy dedication to the series. To semi quote myself:
With the entirety of Ginyu-Tokusentai being replaced with new voice actors (including Kenji Utsumi as Reacoom, despite him returning to the show to voice Shenlong), along with plenty of other voice actors that have become much bigger in the industry since their roles in Dragon Ball, it has really made us wonder just how expensive Dragon Ball Kai actually is to produce, despite us always describing it as “cheap” and “a money-grab” and “half-assed” in almost every way. Hujio and I later discussed how it seems that these days we get confirmations of actors returning either very close to their first appearance in the series… or not at all. Many times it will not even come from the official site for the series, and instead from the actors themselves or their fan communities (such as the case with #17).
Branching off of that, we could not help but speculate further. Was the licensing of Kai to FUNimation for American distribution a way to raise quick capital to fund the further production of the series? When it was first announced, it was clear that the series would go through at least the Freeza arc, since the villain was clearly shown on all production materials. The fact that it would be moving onward into the next story arc with Cell was a very casual “announcement”.
It was an incredible and moving (in a literal sense!) panel with the man, and the little tidbits of insight into Kai‘s production was just the icing on the cake.