Translations Archive

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods Official Movie Guide

Masako Nozawa Interview

Nozawa-san has continued to play the character Son Goku for many years. She spoke to us enthusiastically about her excitement for the movie, and about Goku’s appeal!

Affiliated with Aoni Production. Has played many roles, including Son Goku in Dragon Ball, Kitarō in Hakaba Kitarō, and Tetsurō Hoshino in Galaxy Express 999.

A recording studio with an at-home atmosphere, built up over many years

Please tell us your thoughts upon finishing your recording.
My honest thoughts were, “I wonder how it will be finished up?” As for why that is, when I was recording, it was often the case that, due to the schedule, I’d be doing it without any visuals. And on top of that, this time, the two guests [Yamadera and Morita] playing the antagonists recorded on a different day, so we couldn’t record together. So, I recorded the dialogue, not going back and forth [with Kōchi Yamadera], but talking one-way. Although, as much as [they were incomplete at the time], I could look forward to what the visuals would be like when it was finished. (laughs)
Were there other voice actors there on the day you recorded, Nozawa-san?
Almost all of us recorded together. But the ones my performance intertwines with the most in the movie are Kōichi Yamadera-san as Beerus and Masakazu Morita-san as Whis, aren’t they? It was a little lonesome. (laughs) As soon as he got the part, I got an e-mail from Kōichi Yamadera-san saying, “This is the greatest! I’m truly happy to be able to perform together with you, Mako-san”. That made me glad, too. It makes me happy when one of my juniors [in the voice-acting profession] says something like that.
The voice actors got together to perform with each other for the first time in a long while; how was it?
It was like a class reunion, which made me happy. In my mind, the roles and the people who play them are completely linked. Bulma equals Hiromi Tsuru-san, and Piccolo equals Toshio Furukawa-san, so the atmosphere was good, as though we honestly were companions who had fought together. All at once, we’d go back to when [the show] was originally on the air.
There are a lot of [industry] veterans in the recording studio when it comes to Dragon Ball.
At the time the TV series was on the air, the director said, “This show scares me. I mean, Mayumi Tanaka-san1 is the youngest one here, fetching tea for the others. And Tanaka-san is a veteran herself…”. Of course, now there are even younger people, so we have them [fetch tea] instead. (laughs)
What sort of things did you talk about with the other voice actors in the studio?
The topics that came up really were stories related to Dragon Ball. “Back then, it was like this, it was like that”. We all get along harmoniously; or rather, as soon as we enter the studio, we can become family.

They have been together for many years, so she understands Goku’s feelings

Is there anything you paid attention to for the first movie in 17 years?
Not at all. After all, no matter how many years pass, Goku is Goku. He mustn’t change. On the contrary, I worked to make sure the performance was no different from before.
Was there anything you talked about with the director regarding your performance?
Nothing in particular, but in the scene where Goku is weakened, at first, I got the instruction from the director Hosoda, “Weaker. Like in a whisper.” I was a bit resistant, but I played it as I was told. After I finished, I asked the director Hosoda, “Sorry, but can I record one more time? No matter what, Goku is never that weak. He wouldn’t be Goku anymore. So, please let me play him in a state with a little more strength left.” The director allowed it, so I had the privilege of doing a retake. I recorded it a few different ways, and I was pleased that the performance with the most strength left, which I secretly hoped they would use, was used in the actual film. Much later, I heard that the director Hosoda said, “Using the dialogue that Nozawa-san did over again was the best fit; I’m glad [she did it].” It’s something that makes me happy as a performer. I’ve been together with Goku for many years, so to me, he’s like my alter-ego.
Having so much emotional investment, is playing Goku fun for you?
It’s fun! Back when I was doing the TV series, every week Shueisha would send a copy of Weekly Shōnen Jump to my house, but there would be story developments ahead of the animation inside it, right? I felt bad since they had gone out of their way to send it to me, I just did not want to learn about future developments, so I never once read it. On days when I recorded, I was completely Goku the whole time, so I wanted to enter the studio with the excitement of, “I wonder just what kind of guy I’ll fight against today?” When guest voices came to the studio, whenever it looked like they were about to talk about future developments that I wasn’t aware of, the producer at the time would rush to stop them. (laughs) I tried to read the manga for that part only after I’d finished the recording for it. It was enjoyable, so I’d read it as just another reader, and then from the second time through, I’d check to see how they expanded the original manga to make the anime.

“I want to see the Goku who’s always continuing to fight against the strongest”

Is it a feeling as though Goku is there within you?
He is! He’s with me even now. A long time has passed since the original broadcast ended, but it doesn’t feel that way at all. I believe he’s always living together with me.
Are there any aspects where you think you resemble Goku?
We’re relatively alike, although I’m not as strong as Goku. (laughs) Goku lives in a natural way, doesn’t he? He doesn’t put on airs, and if he doesn’t understand something, he’ll say that he doesn’t understand. When you become an adult, you’d hesitate, thinking, “Won’t it be embarrassing if I ask something like that?” Because, for instance, if you ask (looking at the paper cup in her hands), “What’s this called?” people will say, “What are you, a moron?!” But I’m just like Goku, so I don’t have that [hesitation]. It’d go, “What’s this called, again?” “It’s a paper cup, Mako-san!” “Ah, right, a paper cup. I see now!” In that respect, I think I resemble Goku quite a bit.

The highlight is the whole thing! In a word, wonderful!!

Where are the highlights for Goku in this work?
There are a lot. There are… but I don’t want to say that. (laughs) As for why, it’s because I want to say that the highlight is the whole thing. When the movie starts, Toei’s triangular logo comes out, right? I want you to get excited from there. But if I had to say something, it would be the battle scene. The impact is completely different from before… I don’t want to say any more than that!
Did you get to see the completed visuals?
I saw it at the “#0” preview screening, together with the staff and Toriyama-sensei. It was surprising to see. One word: “Wonderful!” There are scenes in the middle that are so funny you’ll laugh out loud, but the audience was nothing but staff, so it was an atmosphere where you couldn’t really laugh. From the standpoint of the staff, this was Toriyama-sensei’s check, so they were watching nervously. Under those circumstances, I struggled to contain my laughter. After we finished watching, I told them, “None of you were laughing, so I had to hold it in,” and then the producer told me, “It’s okay to laugh, you know.” He should have told me that at the beginning. (laughs)
Please tell us your thoughts on this movie’s new characters.
Actually, with regards to Whis, at first I was under the mistaken impression that he was the God of Destruction. (laughs) When I read the script, and read the scene where he said “As you wish” and went along with Beerus, I was genuinely surprised. When I first saw Beerus, I thought, “He’s an interesting character”. Up until now, [movie villains] have all come out with visuals that say without a doubt “The Strongest!”, haven’t they? But Beerus… doesn’t look strong at all, does he? And, he doesn’t put on airs. He’s unaffected to the point that he’ll spout, “I want pudding!” isn’t he? So in that sense, I thought it was nice and fresh. Toriyama-sensei’s concepts are truly wonderful.
In the future, what sort of Goku would you like to see?
I want to see the Goku who’s always continuing to fight against the strongest. Goku is an ally of justice, so as long as evil appears, I want him to fight. But Goku would definitely never declare to other people that he’s an ally of justice. He just has a natural trait of deciding, “that’s a good guy, and that guy’s no good”. (laughs) He doesn’t defeat them because they’re bad; as far as Goku’s concerned, it’s just to teach them a lesson.
Lastly, a few words for the readers who are looking forward to the movie’s opening, if you please.
There really are a lot of highlights this time. The battle in particular is wonderful, and as I mentioned a moment ago, please get excited from Toei’s triangle logo onwards. Once the movie itself starts, familiar characters appear all together, so please look forward to it! The top-notch cast’s walla [background crowd chatter] in particular is a must-listen!!
Thank you very much.
The following translator notes are included for the benefit of the reader as supplemental information.

1 This isn’t literally true going by the entire cast, but there were plenty of episodes where Mayumi Tanaka really was the youngest person in the room. This does truly say something about the original Dragon Ball cast, considering Mayumi Tanaka was 31 years old at the time of her initial appearance as Kuririn.
English Translation: SaiyaJedi