At this year’s Anime Expo in Los Angeles, Brandon Bui interviewed the voice actors of Gohan and Cell from Dragon Ball Z, Kyle Hebert and Dameon Clarke, spanning the history of Dragon Ball Z and their various other works in games.
Brandon Bui (BB): Thanks for coming out, Mr. Hebert and Mr. Clarke! Would you be able to introduce yourselves to my readers?
Kyle Hebert (KH): Hi, I’m Kyle Hebert, and I voice adult Gohan and the narrator for Dragon Ball Z.
Dameon Clarke (DC): I’m Dameon Clarke and I voice Cell and various other characters in the series.
BB: Now, Dameon, I know you as the voice of Scar in Fullmetal Alchemist, and I’m a huge fan of that particular voice role. Kyle, you were also the voice of Captain Aizen from Bleach, yes? You were terrific in that role.
KH, DC: Oh, thank you!
BB: My first question is for you, Kyle, and one of the memorable moments in Dragon Ball Z is when Gohan realizes he’s going to be a father. That was a big moment, and a softer one, for an action/shounen series. What would be Gohan’s defining moment in the series?
KH: It helps humanize and make the characters relatable. With Dragon Ball, that’s the legacy in general no matter what age, culture, or whatnot, there’s much more to be garnered from it beyond good and evil; each character has shades.
BB: And Dameon, how about for Cell? What was your big moment?
DC: For Cell, I like it when he first shows up. He’s terrifying and scares everyone. You don’t know what he is or what he’s about. That unfolding and terrorizing was great fun, and we tried to make it as creepy as possible. By the third version of him, when he takes over the news station, there was more comedy injected to the character as he has zingers and the Cell games.
BB: That ties into my next question, actually! Dragon Ball Z has several different iterations in the anime now with the original, Dragon Ball Z Kai, and now Dragon Ball Super. How did your characterization of these characters evolve with each new series?
KH: As time goes on, we get more and more experienced as actors that helps us elevate our performance. When we got to Dragon Ball Z Kai, we got that rare opportunity to –
DC: Fix our mistakes! Totally!
KH: We got to George Lucas-ify our mistakes!
DC: I couldn’t wait to redo that! Didn’t you go back to your old cuts and be like, “nah, that’s not happening again?” I think that, for the most part, people responded positively to it, right? Nobody was like, “this one was worse.”
BB: Switching gears here, Kyle, you are the voice of Ryu and you made your way into Super Smash Bros.! How did you get that connection, and how did that tie into a Disney role?
KH: With Super Smash, they had a voting thing that brought various characters into the game, and once that happened, I got a surprise phone call asking to reprise that role. With Disney and Wreck-it-Ralph, they called my agent and said that they had a cameo for my Street Fighter character. The reaction was, essentially, “Oh my god, I get to be in a Disney movie!” although it was only for like ten seconds. But you know…
DC: Did you get to meet Sara Silverman? [laughing]
KH: I didn’t! We recorded separately and were there only with the Director of Zootopia, Rich Moore, so yeah, that was pretty wild.
DC: Ryu, what an iconic character! Geez, you must have been so stoked to get that!
KH: Mind blown, man.
DC: So, how many coins did you put into that machine as a kid?
KH: I’d be rich if I could count every time I played. [DC]: Played the heck out of that game.
BB: Since we’re on video games here, Dameon, you did the voice for Handsome Jack in Borderlands. Did you know what you were getting into and how iconic that role was?
DC: Yeah I did! Yeah, no, can you imagine reading that and being like, “I’m gonna be huge?” Nah, man, I had no idea what was going on with Borderlands and I hadn’t been playing that because I had, well, Kai at the time! One of the guys was like, you should read this Jack character and the rest was history! I had no idea what was going on but when I was reading the dialogue I thought it was crazy, that it wouldn’t make it in. I thought they were just experimenting.
BB: To kind of wrap things up here, anything you’d like to say to your fans?
KH: Thanks to the fans round the world for supporting anime, video games, and pop culture in general. Blessed to be a part of it all.
DC: Happy to be here and hanging with my buddy, Kyle, and stay tuned. There’s a ton of Dragon Ball Super stuff coming out. Stay tuned, with exclamation marks and smiley face emoji. [laughs].
BB: Thanks so much for the time!