The Dragon Ball franchise is currently celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Dragon Ball Z, and it’s at a higher level of popularity and prominence now than it ever was. With as prevalent as anime is now with easier access through streaming, even newer series like My Hero Academia could amass just as big and passionate of a fanbase as a storied franchise like Dragon Ball. But no one could tell you about this better than someone who works closely with both franchises like Chris Sabat.
Sabat contributes multiple performances for the Dragon Ball anime franchise, and has made a big splash with My Hero Academia‘s All Might, and he recently up about how the two fandoms compare with ComicBook.com.
Sabat opened up about how the more prevalent anime popularity has also better highlighted the voice acting work behind the scenes with fans too, “Yeah, it’s a good feeling. Like, it never seems to get old, for some reason. It really kind of snuck up on us, in a lot of ways where for so many years we’re just sort of working on it, kind of in the trenches of just doing this work, over and over again, not really thinking about how it affected anybody. But now, we’re actually really getting to sit back and enjoy our work.”
Voice acting recognition has definitely changed in recent years, “[N]ormally that’s something you do once you’ve retired, and they pull you out of retirement to have some interview. But now we’re actually still surprisingly relevant.” Sabat’s recognition itself has increased with his work on My Hero Academia recently as well, “[H]aving All Might on my resume, and getting to perform that amazing role, has been just a game-changer for me, too.”
It’s here where Sabat opened up about the differences in interactions between fans of the two franchises, “Dragon Ball satisfies the whole, ‘I get to meet all these fans, of all these different generations.’ But, All Might fans — It’s the first time I think I’ve ever actually had, and without any offense to any Dragon Ball fans, but, like, really nice fans. Like, super sweet fans.
Elaborating on this shift in fans even further, “A lot of the characters I’ve played, people come up to me like, ‘Yeah, I just worked out! I just, like, did 500 reps! I’m coming to see you!’ But like, the people who come to see me, that are My Hero Academia fans, so many of them are just, like, cute families that all watch it together.”
It seems that while Sabat will always appreciate Dragon Ball fans, he has appreciated the different demographic that’s come from his involvement with My Hero Academia. There’s a good chance that fans of one are fans of the other, but it seems the demographic for My Hero Academia has resulted in different kinds of interactions with Sabat and his fans.