‘Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero’: Christopher Sabat and Kyle Hebert Talk the ‘Emotional Impact’ of the Movie

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero has officially arrived in the U.S., and the anime movie places Son Gohan and Piccolo in the spotlight. With Goku and Vegeta preoccupied with their training, Gohan and Piccolo find themselves taking on a resurgence of the Red Ribbon Army. The fan-favorite characters make a solid show of fighting the franchise’s newest villains. And with the duo taking centerstage, English voice actors Christopher Sabat (Piccolo) and Kyle Hebert (Gohan) got to flex their skills.

During the press junket for Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, Showbiz Cheat Sheet spoke with Sabat and Hebert about their work on the film. They discussed what it’s like returning to these characters over and over, as well as why this movie has such a strong emotional core.

Kyle Hebert and Christopher Sabat on returning to Gohan and Piccolo

'Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero' cast members Kyle Hebert and Christopher Sabat at the movie's premiere. They're laughing and holding out their hands.
Kyle Hebert and Christopher Sabat | David Livingston/Getty Images

Both Kyle Hebert and Christopher Sabat have been voicing their Dragon Ball characters for more than two decades, and returning as Gohan and Piccolo for projects like Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero still feels surreal.

Sabat spoke to that during the press junket, emphasizing his amazement that Dragon Ball‘s dub cast has become as well-known and long-lasting as it has:

“How awesome is it that we have had this opportunity to play these characters for so long? I mean, we are the English dub cast. Let that sink in for just a second. What before the late ‘90s was just an English-language option of a foreign film, we have had the opportunity to become these characters in the United States in a way that wasn’t really celebrated before.”

He added, “And I’m so grateful that Toei and Shueisha – and Funimation and Crunchyroll – have let us continue to do these roles because it means so much to us. And I know it means a lot to the fans, too.”

Hebert knows certain fans will be thrilled about Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, particularly those who count Gohan and Piccolo among their favorite characters.

“It’s hard to convey in words what this will mean for fans of certain characters,” Hebert mused.

As for what it’s like reprising these roles, the actors agreed it comes naturally.

“I liken it to just riding a bike,” Hebert explained. “You know, it’s just natural. Or talking to a friend you haven’t spoken with in years that you used to hang [with] all the time, and then life led you on different paths. You just pick right up from where you were last time. This feels like that. It feels organic.”

Kyle Hebert says ‘Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero’ will elicit ‘all the feels’

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When it comes to Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, Kyle Hebert noted that “it’s always super, super exciting — pardon the pun — that we have this opportunity to connect with fans around the world on a cinematic level again, and for the first time in IMAX.”

And according to the Gohan voice actor, fans will want to see the newest Dragon Ball Super movie in theaters. When asked about his favorite aspect of the film, he didn’t pick just one. Instead, he teased how many little moments will appeal to longtime fans of the anime:

“There are a lot of pivotal moments that you just get all the feels. There are comic moments, and there are ‘Yes!’ moments that I think absolutely have to be experienced in a theater with all the fans [and] a sold-out screening – everyone cheering together, laughing together. Because you can’t replicate that at home.”

Seeing Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero in theaters certainly does sound like an experience, and Christopher Sabat touched on why it will prove a unique one.

Christopher Sabat believes this movie ‘broke the mold’

In addition to giving fans plenty of reasons to laugh and cheer, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero diverges from the usual setup — something Christopher Sabat cited as a highlight of the movie.

“I’d say the best moments in this feature are the intense collaboration between a lot of characters that don’t always get as much screen time,” Sabat said.

The actor noted how the latest Dragon Ball Super movie departs from the franchise’s typical storytelling structure, which often concludes with Goku saving the day:

“And it broke the mold that Dragon Ball typically has of just everyone being completely injured until Goku has enough time to show up and save the day. This is everybody joining forces in a way that you don’t get to see very often in the Dragon Ball world. And those are some of my favorite moments.”

Of course, the relationship at the center of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is the one between Gohan and Piccolo. That’s something both Hebert and Sabat cited as a strength of the film.

‘Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero’s focus on Gohan and Piccolo

If there’s one thing Kyle Hebert and Christopher Sabat kept highlighting about Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, it’s the relationship between Gohan and Piccolo. That relationship has resonated with Dragon Ball fans over the years, and the anime is finally digging into it on the big screen.

“[V]oicing this character for the past 22 years, it’s been a long wait,” Hebert said. “And every fan of Gohan and Piccolo has been waiting to say, ‘Let’s take this dynamic to the next level.’ And finally, we’re at that point.”

Sabat emphasized “the emotional impact that this film has on everyone who watches it,” then spoke further about the connection between his character and Hebert’s:

“I love Gohan and Piccolo’s relationship in this film. I love how they presented Piccolo as kind of this part of Gohan’s family, part of Gohan’s life, in a way that everyone always knew and suspected. And there are a lot of people who had that Piccolo figure in their life, who was there for them – even though they might not have been a family member – that really meant something to them. And I think there are a lot of Piccolo fans who love Piccolo and Gohan’s relationship for that reason.

There are a lot of Gohans out there. And there are a lot of amazing Piccolos who are taking care of those Gohans. And so, this movie, in a lot of ways, is for them.”

Hopefully, they appreciate it as much as the actors who brought it to life.

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is now playing in select U.S. theaters.

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