MTV News spoke with the the people behind the film and in front of the camera to get a roundup of the differences fans can expect to see between the live-action film, the various “Dragonball” anime series and the original manga that started it all.
As a huge fan of the “Dragonball” series, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” alum James Marsters (Lord Piccolo) was quick to remind audiences that, though “Dragonball Z” may be the more popular iteration of the anime in the United States, the first anime series ran for over 150 episodes before “Z” ever came along. He explained that while his version of Piccolo may not be the version we’re used to, it doesn’t mean that, sequels permitting, we won’t eventually see him in the more traditional, greener-skinned makeup.
Director James Wong attributes many of the changes to superficial necessities in pulling characters and costumes into the “real” world. Like the experience 20th Century Fox had with the “X-Men” films, Wong believes that just because Goku wears bright orange in the anime, that doesn’t mean it’s going to look right on-screen.
“We shot so many test with so many different versions,” said Wong, pointing out that fans should still get a kick out of the regular costume’s brief appearance.
For Justin Chatwin (Goku), the biggest issue was in making sure that the film captured the hero’s uniquely spikey hairstyle, going through 40 cans of hairspray to get down the right blend of real-world and cartoon. Likewise, Emmy Rossum’s Bulma went through quite a few iterations of all-blue wigs before the end-result of a partially-blue dye.
The other major change comes in capturing the tone of “Dragonball” — one that Wong explained was shifted early on for a family-friendly focus, a move that involved dropping some of the more risqué elements of the original manga. While Chow Yun Fat’s Master Roshi may look totally different than his animated counterpart, the cast insists that the important elements are still there.
“He kind of embodies the essence of Master Roshi,” explained Jaime Chung (Chi Chi), “Minus being perverted.”
Do you think “family friendly” will hurt or help “Dragonball”? How much does it affect your interest in the film? Share your thoughts below!