When the world was first introduced to Goku, it was in Manga form, so he didn’t have a voice. One of the most important decisions for when the Dragon Ball Anime was first made was who was going to voice the now-iconic character of Goku. But who are the heroes behind the man, the myth, and the legend, Goku’s voice?
The original Goku voice is Masako Nozawa, a Japanese voice actress who voices both child and adult Goku. For the English Dub, Stephanie Nadolny voices child Goku, and Sean Schemmel voiced adult Goku.
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Masako Nozawa – The Japanese Artist behind Goku’s Voice
Masako Nozawa is a renowned Japanese actress, narrator, and voice actor. Nozawa made her movie debut when she was 2.
Throughout her career, she has performed male roles.
The Japanese fans started calling her “the eternal boy.” She has voiced for all male members of Goku’s family.
Fans will be surprised to know that Nozawa voiced Goku from the very first episode of Dragon Ball. It is pretty common in Japan for women to voice the characters of young boys.
Even when Goku reached his manhood, Nozawa continued to voice for him. She has voiced for Goten, Gohan, and every male character related to our hero Goku.
The creator of DB, Akira Toriyama, said when he heard Nozawa’s audition, it matched how he imagined Goku’s voice. Since she was doing such a great job, the show’s creators never felt the need to replace her.
Goku, despite being an absolute beast on the battlefield, is an innocent fun-loving guy and Masako Nozawa’s voice perfectly suits him. Even though she is a woman, no tricks are done to her voice. Everything is natural.
However, some fans do think Goku’s voice could have been manlier, like the US dub, but at the end of the day it all comes down to personal choice, and many millions of fans love Masako’s Goku!
Ceyli Delgadillo and Stephanie Nadolny – Young Goku Funimation US Dub
In keeping with the Japanese tradition of a woman voicing young male characters, the Funimation dub enlisted the services of Ceyli Delgadillo to voice the young Son Goku.
However, she would leave Funimation and be replaced by Stephanie Nadolny who would go on to be most well known for voicing young Goku.
You’d have thought that they would keep using a woman to voice adult Goku, just like the original anime did, but unfortunately, none of the actresses who voiced young Goku would go on to voice him as an adult.
Sean Schemmel – The American Artist behind Adult Goku’s Voice
Unlike the original dub, Funimation decided to go for a man for the voice of Son Goku, Sean Schemmel.
Goku’s English dubbed voice has been provided by Sean Schemmel for 18 years now.
Schemmel was a classical French horn player, but one of his friends convinced him to audition for Dragon ball.
He auditioned for a minor character first, who was killed in the first season.
But he was soon told that he would be auditioning for the lead.
It was a challenge for Sean Schemmel to get into the character of Goku.
Most artists like to dub for characters who grow and evolve. Goku certainly grows into a fighter, but he doesn’t really grow emotionally.
Keeping the performance fresh for all these years was not easy, but Schemmel attributes it all to his training in classical music. A musician must make the piece sound fresh no matter how many times they have played it before.
It’s hard to quantify just how much Goku’s there have been throughout the years. While there are the main ones in Japanese and English, there have also been countless dubs in many other languages. If you are interested here is a Kanzenshuu post where someone lists a ton of Goku’s voice actors in various different languages.