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Cartoon Connection, Japan's Dragon Ball series gets American touch from UNT alums

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Not a mama's boy

JOHN BURGMEIER'S MOM IS THE VOICE of Frieza, one of the biggest, baddest villains in Dragon Ball Z — so you don't want to get on her bad side by calling her son a mama's boy.

But besides being a universal tyrant, she was also the reason Burgmeier ('98) got involved with FUNimation and became the lead writer for the series.

"She got a job being the voice of Frieza and suggested that I audition for a part," he says. "I never got a part, but I kept coming back. Since I was a familiar face I got a job pressing buttons."

Burgmeier began as an automated dialogue replacement engineer, a lengthy title for the guy who inserts the voices into the animation. Later he became one of the series' writers.

Burgmeier and several other writers Americanize the scripts through the dialogue.

"The series' storyline is already set up, but the finer touches of the characters are often lost in translation," says Burgmeier, who majored in English at UNT. "The translations are really rudimentary."

Burgmeier's mom ended her stint with FUNimation after Frieza's demise, so he didn't get a chance to write for her initially.

But like most blights on the universe, Frieza does make a comeback to battle Trunks — a heroic warrior from the future who comes to warn the series' heroes of their impending doom. It was also during this saga that Burgmeier really shined.

"I was really geared up for Trunks because we knew he would be incredibly popular," Burgmeier says. "But after I read the script I thought, 'I can't have my mom reading these corny lines,' so I reworked those episodes from front to back."

Due to the success of those episodes, Burgmeier was promoted to script supervisor.

The Trunks saga also marked the beginning of Burgmeier's voice-acting career. He became the voice of Tien, a three-eyed hero fighting by Goku's side, and voiced a few smaller parts such as a crony and a driving instructor.

He will also be in FUNimation's Dragon Ball, Blue Gender and Yu Yu Hakusho series.

"Yeah, I guess I owe it all to my mom," he says.


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