SaiyaCon 2019 Interview with Sean Burke

Convention celebrating all things Dragon Ball hits Milton Keynes this September


SaiyaCon is coming! This unofficial Dragon Ball convention is going to be held from the 20th to 22nd of September at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes. Featuring Peter Kelamis (the voice of Goku), Chris Rager (the voice of Hercule and Mr Satan) and Brian Drummond (IT’S OVER 9000!!!), along with a roster of the best Dragon Ball inspired bands and more cosplayers and content creators than you can shake a powered up fist towards, it’s going to be a heck of an event. Then there’s the FighterZ contest and the trading hall and panels, oh my!!

Whilst there is still time to go before the big day, we spoke to Sean Burke: host of the Geek Eire podcast, lover of DragonBall, and part of the SaiyaCon extravaganza!

So, how would you describe SaiyaCon?

“It’s a two-and-a-half-day convention with lots of big special guests and content creators from the UK, Ireland, America, and elsewhere. It was originally inspired by the main organisers going to Kameha Con in the US and thinking “Why don’t we have something for the for the European audience?” So now we’ve got people coming from all over Europe for this particular event, who have been fans of the show for years.”

How did the event come into being?

“The three founders built up a network from being a part of Kameha Con UK and the Dragon Ball scene, and got to know content creators, voice actors and musicians through that. It’s been a process of planning things over a couple of years and then picking the right time when all the guests aren’t at other conventions”

The Friday is mostly an evening affair, what’s going to be happening there?

“The main event is a red-carpet gala for all the big cosplay and voice actors that are going to be attending the convention. Something similar to what you see at the Oscars or the Academy Awards, making all the special guests feel as welcome as possible because for some of the guest it’s their first time over in the UK. I think it’s a great a great way for us to start to convention off with a Big Bang. I’ll be MC for that, the main host for the convention is going to be a Masoko X – he’s one of the original crew of Dragon Ball Abridged as well as the host of Dragon Ball R&R YouTube channel.

Will you be doing anything else over the weekend?

“I’m going to be hosting a panel on the history of the English dub of Dragon Ball. There’s been so many attempts and so many bastardisations of translations over the years. Everything from the very seedy early days, such as the original person that tried to bring a dubbed version of Dragonball to the west ended up in prison for money laundering. That was after spending a few years in Italy with the former Prime Minister Berlusconi. Or the AB Group version, known as “The Big Green Dub” that sounds like it’s only three people during the whole thing, or the Malaysian dub that sounds like it was made in a shoe box.”

The UK isn’t renowned for solo IP events, outside of what’s currently mega. Do you think that’s changing?

“I think it is doable for something that’s got a large and old enough fan base. There have recently been UK events for things like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and even Lost Girls have had their own UK convention when that’s a pretty niche sci-fi. Dragon Ball has been around since the 1980s and was one of the first localised properties. It came to the UK and US around the same time as Pokemon and Sailor Moon: it was one of the biggest ones back then and is still going strong. We’re hoping to have close to 500 people, but with Brexit and the number of other conventions recently folding we’re being conservative with our numbers.”

What do you think keeps people so interest in Dragon Ball?

“On the surface level, as someone that watch that as kids, it all about the rock sound effects and the fight scenes.  But there’s an endearing quality about the show, which is why it’s being going for so many years. Even if take you the worst version of it, Dragon Ball GT, you still get inspired by the martial arts story and the creative work that has gone into the show. At the event there will be a lot of people who have been inspired by it into making a lot of great are pieces and music, as well as trying to create original merchandise. And there’s been just so many stories of people being motivated by Dragon Ball to help make positive changes in their real life. So even if you’re not a content creator yourself, it’s great to meet people, in the flesh, that were inspired by the same stuff that you’re into and show some support for them: if they’re local or international talent they’re all in the same fandom as you.”

Fancy sharing your passion for all things Dragon Ball? Tickets and more information about this year’s SaiyaCon event can be found on their official website.

Andrew Watton-Davies

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