Though the series has ebbed and flowed within pop culture over the decades, Dragon Ball has had a major comeback in recent years thanks to the new series and films set in the Dragon Ball Super universe. It's become so popular, in fact, series protagonist Goku was a parade float in the 2018 Macy's Day Thanksgiving Parade.
During a Q&A with the cast of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, the voice of Goku in the American dub, Sean Schemmel revealed that not only was he not invited to the Parade, he was pleasantly shocked by his character's prominence in the event.
"My 50th birthday was the day before, and they didn’t invite me to the Macy’s thing!," Schemmel exclaimed. "They probably didn’t have enough seats, but the least they could have done was call me and tell me. But they didn’t. It could have been a nice feel-good story for them. I know I’m whispering it like I don’t want it to get out to the press, but I secretly want them to know it hurt my feelings, that they didn’t invite me. Although I probably wouldn’t have gone."
"I’ve been to those parades before and they’re a giant pain in the ass," he continued. "But it would have been a nice gesture for them to invite me, so I could politely decline… I was thinking about flying myself up there at the last moment. [But] then I thought, ‘I lived in New York for ten years, I know those parades are a pain in the ass.’ [Dragon Ball co-star Chris Sabat] said, 'We could've just got a hotel, and then you’re at eye level with the balloons'. And I’m like, ‘Shit -- I could have done that.’"
Despite his disappointment in how he learned about the float, Schemmel remains impressed with the franchise's enduring popularity and how it was immortalized in giant balloon form. "I was pretty blown away. Outside of everything I just said... I’m sure no one was trying to diss me. I worked in New York for ten years, and I was walking around those streets all the time, hoofing it and going to jobs, and I never thought that would happen. I was working on Pokémon and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Yu-Gi-Oh, and flying back home to do Dragonball, not really thinking someday they’re going to stick a giant balloon up."
"I asked them if I could ride it, and they said no," he said, slightly wistful. "I would have loved to have ridden it."
Directed by Tatsuya Nagamine, Dragon Ball Super: Broly is in theaters now.