There is an old saying, one that goes “nothing like a scorned Dragonball Z fan to scorch the Earth.” Screenwriter Ben Ramsey discovered just how active and passionate Dragonball Z’s fan base was when he dropped the proverbial (dragon) ball-a pun he uses in his own apology-while writing the 2009 film Dragonball Evolution. As another saying goes it’s never too late to say sorry, and Ramsey finally opens up, a full 7 years later. I must admit the apology is admirable and comes across genuine and well-meaning, with a strong dosage of self-reflection.
The inspiration for the apology came about when a fan and author Derek Padula had contacted him for an interview for his book titled USA DBZ. Ramsey responded with an apology.
“I knew that it would eventually come down to this one day. Dragonball Evolution marked a very painful creative point in my life. To have something with my name on it as the writer be so globally reviled is gut wrenching. To receive hate mail from all over the world is heartbreaking. I spent so many years trying to deflect the blame, but at the end of the day it all comes down to the written word on page and I take full responsibility for what was such a disappointment to so many fans. I did the best I could, but at the end of the day, I ‘dropped the dragon ball.’
I went into the project chasing after a big payday, not as a fan of the franchise but as a businessman taking on an assignment. I have learned that when you go into a creative endeavor without passion you come out with sub-optimal results, and sometimes flat out garbage. So I’m not blaming anyone for Dragonball but myself. As a fanboy of other series, I know what it’s like to have something you love and anticipate be so disappointing.
To all the Dragon Ball fans out there, I sincerely apologize.
I hope I can make it up to you by creating something really cool and entertaining that you will like and that is also something I am passionate about. That’s the only work I do now.”
I think it’s great when a person can come forward and openly discuss their failures, whether creatively or generally as a person. Ramsey does both and does so in a way that is personable, without feeling phoned in and half-hearted. He treats his mistakes with Dragonball Evolution as both a learning experience and inspiration on how not to approach his future projects. Sadly, moments like this are rare in the industry and I applaud Ramsey because it’s never too late to say sorry.