Dragon Ball Super… One Year On

Today marks a full year since the premier of Dragon Ball Super in Japan. The series, which has become a somewhat polarizing subject in the already divided Dragon Ball fanbase has of course had its ups and downs, and personally there are aspects I enjoy and others I don’t, but otherwise it’s been a fun ride and one I am happy to write about today.

 

Initially the thought of writing this blog came because, while Dragon Ball may indeed continue for years to come the existence of Dragon Ball Super is a unique thing itself, primarily because as a fan of the franchise it’s hard to imagine anything that could have ever, or will ever have the same kind of hype again. Since this show was the first all-new series of new content (at least after the Resurrection F arc) in such a long time it was inevitably going to be something of a curiosity. Will fans ever have to wait anywhere around 18 years for a new series, will it ever be as meaningful should Dragon Ball Super fail? Dragon Ball GT did not exactly set the world on fire the same way Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z did. So what if the same happened to Super? Unlike GT, Toriyama has been a little more involved with Super, certainly not to the same extent as Ball and Z, but just his name was enough to have fans all over the world cling on to the hope this would be a great series.

 

That said the fact we were getting a new series in this day and age carries with it a number of questions. Was Dragon Ball now becoming a Pokemon, or a Yu-Gi-Oh, or even Beyblade? All series that have been around for a while, but none have any end in sight because they print money for the creators and studios that benefit from them. Some would say such shows are merely toy commercials. Additionally there was the challenge of keeping Dragon Ball up to the standards of modern animation and storytelling. While the series hasn’t lived up to its hype for many the improvements in both animation and story, and Norihito Sumitomo’s score since the Universe 6 is in my opinion indicative of a TOEI who has been bombarded with complaints and is now putting more effort into the show.

 

How much longer can we see such improvements? Will it last? Such questions all depend upon how long Super runs for, but with at least another arc teased for after the current Future Trunks arc it could be a little longer, and Super may be looked upon as not a great, but a decent and watchable addition to the franchise, and one Chris Sabat and the rest at Funimation will look forward to dubbing.

 

So for now I am cautiously optimistic for the future of this series, and if it continues it will be a nice addition to my existing collection of Dragon Ball DVDs and Blu-Rays when the Funimation home release containing the future dubbed and official subbed version comes out. Like many other fans I am also interested in everything else that’s yet to come from the Viz translation of the manga due for a print release next year, and the Toonami Asia dub, which should be premiering soon.

 

And for those interested in this blog and my reviews, I do plan to continue, even at times it feels I’ve abandoned this space (which I haven’t). I have a very busy life, but will return to this blog when I can, even my shamefully neglected Super reviews. At this point I may continue them all slowly but surely, or do overall reviews for each arc, keep watching this space for more.

Take new Dragon Ball movie reports with a grain of salt

Fans all over the net have been ecstatic over news of a new Dragon Ball movie to possibly complete a trilogy comprising of said film and Battle of Gods and Resurrection F.

However, as of now the news has not been reported by reliable sources.

If anyone wants to hear about an upcoming movie (if its coming) please check Kanzenshuu (best Dragon Ball online resource). There are many sites out there who will spread false information, take each of them with a grain of salt until something concrete from TOEI Animation has been published.

Some thoughts on ‘Resurrection F’ arc poster and canonicity of the source film vs Dragon Ball Super

A recent poster from Shonen Jump has once again stimulated excitement for what can be expected from the upcoming Resurrection F arc of Dragon Ball Super, based of the widely successful film (which will of course premier the coming week in both Ireland and the UK).

I’d like to give a shout out to Rhymestyle for pointing this out.

The poster places emphasis on Champa and Golden Frieza in the top left and right hand sides respectively. This begs the question, will the two characters team up in the anime adaptation?

Similarly Goten and Trunks are shown in the bottom left hand side of the poster, both of whom were noticeably absent from the film for reasons unknown to fans. We may then ask could Goten and Trunks be part of the action this time?

Will we see a vastly different telling of the Resurrection F storyline for Dragon Ball Super?

Seen as how Dragon Ball Super has been criticized for a lack of imagination, including using material from the recent movies as the basis for new story content a different interpretation of the events that played out in Resurrection F may please those more critical reviewers, but at the same time it may disappoint those concerned about canonicity.

But then again canon is dead to the Dragon Ball franchise. Dragon Ball Super itself is in a vey grey area of canonicity. It is rewriting the events of Battle of Gods and Resurrection F, despite the former being part of the “official history” and the latter being a continuation of that. Moreover Toriyama has been giving his own input to the overall story of Super, but he does not have the level of involvement he had with the previous two movies, particularly in Resurrection F with his screenwriting duties.

I will myself be going to see Resurrection F in Movies@Dundrum, Dublin on Wednesday to enjoy the cinematic experience of seeing Dragon Ball on the big screen. I am also eagerly anticipating the arc of Super based on that film. I don’t care which version is more or less canon, Dragon Ball offers good and bad content regardless, and yes there was good filler.

So if you are looking forward to seeing Super’s interpretation of Resurrection F do, if you (like myself) still enjoy the film more power to you. With a 42 volume manga, over 500 anime episodes, spinoffs, movies, specials there is plenty material for fans to enjoy and digest for years to come, it’s all Dragon Ball and if it is still profitable TOEI will always do more.

See Rhymestyle talk about the news below:

Don’t expect Vegeta to turn Super Saiyan 3 any time soon

Now that the latest episode of Dragon Ball Super – How Dare You Hit My Bulma! Vegeta’s Furious Mutation?! has aired it is arguable some of the air has been cleared regarding the previously suspicious title.

We know from this episode, and the manga chapter that Vegeta did not turn Super Saiyan 3, much to the disappointment of fans who were intrigued by the title, and it’s very unlikely to happen in the following episode judging by its preview.

It has long been a debate among the community about why Vegeta couldn’t achieve Super Saiyan 3, despite the fact that even if he attained it by the end of Z there was no need to show it off in a mere martial arts tournament, and most don’t consider GT canon so why would the absence there matter so much to them? Indeed, it could also come down to criticisms of GT’s writing, and the writers not factoring in the possibility of Vegeta attaining Super Saiyan 3, to the extent he made that out-of-character decision to skip it through artificial means.

Of course there are still fans who harbour hope a Super Saiyan 3 Vegeta will someday make a manga or anime appearance, because after all he did in Dragon Ball Heroes. But with Toriyama’s relatively recent comments about ascended Saiyan and beyond it is unlikely we will see Goku use the second and third forms again let alone Vegeta. And since both Goku and Vegeta could turn Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan (SSGSS) in Resurrection F it is unlikely Vegeta will need to revert back to the original transformations to surpass Goku, especially because SSGSS is stronger than Super Saiyan 3.

Don’t get me wrong I like Vegeta as much as the next person, but if the films and Dragon Ball Super will not be exploring Super Saiyan transformations other than the first form and the God transformations his use of Super Saiyan 3 wouldn’t make much sense in the context of the story.

It is for this reason I tend to believe Dragon Ball Super will be focusing more on the merits of the Super Saiyan God transformations, so if anything new transformations will be stronger variants of the forms introduced in Battle of Gods and Resurrection F.

And who knows maybe the God transformations will be more interesting than the standard Super Saiyan transformations. Only time will tell, but for the time being it seems the ship has sailed for Super Saiyan 2 and 3, and Vegeta is no exception.

Can “Dragon Ball Super” be the best Dragon Ball anime/manga series yet?

Being the first new Dragon Ball series in 18 years Dragon Ball Super has to deliver, there is a lot of pressure on Akira Toriyama to write a good story. It goes without saying that Dragon Ball GT was itself a huge disappointment to the fans, but since Dragon Ball Super will be written by Toriyama it cannot be forgiven as easily.

I have been hearing from many fans about how Super remain exciting without experiencing fatigue. It must remain relevant, because its 2015 storytelling methods have evolved, and Dragon Ball has to follow this pattern. It is important for the franchise to introduce new and exciting plot twists, to have something unexpected. Many fans might be content with the established routine – a villain appears, kills people, the heroes train, heroes fight villain, heroes defeat villain, the dead are revived with the Dragon Balls, but the reality is, and its happened with other franchises, it will lead to franchise fatigue.

In particular, Youtubers have made some interesting contributions to this question. Blackenfist has said Dragon Ball Super needs a good story, and Chris Sanders has said the adventure aspect of the original Dragon Ball series must be brought back. As stated previously a good story can use aspects of established Dragon Ball narrative, but unless new methods of storytelling are developed it will feel dated.

For example the introduction of Beerus and Whis since Battle of Gods has meant Goku is not the strongest fighter in the known universe, and, as we know there are other Gods out there in the 12 universes. A good idea for developing the story without it feeling generic is to not let Goku surpass Beerus and Whis. Previously whenever Goku became the strongest warrior he knew someone stronger came along, when he defeated King Piccolo Mr. Pop was introduced, when he defeated Piccolo Jr Raditz was introduced, and the cycle continued. If Beerus and Whis remain stronger than Goku there will always be a reason for train harder, it won’t feel like Goku is safe simply because he knows how to use the Genki Dama (Spirit Bomb). Additionally because Beerus is a God of Destruction his presence will mean there is always tension, he can destroy planets if its his duty, this means that the series will not just be about a group of super warriors defending justice in the universe, there is always different sides, the distinction between good, evil and indifferent is not always easily defined. If there are always other factors to consider the action sequences, and the series in general will become more intriguing.

Another idea is that the battles can develop. Rather than simply being about huge power boosts, new Super Saiyan transformations, and giant energy blasts the battles could be won by one character outsmarting another, there will be a little more necessity for the viewer to think as they watch, or read (if they turn to the manga).

As Chris Sanders pointed out some adventure would help the series become more exciting and less predictable. However, fans know from Dragon Ball GT that the wrong type of adventure (Goku travelling with Pan and Trunks throughout space) can be disastrous. Since the notion of 12 universes has now been established in Dragon Ball, it is possible this will be explored in Dragon Ball Super, but until more story details emerge fans can only hope that it will be done right.

Of course the original Dragon Ball had as much comedy as adventure, so ideally for Dragon Ball Super to bring back that old school feel (such was implied in Battle of Gods) it should have both comedy and adventure, but in moderation, the problems GT faced was going overusing one or both. Geekdom101 suggested in one of his Youtube videos Toriyama could do something like Harry Potter and introduce a train that would take characters to other universes. This would be a good idea, but of course there are many more the series can take, now that a new Dragon Ball series written by Toriyama is upon us fans can only hope there is a better chance of seeing wacky humour that adults can appreciate as much as kids.

Keep watching this space for thoughts about Dragon Ball Super as new details emerge. There will be a Review section soon for all the latest episode and manga chapters of the series, which will include spoiler free sections and spoiler sections to suit everyone, but until then July 5th is just around the corner!

Is Goku a Good or Bad Father?

It has been a widely debated topic in the Dragon Ball community and fandom about whether or not main protagonist Son Goku is a good father. Often absences and self-indulgence are cited as reasons for the fans who claim Goku is a bad father. There are however fans willing to defend him.

In a recent Youtube debate Blackenfist claimed Goku was not a perfect, nor a great father but did show compassion for the ones he loved, while Rhymestyle argued Goku was a caring person it was the qualities of being a father he lacked:

The heroic, caring image is synonymous with Goku for many fans, but as Rhymestyle pointed out in the said debate Toriyama stated that he was unhappy with Goku’s image. Speaking to WIRED the manga artist known for writing the original Dragon Ball manga stated:

There’s how, basically, Son Goku from Dragon Ball doesn’t fight for the sake of others, but because he wants to fight against strong guys. So once Dragon Ball got animated, at any rate, I’ve always been dissatisfied with the “righteous hero”-type portrayal they gave him.

That does not say however that Goku is a bad father, but what fans should remember is that while he does what he can to protect his friends and family he is not responsible and often quite immature.

Goku’s passion for fighting is often obsessive, due to his saiyan blood he thirsts for battle, and often he forgets not everyone shares the same enthusiasm. This was seen during Gohan’s fight with Cell where Goku offered Cell a senzu bean in the hope Gohan would have a satisfying fight. It is likely at this point that Goku believed Gohan, with his hidden powers unlocked could defeat Cell at full power, and Goku wanted him to be proud for defeating the villain at his best.

Indeed, it could be argued Goku was adamant about training his sons, and Uub because he knew there would be times when he would not be able to save the world and he wanted a suitable prodigy to take his place. Nonetheless Goku’s naivety was an obstacle at the best of times, and it provided a link between the comedic approach to storytelling taken by the original Dragon Ball and the more higher scale action-oriented Dragon Ball Z.

Unconfirmed Rumours About Dragon Ball Super

I’ve been hearing from a lot of unconfirmed rumours from fans regarding the upcoming Dragon Ball Z sequel Dragon Ball Super. Now, before a lot of people get disappointed know that this is all speculation so everything is subject to confirmation or denial from TOEI animation, so some of this information could come to pass, but I would advise all fans reading to be wary.

There have been several reports claiming not only that TOEI has planned 100 episodes for the series, but has plans for a further 100 in the case the series is very successful. I have been searching for news about Dragon Ball Super regularly, but I haven’t seen anything from TOEI. It’s simply a rumour, much like the one which stated Dragon Ball Z would have 200 new episodes straight after Battle of Gods was released. This did not come to pass because it’s highly unlikely any studio would plan such a high number of episodes before pre-production.

Some reports have also suggested Broly would return, and possibly be a Super Saiyan God. Again, not confirmed by TOEI Animation but the chances of this happening is very slim considering the fact Broly is part of the old movie canon (I say “old movie canon” because the original 13 movies for the most part didn’t follow the original manga or anime canons, however Battle of Gods has been referred to as “official history”, which does not 100% confirm its canonicity but it’s a strong indicator).While it is not impossible I don’t think Broly will be brought into the current anime canon (it is unsure yet if Super will be on the same level as the manga).

Again, nothing more has come to the fore with the exception of the April 28th press release. That is all we know so far about Dragon Ball Super, but of course I will be bringing more news as it’s revealed.