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.

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Dragon Ball Super Asian English dub to debut in India next month

It was previously revealed that an alternate English dub of Dragon Ball Super was to air on Toonami Asia.

Up until now it was unsure where this dub, which will not feature the Funimation cast would be released, but as of yesterday Dragon Ball Insider has named India as one of the countries where the dub is expected to air.

It is not sure when the dub will air in other Asian Pacific states, but the article names some of the other states, where fans may expect to hear news about the dub airing.

The dubbing company, and actors involved are still unknown, but this is the first news reveal about the dub since its initial announcement.

Dragon Ball Insider revealed:

Back in November is was revealed that Toonami Asia picked up the license for Dragon Ball Super marking this the first announcement of a release outside of Japan. With no definitive broadcast date announced at the time, earlier today the official Toonami India Twitter account revealed that Dragon Ball Super will begin airing “next month”.

Dragon ball super toonami india

This broadcast of Dragon Ball Super will be dubbed in English, however, it is still unclear which studio will be doing the dub. We do know, however, that FUNimation has no connection to this, but this does not mean that FUNimation won’t be dubbing Dragon Ball Super in the future. In this case the Asian Pacific Market will be getting a different English dub (yes there are multiple English dubs). We did reach out to Toonami Asia for more specific details regarding which studio will be doing the dub, but we have not yet heard back.

Toonami (Asia) is available in countries such as Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Pakistan, Maldives, and India. As such, this still indicates that the series will not be released in the United States; it is solely being marketed for the Asian Pacific Market.

Dragon Ball Super is expected to receive a Funimation dub at a later point but it is unsure whether Ocean Productions or other companies previously involved with the Dragon Ball series will produce their own English dub of the series.

Keep watching this post for further details on the dub.

Update : Dragon Ball Super Collected Manga Available Tomorrrow

As previously reported by Kanzenshuu tomorrow will see the debut of the first collected Dragon Ball Super manga containing the first 9 chapters of the monthly series.

Additionally, this volume will include a joint interview with Akira Toriyama and Toyataro where they discuss the future of the Dragon Ball story. Whether this will be subtle hints at what we can expect from the coming chapters and episodes of the Dragon Ball Super or spinoffs, one shot mangas or TV specials remains to be seen.

Nonetheless, with the end of the Universe 6 tournament drawing near it will be interesting to hear what is to come.

Keep watching this space for updates on the manga and all things Dragon Ball.

 

toyotaro_cover_vjump_tease

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:

Dragon Ball Super Episode 04 – “Aim for the Dragon Balls! Pilaf Gang’s Great Strategy”

Following on from the previous episode, this episode is foremost a continuation of the setup for Bulma’s birthday party and the awkwardness over the absence of Goku and Vegeta. Moreover, Pilaf and gang are devising a plan to snatch the Dragon Balls, which are the ultimate prize for a promised bingo tournament. With that said there are a number of points I would like to make in reviewing this episode.

Firstly, compared to the previous three episodes where the pacing was fine based on everything that happened this episode gives the impression that Super is really taking its time to set up certain plot elements. For example, some of the comedy elements are being dragged out more so than what is necessary. In the episode’s source (Battle of Gods) pilaf and gang were introduced briefly before their chance to get the Dragon Balls, whereas in this episode they are shown out at sea where another obstacle phase them before they can even reach that location. Now how far this will continue in the coming episodes remains to be seen, but such elements should only be given in moderation. Comedy is fine in Dragon Ball, as the series started off as a gag manga, but it is important to divide it fairly between all characters who are important at any given time, so depending on how well each character has their say in the coming episodes will determine how well the pacing compliments that.

Additionally this was the first episode to show any sort of shift in the art style, such was the case with the thick black lines drawn around some characters, reminiscent of several 90s American cartoons. Of course this isn’t a massive issue by and large, but for Dragon Ball it is unusual and inconsistent with the animation style that has been established since 1986. Otherwise, as with the previous episodes it’s looking good, it’s very colourful, crisp and clean as a modern animated show should be.

Norihito Sumitomo’s music is also working well with the show thus far. The quiet moments may alienate some of the older Bruce Faulconer fans when the English dub is released, but for a lot of the hardcore fans accustomed to Shunsuke Kikuche it will be easier to sell. In particular the harmonious tones used during the cruise ship scenes were suited for the moment, especially when food is offered to characters and their presence is welcomed. These musical choices also provide a good contrast against the more ominous tones used towards the end of the episode during a conversation between Kaiosama and Goku where the latter is informed of the danger he may be about to face.

Overall, it’s a fine episode but if you’ve seen Battle of Gods you wouldn’t be missing out on a whole lot rather than a more padded form of the same narrative.

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.

Dragon Ball Super Episode 03 – “Where does the dream go!? Look for Super Saiyan God!”

The humour in this episode is mostly a product of Goku’s usual antics, getting overly excited about the prospect of a new challenger, King Kai’s love hate relationship with his debatable decisions, Roshi’s perverted habits. Conversely the serious elements give balance to this otherwise slice-of-life episode. For example the fear over Beerus’ rampage upon the universe, and his incredible power. There are promises for more of Goten and Trunk’s mini adventures, Majin Buu’s eating habits and Vegeta’s training (which is away from Bulma’s party).

Sumitomo’s music is also taking be used effectively to fit situations within the episode. During moments of the episode where Old Kai’s fear was great the score becomes more intense to illustrate the sense of dread. Additionally the instrumentation was more soothing during the welcoming to Bulma’s birthday party to highlight the sense of peace assumed by the attendants.

In terms of pacing it wasn’t too bad, although some would argue the lack of action in an action-based series or the length of time required to reach it is an issue but I believe the humour and banter between characters was sufficient. Whether this keeps up, and whether or not story elements are dragged out unnecessarily remains to be seen.

To sum up this episode should serve as an introduction to the setting for Goku’s battle with Beerus, and what all the other characters are doing at that time. It gives us a general idea of the similarities and differences that can be expected between this first saga and similar events in Battle of Gods.