This first episode was very consistent with the first manga chapter by Toyotaro, albeit a longer, expanded version, so most who have read that segment will know what to expect. Of course there are slight differences, such as reintroducing some of the characters we know and love (Gohan, Videl, Chi-Chi, Majin Buu, amongst others) and the removal of dream sequences.
The graphics were a treat for the eye. All of the characters and backgrounds are clear and sharp, as they should in 2015 animation. The vibrant colours both make the series feel contemporary and add consistency to the comedic and light-hearted tone. For frame elements such as Goku’s tractor and the river which Goten and Trunks used to fetch water the careful combination of 2D and 3D animation give greater clarity and perspective for the images which wouldn’t have been as easy in the past.
The best part of this episode, of course was the humour, it was humane, natural and lively. From Goku’s appetite for both lunch and training, to Majin Buu’s juvenile antics, and Goten and Trunks’ naivety there is something for everyone. And the humour is not just in character dynamics, but also carried by subtle hints, such as Gohan’s book titled “Muzukashii Hon” (which translates to “difficult book”) whilst indulging in his early scholarly pursuits. Nothing felt forced or overdone, everything was true to the characters, and reminiscent of Dragon Ball’s roots.
Keep in mind this series will be written by Toriyama, and as a result there is greater potential for the comedic side of Dragon Ball to return. Since the series is currently taking place during the 10-year gap between Kid Buu’s defeat and the 28th Tenkaichi Budokai there is ample opportunity to explore characters such as Goku and Vegeta and how they act in times of peace (having saiyan blood and thirst for battle). This is seen with Goku due to his training urges, and the brief glimpses of Vegeta in the second episode preview.
The pacing was also well done. Every character, with the exception of Piccolo was given just enough screen time for both new and old viewers to become comfortable with the characters, and what their purpose is in the series. For example Master Roshi was only seen when he heard news that was appealing to him, and viewers learn why, because of who he is it can be for the wrong reasons.
In short, a super (pun intended) comeback episode for the franchise, ending with an intriguing preview for next week’s episode.