Thursday, May 7, 2015

Dragon Ball Super - A look back, a glimpse forward

Provided you haven’t been living under a rock, you should, by now, know about the announcement of Dragon Ball Super, a new Dragon Ball anime.

My expectations?


As a manga, Dragon Ball had an okay end.

The Buu arc had its flaws but it was far from a base breaker. It certainly had plenty of charming moments, and by the time the anime ended, Dragon Ball’s popularity was still going strong.

It was only natural for Toei to try to milk this cash cow.

Then came GT.

To this day, some poor, deluded souls will defend GT.

Let’s be honest, it sucked.

GT inherited all of Dragon Ball’s negative points, but forgot to include the things that made it special.
It had some really interesting ideas but failed when it came to the execution. The 7 Dragons were an especially big waste. There was potential there but most ended up relying on cheap gimmicks.

It was a sad thing really. Anyway, plenty of people before me have gone at length as to what went wrong in GT so let's move on. 

GT ended and, well, that was it.

Dragon Ball was still popular. Nothing could ever change that I think, but now it lived through the video games. The time for animation was over.

Or so we thought.

In 2008, Yo! Son Goku and Friends Return was released. It was short, sweet and written by Akira Toriyama.

It was just a fun, short story where we got to see our favorite characters move and fight one more time.

Vegeta even got a brother out of the deal.

It was good. Let’s not mince words, as short was it was, it was good. In 35 minutes it captured the Dragon Ball spark in a way GT had failed to in 64 episodes.

In a way, perhaps this was the beginning.

Dragon Ball would be animated again with Episode Bardock, which, let’s face it, was a shameless attempt to milk the franchise. Neither the manga or the animation were all that good.

The real shocker would come later when Battle of Gods was announced.

An actual Dragon Ball movie.

Done by Toriyama!

Words could not express how happy I was when I heard the news. Words could not express the sheer level of buzz created by this.

BoG did not disappoint. Both in quality and sales.

More importantly, BoG opened the path for something big. More universes? More gods of Destruction? It was like Raditz had come down to Earth once more opening the way for a whole new universe!

Indeed, the end of BoG demanded a sequel.

Of course, before that happened, we got Jaco. A short manga done by Toriyama that threw a nice curve ball when the end tied it to Dragon Ball continuity.

Dragon Ball was on the rise again. After so long we had new material beyond the video games. The fandom grew steadily more active, waiting for the announcement of the next movie.

We got one.

To the surprise of many, Frieza was to be the main villain.

And F y Maximumthe Hormone was going to play which is all sorts of awesome.

Anyway, some like me are still very much looking forward to the movie. Only thing I know is that it is a big success already apparently.

Then this news drops by.

It’s big.

I mean, it was either this or continue building Dragon Ball as a cinematic universe.

I’m happy. Don’t get me wrong. At the same time I have my doubts.

Toei has a bad record with this crap. I mean, movies have some standards of quality and what not.

An anime? That’s not the same thing.

Look at Sailor Moon Crystal. How long did it get delayed? How bad was the animation at certain points?

Or Saint Seiya Omega. The second season was crap.

Or Souls of Gold’s 1 episode every two weeks release schedule.

And Kai was just lazy.

There is also Toriyama to consider. The more work he does, the better. At the same time… he is lazy and likely to leave plenty of stuff to the studio.

I am apprehensive.

I want this to be good.

I hope this is good.

Because it can be. It can be great.

But it can also go bad.

Let’s hope for the best. 


  1. When you say:

    "GT inherited all of Dragon Ball’s negative points, but forgot to include the things that made it special."

    Are you referring to the entirety of the manga, or to just the parts of the manga that weren't/aren't referred to in the states as Dragon Ball Z?

    Regardless of which it is, would you care to spare a few words on what you thought were the series's weaknesses and strengths?

    1. Both. Either/or. Okay, I will try to make this short since I might go on a rant otherwise.

      The key of Dragon Ball is how self-aware it was. In spite of being the shounen manga that popularized many of the tropes we see on the genre today, Dragon Ball was never afraid of poking fun at itself. It never put on airs. It was simple. It knew it was simply and it succeeded at being so.

      Long powers up? Charging up your attacks? Calling out your attacks? Toriyama was aware of how silly those things were. The Ginyu force and Gotenks are there just to show you how silly those things are.

      GT took that stuff but forgot the heart of it. For example, Goku saves the day. GT takes this and runs with it. However, if you look back at Dragon Ball (Z especially) it's shocking how often Goku is not there. There are entire chapters with no Goku in sight. Entire arcs with Goku off-screen training. It makes the moments when he does show up and do stuff more special.