Dragon Ball Super is Not What I Wanted

I grew up with the Dragon Ball series, so hearing about a continuation to the original series had me excited. My hopes were high since Dragon Ball Z was one of, and still is, one of my favorite anime franchises out there. Which is why I was disappointed with Dragon Ball Super. Now, before reading the rest of this review, know that there will be heavy spoilers since most of my issues come from the show’s plot.

So what were my issues with the plot? Where to begin! There are issues littered throughout the first arc of the series. It follows the plot of one of the movies, Battle of Gods. The God of Destruction, Beerus, plans on destroying the earth while Goku tries to stop him. In their first confrontation, Goku loses with ease and Beerus continues towards Earth. All of Goku’s allies lose to Beerus and everyone wonders, “What could possibly be done to stop him?” They needed to transfer the power of five super saiyans into one saiyan. They managed to transfer this energy into Goku. Goku and Beerus fought and Goku lost, but because of his strength in battle (and Earth’s good food) Beerus decided to spare Earth. That plot was perfect for the movie. The first arc extended it by way too much. The movie was about 1 hour and 50 minutes long. The arc was over 5 hours long. They added a bunch of inconsequential stuff, and even took scenes that were fun (e.x. Bulma’s birthday party) and made them long and boring. 

The next major arc surprised me. It too was based on one of the Dragon Ball movies, this one being called Resurrection of F. Frieza, one of the strongest antagonists in Dragon Ball canon, has been resurrected and gained a new form. The main characters battle against the resurrected menace, each side showcasing a new form (Frieza showing off his golden form and Goku and Vegeta showing off their super saiyan blue forms.) This arc was actually a ton better than it’s movie equivalent. The movie felt congested and like they tried to cram too much within 1 hr and 30 mins. The arc not only allowed many elements to be fleshed out, but it also made call backs to jokes and characters back from Dragon Ball Z. This was probably one of the best arcs in the series but still had a serious issue. Golden Frieza is a lazy form. The form is a pallet swap of Frieza’s final form and shows a lack of effort. I wish they did something similar to what was done to Cooler, Frieza’s brother, who had a final form that actually changed his appearance and looked amazing(This has actually prompted my family and I to say “Cooler is simply cooler than Frieza”). 

The next arc is the Universe 6 arc. This introduces multiple universes to the Dragon Ball canon. It’s pretty interesting, but is overall bland. The god of destruction of universe 6, Champa, challenged Beerus to a duel involving the best fighters from each god’s universe. It’s obvious that most of the fighters in Champa’s universe were going to lose because Goku and Vegeta are overpowered. There was only one interesting fight in the arc involving Goku and Hit, a hitman from Champa’s universe who can manipulate time. Their fight was actually done pretty well and ended the arc pretty well. 

The next arc is filler and only 4 episodes, so I’m skipping that and going into my least favorite arc of them all. The Future Trunks arc (and yes, Future Trunks is the character’s name in Dragon Ball materials). There is so much wrong with this arc that it’s crazy. It feels so much longer than it is, and it was a chore to watch. Future Trunks was in Dragon Ball Z and he was a major contributor to one of the best arcs in the Dragon Ball franchise. Not only that, his time in Dragon Ball Z made Future Trunks my favorite Dragon Ball character. This arc ruined him for me. First off, they make the existence of a new alternate Future Trunks complicated and weird. If you pay attention to the explanation in the show, then you will know what I mean. Next off, they made Trunks overly whiny, with a whole episode and a half dedicated to him moping and getting upset. My next major gripe is with the introduction of Goku Black and Zamasu. It feels like someone wanted to ship Goku with their OC and this is what became of it. Goku Black is literally the most generic villain you get, and Zamasu is the same. Zamasu is from another universe (the main Dragon Ball universe being Universe 7, his being Universe 10) and feels that mortals are a burden and should be wiped from existence. A different version of him travels back in time in order to steal Goku’s body and bring havoc to the universe. There is so much more time travel that just makes the arc confusing and uninteresting. Information is so poorly conveyed that it took me watching the arc 3 times to finally get it. And even then I still had to look up an explanation for certain parts of it. Personality wise, Goku Black and Zamasu are not unique. Black and Zamasu both want to purge the universe of all mortals because they see the mortals as a mistake. Nothing new there. This arc also retconned something really important, but I will get into that later. Now my biggest, most infuriating, gripe with this arc is the introduction of the most stupid, idiotic, and garbage character in Dragon Ball. Zeno. Zeno is the ruler of all universes and can erase one with a snap of a finger. He takes away all sense of danger from the show because if the main characters get in a jam they could always call Zeno. He would listen too ,because he and Goku nearly instantaneously became best friends. This becomes a major issue for me in the next arc so prepare to hear more of that. There is so much more to talk about in this arc, but it all boils down to “It feels like a fan fiction a 15 year old girl wrote.”

The final arc. The Tournament of Power arc. This is one of the lengthier arcs in Dragon Ball Super and is actually the longest in Dragon Ball history, spanning over 50 episodes. You’re probably wondering, “Why is it so long?” Beats me. There are so many useless scenes and pieces of dialogue that could be cut out. The premise of the arc is that Zeno is holding a tournament for all of the universes, and each time a universe loses they will be erased. The universe that wins gets to use the super dragon balls, stronger versions of dragon balls that can grant any wish. Most of the fights hold no relevance and most of the new characters were onenote and bland. Every time there was a fight, the show would jump between the fight and the stands so that those not fighting can give commentary. A fair amount of the time, the commentary is useless and only builds up time in an episode. We will actually miss parts of intenses fights because these baboons will be saying “Oh wow! What an intense fight!” “Yeah. (insert name here) is really getting pushed to their limits!” Then shut up and let us, the viewer, watch the fight! You can tell that only 2 possible universes are going to win about 10 episodes in. It’s either Universe 7 ,because Goku is that overpowered, or Universe 11, which has a mysterious strong fighter named Jiren. The winners of each fight are obvious but are still usually flashy and exciting to watch. When we reach Jiren and find out more about him, we find that his story is generic beyond belief. His family died, he trained with people and they failed to kill the bad guy, so he trained in solitude and got super strong under the belief that “Trusting others is for the weak”. The arc ends with Universe 7 winning and all Universes getting wished back. Now what ticked me off was that in my head, while I heard about the super dragon balls, I thought, “Why would Goku even bother using the wish to bring them back? He is so close with Zeno that he could do something like play with him and have him not destroy every universe.” As a whole, the arc was meh with some of the best fights of the series. 

Now done with arc talk, let’s talk about the characters. Many characters were either underutilized or acted uncharacteristically like themselves. Gohan acted weird in a fair amount of situations, and don’t get me started on the whiny baby that is Future Trunks. They barely used Goku’s second son, Goten. I think if you got all of his lines from the Super series and put it on paper, it would take up a page and a half. He was of little use, but had a ton of potential. 

Next up is the art design. The show looks fine. Not amazing but it also doesn’t look like a bottom tier anime. The issue that I noticed is that the animators didn’t know how to convey emotion in certain scenes. One example of this is the scene where Future Trunks remembers the events of his life, one of which being the death of Future Gohan. The scene looks like a fan animation and doesn’t give off the desired emotion of dread and sadness. Also, a lot of scenes are oversaturated. And I mean, A LOT. Nearly every scene that looks like it takes place at night or in a dark area looks as bright as day. This comes off as lazy and dull. 

Finally, the last thing I want to talk about, the retconning. Dragon Ball Super has retconned a fair amount of lore and story from Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. The one that constantly comes to mind is the deactivation of the Potara earrings. The Potara earrings are used to fuse two god entities together for all of eternity. It can also be used by lower level beings (such as Goku and Vegeta) to make stronger beings (in this case Vegito). The fusion was supposed to be permanent, meaning that if Goku and Vegeta fused then they would never be themselves again. This, however, could be negated by some kind of “atmosphere” as described in the Super Buu arc in Dragon Ball Z. This is never brought up in Super and is just forgotten. There are more instances of retconning but it’s hard to find and point out each and every one. 

Dragon Ball Super was a disappointment. I expected Super to be something that would live up to the Dragon Ball name but it obviously doesn’t. I would give this show a 5 out of 10. Being a long time fan of the series, this show felt somewhat insulting and forgettable.