Everything You Need to Know About Dragon Ball Super
It’s been 19 years since Dragon Ball Z came to a close, and we’re finally getting a bona-fide follow up to the mega-popular anime. The new series, titled Dragon Ball Super, premiered on July 5th. It might’ve been a while since you last boned up on the series, so let’s go over what we know.
- Dragon Ball Super is official canon
There have been a dozen movies set in the Dragon Ball Z universe, but almost none of them really “count” because they weren’t made with the involvement of Akira Toriyama, creator of the original manga. As a result, the DBZ stuff we’ve gotten in the two decades since the show ended more or less amounts to big-budget fan fiction. That includes you, Broly. Especially you, Bio-Broly.
That’s why Dragon Ball Super is such a big deal — with Toriyama on board, it feels more like Dragon Ball is really “back.”
- Dragon Ball Super is set before the end of Dragon Ball Z
Dragon Ball Z ends with a flash-forward to a new tournament, and Goku abandoning his family to go train a reincarnated Uub. But as we learned in a statement from Toriyama, the series will begin about six months after the original defeat of Kid Buu.
On one hand it’s kind of disappointing that we already know everything turns out fine in the end, because the world is a safe place at the end of DBZ. If and when Krillin is murdered yet again, we know he has to be resurrected to show up at the end of the series. Any stakes raised are rendered invalid when we’ve already seen the happy ending.
From the sounds of it, Dragon Ball Super might be jumping around in time a bit, which does have precedent in the series. What’s still unclear is whether the series will ever move beyond the original ending for Dragon Ball Z, or even rewrite it entirely. Whatever happens, there’s one important thing to remember:
- Dragon Ball GT never happened
Yes, it technically succeeded Dragon Ball Z’s epic run, but DBGT is spoken of with… hushed tones within the fan community. Despite a few cool moments here and there, on the whole GT is kind of a trainwreck. Without any more of Toriyama’s source material to work from, the tone of the show went all over the place, and the story veered aimlessly from bland to ridiculous, and in some cases, both.
But, as many fans will be happy to tell you, GT was basically invalidated by the recent Battle of the Gods movie, which has the distinction of being Toriyama-sanctioned canon. See, in BotG, Goku achieves a new form, “Super Saiyan God,” This form is more powerful than Super Saiyan 3, with the added benefit of not having the world’s groadiest golden mullet.
Therein lies the rub — if Battle of the Gods takes place during Dragon Ball Z’s storyline, why wouldn’t Goku ever use his God form years later? It’s never mentioned in DBGT whatsoever. It’s a plothole so massive and inescapable that it can only be explained as intentional. GT never happened. No Black Star Dragon Balls, no Kid Goku, no Omega Shenron. It’s for the best, though I can’t say I won’t miss Vegeta’s slick mustache.
Just a heads up, we’re heading into MILD SPOILER territory on the next page. It’s mostly just a vague plot synopsis that you might find on the official website, but in case you wanna go in squeaky clean, you got fair warning.
- You should probably watch the Battle of the Gods movie…
When it comes to “required reading” for the new Dragon Ball series, you’re probably fine with the basics most people are familiar with. Vegeta is an ambitious dick with a heart of gold, Bulma is the technowiz and Goku is the all-powerful manchild who never learned how to be a good father. The only real story stuff you need to know is contained within the aforementioned movie, Battle of the Gods.
You can rent it right now (or read the Wiki entry, or just wait for the inevitable Team Four Star redux), but here’s the gist: Goku and the Z Fighters are set upon by Beerus, the purple Mr. Bigglesworth you see above. As the Destruction God, Beerus comes to Earth looking for a good fight and some entertainment. After some weird comedic hijinks and an intense battle with Goku, Beerus decides to not blow up the Earth and everyone in it. Surprise.
One of the most interesting wrinkles to come out of the movie was the revelation that there were other Destruction Gods out there that are way more powerful than Beerus, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
- …and the Resurrection F movie will probably be important, too
This sequel to Battle of the Gods hasn’t hit the US quite yet, but Japan has had it since April. I won’t spoil much of Resurrection F here, but all you need to know is that some idiot dickmunch used the Dragon Balls to wish Frieza back to life. That, and there are some new forms in play — Frieza has a special Gold Mode, and Goku/Vegeta manage to achieve the next step in their evolution.
This new transformation is known as “Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan,” which is like a Super Saiyan God that goes Super Saiyan, or maybe a Super Saiyan who goes Super Saiyan God? It really doesn’t matter, because blue hair!
Since Beerus is on deck for RF, this plants the movie firmly after BotG, and thus, after the beginning of the new series. It’s looking more and more likely that Toriyama and crew will be filling in the gaps between these movies, and then skipping ahead to continue the story after Goku dips his head in wildberry Kool-Aid.
However, there’s a chance you might not have to watch these movies after all — depending on how you read that recent statement from Toriyama, it appears as though Dragon Ball Super might actually be re-telling both Battle of the Gods and Resurrection F in the course of its run. Then again, that might just mean chopping up the movies to re-air on television. Dragon Ball would never resort to filler to pad out its episode count, right?
- There are alternate dimensions (and more Dragon Balls)
We’ve only got a few tidbits of hard info on Dragon Ball Super, but one of the biggest morsels was found on the cover of Japan’s V-Jump magazine. Highlighted in red in the bottom right corner, you can see a Dragon Ball emblazoned with what is clearly nine stars. It’s kind of mindblowing, considering that we know there are only seven Dragon Balls. The implications of a ninth (or tenth, or eleventh) ball are staggering. How many balls are there, exactly? What happens when you get a dozen balls together? Are the wishes more powerful, or do you just get more wishes?
Fans have pointed out that this may have something to do with the other Destruction Gods that Beerus mentioned.
Champa — otherwise known as Fat Beerus, Full-Figured Beerus or Big Beautiful Beerus — was featured briefly in the trailer on the last page. He’s the Destruction God of another universe, so it could be that his reality has its own set of Dragon Balls (that uh, continue to count upward).
In fact, that statement mentioned earlier included some plot details for DBS, one of which referred to a set of oversized Super Dragon Balls. Toriyama went as far to say that the plot would revolve around the Z Fighters running afoul of the citizens of Universe 6, which presumably includes Champa.
This busts the door wide open for future plotlines. Will the heroes meet alternate universe versions of themselves? Is the Android apocalypse future that Trunks came from considered another universe, or are there alternate timelines within universes? Does this mean that Dragon Ball GT may have actually happened in another reality? Will we actually get to see Mustache Vegeta in all his handlebar glory? All this and more will be answered NEXT TIME ON DRAGON BALL S.
- We might be looking at 100 episodes
This one’s just a rumor, but a tantalizing one. AnimeNewsNetwork picked up on a listing on Toei Europe’s official site that indicated Dragon Ball Super would run for 100 episodes. The page has since been altered, so it’s unclear as to whether someone jumped the gun with spoilers or that number was just a placeholder. But if any series can pad out several dozen episodes with power-up screams, it’s Dragon Ball.