There have been a series of shows that I may have, at one time or another, given a significant portion of my person to see come back and through sheer force of nostalgia, each of these shows has managed to return to me. Funny thing, hindsight tells me that I should be very thankful that I didn’t pay for them with one of my extremities.
The latest nostalgic throwback that has had me bouncing at it’s return was a sequel to one of my most beloved childhood shows Dragon Ball Z, a show that has had big impact on my pop culture consuming sensibilities as I have grown. So naturally I’d be happy to see that Akira Toriyama is making a sequel after nearly 20 years to a huge part of my childhood.
Dragon Ball Super is the long awaited follow up, taking place months after the events of the Majin Buu Saga, the finale to Dragon Ball Z. You’d think I’d be happy, I am. It’s just that So far, I don’t feel like the show has actually begun just yet. You see, over the past few years Toriyama made two movies that acted as sequels to DBZ, Battle of the Gods and Resurrection F. Rather than take place after the movies, Dragon Ball Super is retelling the events of these two movies again before it gets to the original story.
It makes sense from a basic storytelling standpoint, not everyone saw the movies, so naturally the audience need to be caught up. It’s not like not watching the original Dragon Ball ever affected my enjoyment of DBZ, but whatever. It wasn’t just an arbitrary decision though, Toriyama has stated that he was unable to fit everything he wanted into Battle of the Gods, on the face of it, this makes his retelling seem like a welcome move.
And for the first couple of episodes, I was fine with it. Giving us a slow introduction back into the world, showing some slice of life stuff with both Goku and Vegeta, acting as normal as planet busting martial artists can. It was fun and a good way to show people Dragon Ball wasn’t always about powering up and grimacing. However, when the show started retelling the events of the first movie, it started to lose me slightly.
I enjoyed Battle of the Gods, it told a fun story that mixed both the fun comedic aspects of the show and the huge scale fights that inspired a generation of manga artists. Problem is, Super is playing out so close to the movie that it hardly seems worth bothering right now. It was after watching the most recent episode that I decided I needed to at least say something into the void of noise that was the internet, and it seems I wasn’t the only one.
The episode in question recreated the fight scene between Goku and Beerus on King Kai’s planet, a scene that is exists to show a vast power gulf in power between the two, setting up just how more powerful Goku will become by the saga’s end. In the movie, the scene was short, dynamic and fantastically animated. Episode five, however, was 20 minutes of Goku throwing the same couple of punches and occasionally powering up to a new form to repeat the process.
I’ve pinched a few images from a Kotaku article that also commented on the quality of the animation. While you could argue single frames taken out of context will look bad, that’s just how animation is. As someone who sat through the whole thing, it was no better on the eyes in motion. Given, I’m aware of how bad the animation environment is for shows like this, but this is Dragon Ball.
Maybe I’m over exaggerating though. Current synopsis of future episodes seems to imply the saga will only last 10 episodes, which is very low compared to how long they were in DBZ were. On top of this, we might get some insight into the time between the two movies and see Vegeta gain his god powers. Even that though, I am apprehensive to expect from the show. There were things about Resurrection F that tied a few people in knots, the absence of certain characters for example and what some would consider big plot holes.
Seeing all these things changed to keep nerds like me happy sounds great, except in an interview for the Dragon Ball Super Start Guide, producer Atushi Kido flat out says that there will be no scene of Frieza training to attain his golden form. Something that irks me to this day is that he could attain the power of a god in only 4 months of training, compared to the trials and tribulations Goku and crew had to go through to beat him and in the time since.
Makes his first defeat by Goku more a result of dumb luck, that Frieza was too lazy to train, than the fulfilling of a thousand year old legend, as it was portrayed at the time.
So the question that got me writing was that should Super have picked up after the movies and thrown us straight into the brand new multiverse hopping story that, hopefully, is going to make making the bulk of the new show. So far, I’d defiantly say yes, I mean, sure it would be confusing to those who have managed to miss the movie. But the whole thing feels just like spinning wheels at the moment, killing time until we get the the stuff we showed up for. I just hope episode six comes out and makes me eat my words.