I try not to lean too much on Dragon Ball based content on my blog. I feel like I see enough people on Youtube who have made their bread specialising in talking about the franchise. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about Dragon Ball an awful lot. And while my feelings on the current state of the franchise hang somewhere in the moderate, outside of the areas of extremes, I do have a lot to say when it comes to Dragon Ball.
As that clickbaity post I wrote about the Majin Buu Saga five years ago won’t let me forget, as it keeps topping my analytics.
With the most recent handful of chapters of Dragon Ball Super, the character who has been swirling around in my head the most of late is Uub. Back when Akira Toriyama conceived of him, he was the reincarnation of the series’ latest and most powerful villain; Majin Buu.
Back during what the Dragon Ball wiki describes as the Peaceful Word Saga; the final few chapters/episodes of Dragon Ball Z. At this point in the franchise’s history, these were the final moments of Dragon Ball, and so we are lead to believe Uub’s presence serves a specific purpose in the story and its ending.
That purpose being the promise of the future. Throughout the final two story arcs of Dragon Ball Toriyama toyed with the idea of Goku passing on the torch of being Earth protector. First with Gohan during the finale of the Cell arc and then with several people throughout the Buu arc. Including Gotenks, Gohan again, Pan and then ultimately Uub.
The original manga ended with Goku realising Uub was the reincarnation of Majin Buu and packed with incredible potential as a result. And so the story ends with Goku flies off with the kid to train him up to be the new protector of Earth, and hopefully get an exciting new fight out of it in the process.
It was a nice way to tie off the ending of the original run of Dragon Ball. It wasn’t a definitive ending to the story, leaving itself open to continuation if a need arose. However, it left things by ensuring a future legacy for the characters and their heroics through the younger, fresher fighters they’d introduced in this final handful of chapters.
Nothing stays nice and tied up for long when it comes to a franchise as big as Dragon Ball though, and in the 25 years since this manga chapter was released we’ve had not one, but two continuations of the story of Dragon Ball. First in GT and now in Super.
Both of which have dealt with Uub in different ways. As I mentioned previously, Uub is the pure personification of potential and the future in his purpose upon his creation. The problem is, as that story does continue and you do need to actually start showing that promise come into fruition, the task becomes somewhat more difficult. Especially when you’ve got to do it from the incredible deep shadow that iconic protagonist like Goku casts.
Despite the desires of Toriyama to show the Dragon world eventually move past Goku, everything just keeps coming back around to him, to the point that any given problem can be solved by anyone but him has become a laughable pipe dream. He just loves fighting far too much to not insert himself into any given situation, which means that ten out of ten times it’s also still him saving the day. Still.
Dragon Ball Super managed to avoid the whole issue with Uub for a long time, doing this by telling he story that spanned the ten-year gap between the end of Buu and the tournament where Goku meets Uub. The new problem being that within just a few short movies and arcs, the power of Majin Buu suddenly paled in comparison to Super Saiyan God, Kaioken Blue and eventually Ultra Instinct. While Uub was referenced here and there by the likes of Dende, it seems like his importance to the story had vanished when a kid with the strength of Kid Buu would meet a Goku who had mastered Ultra Instinct.
That was until he made a surprise appearance in the recently concluded Moro arc in the manga. The Supreme Kai inside Fat Buu emerged during this arc and it was revealed that much of his power had been transferred to Kid Buu when he and Fat Buu separated from one another. Which had subsequently been transferred into Uub. With all the changes in the status quo of the Dragon Ball universe thanks to the introduction of God ki, it seemed like Uub was being left behind.
That was before the conclusion of this arc, where Uub sends a portion of his power into Vegeta’s Reverse Spirit Fission Spirit Bomb. That transferred power was enough to overcharge Ultra Instinct Goku to the point where his aura turned into a giant Kaiju spirit of himself. Now, all of a sudden Uub is super relevant again. Not only that, he is somehow holding power that might even make Ultra Instinct Goku blush.
It’s an exciting revelation, and while many people might get frustrated with rectons, I feel like this is a welcome one. Whatever combination of godhood mixed with humanity Uub possesses, his huge reserves of God Ki inherited from the old Supreme Kai and how he was a vital component in defeating Moro all make me excited to see what the future could hold for Uub.
If we ever actually get to see that future happen. We’re currently six years into the ten-year gap between Buu dying and encountering Uub during the “peaceful world saga”, A span of time that seems to be the most tumultuous in the entire franchise’s history. I mean, the Tournament of Power, the Moro Arc and this new arc all taking place immediately after one another.
It makes me wonder if we are going to get a time skip and any part of Super is going to take place after the end of Z. Because as much as I’d like to see these characters older I’m really starting to think that Super will end by leading into that end of Z arc. It really doesn’t want to change the designs of these characters at all. Which I’m going to be super cynical and say is because the franchise is purely marking driven at this point. As shown by how they quickly retired the new outfits Goku and Vegeta wore in Resurrection ‘F’.
Despite how much I like how Super had made Uub important again, the very nature of Dragon Ball, Super especially, brushes everyone aside to give Goku centre stage. Which makes me wonder if we can ever have a Dragon Ball with Uub as a major fighter without a repeat of what is happening to Vegeta in every arc now or what ended up happening to Uub in GT. Something I still find to be a bizarre choice by the writers of the other Dragon Ball spinoff series.
By the time GT is over, Uub ultimately has very little impact on the events of the series. While the very first scenes show his graduation battle with Goku, he doesn’t show up again until 31 episodes into the series in order to battle Baby. And despite his power, Uub is pretty unceremoniously battered and tossed aside by Baby Vegeta.
This, however, does lead to one of GT’s many great ideas. One that is amazing in theory, but ends up getting let down by GT’s abysmal execution on all of those great ideas. Uub recombines with Majin Buu to become “Majuub”, a significant powerup that ultimately leads nowhere in the fight.
While the manner of his defeat to Baby comes as a result of some trickery, it really feels like it undermines everything about Uub from his first appearance and all the promise that surrounded him. All in favour of Super Saiyan 4 Goku showing up and getting the ultimate victory. After this, Uub is pretty much relegated to the cheer squad along with everyone else, getting beaten by both Super 17 and Omega Shenron afterwards.
Like Pan, he is a character who ends the original Manga as one of the hopes of the future and then is treated pretty poorly by the writers in favour of focusing on Goku. Even as GT ended and Goku left, he entrusted the guardianship of Earth to Vegeta, not the only pupil he took on his entire life. Which makes me think that the writers of GT wanted nothing to do with Uub whatsoever.
Which it seemed was also happening, albeit to a lesser extent, in Super. That was until the events of the Moro arc make me feel like Toriyama still sees Uub as that important future spark of the next generation of heroes. But it makes me wonder if we’ll ever see him as anything beyond that.
Right now, I feel like Uub is the personification of potential we’re destined to never actually see come into fruition. Maybe Toriyama is aware of what happened with Gohan and doesn’t want to repeat the abrupt stop that character’s growth came to. I would absolutely not be opposed to a Boruto-Esque continuation to Super that focuses on Uub, Pan and Bulla growing into the future fighters with the other characters being relegated to a supporting role.
Uub has shown that he had the power within him to go beyond even Ultra Instinct, seeing him grow into Goku’s true successor, having some kind of friendly rivalry with Pan who also seems like a passionate fighter in the few episodes we see of her during the end of Z. I’d love to see that. But it’s something I’m not sure I can see Dragon Ball ever doing.
With the level of writing of the series and the reduction of the characterisation of Goku as a fight crazy idiot, him maturing into a teacher within the space of the next four years seems pretty unlikely. Despite the fact that Toriyama regularly jumped forward in time throughout the many story arcs in Dragon Ball, I feel like Super might be stuck in a time loop, doomed to never give us the adult Gotenks, Pan evolving into a fighter like her Grandfather or Uub becoming the new face of the franchise.
It’s just easier to promise potential without every having to follow up and make good on that promise I guess.