What is Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero

Every time I go to write this post, some new news one the movie comes out and invalidates a lot of what I was planning on saying about the upcoming new Dragon Ball Super movie. As you’d expect, the fandom’s range of hot takes on the subject run the whole gamut from being insightful to boiling and stinky. But the fact remains that the existence of this movie still has a lot of question marks hanging above it considering the recent track record in the franchise.

First things first, let’s address the thing that’s getting the most panties in a bunch over this movie: the fact that it’s seemingly going to contain entirely CG generated artwork throughout. Is this something I’m getting upset about? I mean, no, not really. Here’s the thing, CG anime doesn’t bother me, as long as the overall product looks good in the end, who cares.

A style is a style, and there are plenty of examples of all kinds of different animation styles looking great and looking like garbage. I feel like it’s way too early to be condemning this movie for the choice to go CG without even seeing what it looks like. I know it’s rich from me telling people not to be pessimistic, but just because the snippets of CGI in the Broly movie didn’t look great is no cause to get worked up.

Think about it, look at the animation in Dragon Ball Fighters and some of those fantastic cut scenes from the Kakarot game. If the movie is putting all of its eggs into one basket when it comes to getting a team to produce a full CG movie, you’d hope they’d get a team who know what the hell they’re doing to make it. Or else I have woefully misunderstood the value of the Dragon Ball property and how the Japanese entertainment industry works.

Okay, second big curiosity surrounding this movie: When’s it set? Is it canon? It’s difficult to tell where this movie places in the timeline, even if it does at all. Historically, all of the movies based on the original Dragon Ball and Z were standalone stories. non-canon movies that retold and recontextualised events again, or went out and just invented a new villain for the heroes to fight.

That was until Battle of the Gods and the following two movies that took place within the canon of the anime and the manga that seem to have diverged from one another. You’d assume that Super Hero would follow the recent trend and continue on with the canon story following the Broly movie.

Here’s the problem though. Since the Broly movie came out, the manga has continued and is a couple of story arcs ahead of where the anime left off. Which has led many fans to wonder how the animated version of the story plans to show us the stories about Moro and Granolah following that.

Some assume Super will eventually return as an anime series and continue to the story, while others speculate that these story arcs might be covered in movie form. What little information there is available about this movie seems to take that second option off the table. Given we’ve got a bunch of original character designs out there as well as an older looking Pan, it seems to hint that this movie isn’t going to be covering the events of the Moro arc from the manga.

But that still doesn’t answer the question as to just how canon this movie is going to be. A lot of people have speculated about when this movie actually takes place in the timeline, using the older looking picture of Pan as an indicator that this movie might take place after a small time skip. Meaning it’ll end up taking place after the events of the Granolah arc, and maybe even the arc following that.

That’s all assuming this movie is canon to the events of the manga at all.

It’s hard to tell, but given the title of the movie (which, let’s be honest; kinda sucks) and the characters revealed for it so far leads some fans to speculate that this movie might be something unlike the other movies in the franchise before now: One in which Goku isn’t the focus. Popular fan theory right now seems lean in the direction that this is going to be a Gohan lead movie.

While Goku and Vegeta are off fighting someone on some alien planet, Gohan is left as Earth’s protector to deal with some lesser villain. Given his continued antics as “The Great Saiyaman”, this theory would fit in with the title of the movie and the fact that Piccolo and Pan’s deigns have been given priority over your more expected faces in the early press for a movie.

Does this mean that Super Hero could be Dragon Ball’s first spinoff movie? If that’s the case then I’m all for it. I love Gohan, but he has just retreated further and further into the background of the franchise throughout the events of Dragon Ball Super. The idea that these much beloved characters who can’t hope to keep up with the absurd leaps and bounds in strength Goku and Vegeta have taken since Ultra Instinct became a thing are being given the opportunity to split off and carry their own story is a fantastic idea in my eyes.

The two main Saiyans are becoming so much of a focus that we’re not hardly getting to see much of our old favourites anymore. The very idea that we could be getting a series of spinoff movies without any Goku or Vegeta in them at all sounds super appealing to me. Getting to see Gohan, Piccolo, Krillin and the other characters carry their own stories is a novel idea that almost sound difficult to believe when you really think about and the direction the series has gone since Super started.

Dragon Ball is one of the biggest, most recognisable anime brands internationally. The idea that they haven’t started to cast a wider net and create spinoff stories before now is kind of wild. If that is indeed what this movie ends up being. But think about it, the dragon ball movies have always served a nebulous purpose within the series. Early ones were non-canon side stories while later ones became part of the canon.

Maybe Super Hero is taking them in another, third direction. Telling canon stories, separate from those told in the manga, but without interfering with them. Maybe this movie takes place during the Granolah arc while Goku and Vegeta are away on Planet Cereal.

I, for one, would be very interested to see the franchise get a little more create with the movie side of the franchise. Maybe start allowing different studios to have their own creative take on the property and give us a series of movies starring Gohan or the kids each in totally different art styles.

But let’s be real, I’m probably getting way too ahead of myself. I’d love for this speculation to come to fruition, but I feel like, at the back of my mind, this movie could very easily end up being the least interesting option of everything I’ve spoken about above and just turns into another non-canon side movie like what we got during the days of the Z movies.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see and I’ll come back on here to give my continued thoughts. For all the people predicting doom and gloom over this movie, I am coming at it with an open mind. At the end of the day, I love Dragon Ball and am going to give every new entry in the series a chance before I go all keyboard warrior and totally condemn it. Because let’s be real, there’s nothing here to condemn anyway.

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