I was kind of shocked the other day when YouTube recommended me some clips from the latest episode of Super Dragon Ball Heroes. It was less that I was shocked the miniseries was still going, more so I was shocked that I looked at it and didn’t feel this weird compulsion. That I wasn’t drawn to it like a moth to a flame like I used to be.
And believe me, I still spend an embarrassing amount of time thinking about Dragon Ball. This show should be like catnip to me. So why isn’t it?
If I was seeing this show back in my early teens I’d be obsessed. Losing my mind over the wild stuff Super Dragon Ball Heroes provides. Adult Gotenks, Super Saiyan 4 Broly, Super Saiyan 3 Raditz. This is the kinds of wild “what-if” shit I’d discuss with my cousins and my friends all the time. If any of us had any artistic skill, I’m sure we would have spend afternoons drawing them all.
And yet, now this stuff exists, for real, or at least in an official capacity. And yet, I find that I kind of just don’t care. Maybe it’s my age, or maybe it’s because it’s coming from an official source that some of mystery and unknown is totally lost. Watered down, packaged and sold as product. I fell away from the show pretty quickly after attempting to talk about them on here for a while.
I think, in the end, the reason I did just give up talking about them was because they felt so hollow. Like the equivalent of some business men watching kids banging action figures together and turning that playdate into something with a budget. Which inherently robs it of its charm and the breathless excitement of some kids talking about what a fusion between Trunks and Vegeta would look like.
Thinking back to my youth again; I remember seeing these strange images on the early internet, or printed out and pinned to a wall in some kid’s bedroom, they would fill you brain with questions. Much like when I played Dragon Ball GT Final Bout back before the Majin Buu Saga had even aired over here in the U.K. and I had no idea what any of these characters were, let alone that Super Saiyan 4 was even a thing.
Or later still when I saw a blurry image of the famous “Super Saiyan 5 Goku” art that every Dragon Ball fan saw and lost their minds over, which has since been revealed to have been a piece of fan art of an Original Character, it wasn’t even Goku. But as the early internet started to circulate these images and our knowledge of what was happening in Japan was limited at best, all of this was exciting to speculate about.
You could make your name online through a piece of fanart of something like Super Saiyan Rose 3 Goku Black or Super Saiyan 4 Xeno Vegito. Things are cool to talk about, and yet seem far less interesting when seen in motion during one of the hundreds of little clips Super Dragon Ball Heroes puts out for it’s wacky card game.
I can’t just blame Toei for exploiting the shit out of their dumb, weeb-ass fanbase (I’m including myself in that bracket by the way). The very nature of the internet has changed so much in the past couple of decades that all of the mystery over things we used to speculate about as become a thing of the past.
We live in a world where people, in their desperation to become viral, have robbed all sense of mystery from the internet trying be the first or the loudest to post any little bit of information that come out about a franchise as big as Dragon Ball. Not to mention the hundreds of people who make their lives on the internet from just stealing other people’s content and actively trying to avoid crediting the original artist by cutting out water marks or editing out titles.
It just adds one more layer of exasperation to the whole process. If it’s not the company themselves trying to monetise fan fiction and package it up in just about the most unappealing way possible, then it’s minimum effort tiktok creators and Youtubers just completing official and other people’s content to try and push their own channel.
It kind if makes it difficult to enjoying being a part of the community anymore. But that’s just me and my incredibly jaded and cynical outlook on life rearing its ugly head again.
At this point, I mostly get my enjoyment of Dragon ball from the official sources and few other places. Super Dragon Ball Heroes has kind of burst its own bubble at this point and ran out of things to shock or draw us in with. I mean SSJR3 Goku Black didn’t do it… At this point I really think there are only three things they could throw at us to get someone like me interested again:
1: Give us the fabled fusion of Gogeta and Vegito. Gogeto?
2: Fuse a Super Saiyan 4 with a Super Saiyan Blue. Gibe us that all blue SSJ4. There’s more than enough fan art out there that you know people want it.
3: Give us a Gogeta/Vegito that is using both Ultra Instinct and Ultra Ego at the same time. If that isn’t just something the official manga might just eventually do.
…it’s just too bad all this stuff is wrapped up in a card game I don’t feel super interested in, even if I could actually play it anyway in the U.K. If they really wanted to get me excited, they need to take all these concepts and use them in a Super Dragon Ball Heroes branded sequel to Dragon Ball fusions. Now there’s an idea that makes the heart of a frumpy old git like me flutter.