Earlier this year it was announced that we were going to be getting a new Dragon Ball Super movie in 2022 to follow up on the Broly movie from 2018. Now during San Diego Comic Con 2021 we learned that the full title for the 2022 movie is Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. This was all part of the video presentation that included a teaser to announce the name Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. Let’s take a closer look at the information on the new Dragon Ball movie and what it means for the future of the franchise.
WHAT WAS ANNOUNCED AT SAN DIEGO COMIC CON 2021
As previously mentioned the title for the new movie was announced to be Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. This was done during a short 22 second teaser video that included the name of the movie that only featured Goku in his normal state. The trailer ended with an announcement that the movie will be part of the 2022 Dragon Ball Roadshow and the full official release date varying depending on region and country.
The trailer was shown during a virtual panel during San Diego Comic Con@Home 2021 that was kicked off by with a special musical performance by Hironobu Kageyama singing Cha-La Head-Cha-La (the first opening theme of Dragon Ball Z). The panel itself included Masako Nozawa (legendary Japanese voice actress who voices of Goku, Bardock, Gohan, Future Gohan, Goten, and Goku Jr.), Akio Iyoku (Producer and Editor) and Norihiro Hayashida (Producer) and hosted by MC Sascha. During the panel it was revealed that different animation technology would be used to produce the facial expressions for the Dragon Ball characters in the movie.
Additionally we got a look at several characters that will be in the movie. The characters that were shown off as part of the announcement was Goku (who was the only character to appear in the teaser trailer), an updated Piccolo, Krillin in his police uniform, and an older Pan in a kindergarden uniform. All of these character designs were done by Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama.
Speaking on the updated character designs the panel host MC Sascha said “Toriyama has written the original story, script, and also the character designs…….He’s deeply involved in the story structure, of course, the character design, and every detail of the dialog.” A statement by Toriyama was read during the panel that stated:
“An all new movie since Dragon Ball Super: Broly is in the making! Just like the previous movie, I’m heavily leading the story and dialog production for another amazing film. I really shouldn’t talk too much about the plot yet, but be prepared for some extreme and entertaining bouts, which may feature an unexpected character. We’ll be charting through some unexplored territory, in terms of the visual aesthetics to give the audience an amazing ride, so I hope everybody will look forward to the new movie!”
In addition to handling the character designs it was mentioned that Toriyama is also working with the writing team for Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero on lines for the script and overall plot details. You can check out the full San Diego Comic Con@Home 2021 Dragon Ball Super panel by clicking this link.
EXAMINING NEW CHARACTER DESIGNS
Immediately the character designs for the Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero movie that were shown during the panel is what stood out most. Starting with Goku, his character design is what you expect it to be. There isn’t much of a change outside of the fact that Goku is back to wearing the “Go” Kanji symbol on his uniform he wore during Dragon Ball Z. This is a slight change as he has been more known for wearing Whis or Galactic Patrol symbols during the Dragon Ball Super anime and manga. Though this does align with the Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie that showed Goku wearing the same gi.
Similarly, Krillin’s character design isn’t very different. He is notably aging like shown in Dragon Ball GT. The design is more in line with how the character has been looking since he went back to his shaved head look during the Tournament of Power arc in Dragon Ball Super. Along with that his police uniform is updated with pants and a jacket.
On a more notable visual character change is Piccolo. At first glance his design looks similar to what Piccolo normally looks except that the pink patches on his body that has been part of the character since he was introduced in Dragon Ball have become a yellow orange color. This change in design points to how Piccolo aging much more since the pink color is normally for young Namekians and yellow-orange color elder Namekians. Piccolo going more towards being positioned as an Elder Namekian is an appropriate next step for his character. Because, while Piccolo is technically only four years older than Gohan he has been viewed as around Goku’s age because of how quickly Namekians age.
Which plays into the fact that we Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero will have a four to five year timeskip. This is also yet another change in the franchise for characters the diverges from the possible Dragon Ball GT future, where Piccolo was still shown with his pink patches.
Speaking of timeskip and Dragon Ball GT, we got a look a kindergarten age Pan. Seeing an older Pan is a big deal in itself since we have seen her as a baby throughout Dragon Ball Super. More importantly, this places the Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero movie to likely take place right before the 28th World Martial Arts Tournament, where a four year old Pan made her martial arts debut in the Dragon Ball Universe.
Along with the characters we know we got introduced to an unnamed character. The design indicates that this character will be related to the Super Hero name in the title of the movie. His overall design does have a superhero aesthetic, similar to Gohan’s Great Saiyaman gimmick.
HOW COULD THE DRAGON BALL SUPER MANGA RELATE
It is tough to know if the current Dragon Ball Super manga events that take place after the Tournament of Power will actually be in the Super Hero movie. While the manga has told the same story as the Dragon Ball Super anime up through the Tournament of Power we have had various instance of differences between the manga and anime. This includes how the different transformations and power levels are showcased in the Dragon Ball Super stories.
Additionally, the current Dragon Ball Super manga has told two stories that take place after the Tournament of Power. During these two arcs we’ve been introduced to two new antagonists that Goku and Vegeta have taken on in the form of Moro and Granolah, the latter of which is the antagonist for the current Dragon Ball Super manga storyline. During these fights Goku and Vegeta have been shown as evolving themselves. Goku has been training to perfect his Ultra Instinct usage while Vegeta most recently got a God of Destruction-like Super Saiyan form.
All of that said we don’t know if Toriyama intends for the events with Moro and Granolah took place during the time jump that will be seen in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. That could open a lot of confusion plot points when it comes to where Goku and Vegeta are in their quest to become stronger. Though it can’t be ruled out that Toriyama won’t use elements of the Dragon Ball Super manga since he is writing it. We could likely look at the work Toriyama and Toyotarou with the manga to get story and character beats.
THOUGHTS ON DRAGON BALL SUPER: SUPER HERO
I am very excited to see what the Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero movie will be. The Broly movie that was released in 2018 was a movie that was just pure hype. Given that Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero has been in development since the around the time Broly was released in 2018 I expect this new movie will be similarly pure hype.
Its actually refreshing that Piccolo was part of the first characters revealed in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero instead of Vegeta. Goku and Vegeta have dominated the Dragon Ball franchise since the Buu Saga. Mixing in Piccolo to prominent role in the new movie is a nice change of pace. It is definitely long overdue for Piccolo, one of the best Dragon Ball characters, a chance in the spotlight.
Diving into the superhero realm with the new character that is being introduced will be cool to see. Toriyama has played with the superhero genre when he had Gohan create the Great Saiyaman persona during his time in high school. How the villain could possibly also have elements from classic superhero comic book villains would be a welcome change in antagonist seen in the Dragon Ball Universe.
What I’m more interested in is how close we will be getting to the point in the timeline shown at the end of Dragon Ball Z with the 28th World Championship Tournament. As mentioned previously, Pan being kindergarten age means we are as close as Dragon Ball Super can get to that point in the timeline. This also would mean that we could see teenage versions of both Trunks and Goten, who would be 18 and 17 years old respectively based on the flashforward at the end of Dragon Ball Z. It would be cool if we actually got to see what teenage versions of Trunks and Goten are like.
Which would make an appearance from Uub in movie not out of the realm of possibility. Toriyama has teased Uub several times in both the Dragon Ball Super anime and movie. A cameo appearance at the very least would be cool to see.
Overall, it is incredibly exciting that we will be getting a new big screen movie for the Dragon Ball franchise. The teaser trailer and character designs build hype for the first story trailer that we will hopefully get by the end of the year.
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