Impression: Dragon Ball Super, super or not?

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An anime that a lot of anime fans were looking forward to. Dragon Ball Z was for a lot of people an introduction to the anime scene. It’s no surprise then that Dragon Ball Super was big news when it was announced. Now that we are more than 50 episodes in I’ll try to answer the question if Dragon Ball Super is worthy to following in the footsteps if its predecessors and is worth watching or not.

dragonballsuper

Starting Arcs

Dragon Ball Super continues where Dragon Ball Z had ended. The story of Dragon Ball GT, which was made by Toei themselves after the manga had already ended and which received less input from Toriyama himself, is erased from existence.

A big Dragon Ball fan is going to be disappointed by the start of the anime since they start off with the story of the films Battle of the Gods and Resurrection of F. They did change a few minor things in the anime but these differences are not noteworthy in my opinion. I do get the choice however for telling these stories again, the characters from the films play an important role in the series and they don’t want to throw new watchers into the anime without knowing what is going on. The choice to make the anime series was probably made after the films were already planned or in production.

In the beginning it is noticeable that they didn’t spend a lot of time on this series, not sure if this has to do with pressure from deadlines or because they weren’t really that interested. The animation looks bad for the most part and you could really see that they were struggling with certain characters like Vegeta. The quick action scenes were really noticeable here where you could sometimes laugh about the way the characters ended up looking.

At this point I wanted to drop this anime. Also because I already watched both films which were better in every way. Of course it isn’t fair to compare the drawing and animation styles of the films cause the budget for the film was way higher but that’s still no excuse for the low quality they put into Dragon Ball Super.

Development

After they were done retelling the stories from the films they arrive at the first arc of the anime itself, after some filler that is. In this they take the time to explain the world to the viewer and give some background for the newly introduced characters and the new world it takes place in. This is also the first time that they show the immense size of the world they are now in. They continue the trend of the previous Dragon Ball series by increasing the size of this world. Dragon Ball took place on the Earth. Dragon Ball Z grew by introducing space travel but mainly focussed on two planets where in Dragon Ball GT they increased the size by visiting even more planets. In Dragon Ball Super they go even further with this by introducing multiple universes which all differ from each other, in big or small ways.

By doing this the creators are providing an interesting contrast and give themselves the chance to show off a few interesting fights in the form of a tournament. The setting of a tournament is well chosen for this because they are able to develop their characters and the world without making it drag out too much. They were also able to add a few interesting twists which kept most of the battles fresh and entertaining.

The animation also improved greatly at this point. It’s still no master work but Dragon Ball Z wasn’t known either for its high quality animation. But no longer is it so bad that you are being pulled out of the story because you are almost unable to recognize the characters. For me this was also the point that I started looking forward to new episodes.

This trend is still going on in the current arc of the anime. In this they offer a deeper story. They also aren’t afraid to make the viewer think about what is happening and theorize for themselves what is going on. In this aspect it feels better than Dragon Ball Z where it felt more like a standard formula. It’s a refreshing feeling that when they move away from this formula and really want to create a feeling of mystery, where before it was only a question of how strong the enemy was and if Goku was stronger.

Worth watching?

As I said at the beginning, I want to answer the question of Dragon Ball Super is a worthy sequel in the Dragon Ball legacy and if it is worth watching. To this I can now say yes, it is worth it on both points. Especially if you are a fan of shounen anime like the Dragon Ball franchise. The first two arcs are hard to get through and the fillers also remain bothersome. But as a whole, mainly after the rough start, Dragon Ball Super manages to excel it’s predecessor when it comes to story and animation, especially at the faster fighting segments. A few clichés are still hard to justify, like the new Super Saiyan transformations but it is a entertaining anime if you can get past these points.

For people who haven’t watched this anime or even the people who have stopped watching at the beginning, I’d recommend you to give it another chance. They seem to be improving the farther the story gets and so far it’s getting better with each now arc.

Cypher

Moderator op het forum van het anime en manga subforum. Interesses liggen in Japanse cultuur, mythologie. Maar ook in zowel technologie en psychologie. Ben ook te vinden op Twitter @0_Cypher.

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