A brand new Dragon Ball anime movie is set for release in Japan towards the end of this year and franchise creator, Akira Toriyama, has confirmed several salient story details. Despite long periods of inactivity since debuting in 1984, Dragon Ball is as popular as ever both at home in Japan and on Western shores and its most recent television series, Dragon Ball Super, has helped to introduce a whole new generation to Goku's world of martial arts, energy blasts, and terrible parenting.
Although Dragon Ball Super has proved highly popular - and far better received by fans than previous series, GT - a surprise announcement from Toei Animation confirmed that the show would be going on an indefinite hiatus upon the conclusion of the current Tournament of Power arc. The thinking behind this decision is currently unclear and viewers don't yet know whether Super will return at some point in the future or be cancelled completely.
However, Toei (via Forbes) have now announced that a brand new Dragon Ball movie, the 20th thus far, will be released in Japan on December 14, 2018. Interestingly, the movie appears to be retaining the Super moniker, at least for the time being. Original creator Akira Toriyama will be writing the story and designing characters and had the following to say about the movie's plot:
"The Dragon Ball Super movie this time around will be the next story that takes place after the anime that's currently on TV. The content will shed a little light on previously unexplored topics having to do with Frieza and the Saiyans and I think it will be a very enjoyable story that serves up a long-awaited formidable opponent!"
The announcement will come as fantastic news to fans of Dragon Ball Super who were concerned that the forthcoming hiatus would signal another quiet period for the franchise and the fact that Toriyama will be heavily involved can only be a good thing. While the December 14 release date is currently for Japan only, English dubs of Dragon Ball movies are usually only a few months behind, so Western fans can tentatively expect to see the Dragon Ball Super movie in theaters around March/April 2019, going by the timeline for previous release, Resurrection F. That means twelve solid months of speculating who this "long-awaited formidable opponent" could be.
However, there are a few elements of Toriyama's statement that could raise concern with Dragon Ball fans, primarily the fact that the movie will focus on Frieza and the Saiyans. This area of the narrative has been well covered in Dragon Ball Z and is arguably the most iconic arc of the entire franchise. Furthermore, Frieza played a prominent role in both Resurrection F and the Dragon Ball Super TV series. With new and interesting characters such as Hit, Jiren and the Angels to explore, some might argue that the new Dragon Ball movie should look ahead for inspiration, rather than into the franchise's history.
The Dragon Ball Super movie hits Japanese theaters on Friday, December 14. More news on a worldwide release as it arrives.
Source: Toei (via Forbes)