Dragon Ball Super is the first new Dragon Ball series in over 20 years and it serves as the direct sequel to the universally popular Dragon Ball Z. Just like with pretty much all things Dragon Ball, the new series features plenty of new interesting, infuriating, and sometimes even downright hilarious elements that every fan of the previous series needs to know about before deciding to watch or to take a pass on it. It is pretty hard to believe that anyone who has ever watched Dragon Ball Z is ever going to say no to a sequel helmed by Akira Toriyama himself. The series doesn't have a very strong start, with many fans calling it utterly terrible, but things do slowly pick up. When all is said and done, Dragon Ball Super is a worthy and welcome addition to the legendary Dragon Ball saga.
Here's Dragon Ball Super: Everything You Need To Know.
Note: spoilers abound!
18 it doesn’t exactly take place after Dragon Ball Z
Despite being a sequel to Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball Super actually takes place shortly after the destruction of Kid Buu, and not after Dragon Ball Z’s canon ending, when Goku is seen flying away with the reincarnation of Buu, aka the very conveniently named Uub.
In consequence, that entire nice sendoff to the series, in the form of a mini tournament arc with Gohan’s daughter as a child, doesn’t happen, and it is unclear as to whether that arc will still be shown or if it has been erased from the canon entirely. This most likely happened because Toriyama wanted to avoid dealing with characters he didn’t create, and probably never liked very much in the first place. Since he was not directly responsible for Dragon Ball Z after the end of the Cell Saga, he has been vocal about being against the direction the series took after that.
17 the first two arcs are an extended version of two Dragon Ball Z movies
Fans of the show were very excited to see that a new Dragon Ball Z movie, Battle of the Gods, would be coming out in 2013, and even more excited to know that there was also a new series in the works. Right before the new series began being aired, another Dragon Ball Z movie was released, Ressurection of F, featuring a new and very angry Frieza returning from the grave with a new form and desire for revenge.
The movies were rather well received, but fans were disappointed to find out that the entire first two arcs of the new show were filler--a poorly animated version of the events from the two movies. Despite there being a few interestingly different moments, the superior quality of the animation and the no-filler nonsense approach of both Dragon Ball Z movies are a much preferred alternative to watching the first 27 episodes of Super.
16 Dragon Ball GT has been completely erased from continuity
It is sure to please most, if not all fans that Dragon Ball GT has been erased from continuity. But even though Goku no longer returns to his kid form, there is a possible callback to those times. Pilaf and his gang, the people originally responsible for Goku going back to his younger form in GT, are the ones who go back to being kids in Super. This will make absolutely no sense for people watching the series-- there's absolutely no explanation as to why it happened.
Fortunately there are the aforementioned movies, in which it is explained that Pilaf wanted to be young again, and the dragon either misunderstood or intentionally took things too far to have a laugh at bad old Pilaf. This is a very odd change, but there is a reason behind it, as Mai, the woman from Pilaf’s gang, is now a love interest for young Trunks. This is spectacularly creepy as, even though she looks pretty young, she is much older than Goku.
15 A new antagonist called Beerus is introduced
Lord Beerus, known and feared as the God of Destruction, is a new fan favourite and rightfully so. He is first originally introduced as a villain who woke up from a dream about a super Saiyan God after being asleep for the entire duration of Dragon ball and Dragon Ball Z's events. Beerus is first depicted as a merciless monster whose only purpose is to goal is to destroy, but in truth, he is mostly putting on a show, and what he really likes to do most is eating.
Upon waking up, Beerus goes to earth to fight the Super Saiyan God, who-- to the surprise of no one-- turns out to be Goku. The two of them fight, with Beerus emerging as the victor, but not before he recognizes Goku’s skill. This makes Beerus very invested in getting Goku to become even stronger in the future, so that he has a more fun challenge in their next battle.
14 Beerus is an amazing troll
As Beerus wants Goku to become as strong as possible, he is constantly teasing Goku by telling him that he once fought someone way stronger than him. To add insult to injury, he then introduces Monaka, a weird little alien that Beerus says is the second strongest fighter in the universe. As soon as Monaka was introduced, fans started speculating that Monaka was hiding a secret form, and thus started to draw all sorts of sketches of what he really looked like in battle mode.
Monaka was then revealed to be just the delivery guy for Beerus, whom Beerus is paying to put on a show as a legendary super fighter. It totally works, as Goku never even comes close to believing Monaka is just an actor, and in fact, probably one of the weakest creatures to have ever appeared in Dragon Ball. Luckily, Monaka does provide some really great comic relief.
13 Toriyama clearly doesn't like buu
Akira Toriyama famously left the Boss chair in Dragon Ball Z after the conclusion of the Cell Saga, which he intended to be the conclusion of the entire series, with Goku finally getting some rest In the afterlife. But the series continued in a direction that Toriyama wasn’t fond of. When he decided to continue the saga after Dragon Ball Z ,he was met with the task of dealing with some characters he didn’t like, with the one he liked the least being Buu.
Unsurprisingly Buu is turned into a new Yamcha of sorts, as he is completely overpowered and humiliated by Beerus in a matter of seconds, and then is invited to participate in a very important multiverse tournament only to be disqualified by a written exam because for being just too dumb. To explain how simple the written exam was well... even Goku somehow managed to pass it.
12 there are strange continuity issues
As it is fairly normal for women to dye their hair, it is easy to accept that Bulma’s hair has gone from turquoise to blue, but it gets strange after future Trunks is introduced. It seems that he has undergone the exact same transformation but the hair from young Trunks has stayed the same. Krillin is almost half as tall as he used to be, as he used to meet up to Android 18’s shoulders and now he can hardly meet up to her belly button.
If changes in characters traits are strange, the geography changes are even stranger. The world of Dragon Ball used to have its very own geography, but in Dragon Ball Super it looks just like a real-life planet earth. The cherry on top of the cake, though, is that at one point Beerus states that he was the one responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs on earth. Yeah, he stated that dinosaurs, the most predominant animal lifeform in the entirety of the Dragon Ball saga, were wiped out by him.
11 King Kai’s voice has been poorly received, but there's a reason
Joji Yanami’s voice is famous for helping King Kai become one of the most beloved characters in Dragon Ball Z. Unfortunately, his performance in Dragon Ball Super has been highly criticized, and he has been accused of not caring anymore, and of doing it just for the money. The reality is that Joji Yanami is one of the most important voice actors in Japan, and has been doing voice work since the 1960s. The reason behind his weaker performance is simply that as he is now 84 years old, it's hard for him to meet the demands of the job.
The nice part about this is that voice acting business in Japan is very different from its American counterpart, as in Japan actors tend to stay with the character until the end of their lives. In the American dub, for example, Goku has had more than 3 different voice actors. It is encouraging that the Japanese producers of Dragon Ball haven't abandoned Yanami after all these years.
10 The anime is released before the manga
One of the stranger things about Super's already strange production is that the animated version of Dragon Ball Super is released before its more rudimentary, and therefore easier to produce, manga counterpart. The reason for this is that. unlike the original Dragon Ball, the anime is now the main body of work, while the manga is merely its adaptation. The business is changing and Toriyama is looking at different ways of doing things. It's not as if he just decided to go the Game of Thrones route by slowing down his work on the manga to the point that the people responsible for adapting it had to guess and animate what was going to happen next, thereby making everything even stranger in the process. What’s cool about this is that there is no chance of ever being spoiled by some strange bootlegged crops from the manga randomly found on the internet.
9 Vegeta has fully transitioned to good guy
In spite of very few exceptions, Dragon Ball isn’t known for its deep character development. Heroes never go bad and villains never learn their lesson. Sure, Yamcha goes from being a scoundrel who is afraid of girls to a good-hearted human punching bag for everyone, Piccolo goes from straight-up hating Goku to being one of his best friends, and Dabura goes from being literally the devil to becoming a flower-lover. But the only character who was ever truly evil and then got to enjoy a whole series worth of self-improvement was Vegeta.
Yes, the same man who once wanted to conquer earth just because Goku, a supposed traitor to the noble cause of destroying planets for money, lived there, is now surprisingly as caring towards his friends as any of the other heroes. He's even featured as a comic relief in some moments of the show, without ever losing his badass attitude. Vegeta is still one of the most interesting characters in the history of the saga, as he manages to both completely change and still retain everything that made him cool in the first place.
8 Things start to get really good in the universe tournament
In a callback to the fan-favourite tournaments from the original Dragon Ball, there is now a new tournament organized by Beerus, the God of Destruction from Universe 7, and his brother, Champa, the God of Destruction from Universe 6. The objective of this tournament is to pit the best fighters from the two universes against each other to see which universe has the strongest fighters. The prizes are a mysterious item simply called “the Cube”, and the chance to use the Super Dragon Balls, which are just like the regular Dragon Balls, but planet-sized, and with the ability to grant just about any wish the winner makes.
This is the arc in which Monaka, who is supposedly the strongest fighter Beerus has ever fought, but is actually one of the weakest lifeforms in the Dragon Ball universe, is first shown. He serves as great comic relief in pretty much every scene he is in-- especially when he ends up winning the tournament.
7 Some really cool characters are introduced
The first is Frost; a fighter from universe 6 from Frieza’s species. Initially he seems to be very different from Frieza, as he says that he is an honorable man who fights for the weak, but it turns out to be one of the two tricks he uses in order to gain advantage over his opponents. His other trick is a concealed poisonous spike he successfully uses to temporarily take Goku out of the competition.
Another character is a young Saiyan from Universe 6 called Cabba. Unlike the Saiyans from universe 7 and Frost, the ones from universe 6, including Cabba, are really good hearted people who work as some sort of galactic police force. Cabba’s first and only match is against Vegeta, who is eager to fight another Saiyan but is very surprised to find out that Cabba doesn’t know how to turn into a Super Saiyan. Vegeta then promptly calls him out for being a disgrace to his race and tells him that he is going to kill everyone he loves, which makes Cabba so angry that he instantly turns Super Saiyan. Vegeta is obviously happy, as his rough ways were just a part of his plan to fullfil Cabba’s wish of getting stronger, while also turning him into a foe worthy of fighting Vegeta.
6 The coolest is an intergalactic assassin named Hit
Even though his head looks like.. well, like that, Hit still manages to be the most remarkable character introduced in the tournament arc, and maybe even in the entire series. Very little is known about Hit, other than the fact that he is an assassin, and that he is interested in the Cube. The Cube in question is a spaceship which allows Hit to go to any of the 7 universes, probably because he has already killed way too many people in the hiw own.
Hit’s first fight is against Vegeta, and Hit has absolutely no trouble defeating him. Up next is Goku, who analyzed Hit’s technique when he was fighting Vegeta and noticed that he has the ability of skipping through time, thus making him one of the most amazing foes he has ever faced. In the end, Hit even manages to defeat Goku due to having higher endurance, but not after getting seriously battered by Goku’s never-before-seen Kaio-ken x10 in one of the most amazing fights in the series.
5 Future Trunks returns
People who loved the Android Saga and the awesome Trunks, who came from the future to kill Frieza, save Goku from a virus, and warn everyone about a future threat caused by Dr. Gero’s creations will be delighted to see him returning in an arc that is a neat callback to those times. The difference is that his time around Trunks isn’t returning to the main timeline to warn Goku and company about a threat to their future, but rather to ask for help. Future Trunks is trying to save his ever chaotic world from a new threat, a sinister man who looks just like Goku, and who also has the ability to visit other timelines.
Trunk's has a new transformation that is neither the regular Super Saiyan Blue nor the regular Super Saiyan 3. It's just just another thing that just isn't explained in this series, but this is all partially redeemed by the ultra badass way in which he kills his arc’s villain. The relationship between Trunks and Mai is also present in this timeline, and things are just as weird.
4 Goku and Vegeta have new transformations
Right at the beginning of the series, Goku is infused with the power from the other Saiyans on earth in order to reach the form of Super Saiyan God, so that he can fight toe to toe with Beerus. Goku’s appearance drastically changes when he turns into Super Saiyan God as he loses muscle mass and his hair and eyes turn red. His hairstyle stays similar to his natural one, unlike the usual Super Saiyan hairstyle.
Fans apparently didn’t like this new look and it was never shown again after the first few episodes. It was replaced with an even stronger form of the Super Saiyan God transformation, one in which Goku and Vegeta both manage to maintain their muscle mass and hairstyle from the typical Super Saiyan transformation. The only real difference being that their hair is now blue instead of yellow. This new transformation goes by the obvious name of Super Saiyan Blue.
3 The final villain is a supposedly evil version of Goku
The new villain wreaking havok in the world of Future Trunks is a man who, besides using a supreme Kai earring and being dressed in black, looks just like Goku. This makes Trunks believe that he is actually facing Goku after he has somehow turned evil. This is not the case, as this new enemy is actually Zamasu, a member of Supreme Kai’s race. Zamasu happens to hate all sorts of mortal lifeforms, and wants to wipe them out.
It is later revealed that at some point Zamasu used the Super Dragon Balls to travel back in time to swap bodies with Goku, the strongest fighter in the universe, and then killed him. Inside Goku’s body, Zamasu is somehow able to reach a new form of Super Saiyan, namely Super Saiyan Rose, in which his hair turns light pink. It is assumed-- but never explained-- that this form is as powerful as Super Saiyan Blue.
2 the animation and art has been critically panned by critics and fans
Despite a relatively high budget, Dragon Ball Super suffers from some very poor drawing and animation for the most part, but it is specially obvious in its infamous fifth episode. This is the episode in which Beerus and Goku fight for the first time. The animation, the art style, and the fight direction were so wildly different from what fans were used to that it sparked outrage all over the internet and even spawned many hilarious spoofs on YouTube .
A producer later explained that this was mainly because the artists responsible for these scenes were inexperienced at the time, which seems like a poor hiring decision. It's not exactly new, however, as some episodes of Dragon Ball Z also featured varying levels of quality in the art department. Luckily, either the people doing the animation for the first episodes turned pro, or new, more experienced artists were hired, as the animation gets better further into the series.
1 The Final fight is better animated in than rest of the series
The final arc is as convoluted as it gets due to time travel shenanigans, but it still does manage to deliver in its final fight, pitting Goku, Vegeta, and Trunks against Zamasu. At first the heroes are doing quite well against Zamasu, but once he reaches his final godly form, Goku and Vegeta are forced to fuse into fan-favourite Vegito once again, to the audience’s delight. The fight is fun and pretty well-animated, though a bit short, as Vegito spends all of his energy and ends up getting split into Goku and Vegeta again, before destroying Zamasu for good. Not to worry though, as Trunks manages to save the day in a very awesome callback to the first time he came from the future, as he once again uses his sword, this time to mercilessly cut Zamasu in half. Despite not being the best animated sequence in the history of anime, it is very hard to accept it comes from the same series as the battle from episode 5.
Dragon Ball Super's American dub is in production now with Funimation.