I grew up watching Dragon Ball Z before school, like many people my age did. It was part of the morning ritual. Since then I’ve picked up every DVD set available for Dragon Ball, Z and GT and watched them numerous times over. I never thought the day would come when we would get another new Dragon Ball series. It took 18 years, but I’m glad I was wrong and now get to enjoy some more time with the characters I grew up spending my mornings with. Dragon Ball Super is here.
Dragon Ball Super picks up a few months after the defeat of Kid Buu at the end of DBZ. The world is at peace and forced Goku to become a radish farmer to provide for his family. But in true Goku fashion, all he wishes to do is eat and constantly train to become a stronger fighter. When he is presented an option that would allow his family to be taken care of financially he leaves them behind to continue his martial arts training on King Kai’s planet. Yes, even in Dragon Ball Super Goku won’t be winning any father of the year awards.
This set contains the first 13 episodes of the Super series. As some fans will know, this is considered the Battle Of Gods arc. It is an extended retelling of the plot from the 2013 film ‘Battle Of Gods’ with additional plot threads running throughout. The main of which is the introduction of Lord Beerus, the god of destruction and his attendant Whis trying to locate the ‘Super Saiyan God’ a being that Beerus saw during his latest period of slumber before awakening.
His search obviously leads him directly to our regular cast of heroes and results in plenty of hilarity and some epic fight scenes. The main cast, minus Goku who spends the first half of the season with King Kai, are all bought together to celebrate Bulma’s latest birthday. And of course if you’re part of the richest family in the world, it only makes sense to have your party on top of a cruise ship the size of a small suburb.
This season is full of laugh out loud moments, revealed character back stories and new motivations we hadn’t seen in the Z series, had reasonably good pacing for the most part and all came together in true Dragon Ball style with an action packed fight scenes and a new Saiyan transformation. All presented with a modern anime art style that really makes the vibrant colours of the environments and character designs really pop.
Best of all, just about every voice actor from the Z series have come back to reprise their respective roles. Hearing Sean Schemmel as Goku again put the biggest grin on my face. And where the cast hadn’t returned, they have been replaced by similar voices with some great castings from Funimation. You would never know that Kid Trunks is no longer Laura Bailey due to some excellent voice work by new voice actress Alexis Tipton.
The English dub for this set contains a script that is slightly more mature than some Dragon Ball fans may have been expecting. I was surprised to hear a fair few cuss words thrown in (nothing too outrageous but a higher level than we ever heard in Z), normally during the heat of battle. It seems either the script has been written knowing many of it’s existing fans are now older or they have a little more freedom now that the series isn’t aiming for a time slot on morning television.
While I loved the season overall, the pacing in the last third or so did slow down a little. The final battle with Beerus did have the standard lengthy Dragon Ball stare down and extended screams. It was nothing overly long but did hit the brakes a little in comparison to the steady pacing of the first half of the set.
Overall I loved diving back into the world of Dragon Ball and catching up with the characters I spent so much of my childhood with. The modern art style really lets the characters and world shine. Outstanding performances from the English dub cast along with the introduction of some really interesting characters just reinforced why I love this series so much. I’m really looking forward to the next set, hopefully we don’t have to wait too long.
The Madman release comes with some awesome special features that I enjoyed after finishing the episodes, including some behind the scenes stuff with the English cast.
The set includes: Catching Up on the Dragon Ball Universe: Sonny Strait & Savannah Ligaluppi, Catching Up on the Dragon Ball Universe: Christopher R. Sabat & Hero D. Sabat and Textless Opening & Closing Songs.
All images ©BIRD STUDIO/SHUEISHA, TOEI ANIMATION
A Bluray review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment for the purpose of this review.