Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero – Movie Review

Few franchises have become as hostile to new viewers as the 38-year-old dragonball series. What started as a sci-fi/kung fu riff on the Chinese epic Travel west has now become a multiversal storyline of unfathomable complexity, so convoluted that there are non-canon films released by Toei, the Japanese studio behind the anime juggernaut.

Like so many other 20 dragonball movies, Dragon Ball Super: Super heroes crams in meaningless cameos by dozens of fan-favorite characters. This includes a whole B-plot explaining why exactly Goku, Vegeta and Broly (the three most powerful characters) aren’t in the final battle, a subplot that’s just set up to take them off the table – oh, and provide a funny post-credits stinger. This all gets in the way of what could have been one of the franchise’s most interesting plots in a long time. On one side is Doctor Hedo (Irino in the original Japanese version, Zach Aguilar in the English dub), the superscientist who tricks himself into becoming an unwitting evil genius for the sinister Red Ribbon crime syndicate, who sells his dream of creating superheroes for money. On the other, the real driving force behind the story, the fact that Piccolo (Furukawa/Christopher Sabat), the villainous green powerhouse, feels that the heroic nerd Gohan (Nozawa/Kyle Hebert) is letting his formation down as he instead focuses on his scientific research: Worse, that he lets go of his responsibilities as the father of the adorable tike Pan (Minaguchi/Jeannie Tirado) and that the new threat is a way to focus again on what is important .

These elements are just strong enough to stop Super hero feeling like you’re drowning in fan service and endless flashback exposition – though there’s still plenty of both. It’s still dragonball, with all its quirks so well established that they are now part of the process. There will be villains who eventually become heroes, there will be weirdly off-kilter jokes – in this case, really misguided height gags about crime boss Magenta (Ota/Charles Martinet) – and there will be plenty of continuity. piled in there. At least series creator and screenwriter Akira Toriyama realized this time that the setup needed to be explained. After all, Red Ribbon was the antagonist of the original manga even before Goku was an alien (if you know it, you know it, and if you don’t, don’t worry), and the evil organization n hasn’t been a factor in countless movies and shows since the mid-1990s. It’s probably a little disappointing that Toriyama is bringing back one of his biggest hero threats in a single movie, rather than a threat irreversible in the long term. After all, as Saiyans, Namekians, Androids, and all related heroes grow more absurdly powerful with each scenario, it seems like a wasted opportunity to dispatch a lethal threat from cunning ordinary humans so quickly.

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