This past weekend, the Dragon Ball franchise made its triumphant return to Japanese TV screens via the first episode of Dragon Ball Super. Here are our impressions of the first new Dragon Ball TV episode after 20+ years.
Dragon Ball Super is set in a time period directly after the Buu Saga, and will include the events of the two recent movies Battle of Gods and Revival of F. Episode 1 starts off with a flashback of the important moments of the Buu Saga, which looked like it was taken from the recently ended Dragon Ball Z Kai run. The flashback, though expected with every new Dragon Ball arc, was a nice little touch for both newcomers to the franchise and veterans alike. And once the flashback has been said and done, we quickly get the very first title screen of the new season.
Since this is technically a new story arc, peace has once again set on the planet Earth. A lot of people online have commented on how “refreshing” it was to see the Dragon Ball cast in a time of peace, however they seemed to forget that this scenario always happens at the beginning of a new story arc. Unlike the previous times, this time around we get to see what Goku does at peacetime. The first part felt like it accentuated the human side of Son Goku. It also helped proved the fact that Son Goku is a bad parent: I don’t really know anyone who would ask his 10-year old son to use the tractor whilst he trains.
The second part involves our favorite Master Pogi, Mr. Satan. Just like at the end of the Cell Saga, Satan goes on ahead and claims all the fame of beating Majin Buu. The press conference goes well… until Fat Majin Buu appears to demand food off Satan. Afterwards the scene switches over to the newlyweds Son Gohan and Videl… with Piccolo keeping a close eye on them. The rest of the episode deals with the hijinks of the Young Trunks and Goten as they prepare a gift for Videl. And finally, the last segment deals with the curious dynamic between Mr. Satan and Son Goku himself (which I would love to delve further later). The episode also showed a glimpse of Beerus as we get a slow burn towards the Battle of the Gods arc.
Overall the episode serves as a both a primer (for those new to Dragon Ball) and a great refresher (for the veterans), something the movies was not really able to properly convey. The dynamics between characters has been re-established nicely, despite the lack of certain characters (Vegeta and Bulma in particular). The episode also re-established a few other facts: that Mr. Satan, depite all the gloating, knows that who the true heroes in the planet are. The fact that Piccolo will always be looking for Gohan no matter what. The fact that Goku wants to remain a simpleton, Chichi wants to be rich, and Roshi is still a pervert.
Animation quality seems to be on par with the Kai releases (much love to the Toei Phils. staff for that) but it will surely take a while for me to get used in to the new opening theme (much like how I felt when We Got Power switched out CHA-LA HEAD CHA-LA). Ending theme is pretty dope though. No Sailormoon Crystal-type art shift as well, which is a really good thing (don’t get me wrong though, I liked that art shift in Crystal too.)
It’s a fine start to a classic series, and something that will really take time before it materializes to something big. Get on board the hype train! Vegeta does like in that preview pic below!