This Saturday, Dragon Ball Super will reach its 100th episode. This article will review the series thus far and list the best things about Super, the 5 worst things about Super, and 5 things that could make Super better. It’s written as if you are caught up to the series as of right now, so if you aren’t: Spoiler Alert.
The franchise is over 20 years old and Super is the perfect opportunity to bring back the characters that fans have been waiting to see for so long and to see them done properly.
2. The Gods
The Kais, the Angels, and the Gods of Destruction (especially Beerus) are some of the coolest, most fascinating things to happen in this franchise since its creation. It’s all new and refreshing and it needed its own show to properly let all of these concepts play out.
What does every major villain want with the Dragon balls? Immortality. The Zamasu Arc plays with that lore since a god is the first to do that. There’s also Goku as the secondary antagonist and a mystery that deals directly with the newly introduced material.
It was difficult to think of anything else good about the series, not because it’s truly that terrible, but because for every good aspect there are two bad ones.
It’s well-known in the anime community that the animation in Super is often considered bad. Laughable in fact. These days the animation has gotten a lot better. However, it seems Toei has had to make some alternative cutbacks due to time constraints, like repeating frames.
2 & 3. Over Reliance of Fanservice/ Lack of Consequence
Dragon Ball Super pay homage to everything before it with the return of minor characters, like Pliaf and Arale, but it crosses a line when the first 30+ episodes are just a redux of the recent movies. Also, twice now they’ve brought back Frieza, the fan favorite villain. Twice now the show has had a major battle and then Whis rewinds time to have a different conclusion. The first being where Vegeta was snuffed out of getting to kill Frieza and the second episode has everything in the Future Trunks timeline somehow come out okay.
The reason that Akira Toriyama didn’t set the Cell saga in the alternate timeline the first time around is because we have no stake in the outcome. So, why was it set here the second time around? Because they wanted to show a world-ending fight, pulling out all the stops, and then go back to having all the characters laughing over a large spread of food.
They literally want to have their cake and eat it too.
Why did Whis rewind time? So the audience can watch Vegeta fight him, but ultimately still have Goku end it – as is the status quo.
4. It’s so Inconsistent
The lore and logic are so internally and externally inconsistent it’s almost ridiculous. The show often ignores its own canon and rules that it just set up earlier in that same arc. This coupled with numerous retcons that have come about since the introduction of Beerus becomes very frustrating.
For example, originally there were 5 Supreme Kais and their life is supposed to linked with Beerus. So why did none of the shenanigans of Majin Buu affect Beerus? If Majin Buu absorbing him didn’t technically kill him then it shouldn’t matter to Beerus if the current Supreme Kai dies or not because he has no connection to him.
5. Goku is a Menace
DBGT has been referred to as the Goku hour because he’s the only character that gets any development. Dragonball Super is the exact opposite of that because where almost every major and even minor characters are having complete character arcs, Goku is degenerating into this battle addicted monster who offers nothing else as a character. It’s played off by the matter of Goku’s innocent nature, but considering his age and how often these things happen, it gets harder to overlook. Even when Goku was a child he was a more well-rounded character.
It was Goku’s idea to fight the strongest fighters in other universes and he even had the chance to still fight them without endangering their universe, but Goku can’t even do that. The audience now has to watch him punch himself out of a situation he punched himself into
There was an opportunity to subvert this when they were fighting Zamasu because he was immortal and he was fused with Goku Black, who still could use the zenkai boost. But not only couldn’t he die but he would get stronger every time they would get close to killing him. This puts the characters in a situation where they can’t fight their way out. Instead, what they immediately do is have Zeno destroy the entire timeline and the arc is basically over. If it doesn’t have to do with fighting, then it doesn’t have a place in the show. Which makes no sense since it is a fighting show. Fights aren’t nearly as interesting to watch if the character’s motivations don’t make sense or they’re just straight up unlikeable or if the story doesn’t make any sense.
The Not So Ugly
Dragonball, Z, and GT have done what Super could do to make its story better.
1. Play With the Canon
While technically the DBGT and the movies up until Battle of the Gods aren’t cannon, they’re also written to not contradict anything in the main story. There is a bit of a grey area where they can bring out some fan favorites. They play with this a bit with the introduction of Kale, who is a female version of Broly.
Pretty soon the show is going to have to decide whether or not it is going to continue past GT and overwrite it entirely. If they do decide to overwrite it, it could make for some very interesting material depending on what they decide to keep.
2. Super Saiyan 4
If nothing else gets brought into the canon it should be this. It was exciting to get anything Dragonball after almost twenty years of close to nothing, but it was a bit disappointing after waiting for so long to see Goku’s new godly transformation be only a change in hair color.
The legacy of the Super Saiyan has never been as cool as when it was first used against Frieza, but with the universally beloved transformations up to the SSJB was the SSJ4. It’s a combination of the original Dragon Ball mythos and the slightly more modern Z that makes more sense in explanation than two SSJ2 or SSJ3.
The Great Ape + Super Saiyan = Super Saiyan 4
It would be very interesting to see some of these other universes and how vastly different they must be from ours. Or at least it would have been considering most of them might be erased soon. But we don’t know how this arc will end, and until we do all speculation is acceptable. DBGT tried to reinvent that sense of adventure in the franchise but the characters were so powerful at that point, it didn’t really matter what they came across. It would be different now because they’re playing by an entirely new set of rules.
4. Develop the Characters
Many fans adamantly dislike Gohan because he was once the strongest person alive and is now a white-collar with a desk, but this only makes sense. Many people blame Chichi for making him study but the truth is Gohan has always had a peaceful and gentle nature – never wanting to fight. It would make no sense if he just turned into this battle hungry warrior especially now that he has a wife and child. Cell was something that only Gohan could defeat and desperate times call for desperate measures, which is the only reason he took up fighting again recently because all of existence is at stake.
Goku had some development around this time too. He said he didn’t want to be wished back because he felt like he attracts too many dangerous people to the earth. In Dragonaball GT, Goku was getting old (he turned into a child -but you know what I mean). He wanted to train the younger generation because he realized that he won’t be there forever and they need to be able to protect themselves. Vegeta realizes that fighting is everything. He becomes more of a family man. Maybe not the world’s greatest father but more family oriented than he once was. The point being, let all of the characters grow. Not just Goku, but don’t forget about him entirely.
Characters can’t grow if they don’t change
5. The Dragon Balls Should Have a Consequence
The premise of Dragonball is that many eccentric and powerful people tend to be attracted to the Dragonballs. That’s usually why most villains come to Earth (that or to fight Goku).
However, no one abuses the Dragonballs more than the main cast.
The Black Star Dragonballs tried to give some sort of stake to using them, but blowing up the planet is just silly and the rules didn’t make much sense.
The Shadow Dragons, on the other hand, had a lot of potential. It was really fun getting to watch all the wasteful and stupid wishes, the first one ever being for a pair of panties to punch the heroes in the face.
The greatest source of evil wasn’t a tyrant or bio-mechanical monster, it was the thing that the heroes relied on the most to do good.
This show has a lot of potential. 100 episodes into the series is not a promising time to say that, especially when it’s not certain that the show will even continue after this arc. The best moments are bittersweet because they always have some issue that takes away from the fun. The series could be 40 episodes shorter and twice as good. The show still offers enough suspense and entertainment to keep fans tuning in every week, so hopes are still high for the franchise moving forward. However, should the quality drop below what it is already, it might just be more worthwhile to tune back in when the series is finished and decide then if it’s worth finishing.