Writer Akira Toriyama and director Tetsuro Kodama, Create Another Entry for the Dragon Ball Franchise
Written by Akira Toriyama and directed by Tetsuro Kodama, gives another entry to the Dragon Ball franchise, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. Released June 11th, 2022 in Japan before internationally a few months later, Toei Animation brings up a new title that takes place right after the last film of the series. The famed Red Ribbon army returns with two new androids, and with Goku off-world, it’s up to Piccolo and Gohan to put up a fight against them.
Focus on Comedy & Action
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is a very entertaining film with a focus on comedy and action. Having a unique twist on following what is usually a side character as the main protagonist of this story. Piccolo, who has normally taken a backseat in other stories in the Dragon Ball Super series, had been given a main role in this film. As the first to encounter and investigate the new threat, he leads this movie and we see the plot mostly through him. The movie acts as one large episode of the series, uncovering the plot of the villains and facing a large threat in a climactic finale. Fans of the Dragon Ball series as a whole will find a lot to like with hints of things as far back as the original anime. It was very interesting to see a story where the strongest characters in the series were not available to help with the threat. This really makes the other characters featured shine in fun ways.
The comedy in this movie shines through many visual gags and dialogue jokes. There are scenes that are comedic with characters’ actions and funny character designs. The world of Dragon Ball has always been creative in its portrayal and Toriyama has always designed things in his unique style. The antagonists of the movie, the androids Gamma 1 and Gamma 2, really play as superhero types with visual gags and fighting moves not normally seen in the Dragon Ball franchise that really makes them unique. Action scenes with them are a visual treat and the style of the movie carries a vibrant energy. Fight scenes are a staple in the Dragon Ball series and this movie does not disappoint, with exciting combat and flashing energy blasts. The movie does fall at a bit of a dip with the reveal and execution of the final antagonist of the film, which lacked the creative personalities of the new characters shown beforehand. But the visuals of the battle really make it a stand-out fight. Fun and energetic in both action and comedy is what makes this movie work.
Side Characters Shine in the Spotlight
This movie focuses on old background characters in what they are doing now in the world. We cut occasionally to the staple of the series Goku and Vegeta, but the plot revolves around Piccolo, voiced again by Toshio Furukawa, and Christopher Sabat in the English release. The voice acting in this film is done by people who have portrayed these characters for years. The other main star is Gohan, voiced by Masako Nozawa and Kyle Hebert, who springs into action to engage the new threats. Other classic Dragon Ball Super characters make appearances in this film as well.
The film also brings some new characters with fun personalities who are acted to just the right tone the movie was set. The young mad scientist Dr. Hedo, voiced by Miyu Irino and Zach Aguilar, was a fun personality whose cocky attitude still shows his immaturity with his genius – obsessed with superheroes leading to his greatest creations and manipulated to create more monsters.
Magenta, voiced by Kensuke Ôta and Charles Martinet, was a hilarious villain with big ambition and small stature whose character is a nod to the old Red Ribbon Army of the original series. And the new antagonists that combat the heroes of the show Gamma 1 and Gamma 2, are full characters in themselves with charming personalities. Gamma 1, voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya and Aleks Le, is the straight man to Gamma 2’s childish nature. He’s serious and loyal with a very calm personality. Gamma 2, voiced by Mamoru Miyano and Zeno Robinson, is an upbeat and charismatic personality. Both have strong senses of justice which make them fun characters to watch when they interact with the protagonists.
Unlike the other Dragon Ball Super movies, this film tried its hand at 3D animation, which did not take away from the action at all. The dynamic movements of the models paired with the effects give the action more of a cinematic feeling. Camera movement travels with the characters as they fight through the scene. The character models don’t feel static. They warp and change to match the scenes where the movement is most dynamic. The visuals of the 3D animation also extend to the backgrounds and settings. The depth the style adds makes the locations more realistic, especially a dynamic scene of a fight going through pipes and railways with how the camera moves around.
Nothing feels static in this film. The tiniest bit of animation is added to the characters even when they are standing still, paired with touch-ups of digital animation to blend with the models.
Another great use of digital animation within this film is how it does the effects of things like energy blasts and explosions. The final scene of the movie is a spectacular display of color and vibrant lights that make the last attack feel epic and powerful. That paired with the sound effects and music makes the last scene of the climax a memorable moment. An additional scene that combines digital and 3D effects is a fight scene between Gamma 1 and Gohan during a rainstorm. The animation of how the rain impacts the models and how the splashing of water happens as they fight adds to the movement and impact of the fight. The 3D animation of the film provided a new style that this film utilized very well without it feeling still or jarring.
A Must See
This film is a must-see for anyone who is a Dragon Ball fan and those who appreciate good animation. The film is comedic and action-packed with fun, entertaining characters to watch. That being said, those who haven’t seen other entries in the Dragon Ball franchise may be a bit lost with the references, although the film does a good job of explaining the general background of the series.
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is available on Blu-Ray and DVD and available to purchase on digital platforms. For fans of Dragon Ball and those who enjoy seeing heroes in action, give this a watch.
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero (2022) Official Trailer