Dragon Ball Super, the highly anticipated sequel to Akira Toriyama’s legendary Dragon Ball franchise, brought back beloved characters and promised epic battles on a cosmic scale. However, as the series unfolded, it became a topic of debate among fans and critics alike.
While the original Dragon Ball wasn’t an artistic masterpiece, it was quite an enjoyable shounen. But many fans felt that Super was just a colorless version of Z that failed to capture the original’s magic. Was Dragon Ball Super a failure? Let’s find out.
Plot and Premise
One of the major criticisms leveled against Dragon Ball Super is its story and narrative which failed to live up to the expectations of the new generation of fans. While the Dragon Ball franchise was adequate to appeal to the fans of its time when DB and DBZ came out, its storytelling tropes and clichés haven’t aged well.
- The flashy fights and predictable outcomes that were once exhilarating now leave fans craving more depth and complexity in the narrative.
- Moreover, the revival system introduced through Dragon Ball wishes, and titular Dragon Balls themselves, dampened the stakes and sense of danger.
- Characters who died could be easily brought back to life, diminishing the impact of their sacrifices and reducing the tension in the series.
- This cheapened the consequences of battles and undermined the emotional investment of the audience.
- The show also tried to recycle and reuse old plotlines, only to fail miserably in doing so.
Another area where Dragon Ball Super fell short was in its worldbuilding. The introduction of Dragon Ball’s version of the multiverse through the 12 universe system, Zeno-Sama, and the Gods of Destruction held immense potential, promising diverse settings and a multitude of powerful fighters. However, the series failed to fully explore and utilize this concept.
- Many retcons and inconsistencies were sprinkled throughout the series, making the story feel artificial and clunky.
- The lack of a cohesive and well-defined universe hierarchy left fans confused and disconnected from the practically non-existent overarching narrative.
- The different universes and their respective gods and fighters weren’t adequately fleshed out, resulting in missed opportunities for compelling storylines and character development.
- The arc-to-arc transition felt like a forced interjection of a new storyline that one could expect from a children’s episodic series.
Underutilization of Characters
While Dragon Ball Super predominantly revolved around Goku and, to some extent, Vegeta, the rest of the cast suffered from underutilization and wasted potential.
Characters who had once been central to the Dragon Ball franchise, such as Gohan and Piccolo, were relegated to the sidelines, relegated to secondary roles with limited growth and relevance.
- While some might argue that the Tournament of Power arc gave the spotlight to many characters, that’s a surface-level observation.
- When you look past the returning-after-a-long-time surprise gimmick, these characters were just forced into the storyline for the sake of it.
- The lack of meaningful character arcs and development for the supporting cast undermined the overall depth and emotional investment in the series.
- Fans had hoped to see their favorite characters evolve and face new challenges, but instead, they were left disappointed by the missed opportunities to explore their potential.
In the end, Dragon Ball Super ended up being just a brittle and watered-down shell of its former self, both in its anime and manga formats. While the Shounen genre is known for certain tropes and cliches, Toriyama’s narrative seems to be stuck in the past and has hardly shown any signs of innovation, outside of new colors and hairstyles for powerups.
Still, the recent manga chapters seem to deviate from the usual narrative, so it might not be too soon to expect a change.