Top 10 Reasons why fans hate Dragon Ball Super

Goku and Vegeta in Dragon Ball Super anime

After the news of Akira Toriyama’s death made rounds in the internet, there was a great sadness that spread among the anime fans, especially those who grew up watching Dragon Ball series. Of which Dragon Ball Super (DBS) brought Goku and the gang back to our screens in 2015, after nearly two decades.

While it revived the love for the franchise for many, it also encouraged criticism from a section of the fanbase. Here’s a look at 10 reasons why DBS rubbed some fans the wrong way:

Reasons why fans hate Dragon Ball Super

10. Treatment of female characters

Caulifla and Kale in their fighting stance from Dragon Ball Super anime
Caulifla and Kale in Dragon Ball Super anime (Image via Toei Animation)

DBS received much criticism for how it portrayed its female characters in Super.

  • Characters like Caulifla and Kale, the female Saiyans from Universe 6, achieved Super Saiyan transformations with minimal effort, which undermined the importance placed on training in earlier parts of the franchise.
  • Additionally, some felt that established female characters like Android 18 were overly sexualized.

9. Plot convenience and Deus Ex Machina

Goku's Ultra Instinct in Dragon Ball Super anime
Goku’s Ultra Instinct in Dragon Ball Super anime (Image via Toei Animation)

DBS relied on plot conveniences and Deus Ex Machina (unforeseen interventions that suddenly solve problems) a bit too much. For example, Goku achieving Ultra Instinct, a powerful state, felt unearned and something that relied on pure luck rather than established training methods. This frustrated fans who preferred the series’ earlier emphasis on characters overcoming challenges through their own strength and ingenuity.

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8. Wasted potential for side characters

Gohan in Super Saiyan form from Dragon Ball Super anime
Gohan in Dragon Ball Super anime (Image via Toei Animation)

Many characters from Dragon Ball Z who had the potential for interesting storylines in DBS were simply forgotten.

  • Gohan, for instance, was a central character in Z for being the protagonist’s son, but in DBS, he regressed to wanting a normal life, neglecting his training.

This disappointed fans who were invested in Gohan’s potential to surpass his father. Similarly, Piccolo, his master, was push to the sidelines and given very little to do throughout DBS.

7. Lack of stakes

Tournament of Power Arena in Dragon Ball Super anime
Tournament of Power in Dragon Ball Super anime (Image via Toei Animation)

Dragon Ball Z thrived on high stakes. Each and every fight made you worry about the protagonists’ life, making every battle feel consequential. DBS, however, often undermined this sense of urgency. 

  • Deaths were frequently reversed through the Dragon Balls, which lessened the impact of character deaths and made victories feel less significant. 
  • Additionally, the introduction of multiple universes meant that the destruction of one wasn’t necessarily the end. 

While the Tournament of Power did have stakes, the vast number of universes meant that the potential for total annihilation felt less impactful.

Also explore: How did Akira Toriyama die?

6. Power scaling issues

Dragon Ball Z meticulously established the power levels of various characters. DBS, however, threw this system out the window at times. Characters like Krillin and Tien, who trained relentlessly, were left in the dust by new villains and were even surpassed by newfound strength from secondary characters like Roshi. This made their past struggles quite meaningless and frustrated fans who appreciated the established power dynamics.

5. Oversimplification of Goku’s personality

Golden Frieza form from Dragon Ball Super
Frieza in Dragon Ball Super (Image via Toei Animation)

Goku’s love for fighting and his drive to get stronger have always been core character traits. However, in DBS, these aspects felt overdone.

  • Goku’s naivety and borderline recklessness were cranked up to eleven.
  • A prime example is his decision to revive Frieza for the Tournament of Power, a villain responsible for countless deaths.

This act, driven purely by Goku’s desire for a good challenge, frustrated fans who felt it undermined the stakes and Goku’s supposed growth over the years.

4. The focus on Saiyans over other characters

Super Saiyan Blue Goku and Vegeta clashing in Dragon Ball Super anime
Goku and Vegeta in Dragon Ball Super anime (Image via Toei Animation)

Dragon Ball used to be about a diverse group of warriors, from humans like Krillin and Tien to androids like 17 and 18. DBS, however, heavily tilted the scales towards Saiyans, particularly Goku and Vegeta. This sidelined once-important characters.

During the Tournament of Power, a multi-universe martial arts competition, most eliminations come from Goku and Vegeta, with other characters contributing very little. This lack of focus on the broader cast left us feeling nostalgic for the days when non-Saiyans had a bigger role to play.

3. Repetitive storytelling in early arcs

Frieza knocking out Goku in Resurrection ‘F’ arc of Dragon Ball Super
Goku and Frieza in Resurrection ‘F’ arc of Dragon Ball Super (Image via Toei Animation)

The first two arcs in DBS, Battle of the Gods and Resurrection ‘F’, essentially retread familiar territory. They featured the return of past villains, Frieza and Beerus, with slightly different motivations. Both arcs involved Earth being threatened with destruction, followed by Goku and Vegeta needing to achieve new transformations to save the day. This repetition felt uninspired for fans who craved fresh storylines.

2. The Super Saiyan transformations got out of control

Super Saiyan Blue Goku with a determined expression during the Tournament of Power
Goku in his Super Saiyan form (Image via Toei Animation)

Dragon Ball Z established Super Saiyan as a legendary transformation achieved through intense training and emotions. Super Saiyan 2 and 3 built on this legacy. DBS, however, introduced numerous new forms like Super Saiyan God, Super Saiyan Blue, and Ultra Instinct, often with little explanation or build-up.

  • The sheer number of transformations left some fans feeling that the meaning behind achieving Super Saiyan was diluted.
  • Additionally, transformations like Super Saiyan God came about through convoluted rituals rather than the character’s own hard work, which felt like a departure from the core themes of Dragon Ball.

1. Inconsistent animation quality

Though some scenes such as the fight between Goku and Beerus in the Battle of Gods arc showed some fluid movements and detailed background in terms of animation, this quality wasn’t consistent throughout the series.

  • A particular example (and one of the biggest reasons for Dragon Ball Super to be hated) that frustrated many fans was the fight between Goku and Zamasu in episode 57.

The animation quality in this episode was noticeably lower compared to others. The fight choreography felt sluggish, and the character designs appeared off-model at times.

Conclusion

For most of the adults watching Dragon Ball Super, Dragon Ball Z is not just an anime, it is a part of their childhood and a nostalgic memory and DBS fails to recreate that. 

Though it is true that no other Dragon Ball version will ever be able to capture Akira Toriyama’s work in Dragon Ball Z, For some fans, the nostalgic return to these characters and the world of Dragon Ball, even with its imperfections, was enough to make DBS a worthwhile addition to the franchise. Some creative decisions might be uncalled for, but DBS undeniably brought back the classic Dragon Ball experience for a new generation.

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