(#ShonenJumpMovieMonth) Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero – When Modern and Classic Combine

This is the secret last post to Shonen Jump Movie Month. I was hoping that One Piece Red would have also appeared in august so I could write a new shonen jump film double feature. I’m sad that it didn’t come to pass, but I did watch some good One Piece for this month and that was totally worth it. Thanks for enjoying this special event.

The movie theater experience

There is such a huge difference between how many people were at the Broly film compared to this one. I realize that an entire pandemic happened between it all and a lot of ownership transfers and so many things. Possibly even because Broly is better than Super Hero and appears to fans a bit more, but I miss seeing an anime film in almost a full theater. I mean, that is the kind of experience that a Shonen Jump film can bring to the theater because they are high energy films that want people to be involved too. 

I was sad that there were only about eight people watching this film other than my group. There were more people in the Macross Frontier films then this one and yet, Dragon Ball is more well known across the anime sphere. What is up with that? But that’s ok, because I was able to be a bit louder in this film than I am used to because it was that kind of experience. So many funny moments throughout the film where I couldn’t help but laugh as well as amazing action moments and good, but character drama. I really dug it. Let’s see if I can explain why.

Tell me if you have heard this one before…

The thing about Dragon Ball is that it does have a certain formula. That one about villains showing up and some of them inevitably joining the Dragon Ball crew. Something this film is aware of as we once again see the Red Ribbon army, because they are just around, led by Magenta, who want to hire Dr. Gero’s grandson, Dr. Hedo’s, genius  to help them defeat who they consider villains in the form of people who fly in and out of Capsule corp. Obviously they want to take over the world, but use Dr. Hedo has a thing for super heroes so he creates the very tokusatsu influenced Gamma 1 and Gamma 2 to fight against Piccolo and others.

Oh yeah, there is a gigantic cell monster in the basement. Yeah, that is kind of a thing that is the end of the movie villain that everyone expected to see. The thing about this film is that it knows about the cliches of the Dragon Ball franchises, but does them in such an interesting way. For instance, there is some truth about a lot of the people who hang around capsule corp being villains. Dragon Ball is a franchise that has grown by characters accepting villains into their fol and allowing them to change their mindset and how they live. Gone are the days that they wanted to take over the Earth or the universe. That is behind them now.

Classic dragon ball humor w/ piccolo

As a person who has read Doctor Slump and a lot of Akira Toriyama’s shorts, I love his sense of humor. It’s self aware and goofy, but never pushes it too far. Especially since he actually creates stuff out of his humor instead of just referencing it. The Red Ribbon armies flawed sense research regarding that group of “heroes” that actually defend the Earth. Or the fact that all of the heroes that faced when Gamma 1 and 2 showed up knew about the Red Ribbon Army, which no one expected for some reason? I did like that aspect. It was self aware, but not self aware enough and that shows some good flaws into it. They gave into dragon ball propaganda.

But the main silly things I loved in this film was Piccolo dressing up as a mook of the red ribbon army and him actually getting by with all of it. Like, he just dressed up as one and spied on them without even trying or giving small excuses that would have failed if the villains were. It allowed him to not only try his best to find some solution to all of it in his own way, but the comedy of everyone except Gohan and the Red Ribbon Army knowing he was in on their plan the whole time was so good. It took some of the tension away or changed the tension in some good and real heartwarming moments here too. Piccolo is so good when he is given the time.

Plus, this really is Piccolo everywhere. He gets to either be the one causing trouble or be the straight man. Especially when Bulma summoned Shenron and after Piccolo wished for some extra power. Seeing Bulma just tighten herself up a bit here and there or Videl and Gohan just giving him plushies that he probably wouldn’t admit that he likes. Or Piccolo training Pan in the beginning or just everything. Piccolo really is the film and we finally see the ways that he has changed in this film or has to use all the resources he has to pull off a victory in the end too in comic ways for them too and I can like and dig all of those in the best ways too.  

Piccolo and Gohan

In that regard, this is a film about Piccolo and Gohan. You know, that relationship that hasn’t been focused on as much as it could after the Cell saga that was completed. And it also handles the sorts of problem of Gohan not being in fighting shape and allowing Goku and Vegeta to be the star and defeat everyone in front of them. Where are Goku, Vegeta, and Broly now? Off on a different planet not even paying attention to Bulma’s calls for help. That means that its up to Piccolo and others to face that threat and save the day and that is what I like about this film.

One of the biggest things that I appreciated was allowing Gohan and Piccolo’s relationship to just be there in the forefront. Piccolo is doing all the hard work training the very cute and energetic pan and even picking her up from school. Gohan has made an appearance in the tournament of power, but has gone back to his studious ways. Not a bad thing, but he is a father that needs to be prepared to face a threat when Goku and Vegeta won’t pick up their cell phone. How is the world going to be fair when the strongest aren’t there? We now see.

After all these years, Gohan and Piccolo’s father and son like relationship couldn’t be stronger. Why else would Gohan be pushed harder than ever before in a form that we never saw before. Or what about the Makasenpo that Gohan used to defeat Cell Max instead of the classic Kamehameha wave. Plus, Pan loved both of them and was proud of both of them. Now Gohan will continue to be both the protective father and the studious scholar who learns about super saiyan bugs. I think Gohan finding that balance for him will be good. I think Goku will be proud of him too for finding his reason to fight in order to maintain peace. 

The little people and dragon ball fanservice

This is a film that you can enjoy if you don’t know about all of Dragon Ball, but really helps if you do know something about it. There are so many small call backs to the entire franchise from Dragon Ball and up. The Red Ribbon Army is clear enough, but what about the fact that Piccolo’s chair at his home was like his King Piccolo chair. Or we could talk about the small reference to saiyans being small for a while until their larger growth spurt we see before the Piccolo saga. Or what about Piccolo actually becoming giant for once and we hear about his drawbacks. Plus a lot of classic sort of Dragon Ball situations.

I also like the fact that the other warriors who showed up and their children has some small moments to shine whether they intended to or not either. Trunks and Goten doing their fusion wrong and he was used as some sort of beach ball that actually helped. Or we could talk about Android 18 and Kururin having their battle couple moments. Everyone did something against the very boring but powerful Cell Max who is just Cell as the boring, original version of Broly and not the current Broly that is in this film with that crew. I guess I should mention the end of the film with the result of Goku and Vegeta’s latest fight that is so heartwarming for the right people.  

My favorite dragon ball movie maybe?

The cg behind this film was really good. It was very interesting, felt fresh, moved well, and provided some cool bits of dragon ball action. Especially in ways that we have never seen before. Or some people are given these sorts of animated moments and shots that I love. I like the sense of thought and experimentation on coolest and well thought out things too. I’m glad that after Broly, the films took the chance to try a lot of things more different than ever before them too. This film is so good and experimental because I like it when franchises can find some fresh ways to keep going and Dragon Ball has been very successful in all of that.

This film felt like the dragon ball film for me. It never has gone into the really cool and climatic sort of combat heights that Broly did, but I didn’t need it. I also don’t care about power levels in anime because dragon ball doesn’t even care about that. Those people who clearly see that dragon ball has never cared about those power levels either need to grow up. Especially since the formations have been more about emotional states than the power levels and those people trying to be creatures of logic in anime in general need to stop making all of those click bait things. The comedy and character was everything that I loved here. I love it so much.

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