Fans old and new have loved Dragon Ball Super, but it may be time to give Goku and friends another break.
After nearly two decades of new content being little and far between, fans of the Dragon Ball franchise were delighted by the announcement of a brand new series, Dragon Ball Super, in 2015. The series began airing later that same year, earning great acclaim.
Since its premiere, Super has achieved a rare feat of winning new fans while keeping old ones happy.
The latest story arc, featuring the Tournament of Power, has been a franchise high. Many fans have been caught off guard with the announcement it may be the series’ last.
Dragon Ball Super is now on indefinite hiatus. There has been no indication of when it will return, or if it will return at all.
While the series fans are understandably upset about this, ending it now may not be such a bad thing.
WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for the final few episodes of Dragon Ball Super.
Ending Dragon Ball Super now will keep it from getting repetitive.
The Dragon Ball franchise began as a rollicking adventure, with Goku and his new friends on a quest to find the mystical Dragon Balls. While there were epic battles along the way, they did not become the main focus until Dragon Ball Z.
While Dragon Ball Z is one of the most popular, iconic anime series ever made, it does have its downsides. The biggest complaint from newer fans trying to binge watch is that DBZ gets a bit repetitive a few sagas in.
Things mostly unfold as follows:
The Z Fighters discover a new threat. They begin training to fight said threat.
The threat arrives, often being even stronger than what the gang had anticipated.
Goku is missing during early battles with the villain.
Anyone whose name does not start with ‘Go’ is defeated by the villain.
Goku shows up just in time. Long drawn out fight ensues, but Goku ultimately beats the villain… Except for that one time his son does it instead.
Wait, Yamcha got killed again during the battle? No problem, we’ll just revive him and anyone else who died with the Dragon Balls.
Rinse and repeat for the next saga.
What does this mean for Super?
So far, Dragon Ball Super has managed to avoid many of the story and pacing issues that plagued Z.
It has done this by introducing new and unique elements into each story arc. The decision to give characters other than Goku a bit more to do is also a good move.
However, if the writers and animators are expected to crank out new episodes constantly, the story and animation quality the series has been praised for would suffer.
Even if Super doesn’t end for good just yet, taking a break will help in keeping the show fresh and interesting.
The premise of the series has been fulfilled.
One of the key elements introduced in DBS is that of the planet-sized Super Dragon Balls.
They were the first Dragon Balls ever created, scattered throughout Universes 6 and 7. The Super Dragon Balls also come without any of the wish-restrictions placed on the balls of Earth or Namek.
Over the course of Dragon Ball Super, we have seen the Super Dragon Balls used for both good and evil. Heroes and villains. For reasons both trivial and honourable.
Their biggest use so far is as the prize in the Tournament of Power, with the last fighter standing to be granted a wish from them.
The wish was won by Android 17, who used it to restore all the universes erased during the Tournament.
It is time for the Super Dragon Balls to retire.
Another complaint tossed at Dragon Ball Z is the overuse of the Dragon Balls in the later sagas.
The original Dragon Ball series included a number of multi-episode quests to find the Dragon Balls. By the end of DBZ, however, they could often be found within a few minutes of screen time.
The inclusion of the Namekian Dragon Balls made things worse. Unlike Earth’s balls, they do not scatter after a wish is made. The Earth ball’s restriction of being able to revive a fallen character only once is also absent. This had the unfortunate affect of making death feel cheap throughout the latter half of DBZ. Why worry when everyone will be wished back?
If the Super Dragon Balls continue to be used, similar problems may arise. They have already been used to revive multiple Universes. Not just planets, Universes. The lives of trillions of people restored. What bigger wish could there be?
If restoring worlds on such a huge scale becomes the norm, any threat an enemy makes will seem pointless. That would be a shame for a series that has so wonderfully avoided the pitfalls of its predecessor.
Dragon Ball Super let new heroes rise.
One of the key complaints people have with the whole Dragon Ball franchise is that despite a large cast of powerful characters, Goku is always the hero. Always the one to finally defeat the villain.
Except for the one time Gohan is, and even then, it took a heroic sacrifice from Goku to make it happen.
Akira Toriyama originally intended for the torch to pass to Gohan permanently, but poor fan feedback prevented it.
So, Goku was back in the spotlight.
Coming Full Circle
Once again, Dragon Ball Super has avoided the problems of its predecessors.
Stories such as the introduction of Universe 6, and later the Tournament of Power, have allowed other characters to share the spotlight.
Characters like Krillin and Master Roshi, previously reduced to comic relief, have returned to the battlefield.
Others, like Android 17, have had the chance to be a hero for the first time.
Having 17 as the victor of The Tournament, then using his wish to revive the fallen Universes, brings the Dragon Ball franchise full circle in a way not many have realised.
Like Goku, 17’s original purpose was to bring mayhem and destruction. Like Goku, 17 ultimately rejected that purpose and became a hero to millions.
Goku is no longer alone in saving the world, and that may be a perfect place to leave him.. at least until the new movie.
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