Dragon Ball Super: Part 1 Anime Review

Every now and again, something comes along that just makes you think “why?”. Dragon Ball Super is one of those things. Basically the TV retelling of the Battle of Gods movie, something that I haven’t seen done since She-Ra: Princess of Power used it’s first 5 episodes to retell the Secret of the Sword movie in the 1980s, Dragon Ball Super Part 1 hurts me as I make a decision over weather to recommend it to you or tell you to avoid it.

Dragon Ball SuperTitle: Dragon Ball Super (Part 1)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Super Power, Martial Arts, Fantasy, Shounen
Details: 13 episodes
Release Date: September 6, 2017 (Australia)
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English subtitles
Number of Discs: 2 (DVD) / 2 (Bluray)
Runtime: 325.0 mins (23mins per episode)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen Full Height Anamorphic
Distributor: Madman Entertainment (DVD) (Bluray)
Special Features: Catching Up on the Dragon Ball Universe: Sonny Strait & Savannah Ligaluppi, Catching Up on the Dragon Ball Universe: Christopher R. Sabat & Hero D. Sabat, Textless Opening & Closing Songs
Rating: M: Mature themes and animated violence

With Majin Buu defeated, Goku has taken a completely new role as a… radish farmer?! With Earth at peace, our heroes have settled into normal lives. But they can’t get too comfortable. Far away, a powerful god awakens to a prophecy revealing his demise at the hands of a formidable being. When his search for the Saiyan God brings him to Earth, can Goku and his friends take on their strongest foe yet?

Dragon Ball Super

Goku… the Farmer?

Son Goku (Japanese: 孫 悟空 Son Gokū)
Voiced By: Masako Nozawa (Japanese); Sean Schemmel (English)
The usual lunkhead of a protagonist of the Dragon Ball franchise. In this series we catch up with a very bored Goku who is doing manual labour at his home, forced to by Chichi, instead of training like he would rather be. He does take some time to disappear to King Kai’s planet and train every now and again, but most of the time he is just bored by the peace that happened due to the defeat of Majin Buu during the events of Dragon Ball Z. Through the events of this first part, Goku is able to become Super Saiyan God, the highest point that a Saiyan can reach.

Beerus (Japanese: 破壊神ビルス Hakaishin Birusu)
Voiced By: Kōichi Yamadera (Japanese); Jason Douglas (English)
Beerus is the often bored Lord of Destruction. His purpose is to destroy planets and civilizations that cannot please him. However he is very lazy and prefers to spend most of his time sleeping in his own dimension outside of the normal world. When he does awaken, he often will pursue new food in order to please his hunger, and if the planet he chooses doesn’t do so, then it goes bye bye. Beerus is the main antagonist of this first arc as he wants to fight the Super Saiyan God, the only being who could reach his level and abilities.

Whis (Japanese: ウイス Uisu)
Voiced By: Masakazu Morita (Japanese); Ian Sinclair (English)
Whis is Beerus’ keeper/trainer. It is some sort of being that has connection to all of the dimensions and universes in existence. His only master is the King of All, though his power and abilities are far beyond any being known to anyone in the Dragon Ball series. While Whis does spend most of his time playing servant to Beerus, it does have the ability to smack Beerus around like a little bitch.

Vegeta (Japanese: ベジータ Bejīta)
Voiced By: Ryō Horikawa (Japanese); Christopher R. Sabat (English)
The crown prince of Saiyans has dropped into a more normal existence since the defeat of Majin Buu. He spends a lot of his time training, his focus being to be more powerful than Goku and finally defeat him. However Vegeta is a loving husband to the only being who brings him fear daily: Bulma. He does father Trunks from time to time, but prefers to have him train like a Saiyan rather than let his son be loved. When Beerus arrives on Earth, Vegeta is the only one who knows who he is and tries his best to please Beerus while keeping his wife’s birthday party going without incident.

Bulma (Japanese: ブルマ Buruma)
Voiced By: Hiromi Tsuru (Japanese); Monica Rial (English)
Bulma is pretty much in charge of Capsule Corp at this stage and spends a lot of her time either in business meetings, making new technology for the company and being a mother to Trunks. She often will be the one to keep Vegeta in line, stopping him from going on full on rampages and telling him to spend time with their son. Most of the events in this story arc revolve around her birthday party… Though she will not reveal her age to anyone. 

Trunks (Japanese: トランクス Torankusu)
Voiced By: Takeshi Kusao (Japanese); Laura Bailey (English)
Trunks is the typical spoiled and trouble making child. Along with Goten, the two spend their time wandering around looking for things in the Briefs family home and also during Bulma’s birthday party. Trunks is still wanting to get any type of affection form Vegeta, but mostly just trains alongside his father to make him happy. During the events of this story arc, Trunks saves Pilaf, Shu & Mai by saying that they are his friends; leading to the beginning of a small crush on Mai.

Son Goten (Japanese: 孫悟天 Son Goten)
Voiced By: Masako Nozawa (Japanese); Kara Edwards (English)
Goten is the son of Goku in just about every way. Innocent to the ways of the modern world and focused on training like his father before him. Though he does get into trouble with Trunks in the same manner that Milhouse gets into trouble with Bart in The Simpsons. He spends a lot of time in this story arc following Trunks around, looking for the Dragon Balls and helps Trunks in his lie that saves Pilaf, Shu & Mai.

Pilaf (Japanese: ピラフ Pirafu)
Voiced By: Shigeru Chiba (Japanese); Chuck Huber (English)
The former Emperor has been reduced to being a child after the events of Dragon Ball. He is played off for laughs alongside his hench-persons: Shu & Mai. Together the trio spend their time looking for any way to make money in order to obtain food during their quest to recover the Dragon Balls in order to return themselves back to their adult forms. Trunks ends up saving them by saying that they are his friends, leading to them pledging their servitude to Trunks in order to pay him back for some food and also to stay close to the Dragon Balls.

Mai (Japanese: マイ Mai)
Voiced By: Eiko Yamada (Japanese); Colleen Clinkenbeard (English)
Mai is the second in command of the Pilaf trio. Together the trio spend their time looking for any way to make money in order to obtain food during their quest to recover the Dragon Balls in order to return themselves back to their adult forms. Trunks ends up saving them by saying that they are his friends, leading to them pledging their servitude to Trunks in order to pay him back for some food and also to stay close to the Dragon Balls. She ends up having a small crush on Trunks after he states that she is quite cute.

Shu (Japanese: シュウ Shū)
Voiced By: Tesshō Genda (Japanese); Chris Cason (English)
Shu is the final member of the Pilaf trio. Together the trio spend their time looking for any way to make money in order to obtain food during their quest to recover the Dragon Balls in order to return themselves back to their adult forms. Trunks ends up saving them by saying that they are his friends, leading to them pledging their servitude to Trunks in order to pay him back for some food and also to stay close to the Dragon Balls. Shu doesn’t really do much in the events of Dragon Ball Super except set up the way that the trio fails each time.

Dragon Ball Super

A friendship is born with food

When Dragon Ball Super came out via streaming services, there was a lot going wrong for the production. Due to the high pressure schedule of the shows, animation quality takes a hit and is downright terrible in some places with shortcuts like minimal detail used in distance shots and some of the worst inconsistency in key frames since Sailor Moon Crystal. Thankfully, the home release has fixed quite a few of these production issues and Dragon Ball Super looks great for the most part… However Bluray with it’s increased quality does still point out some small flaws here and there that I was hoping would be addressed by this point in the release cycle.

Sound wise, everything is crystal clear and amazing. While the Japanese cast is classic and memorable, the English cast reunion that happens here is like going back to watching Dragon Ball Z during my High School days. I’m very happy to say that the English dub cast sounds like they haven’t missed a beat in the couple of decades since the last release of anything Dragon Ball related.

Speaking of the cast, to see and hear what a few of the main English cast members have been up to since the end of Dragon Ball Z was a nice touch to be included in this release and I hope there are more interviews like this in the rest of the upcoming Dragon Ball Super releases.

Dragon Ball Super

*Screaming intensifies*

Dragon Ball Super is not a bad series. Battle of God is not a bad movie either. The story delivers exactly what we needed after a few decades of no Dragon Ball stories: That is to let us know what life was like after the defeat of Majin Buu and how the characters adapted to not having to fight for the safety of the world every 5 minutes. The introduction of Beerus as The Lord of Destruction and the new threat was probably one of the more logical of ideas given the gap in which Dragon Ball Super takes place in. Having Goku, who is practically a god at this point taking on a God directly works well, and seeing the group of anyone with Saiyan blood in them having to sacrifice their powers in order to make Goku into the Super Saiyan God in order to stop Beerus from destroying the world shows a more team based focus in the show instead of just everyone waiting for Goku to arrive for once. Other characters, like Vegeta, get plenty of screen time and get a chance to show some development. The scene where Vegeta goes apeshit and attacks Beerus even though he has no chance at winning all due to Beerus slapping Bulma shows a new side to Vegeta that we have long since only theorized. 

Another thing that works well in Dragon Ball Super is the comedy. Having Vegeta go out of his way to serve Beerus, to the point of actually cooking some food for the Lord of Destruction is really well done and doesn’t hurt the character at all. Seeing Majin Buu get grumpy at Beerus about pudding is also funny as hell as the two sorta know each other, or at least know of each other. The subplot featuring the return of Pilaf and his group is played off for laughs really well while keeping enough open for future story arcs to play into that one moment in time.

Dragon Ball Super

When a God punches you in the face…. You stay punched

If there was anything about Dragon Ball Super that annoyed me it’s that this hard to exist. Battle of Gods was a good movie and a great return for the Dragon Ball universe; however since most Dragon Ball fans saw the movie in the cinemas and probably had it on DVD or Bluray by the time Dragon Ball Super aired through streaming services, let alone this home media release, so why did we need to drop double the price on something like this? Answer: Only if you’re gong to be a hardcore Dragon Ball Super collector. Otherwise you might as well go and pick up the movie version instead as it’s the best of everything that this story arc has to offer, it just doesn’t show the additional bits to tie this story into all the future Dragon Ball Super stories.

Dragon Ball Super

Look! I make pretty sparkles!!

All in all, Dragon Ball Super does what it needed to do, and that was to be the TV version of the Battle of Gods movie. However there aren’t enough changes made to this release to make it a must have. Hell, I could (and probably will) take a lot of what I’ve done here with the story and characters and place them directly into my upcoming Dragon Ball Movie review series in October. Dragon Ball Super Part 1 is not something I can honestly recommend, and you’re probably going to hear the same thing with Dragon Ball Super Part 2 when that releases as that also goes back over another movie. I can only recommend this for hardcore Dragon Ball collectors only at this stage; for everyone else, go and pick up the much cheaper Battle of Gods movie.

©BIRD STUDIO/SHUEISHA, TOEI ANIMATION

Summary

Summary

Dragon Ball Super Part 1 is a bit of a disappointment. The first new Dragon Ball anime series since Dragon Ball GT ended in 1997 and it’s pretty much a retelling of the first new Dragon Ball movie since A Hero’s Legacy was released in 1997. Sure, Battle of Gods was a good film, but to put it out there again with some very minimal changes feels like a bit of a rip off. Hell, they used a lower quality of footage in this release instead of just cutting up the film which was a better version. If you already own Battle of Gods, then I won’t recommend picking this up unless you’re wanting a complete Dragon Ball Super collection.

Overall
3

About The Author

Karl Smart
Senior Editor / Reviewer

The main "Australian arm" of The Outerhaven. Karl primarily spends time playing and reviewing video games while taking time to occasionally review the latest movie or piece of gaming technology.

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