To say I am a fan of Dragon Ball Z would be an egregious understatement. To say that it is one of my all time favorite anime series, warts and all, is probably closer, but still somehow doesn’t do it justice. While Dragon Ball was and remains a classic piece of fiction, without which Dragon Ball Z could not exist, the later series hooked me almost immediately with its epic battles and added science fiction elements. For a good portion of my childhood, the best parts of my weekday would be when I planted myself in front of the television and devour every last-minute of each episode, before that blasted narrator would butt in and force me to wait until next time. It wasn’t the deepest or most thought-provoking anime by any means, but it introduced me to an unforgettable cast of iconic characters, villains, and conflicts that more than likely sparked my future interest in Japanese animation, new and old.
Over the years, my love of Dragon Ball Z is one of the few things that endured into my adulthood. While mostly out of necessity, I’ve thus far been content to re-watch old clips and episodes on Hulu, or peruse funny, abridged versions to tide me over. Or, at least I was until 2015 when Toei Animation and creator Akira Toriyama gifted the fandom with two new films and a brand new series of episodes.
Dragon Ball Super takes place just six months after the defeat of Majin Buu and continues to follow the adventures of Goku and co. Initially, times are peaceful and almost mundane for the heroes, but the quiet is short-lived when a powerful and destructive entity awakens. This being’s arrival on earth threatens the entirety of its existence and it is yet again up to Goku and his friends to battle for humanity.
Now, just over 20 years after Z‘s initial run on Cartoon Network, Super has come to Toonami and I couldn’t be more excited.
Yes, the series has been out with English subtitles for a while, so I’m already familiar enough with the new animation (sometimes hit or miss but ultimately a fair update and more than a match for the new series’ blended tone of action and comedy), and the projected arcs. But honestly, there’s nothing quite like hearing that opening recap or Sean Schemmel’s voicing of Goku after all this time, and while episode one is mostly filler intercut with a few scenes of the first new big bad, watching this weekend’s debut transported me back to childhood, and once again had me dreading those ending credits that seem to come all too soon.
-“How much is a 100,000,000 zeni? Is it more than 100,000?”
Good to know Goku is still a fighter, not a scholar.
-In the same vein, really Goku? Let your eight year old drive so you can train? Really? Actually, yeah, that sounds about right.
-Gohan is still burying his potential beneath a pile of books and rocking the Saiyan-turned-Clark Kent look pretty effortlessly.
-Though some minimalism is to be expected in filler episodes, Piccolo literally did nothing more than grunt and scowl, and there was no Vegeta whatsoever. I can’t wait until the next handful of episodes when Christopher Sabat will be back in full force and the nostalgia will really hit home. Not to mention, the upcoming “my Bulma!”
Dragon Ball Super airs Saturdays at 11:30pm ET on Adult Swim’s Toonami.