The 2022’s Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is the 21st Dragon Ball feature film, and it is actually a special movie due to a couple of reasons. First, this is the first Dragon Ball movie that is produced using full CGI animation. Secondly, this is also the fourth time Akira Toriyama himself, the creator of Dragon Ball, writes the whole screenplay for a Dragon Ball movie.
That being said, there is another thing that makes this particular movie stand out from any other thing in the Dragon Ball franchise. From the perspective of a long-time fan, this is without a doubt the perfect modern-day Dragon Ball anime. The reason is that this movie manages to beautifully combine the advancement in visual animation technology with a true Dragon Ball story. Here’s what we mean by that statement.
A Return To The Roots of Dragon Ball
People often remember Dragon Ball for its action-packed battles, but what makes it truly unique is its blend of comedy and excitement. While iconic moments like Goku's transformation into a Super Saiyan or Gohan's Kamehameha on Cell remain in our memories, the series also has hilarious moments like the silly banter between Goku and the pervy Master Roshi, funny rivalries between Goku and Krillin, and other jokes that are easy to miss. Even in Dragon Ball Z, we get comedic moments like the Ginyu Force's silly poses and Gohan's failed attempt to be a superhero during the Cell saga.
Unfortunately, these silly gags have decreased in new Dragon Ball series like Dragon Ball Super and its movies (Resurrection “F'' and Broly), in favor of bigger and more exciting action sequences. Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero brings back the humor we've been sorely missing. From Dr. Hedo's quirky Gamma Androids to Piccolo's confusion over Videl's tendency to give him stuffed dolls and Goten and Trunks' failed fusion during the climactic battles, Super Hero is filled with lots of hilarious moments sprinkled throughout the movie. And if you love the charming humor of classic Dragon Ball, you'll get the nostalgic hit you've been looking for in this movie.
Dynamic And Mind-Blowing Visuals
While many people still prefer the traditional hand-drawn animation style, us included, we can’t deny that CGI animation has its benefits, especially in terms of cost-effectiveness and flexibility. Because, unlike traditional hand-drawn animation, CGI animation allows you to choose the best shots for any given scene. After all, the whole scene happened in a three-dimensional space where you can put the camera wherever you want. Not only that, when it comes to visual effects, the only limitations are your creativity and the computational power of your computer.
This kind of flexibility gives so much freedom and benefits to the animators, especially for a series that is known for its dizzying and over-the-top visual effects like Dragon Ball. The main criticism of CGI anime is usually the janky facial expression and physical movements of its characters, among other things. But technology has advanced so much to the point that the new Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero has no such problems at all. Be it the movement, the expression, or the character interaction, everything feels so smooth.
Furthermore, you can also feel the full might of CGI animation during the climactic fight. It’s so exciting to see all of those over-the-top explosions, impacts, and energy beams happen at the same time. It’s not even an exaggeration to say that this is one of the most epic fights in Dragon Ball history.
Another Series/Franchise That Tries This Formula
Based on the previous sections, we can surmise that Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is the perfect modern-day Dragon Ball anime because it successfully brings Dragon Ball’s story back to its roots, while also presenting the story through a beautifully rendered CGI animation at the same time. But this movie is not the only one that has tried this formula. There are other series/franchises that have tried to do the same. Some are successful, but some fall flat on their face.
The new iteration of Trigun, the 2023 Trigun Stampede, retells the origin story of the iconic Gunman Vash The Stampede, but this time around, pairing it with a crisp and beautiful full CG animation. Yes, there are fans who still prefer the old Trigun over the new one, but even they will agree that Trigun Stampede has done a respectable job to capture the spirit of the first one. Not to mention the animation is so smooth and electrifying at the same time. The Super Hero formula works perfectly well for Trigun Stampede.
On the other hand, the sequel to the popular "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex" series, "Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045," tried and failed to capture the original's political complexity and gripping storyline. The animation was stiff and lifeless, making even human characters come across as emotionless robots. The result is a lackluster action thriller that fans disliked. This is a prime example of why CGI animation doesn't always work as well as traditional animation for capturing the nuances of human movement and emotion.
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is without a doubt one of the best Dragon Ball anime in recent years. It manages to capture the key components of what makes the original one so great, i.e. the action and the comedy. Not only that, but the CGI animation also looks so smooth, exciting, and mind-blowing. They have found the perfect formula for bringing an old franchise to the modern audience, and everybody should follow their example.
Have you watched Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero? If you have, what do you think about it? Let us know in the comment section below.