Dragon Ball Super is a series produced by Toei Animation and created by Dragon Ball legend, Akira Toriyama. The series, which first aired July 5th, 2015, is a sequel series to Dragon Ball Z, a standout series that continues to be the most popular anime’s worldwide. Dragon Ball Super follows Goku and the Z Fighters and brings many new enemies and adventures in their path. Dragon Ball Super has had ups and downs in 131 episodes. When the series first began, it was met with a rushed production schedule and had episodes of poor animation and uneven writing. That being said, the series bounced back and had moments that reached the greatness of the series before it. The anime went from July 5th, 2015 to March 24th, 2018 and had 5 Sagas within it. As a series review, I will individually score each Saga and give a final series score at the end. Dragon Ball Super was an overall joy to watch and while it had sagas that could have been better, it equally had sagas that were epic.
Battle of Gods Saga
The Battle of Gods Saga lasted the first 14 episodes of the series. A retelling of the film Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, this saga did not bring much new to the table outside of fleshing out plot points and providing a slightly alternate scenario from the film. Overall the Battle of Gods Saga was one of the weaker arcs of the series solely because it was a retelling of a feature film. One might consider even skipping these 14 episodes and just watching the film as it hits on all the major plot points needed for the series.
Resurrection F’ Saga
The Resurrection F’ saga was another retelling of a Dragon Ball film. Based around the events of Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F’, this saga provided a similar experience to the Battle of Gods arc. Bogged down by subpar animation and a rehashed plot line, the series was still struggling to come into its own and failed to captivate audiences the way Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z did in years past. While there are certain elements of this saga that I personally feel were benifited with the extra episodes, overall, the saga was satisfactory at best.
Universe 6 Saga
The Universe 6 Saga of Dragon Ball Super was when the series finally had a chance to shine. With an original story outlined by Akira Toriyama and crisper animation, the series finally started to get comfortable under its own skin. This saga was the first time Dragon Ball Super felt like DRAGON BALL SUPER. The saga follows Goku and Vegeta as they continue to train under the Gods of Universe 7. In this saga, Universe 6 and Universe 7 are set up in a tornament for the control of Goku’s Earth. This Saga brought many great action set pieces and introduced the characters of Universe 6, including Champa, Hit and Cabba. The tournament reaches a strong climax with Goku and Hit battling with the high if their powers. The saga was much more enjoyable than the previous two and gave the characters great motivation and provided a dynamic direction for the Dragon Ball franchise.
Future Trunks Saga
The Future Trunks Saga was the peak of Dragon Ball Super in my opinion. With incredible animation, arguably one of the greatest villains in Dragon Ball history with Goku Black, and a strong, engaging plot, The Future Trunks Saga was classic Dragon Ball goodness. The saga follows Future Trunks, last seen in the Cell Saga of Dragon Ball Z, who is being threatened by Goku Black. Trunks travels to the past to find the help of his old friends and the mystery of Goku Blacks kicks off. This saga does a spectacular job developing Goku, Vegeta, Trunks, creating a captivating villain in Goku Black, while also developing the mystery of Zamasu. The saga features amazing fight scenes and dynamic choreography, mixed with the right amount of fan service, nods to the great moments of the past and creating excitement and engagement for the future. The Future Trunks Arc is where Dragon Ball Super officially earned its place to stand with Dragon Ball & Dragon Ball Z.
Universe Survival Saga
The Final Saga of Dragon Ball Super was the Universe Survival Saga. The finale for the series, the Universe Survival Saga was a story that Toriyama that had been building up to since the Battle of Gods Saga. It is worth nothing that this arc also had the most beautiful animation of the series by far, with art direction by animators like Yuya Takahashy leading the way. The Tournament of Power is held by Zeno and gathers a multiverse of the greatest fighters, worriers and beings whose only goal is to strive. Teams of fighters from 8 of the 12 universes gathered in a battle royal to see who is the strongest and also who deserves to survive. Goku gathers some of the most powerful and memorable characters in Dragon Ball history to help him. With a team of Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Krillin, Android 17, Android 18, Piccolo, Tien, Master Roshi, and Frieza, this saga provides memorable callbacks to past arcs, creates unforgettable character moments between familiar faces while also creating new and engaging characters from multiple universes. The arc also sees Goku find his ultimate form and power, Ultra Instinct, which gives him instantaneous control over his body and makes him virtually invincible. Universes 7 and 11 end up being the final two as Universe 11’s Jiren, the strongest mortal fighter in the history of Dragonball faces off against Goku, who has achieved an unimaginable power. It’s truly a battle of the titans between them and the series ends on a spectacular note.
The final episode of this series aired just an hour before I wrote this. Having only recently experienced it, I feel it is appropriate to review the final episode on its own merit. The final episode of Dragon Ball Super was an emotional rollercoaster. With many heart wrenching beats for long time fans as well as a couple of twists to keep it interesting, I was left extremely satisfied by the end of it. While the last few minutes of the series ran through an epilogue in montage format, it was a great mix of heartwarming moments, classic characters and a Happily Ever After feeling. Dragon Ball has always left each of their series in a pseudo cliffhanger but Dragon Ball Super provided a legitimate ending for the characters while also leaving the door open for future films and series’ to follow. Seeing Goku and Frieza share a moment, two characters who, much like Batman and Joker, share a unique bond of Hero and villain, put aside their differences to completely fight in sync and sacrifice themselves to take our Jiren at the end and win the tournament side by side. While Frieza will never join Goku as a friend and rightfully so, seeing them fight side by side in complete harmony as the final seconds of the Tournament tick was an emotional, epic and memorable way to end the saga.
-End of Spoilers
To Conclude, Dragon Ball Super was a solid entry into the Dragonball franchise. While the start was a little uneven, the series caught its fire with the Universe 6 Arc and didn’t look back. Overall, Dragon Ball Super deserves to stand next to Dragon Ball & Dragon Ball Z as equals. The series did everything it needed to in order to keep the franchise fresh, engaging and unique. Introducing complex snd unique characters from across the multiverse, continuing to evolve characters from the previous series to new heights and of course, providing high octane, well choreographed, beautifully scored and emotional moments, Dragon Ball Super was a very enjoyable series. The future of Dragon Ball is bright with a new feature film releasing in December of 2018 and the possibility of more Dragon Ball content in the future. Dragon Ball Super kept me invested in the characters I’ve loved my entire life while also opening up the doors to multiverse scale storylines and great character development. The series will have a place in my heart right next to Dragon Ball & Dragon Ball Z.