Dragon Ball Super: What Bothers Me

So by now, you’ve probably heard the news. After many, many, many years, Dragon Ball gets a new installment in the form of Dragon Ball Super. Specifics have been scant to say the least, so it’s probably somewhat premature for me to say that I’m bothered by something. However, I think for a franchise like Dragon Ball, which has been criticized for being overrated compared to more complex and contemporary anime.

As has been released, the story will follow the Majin Buu saga in time frame, and deal with Goku and the rest of the Z-Fighters attempting to protect the peace that Buu’s defeat has brought to the universe. Sounds fun and definitely par for the course for the franchise. However, what bothers me most is that…that’s so Dragon Ball.

If you're not here, you're not important.

If you’re not here, you’re not important.

The Dragon Ball series have always been billed as the adventures of Goku and his friends. However, by the Android Saga and it was clear that a portion of the Z-Fighters were highly outmatched. Though Yamcha was well on his way to becoming a joke, there was a clear shift that became evident by this point, as Tien, Yamcha, and Krillin—mainstays in Dragon Ball history—were rendered obsolete by the Super Saiyans (and Piccolo,) with their collective triumphs amounting to Tien nearly killing himself while doing no damage to Cell and Krillin getting thrown a bone in the form of a hot wife. Oh, and Yamcha taking another step towards becoming a running joke for DBZ: Abridged.

The Majin Buu Saga took this another step further, by giving Piccolo the role of master planner in a series where brawn beat brains nine out of ten times. After Majin Buu became a threat, unless you were a Saiyan you were pretty much useless. Now, I love Goku and all of the Saiyans as much as the next guy. However, I’m not so sure I’m up for The Saiyan Show.

Just five of 18 heroes from DBZ: Heroes.

Just five of 18 heroes from DBZ: Heroes.

Recent films have shown that the Dragon Ball universe is a vast place, with even more powerful figures than the Saiyans living in it. While Goku has and always will be the cornerstone of the franchise, perhaps the world is ready for a new story and new characters to take the reigns. Maybe not completely, but even Gohan was pegged to take over for Goku at one point, so the idea is not totally random.

Perhaps a story could take place in the future, where Humans have learned from the example of Saiyans, along with other races, and since then, become far more powerful than previously? Maybe the Namekians are due for their own series. Rebuilding a race nearly destroyed twice can’t be an easy feat. Especially when your Warrior cast no-longer exists.

I just feel like Akira Toriyama missed out on an opportunity to branch out more with the Dragon Ball franchise. I’m sure I’ll enjoy the series for the most part, but I can’t help but think that at the end of the day, I’ll be bothered by what could have been.