‘Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero’ overview: Why Piccolo is finest dad

Considered one of Japan’s largest pop media franchises, “Dragon Ball” is synonymous with explosive brawls and over-the-top motion sequences, with dashes of comedy offering levity in between. “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” delivers these signature parts in spades in a narrative that celebrates how the inexperienced alien warrior Piccolo has lengthy been “Dragon Ball’s” finest dad.

Boasting the involvement of “Dragon Ball” creator Akira Toriyama for its authentic story, screenplay and character design, “Super Hero” — directed by Tetsuro Kodama — revolves round heroes and villains who’re all navigating the legacies and ambitions of their (absent) fathers and grandfathers. It’s a nuance that’s touched on within the exposition-heavy introduction of the movie however finest understood by those that are accustomed to the “Dragon Ball” franchise, which launched with Toriyama’s manga sequence in 1984.

For the uninitiated, “Dragon Ball” primarily follows Goku, an orphan invader-turned-refugee of a strong alien warrior race who grew up on Earth, and his perpetual quest to develop stronger as he faces off towards people, different aliens, androids and even totally different ranges of gods. In between coaching, numerous tournaments and battles over the destiny of the universe, Goku has made mates and enemies, gotten married and had a few youngsters (who, not like their father, have pursuits outdoors of turning into essentially the most highly effective warrior to ever reside).

Piccolo, left, going through off towards the formidable Gamma 2 in “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero.”


“Super Hero” shakes issues up by turning its highlight on a few “Dragon Ball’s” widespread however usually underutilized supporting characters: Goku’s eldest son, Gohan (Masako Nozawa in Japanese, Kyle Hebert within the English dub), and Gohan’s mentor, Piccolo (Toshio Furukawa, Christopher Sabat), who particularly shines as the center of the movie.

As defined within the film, Gohan has lengthy proven he has the potential to be a fair better warrior than Goku (Nozawa, Sean Schemmel). However the kindhearted half-human is extra involved together with his scholarly pursuits than maintaining together with his coaching, particularly as a result of Gohan is aware of his father will at all times soar as much as deal with no matter highly effective threats come up.

It’s a good expectation on Gohan’s half — Goku has at all times been a bit extra centered on turning into the perfect fighter he could possibly be over being the perfect father. However Gohan can at all times depend on Piccolo, his intimidating grump of a mentor, to not solely push him towards reaching his full potential as a warrior but additionally give him classes on being a superb dad. Piccolo’s heartwarming dynamic with Gohan’s 3-year-old daughter, Pan (Yūko Minaguchi, Jeannie Tirado), is among the many “Super Hero” highlights.

Anime followers who’ve saved up with “Dragon Ball” by way of its most up-to-date sequence, “Dragon Ball Super,” doubtless will make up most of “Super Hero’s” U.S. viewers. However apart from a principally inconsequential scene of cameos, even an informal fan who has watched solely by way of “Dragon Ball Z” — the second “Dragon Ball” anime sequence, which began airing within the U.S. within the ’90s — is a lot outfitted to maintain up with the movie’s foremost story and more likely to recognize this deal with Piccolo’s bond with Gohan and his household.

a man with glasses and a cape standing in the rain

Gohan in “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero.”


The film’s foremost antagonists are the following technology of the Purple Ribbon Military, an evil group first thwarted by Goku when he was a child. Though the brand new Purple Ribbon Military’s chief Magenta and employed head scientist Dr. Hedo every are contending with the shadows solid by their father and grandfather, respectively, the setup is extra a cute novelty than a commentary on household legacy. Their story finally takes a again seat to the spectacular motion sequences that result in numerous highly effective transformations.

Because the title suggests, “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” engages a bit with questions of what it truly means to be a hero past flashy poses and comedian sound results. It additionally touches on well timed themes involving the powers of misinformation and lies to solid heroes as villains (and vice versa) with the intention to manipulate others. However “Super Hero’s” foremost precedence is letting Gohan and Piccolo dazzle collectively in wonderful fight towards a few charming villains — Gamma 1 (Hiroshi Kamiya, Aleks Le) and Gamma 2 (Mamoru Miyano, Zeno Robinson) — after which an much more highly effective, if acquainted, foe. Even the movie’s fashionable 3-D pc animation is finest fitted to these motion sequences.

“Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” is a must-see for followers that salutes one of many sequence’ finest relationships, however newcomers excited about greater than the enjoyable of an action-packed visible spectacle would possibly need to take a look at a number of the TV sequence first.

‘Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero’

In Japanese with English subtitles, and dubbed English variations

Rated: PG-13 for some motion/violence and smoking

Working time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Taking part in: Generally launch