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【Anime Review】 Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero

The latest movie within the Dragon Ball franchise happens to be Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. While this movie has been out for a while now (since August 18th, 2022), I didn’t go see it because of some unexplained bias that the movie was going to be bad. Mainly because it centered on Gohan, Piccolo, Androids, and was in 3D compared to its highly successful predecessor movie of Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Somewhere within my mind I was convinced that because it was 3D, the animation would be lesser and anything focusing on Gohan was a waste (since we saw how useless he was in Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ and in the latest Dragon Ball Super series.

However, I figured it was about time to watch it and made sure to do so by streaming it to my Discord (which you all should really join y’know, and was pleasantly surprised with what I saw. I also watched it with one of my best friends, B-Oblivion.


The biggest issue I was worried about initially going in was the animation for Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. I felt like 3D was becoming widely used in most things and hand drawn 2D, much like fighting games, was becoming outdated. In fact, even with the beauty of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, what stood out as the ugliest parts of the movie happened to be the parts that were entirely 3D. A good example is Broly’s massive green energy-based attack against Super Saiyan Blue Goku, resulting in the ice shattering; or when Super Saiyan Broly and Super Saiyan Blue Gogeta fought within another dimension. Considering the CGI here, I was very worried about a movie that was nothing but 3D.

However, I needed to be more logical about everything. Considering video games like Dragon Ball: Sparking! ZERO and Dragon Ball FighterZ, you can assume that it is possible to make anime look brilliant in 3D, even if we get our Berserk scares from time-to-time. Also, why would they follow up a highly acclaimed and highly successful movie like Dragon Ball Super: Broly without a confident follow-up? While they could very well go for something easy, disappointing, and a cash-grab, I’d doubt it considering the long-term ramifications it would have for their fanbase and monetary aspirations.

The animation for Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero was actually quite fluid, with some parts seemingly being more bizarre on purpose for emphasis rather than in error. Stylistic choice will always exist, and I’m happy that animation was smooth except for these instances. Good examples are Gohan going Super Saiyan when he was confronted about Pan’s kidnapping or the initial explosion when Cell Max was freed from containment. Battles and their effects were smooth and free of awkward stops, hits were impactful and strong, while energy blasts and explosions felt natural within the environment. I don’t think anyone can dispute that at its worst, it appeared obviously 3D, while at its best it looked amazingly beautiful.

The only drawbacks I seen were that the soft shading often times did not help it in scenes without crazy dynamic lighting so that colors had extreme contrasts, while sometimes the awkward angles chosen with panning gave very awkward shots to some of the scenes. However, overall I’ve got no complaints and my initial worries proved to be unfounded. Will NOT make that mistake again.


Another thing I was worried about was Gohan vs Cell Max, as it was an attempt to recapture the nostalgia from the “Cell Saga” in Dragon Ball Z. We all know they attempted to capture the Goku vs Frieza nostalgia many of us had in Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’, yet they fell short by having a terrible timeline, subpar fight, and nonsensical story which resulted in a very lackluster movie from my perspective. I did not want a terrible re-telling of the Cell arc in an attempt to make Gohan relevant again. Mainly because what should have been the cornerstone of a new age of Dragon Ball with Gohan as its lead, saw the prodigy relegated to a side-line character with the greatest potential amongst the Saiyans.

However, a lot of what I hated about Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ and Dragon Ball Super: Broly were corrected within Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. While the writing isn’t anything absolutely amazing, it does what it should by keeping a timeline that is coherent with the Dragon Ball anime while simultaneously making the events believable. I felt like the collection of Frieza’s body parts after so long should have been impossible due to degradation, even as an alien. I also felt like Broly being so absurdly strong he’s able to overpower two Super Saiyan Blue Saiyans was ridiculous, but even more so that Golden Frieza could survive getting his ass beat for over an hour while Piccolo taught Goku and Vegeta the fusion dance; it would take 30 minutes for each of their two failures to wear off before they could become Gogeta, meaning an hour had to pass. Everything happened in a way that made sense, and even referenced previously established happenings within the series.

The main synopsis of the story is that Magenta, son of the former leader of the Red Ribbon army, wants to bring it back to its former power. Intending on using the same method his father did, he enlists the help of Dr. Hedo, Dr. Gero’s grandson, to build even more powerful Androids and to create a more powerful version of Cell (known as Cell Max). With Goku and Vegeta away training on Beerus’ planet, the task is left up to Piccolo and Gohan, who must push past their current limits and defend the world in the absence of their greatest assets.

The beginning which re-introduces the Red Ribbon Army was BRILLIANT. Many people in the west who are fans of Dragon Ball Z, have not seen the original “Dragon Ball” anime or read the manga featuring how Goku got to the point of Z (or that there is no distinction between Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z in Japan as it’s only one series). So while Dr. Gero, the Androids, and Cell, are well known, many have no idea what the Red Ribbon is in their entirety and Goku’s hand in their destruction. Dr. Hedo and Magenta are great additions in carrying on the legacy of their family members, yet I would’ve liked it more if Dr. Gero had inspired Hedo on some level, but I guess he would never admit to something like that anyway, seeing how arrogant he was ( I mean, look how mad he was when Dr. Gero’s research was used for Cell Max). I also like that they mentioned Android 21 from the Dragon Ball FighterZ fighting game, tying her into the canon lore.

The entire story from beginning to end is believable in the motivations of Magenta, as well as the ambitions of Dr. Hedo to create the androids. Even towards the end when Dr. Hedo planned on turning himself in, he stated that he was fully aware that the organization had to be evil, but wanted to use their resources (which is why he probably put a failsafe for Cell Max and made sure his androids had Heroic Components built into them). Even things like Dr. Hedo being able to tank a gunshot or Magenta easily being defeated despite his suit were set up at the very beginning of the movie so no plot holes were covered by sudden “AH HA!” moments. It even made sense why Gamma 1 and 2 would suddenly fight against Cell Max and why their loyalty to Dr. Hedo would only account for so much of their actions versus doing what they believed to be right. Not to mention why Whis did not answer Bulma’s call once she found the device to contact him.

Even the power-ups were justifiable in my opinion, including Gohan’s insane power-up to Ultra Instinct Goku’s level of power. Piccolo asked for his potential to be unlocked, and considering what it did for Gohan each time, we know the amount of latent power can be unlocked and available for use. More than that, Shenron happened to say “And a bit extra”, which is why he was able to get a bigger boon and was able to stick with Gamma 1 and 2, and at least hold his own somewhat against Cell Max for as long as he did. Gohan was able to achieve his Ultimate Form through sheer anger, which has always been something he’s done throughout the series when looking back on him as a character. Also, Piccolo faking a situation to bring it about is a callback to Frieza forcing Broly to go Super Saiyan in Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Gohan entering into his Beast Mode form upon seeing Piccolo getting badly injured by Cell Max put him into the same rage state that the original Cell stepping on Android 16’s head did; the background behind Gohan fades to black, a thin line appears showing his mental snap, and we see Gohan go Super Saiyan 2 and Beast Mode form, respectively. Hell, even the ending is a call back to Raditz defeat at Piccolo’s Special Beam Cannon while Goku restrained him in the Saiyan Saga of Dragon Ball Z; and Gohan claimed he’d been practicing in secret, so it’s not just an asspull for him to use Piccolo’s signature move (though it definitely fits him considering he’s been trained by Piccolos since a child and even sported his clothing to fight against Cell).

The only thing I didn’t quite like within the story was how Cell Max was introduced into the fight. I wish his impact was more imposing, and that Android 18’s brief show of fear and PTSD was more explored. I’d like for them to focus on exactly how big a threat cell was, and the anxiety it caused everyone to know he was alive. I also wish they’d explore the fact Goku had to sacrifice himself at some point, and it would’ve added even more fuel to the fact that Gohan wanted to be strong enough to ensure that no one had to die to defeat him; especially not Piccolo.


Characters in and of themselves within this feature film were well thought out in my opinion. Magenta and Dr. Hedo as I said, were characters that had certified ties to previous antagonists within the series, yet they had their own motivations independent of those who came before them. The same can be said of the Gammas, which are identical units that are a call back to Android 17 and 18, who have bombastic personalities instead of stoic or coldly condescending. Also, I find that their comic relief and colorful personalities make them likeable, despite being the initial antagonists.

Gohan is allowed to be his nerdy, unassuming self who’s quite aloof and naive, yet we see how serious he can be when it comes to family matters (Piccolo is definitely family). More than that, he’s still the same person who’s power explodes when those he cares about is in trouble, such as when he headbutted Raditz or became Super Saiyan 2 for the first time. Piccolo takes the same role he has had before, leading when he must yet isn’t afraid to play the support role to get it done. Piccolo is the main star of this entire movie and him getting the shine he deserves is beyond amazing to me.

As far as the supporting cast, everyone played their roles perfectly. Gotenks managed to crack Cell Max’s head, Krillin saved Bulma and encouraged Pan, Android 17’s fear help put an emphasis on Cell Max’s danger, etc. While a few of the Z Fighters did not have to be present, it was nice seeing everyone fight together without relying on Goku or Vegeta. In fact, I even like how they covered the plot hole of not wishing Goku and Vegeta back with Eternal Shenron due to it slipping their minds, mainly because of Bulma’s narcissistic wishes which fit her personality to a T.

Even beyond this we got to see Broly’s learning to better control his Ki and not go berserk, the win Vegeta finally got over Goku in a battle, and what happened with Cheelai and Lemo. Also, we got a rare glimpse into the type of women that Beerus likes and how his personality and consideration can significantly shift when someone he finds attractive is present. These are the small types of things which are unnecessary, but are welcomed and rounds out the entire experience.


 STRENGTHS  — Story ties into the canon of Dragon Ball well, Ending is climatic and satisfying, Gamma 1 and 2 are likeable anti-heroes turned good guys, Nostalgia done right, Mostly fluid animation.  WEAKNESSES  — Animation from some angles is off putting, Should have given Dr. Hedo some inspiration from Dr. Gero, and Made Cell Max more intimidating.

This anime feels as if an average day of Gohan and Piccolo’s life gets turns into a climatic struggle which shows Gohan still has immense power with the right motivations. Piccolo allowing Pan to be kidnapped, as well as making her scream shows he understands Gohan’s power and the importance of it to the protection of Earth. Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is a cohesive and compact story that doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, but is still enjoyable and has many call backs to Dragon Ball nostalgia, and yet gives us new things to look forward to with additional power-ups, new characters, and new twists on old situations. The animation was top notch despite being 3D, and the climatic battle ended in a way that was satisfying and heartfelt. The characters themselves were all represented well, with Piccolo taking the forefront and shining as both the leading and support roles when needed, utilizing both masterfully. Pan is also a delight, as she’s introduced to the Super continuity in a way that makes her very likeable, providing the right amount of cute and comic relief next to the Gammas.

I feel like this has been the best Dragon Ball movie to come out in recent memory, exceeding both my expectations for its individual release, and the series as a whole due to what we received with Resurrection ‘F’ and Broly. The next time a movie comes out for Dragon Ball, I’ll be in there Day 1, as it seems that every movie has gotten progressively better than the last. Thank you for your time, and I hope you enjoyed my review!

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About The Author

RoK the Reaper
A serious gamer & hardcore otaku who loves anything gaming, anime, or manga! I hope to bring you the best content for these subjects I love in the form of news, reviews, interviews, and in-depth editorials! さよなら!

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