Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero Highlights the Best Relationship
As with many people my age, Dragon Ball Z was the first anime I watched. I remember coming home from school or whatever sport my parents were making me play at the time to catch it on Toonami. Since then, I’ve played most of the games but I’ve never watched the show fully other than the episodes I’d catch growing up. Recently though, I’ve watched all of Dragon Ball and am a quarter of the way through Z. Now as an adult, I can see just how much is going on in the series about friendship, mentorship, and being there when times are tough. Watching Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero highlights one of the biggest relationships in the series while giving space for characters other than Goku and Vegeta to shine.
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero revolves around the return of The Red Ribbon Army which was destroyed by Goku years prior. Individuals who carry on its spirit by having Dr. Gero’s grandson create the ultimate androids — Gamma 1 and Gamma 2. However, these two androids call themselves superheroes and start attacking Piccolo and Gohan.
Look, it’s no secret that Piccolo is Gohan’s actual dad. He may not be his real father but he’s the father who stepped up. He helped raise and train him to become the man he is today. That is what Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero focuses on. Their relationship and where it’s at now. That’s what made this film stick out so much to me. I loved seeing how Piccolo, a high level warrior who blew up the moon, babysat Gohan’s daughter. Gohan’s family buys Piccolo these stuffed animals and has given him a kitty cat phone which in other anime may be played as a emasculation joke but here it’s not. For me it was just a great thing of them not truly knowing how to show their appreciation and despite Piccolo saying he hates them, they still buy them because maybe deep down he loves them.
Without going into spoiler territory for Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, we see how Piccolo feels about Gohan essentially giving up the fighting life for that of a biologist. He doesn’t agree with it but he doesn’t truly step over the boundary of making him stop. He pushes Gohan because he knows he is the worlds true savior and strongest man. But Gohan doesn’t want that. He wants a regular life with his family which is what he’s had for some time now. Their dynamic of mentor and mentee is still clear despite Gohan being an adult and a father. There is a scene that is going to be extremely emotional for any fans of these two’s relationship.
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero does deal a lot with the struggle of being what you want to be versus being what you are told to be. It’s really exemplified in Gamma 1 & 2 who were built to destroy the Capsule Company. Through the film, we see them struggle with the role they have been programmed with by Dr. Hedo (Zach Aguilar) who also struggles with his role under the Red Ribbon Army. During an interview round table I was on, Zach said he took a lot of inspiration from Gru from Despicable Me for the character. While others laughed, I couldn’t help but see it. Both characters are doing evil despite not truly wanting to be evil. Neither of them has a clear path of identity nor do their minions until they find it in others. Dr. Hedo and the Gammas journey in the film is a memorable one that walks the line of villain and hero.
The animation style is far different than the rest of the series with heavy emphasis on CGI. I was worried it would take me out of it but in practice, it was pretty cool to see. I do look forward to seeing it on the big screen to see how it holds up versus on my laptop for this screener. Tickets are on sale now for theatrical showings which I am SO excited for as a new anime fan to get to be around other fans to watch the film.
Now I may not be an expert on Dragon Ball as a franchise, I do think I’ve got a firm grasp on the dynamics of the characters. It was really nice to be able to see a relationship other than one of Goku’s get the spotlight for an entire film. Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero has so much for long time fans with cameos, easter eggs, and more but as a film it stands firmly as an exploration of the relationship of Gohan and Piccolo. It’s worth checking out but I do think it’s more enjoyable if you have at least seen some of the franchise. I have not seen Super which this is set after but I still was able to follow along perfectly.
Before I go, just remember… Piccolo is the best dad in anime.