Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero Gives Gohan His Due
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero Review
It’s no secret among Dragon Ball fans that the character with the most wasted potential is none other than Goku’s son, Gohan. When first introduced, he was all but said to have the potential to get stronger than his father. For a brief time, during the Cell Saga, he did, slaying the titular villain in a legendary duel. Then, it all went downhill.
Toriyama tried to make Gohan the new main character but wound up backtracking and bringing Goku back into the spotlight. Worse, while Gohan did get stronger, it either became a moot point thanks to Goku, or he ended up slacking on his training. Fans of the character grew disappointed with him as he got relegated to a supporting role. Thankfully, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero aims to correct all of that, and for the large part, it succeeds. Even if the 3D animation can be hard to look at, sometimes.
The Return of the Revenge of the Red Ribbon Army
Next to Frieza, the most recurring villain’s in the Dragon Ball franchise are the Red Ribbon Army. Even though Goku took them down as a kid, they keep coming back like cockroaches. First, it was in the form of Dr. Gero and his numerous Androids (though some are actually Cyborgs), with Cell being the worst. Now, though, the actual Army makes it’s first onscreen appearance since the Dragon Ball days. Now going by Red Pharmaceuticals and led by their former leader’s son, their plan remains the same: world domination. The only ones that can stop them are the Z-Fighters, whose main fighters are pretty much gods. So, time to make some more Androids.
Enter, Dr. Hedo, the grandson of Dr. Gero and an even bigger genius than the mad scientist. As far as new characters goes, Hedo’s pretty out there. He’s willing to use dead bodies to create his own set of Androids (which got him time in prison), and he’s obssessed with superheroes. Despite this, he’s still naive enough to buy into the Red Ribbon Leader’s lies.
The Big Scheme
In the opening act, Commander Magenta wins Hedo over by making up some story about how Capsule Corporation’s a front for a group of evil aliens trying to take over the world, and that Gero created his Androids to stop them. In other words, Magenta plays on Hedo’s love of heroes to get him to make some Androids for them.
This whole fabrication is so blatantly false that it’s almost laughable. Even those in-universe lacking the full context know that Cell was a villain who tried to destroy the Earth. Yet Hedo falls for it, at least partially. It’s arguably my biggest with the film, but it did give us two cool new Androids, Gamma’s 1 & 2.
Like the Great Saiyaman before them, the Gamma’s look ripped straight from a Sentai series. Gamma 2, voiced by Zeno Robinson (who seems to be everywhere these days) is loud, extroverted, and goofy, while Gamma 1, played by Aleks Le, is the introverted and stoic type. Together, they make a good duo, with some of the more interesting characters Dragon Ball introduced in recent years. They feel more like heroes than the Pride Troopers, which is a good thing. Fortunately, despite working for the bad guys, they believe in justice and eventually catch on to their employer’s true colors.
Piccolo is Best Dad in Dragon Ball
One of Super Hero’s main selling points is that the film’s centered around not Goku and Vegeta, but Gohan and Piccolo. It’s often been joked about that Piccolo’s more of a father to Gohan than Goku is, and the film itself lampshades that. Piccolo regularly babysits Gohan’s daughter, Pan, and trains her every morning. When they’re talking after a brief sparring session, Piccolo honestly forgets that when Pan’s says Grandfather, she’s referring to Goku.
Piccolo may not act like it, but he’s clearly the best dad in Dragon Ball, and now the best grandfather. And like any good dad, he’s frustrated when he thinks his son isn’t living up to his full potential. In this case, Gohan’s more focused on his research than paying attention to his training…or picking up Pan from school.
So, when the Red Ribbon and the Gamma’s show up, Piccolo decides that this is the perfect chance to whip Gohan into shape. It’s reckless and unorthodox, but like any good Dad, Piccolo makes sure to keep Pan safe from any real danger, and steps in when Gohan can’t handle it on his own.
In addition, Piccolo gets a long-overdue power boost, courtesy of Shenron. As a result, he becomes the latest to transform. In this case, he’s orange, bulkier, and buffer. And, judging by his power, he might be on par with Super Saiyan Blue.
That’s not the most impressive form, though. Not by a longshot.
El Blanco Gohan is Now Canon
During the Tournament of Power Arc, several memes came into existence. The legend of Ultra Instinct Shaggy. Jiren’s more powerful older brother, El Hermano. However, the one most relevant to this is El Blanco, a fan-made transformation for Gohan. People jokingly said that Gohan would gain a new transformation that would turn his hair white and let him surpass everyone in the franchise. Well, like Ultra Instinct Shaggy, El Blanco is now canon.
In the film’s epic climax at the Red Ribbon Army’s HQ, Gohan, Piccolo, and the others fight the worst thing they could hope to face: a mindless, Kaiju-sized clone of Cell called Cell Max. It’s suitably poetic that, when facing a clone of the enemy he’s most famous for beating, Gohan unlocks a new transformation. The Dragon Ball Wiki calls it Gohan Beast, but fans know the truth: it’s El Blanco. El Blanco is canon, and that’s the best thing that the franchise could do for Gohan.
A Funny (If Somewhat Flawed) Film Without Goku
Overall, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is a pretty good film. There are some problems with the pacing and story, though. Much of the humor from the first half hearkens back to the more comedic days of the early manga, which doesn’t exactly mesh well with the action that fans have come to expect from the manga. However, it does its best with what it’s got.
Once the movie drops the comedy, though, it cranks into high-gear, and it’s well worth slogging through everything. The 3D animation lets the movie do things with the characters that traditional animation doesn’t, making for more epic battles. The music is good, the fight’s are good, and it’s just an all-around good time.
Plus, the film does give a good reason why Goku and Vegeta don’t get involved since they’re training on Beerus’ planet with Broly. Broly is back, if only for a short time!
I personally liked seeing it in theaters, but you can wait for it to stream online if you don’t think you’re up for it. I must warn you, though: Pan is adorable!
I Give Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero a 3.5/5
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