There have been a lot of changes that Akira Toriyama has brought to his Shonen franchise since the series first arrived by giving us a scene of a young Son Goku running into the technological scientist Bulma, with it being hard to dispute that Dragon Ball has become one of the most popular, well-known anime franchises the world over. With Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero becoming a major anime film that hit theaters last year, does the battle anime suffer from injecting a little too much comedy in its fights for survival?
The original Dragon Ball found a fairly solid balance when it came to having hand-to-hand fights featuring the young Goku and more than a few gags throughout, with the original series becoming more serious as time went on. For example, Goku’s original search for the Dragon Balls saw the small Saiyan taking on the inept first version of the Red Ribbon Army, a rabbit man who could transform his opponents into carrots, and the knuckleheads that were Pilaf and his cronies. When the first anime began setting the stage with its Tournament Arcs, life or death became more of a part of the series, which brings us to Dragon Ball Z itself.
Dragon Ball Comedy
Dragon Ball Z is universally thought of as the best entry of the three Shonen series, and while there certainly were more than a few instances of comedy, they were much less frequent than in both its prequel and sequel. The Saiyan Saga for example was as serious as a heart attack, being brought to an end with the Z-Fighters having to visit the battlefield and collect the corpses of their friends to get ready for their possible resurrections, those friends including Tenshinhan, Chaotzu, Piccolo, and Yamcha to name a few.
Following the fight against Vegeta and Nappa, things didn’t become much more light-hearted as the fights that took place on Namek were simply riddled with innocent death as well as Vegeta gruesomely tearing his way through Frieza’s army. While the Buu Saga skewed far more into humor overall than its predecessors, for example, Majin Buu himself was a unique combination of terror and hilarity, with his first form presenting the most unorthodox major villain of the franchise to date.
In Dragon Ball Super, you can feel that while it might not be fit to bursting with levity, the fights have been constrained just a tad more than what we saw in the fights against the likes of Frieza and Cell. In the recent Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, the movie dedicates a lot of time to Piccolo, but not the Namekian training, but rather, stumbling upon the plans of the Red Ribbon Army as he hilariously goes undercover and makes a wish on the Dragon Balls to boost his power level. This necessarily isn’t a bad thing, but it shows a stark difference from some of the other movies such as Broly, which was also fairly serious throughout.
Do you think that Dragon Ball has become a bit too light-hearted for its own good with Super? Feel free to let us know in the comments or hit me up directly on Twitter @EVComedy to talk all things comics, anime, and the world of the Z-Fighters.