I recently wrote how “Dragon Ball Super Doesn’t Suck” mostly as an exercise to dispel the myth that the show was verging on Dragon Ball GT levels of bad. As at the time the series had been slowly and steadily gaining steam over the course of the currently airing arc. That being said I purposefully left the connotation that the show wasn’t the best, that it wasn’t and perhaps wouldn’t live up to Dragon Ball Z. As at the end of the day Dragon Ball Super just hadn’t yet lived up to the legacy of Z or it’s predecessor movies. However there was hope it may one day achieve those highs, however faint at times that the show could become some more.
I can officially say that has come to pass. For one glorious episode Dragon Ball Super was as good as the best episodes of Z. Yes I’ll say that again Dragon Ball Super wasn’t good relatively speaking it was as good as Z, one of the biggest Shōnen shows ever to be produced. I came to this realization during the fight against Universe Six’s Hit, as the epic continuation of an increasingly compelling set of episodes that draws the viewer back week after week - like a siren song all the while leaving a smile on my face. By continuously raising the stakes Dragon Ball Super somehow managed to up the spectacle and emulate the feel of the original that made Z so eminently watchable.
What makes it even more amazing is the fact that Super is not an adaption but an original work and is by definition “Filler Free”. Now that the series has broken free of the shackles of the previous movies canon the current arc flows in a way Dragon Ball Z never could. Battles are quick, dynamic, and never linger something that just couldn’t be said about its predecessor. Using an example the entire currently airing tournament arc has lasted little more then ten episodes while the entire Namek Sage lasted over 100 episodes... including over 20 for a single fight.
Beyond that the series has been exciting as despite a slow burn at the beginning the ongoing fights have been increasingly enjoyable. Vegeta’s fight against Cabba where the experienced Saiyan takes his other universe counterpart under his wing and trains him as a Super Saiyan was both touching and fun.
However his final lesson that there is always someone better then you was something only Vegeta could truly give. This is because the prideful prince knew the lesson all too well through his experiences with Goku. In many ways it was almost a call back even further as it mirrored the way Jackie Chun/Roshi taught Goku the same lesson decades ago in Dragon Ball.
Indeed one of the worst things about Super was previous to this arc it seemed to forget Z ever existed much in the same way GT would before it. However now the series goes to almost ludicrously extensive lengths to prove it remembers it’s heritage. Indeed Goku’s new Super Saiyan Blue Kaio-Ken actually explains how it’s possible.
Any true fan knows why Goku stopped used using the Kaio-Ken following the ascension to Super Saiyan. As the Kaio-Ken required a pure soul, mind, and heart and the Super Saiyan transformation was inherently one of rage. Blue on the other hand as explained by Goku, Super Saiyan Blue is a serene experience blending the calmness of ones mind with Ki control. This clearly explains the difference between the various transformations available to a Saiyan, and how canon wise the new formidable form is possible.
In fact the power up was so rare during the fight many people questioned it’s effectiveness. Not Vegeta though, one of the first the truly feel it’s power. In a call back to one of the greatest scenes in all of Z Goku and Vegeta’s epic beam struggle is recounted explaining to old viewers and new alike why even the Prince of all Saiyans attests to the power of the Kaio-Ken.
That is what makes this so surprising, old Super would have been expected to forget about all this. GT god I don’t even want to think what GT would have done here. However Super beginning to remember the legacy of it’s past is making the series so much better then it was previously. For the first time it truly feels like a continuation of Dragon Ball rather then an okay nostalgia play.
I may not know how the series will continue in the future. In fact it’s looking like our hero may lose which if the case is a daring and welcome decision on the show runners part. However I can say this without sense of irony Dragon Ball Super doesn’t suck, hell no it’s positively Super! This is what fans of the franchise has long been waiting for.