REVIEW: ‘Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO’ is a Love Letter

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Dragon Ball Super Super Hero

For over thirty years, the films in the Dragon Ball franchise have been staples of legendary anime. The over-the-top yet endearing films with never before seen characters and powers that never make it into the anime have been wildly accepted as fun canon-adjacent stories with no real impact on the larger story for the Z Fighters. Many of the stories featured our beloved Goku and Vegeta, but others allowed other members of Earth’s heroes to shine.

More recently, Akira Toriyama has again taken a more active role in the franchise, which has caused a shift in how Dragon Ball films are presented. The installments since 2015 have given the stakes to the films that have long last effects on the canon, but still give what fans have come to expect from the franchise; Goku and Vegeta saving the day. Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO, attempts to blend the best of both worlds by proving a zany, action-packed iteration that shines a light on other Z Fighters allowing for quality development in someone other than our two favorite Saiyans.

Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO‘s plot, like many films in the franchise, is very straightforward. A threat looks to bring destruction to Earth and it is up to the Z Fighters to put an end to it. By this point in this in the long history of the anime, it is hard to think of any Earthly threat that can be of any consequence. However, with Goku and Vegeta off training with Beerus, Whis, and Broly following the events of Dragon Ball Super: Brolyit is up to the rest of the Z Fighters to jump into action. In a surprising turn of events, Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO brings back the Red Ribbon Army into the mix. This evil organization has ties all the way back to the original Dragon Ball and hasn’t reared its head since the Andriod saga. A surely unlikely adversary but Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO does just enough to set them up to be formidable foes.

The new head of the Red Ribbon Army, Magenta, recruits Dr. Hedo, the grandson of Dr. Gero, to create new androids in order to seek revenge on the Z Fighters who all but collapsed the company. Dr. Hedo who has no interest in creating weapons of destruction is swayed to help Magenta when he is fooled into thinking the Z Fighters, with the help of Capsule Corps, are actually the villains that Earth should fear.

As a super genius, Dr. Hedo is committed to creating his own superheroes that will not only defeat the Z Fighters but also keep the Earth safe from harm. Using the data from the Cell Saga and his superior genius that dwarfs his grandfathers, Dr. Hedo succeeds in creating the most powerful androids we have seen in the anime. When Picollo stumbles onto their plot, it is up to him to rally the Z Fighters and defeat this new threat to Earth. This time, however, it has to be without the help of Goku and Vegeta.

The film excels in giving all the context needed to understand what is going on. The Dr. Hedo and Magenta team-up makes sense in the context of the lore and brings back a familiar tone that is lacking from the latest anime. While the exposition may be on the nose for fans who have kept up with the franchise through its Dragon Ball Super run and the most recent films,  anyone with just the base knowledge of the franchise can come in and pick up the gist of past events.

Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO

It even goes as far as being self-aware of its place as the older anime with a premise that may not be in-depth as its younger offspring. Its humor harkens back to a simpler time as an anime fan while giving the same kind of action sequences we have come to expect from the franchise. With the more updated style of animation that resembles more of the most recent Dragon Ball games than anything since in the anime, the fight scenes are fresh and exciting in a way that I haven’t felt since Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. 

If you are a long-time fan, do not fret. While the exposition and flashbacks are for a less knowledgeable audience, Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO at its heart is a love letter to fans in more ways than one. You will still have the Goku and Vegeta banter and rivalry we have come to love, but the focus on the Z Fighters back on Earth is where the film truly shines. The largest focus is squarely on Picollo and Gohan, giving the father-son story that fans have always wanted all the way back when Picollo first trained Gohan as a child all those years ago. As a self-proclaimed Gohan stan, I have been waiting for the moment for Gohan to reclaim his mantle as more than just a Sayian with glasses. Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO provides that in the best ways possible.

Gohan has the biggest character arc in Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO and it is done in such a way that there were tears in my eyes throughout the climactic battle. Akira Toriyama has finally been able to give Gohan the time to shine even if it has taken nearly two decades. Fans will see him overcome his own obsessions to evolve more than just his power level in ways we have never seen Goku or Vegeta do in the past.

Behind him as always is Picollo who solidifies himself as the true heart of the Z Fighters with his unselfishness and desire to push Gohan to be more than anyone believes he can be. Even in his own character moments, Picollo stays true to the loveable father figure we all hope to see in anime. Whether this new era of Gohan and Picollo continues in future stories is unclear, but at the moment Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO gives the best Picollo-Gohan story that fans could ask for.

In the end, Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO is a very fun and heartfelt addition to the franchise. While it may not have the stakes set forth by its more recent predecessors, I walked away feeling more than I have in a long time when it comes to the franchise. Akira Toriyama’s presence has been sorely missed and his attention to the Z Fighters he has created is on full display.

Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO mixes the best of everything there is to love about this fabled franchise. There are jokes, there are fight scenes, and most importantly, there are character moments that will make you remember why Dragon Ball is the Godfather of anime in the west.

Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO is available on VOD.

Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10


Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO mixes the best of everything there is to love about this fabled franchise. There are jokes, there are fight scenes, and most importantly, there are character moments that will make you remember why Dragon Ball is the Godfather of anime in the west.

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