Since its genesis in 1984, the sprawling Dragon Ball manga and anime shonen franchise, created by Akira Toriyama, accumulated a thriving fanbase that fell for its goofy, adventurous spirit and the ever-unfolding saga of Son Goku, his family, and friends. A teaser trailer for the upcoming Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero movie premiered at New York Comic Con on Thursday (though it’s not yet been made public).
The creatives and cast of the franchise and the upcoming Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero gathered from both sides of the world to attend the New York Comic Con panel. In the flesh onstage were the English dub voice actors Ian Sinclair (Whis) and Monica Rial (Bulma). Transmitted live from Tokyo and sharing a translator were Akio Iyoku, executive producer of the Dragon Ball series and manga editor for Toriyama, and Toei Animation producer Norishida Hayashira (who produced the previous 2018 Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie).
Set 10 years after Goku defeated Majin Buu, the highly anticipated movie Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is slated for a Japanese release in 2022. After 2021 San Diego Comic-Con left fans waiting more, the New York panel unleashed more surprises, not least of all, a teaser.
The teaser trailer’s footage was taken from completed portions of the film. It teased flashes of characters old and new, with Goku, Piccolo, Pan, a split-second glance at Broly, and newbies Gamma 1 and Gamma 2 appearing. With their character designs already teased at San Diego Comic-Con, Gamma 1 and Gamma 2 were revealed to be the names of the twin-like grey aliens in corpsman-like uniforms, though their purpose in the movie remains elusive.
Iyoku showed off new character designs of familiar faces. First up was Dende. “Notice something different? He’s gotten a little bigger,” he said, since time has aged the little guy up in size.
He also showed Bulma, the genius inventor, in a yellow jumpsuit. Her voice actress, Rial, inquired, “If Bulma is in [the movie], do we get to look forward to seeing [her husband] Vegeta as well?” And while Vegeta only popped up as a picture in the trailer in his infamous badman shirt, Iyoku promised that the much beloved hot-headed Saiyan Prince will make an appearance without revealing his role. Also revealed were new designs of Kori, the eight-centuries-old rotund walking kitty and veteran of the old Dragon Ball series inspired by Toriyama’s own cat. “The note to take is the perfect balance of his body and his feline attribute,” said Iyoku.
Pan, the bitty granddaughter of Goku born of Videl and Gohan, will play a major role in the plot. Iyoki divulged a bit about Pan’s relationship with Piccolo. “Pan has grown up a little bit and it seems Piccolo has been training her,” said Iyoki.
Pre-recorded footage of Toshio Furukawa, the original Japanese voice of Piccolo, revealed that “Piccolo plays a much more active role.” With Pan under his mentorship, “he dotes on her like a good grandpa.” Cuing “aww”s from the audience, Furukawa promised fun when witnessing Piccolo as her teacher. Sinclair remarked, “I love the idea of Grandpa Piccolo. Piccolo is always like the best dad.”
On the making of the movie, Hayashida said, “We often catch ourselves improving the details. We promise you a cinematic experience.” He continued, “One of the themes is ‘pop.’ We use ‘pop’ to describe things that are fashionable and contemporary and modern. We recognized some unprecedented movement of color and textures.”
A pre-recorded Masako Nozawa, the original Japanese voice of Goku and his two sons, warned fans to watch out for the appearance of the nefarious Red Ribbon organization (cue oooooos from audience): “That’s all I can say with a grin on my face. They’re horrible people, aren’t they? How could they act so cowardly?”
There has yet to be a major update on the English dubbing or a US release date. Rial noted, “We have not started dubbing yet but we are critically excited.” While the Japan release of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is slated for 2022, Iyoku said, “I would like it to be close to the US release as possible, but we are waiting on that. We’ll give you a concrete answer as soon as we can.”