This past decade has, by far, been the best time to be a Dragon Ball fan in recent memory. We got two new movies, a new anime, a new manga, and an onslaught of creative video games that stray from the typical Raditz to Buu formula. To top it all off, Akira Toriyama has been actively working alongside Dragon Ball Super, giving it an air of legitimacy that GT didn’t have. We live in an age where new episodes of Dragon Ball come out weekly, and that’s incredible.
Perhaps the best aspect about Dragon Ball Super is how mysterious it is. It’s a new, ongoing series where we don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s unpredictable, filled with behind the scenes issues and facts that add brand new context to the franchise. Every episode potentially gives us new information on Super we didn’t have before and some of it is downright shocking. Dragon Ball is more enigmatic than ever, and it’s all thanks to Dragon Ball Super.
25 Toriyama Rewrote Almost All Of Battle Of Gods
Battle of Gods marked the start of the Dragon Ball renaissance we’re currently experiencing. Without Beerus and Super Saiyan God, these past few years would have severely lacked in DB content. It’s worth mentioning, however, Battle of Gods as we know it wasn’t always the ode to classic Dragon Ball that gave the franchise a second wind. Originally, it was more in line with the typical Dragon Ball Z films. Then Toriyama stepped in.
Upon reading the original script for Battle of Gods, Toriyama disliked it so much that he decided he would rewrite it entirely and properly guide Dragon Ball into the 21st century. Goku’s Super Saiyan God transformation was changed from a buff beefcake with a cake to the slender, simple red design we now know, Beerus was modified from an outright villain to an antagonist with no real malicious intent, and Pilaf and company were added in.
24 Resurrection F Is Based Off A Song
Following the success of Battle of Gods, Toei propositioned Toriyama write a follow up film to chase the fire Super Saiyan God set. With no real plan in mind, Toriyama looked elsewhere for inspiration. Yes, Resurrection F, its concept at least, is based off the Maximum the Hormone song F. F pays homage to Freeza, his army, and the many atrocities they committed. In listening to the song, Toriyama realized that Freeza’s popularity as a villain would naturally lend itself to a successful sequel. Regardless of what your thoughts on the final film are, it is neat that Toriyama took inspiration from the fans for an entire story premise. Plus, the song is even used when Freeza is fully revived!
23 Most Of Gohan’s Appearances Are Filler
If you weren't aware, Dragon Ball Super has two ongoing continuities: the anime and the manga. The manga is on a monthly schedule which means it doesn't have the luxury of filler episodes like the anime. What this means is that every chapter has to move the story forward. If you're a massive nerd like me, though, then this also means you can figure out what is and isn't filler.
Gohan doesn't appear in the manga a single time during the Universe 6 and Goku Black arcs. What does this mean? Most of Gohan’s appearances in the anime are filler! This explains why Gohan goes back and forth between training and not training so often, it's not a part of the actual story. He went from one of Z’s two leads to being an afterthought.
22 Gohan Is The Reason Trunks Doesn't Stick Around
I may have lied a bit when I said Gohan didn't appear in the Goku Black arc of the manga. He actually does. In a bonus chapter. While this bonus chapter isn't technically a part of the manga’s chapter list, it is canon. This chapter takes place after Zamasu has been defeated and Trunks’ timeline has been erased. In it, Gohan makes a comment about wanting to see Trunks’ timeline so Trunks decides he'd rather live in a timeline where an alternate version of himself exists than hang out with our Z-Warriors. Before Gohan got to him, Trunks was more than happy sticking around. Just imagine how different the Tournament of Power would be with Trunks around! Thanks Gohan, you really mucked this up.
21 Super Isn't The First Time Toriyama’s Been Involved With New Material
While Toei’s been playing up Toriyama’s involvement with Super as a (genius) marketing tool, this isn’t the first time he’s come back to work on new material. He redesigned all the main characters for GT along with drawing concept scenes, he wrote all the background history for Dragon Ball Online, he worked on the story for the Jump Super Anime Tour special, and he was directly responsible for Battle of Gods and Resurrection F’s scripts. If that's not enough for you, he even sent notes to the Dragon Ball Evolution team so that the live action movie wouldn’t be so horrendous. They ignored his notes and paid the price, but the man’s been keeping active with Dragon Ball long before Super was even an idea.
20 The Series Is Based On An Outline
It’s funny, isn’t it? Usually a shonen anime is based off of a pre-existing manga, but Super has no anime to adapt. It has a manga, yes, but both are being written alongside each other; (kind of, we’ll come back to this.) Both the anime and manga are adapting an outline that Toriyama wrote. This outline, which has yet to see the light of day, chronicles the ins and outs of every Super arc. Who fought who in the Universe 6 tournament, who Goku Black was, and how the Tournament of Power will proceed all exist in an outline.
What’s especially cool about knowing both mediums are adapting the same source material is that you can deduce what is and isn’t in Toriyama’s outline. In the anime, Goku uses Kaioken to take on Hit. In the manga, he’s able to keep up with just Super Saiyan Blue. Toriyama likely didn’t come up with the idea of Goku using Kaioken, along with many other ideas in the anime.
19 The Outline Is Still Being Written
Up until very recently, it was safe to assume that the entire outline for Super was complete. In an interview Misión Tokyo conducted with Super’s production team, the team is asked whether or not Super will connect with the Z’s original ending. Interestingly, and quite surprisingly, the team responded with uncertainty as Toriyama has not decided how Dragon Ball Super is going to end yet.
Before this interview, Super’s main claim over the original series was that it was explicitly planned out from start to finish, but now it’s clear there’s some old fashion Toriyama improving at play. It’s entirely likely that the Tournament of Power is as far as Toriyama has written which certainly adds a new air of potential finality to it. If you’re interested in pursuing the interview in full, it’s available in Spanish on Misión Tokyo’s website along with in English on Kanzenshuu.
18 Vegetto Wasn't Toriyama’s Idea
Vegetto appearing in the Goku Black arc is one of those moments every fan wanted, but simply assumed wouldn’t happen. It’s pure fanservice, and Dragon Ball tends to not cave into that kind of pressure. In fact, it originally wasn’t going to. Toriyama did not write Vegetto into his original outline because he felt Vegeta and Goku would never want to fuse after the end of the Buu saga and considering how eagerly both characters shatter their potara earrings before fighting Kid Buu, it would be a bit contradictory to have them fuse.
The cries of fanservice must be answered, however, and Toriyama was convinced against not having Vegetto appear at all. What ended up being one of Super’s greatest episodes almost never existed. It does raise one question, though, how exactly were Goku and Vegeta supposed to handle Merged Zamasu without fusion? Well...
17 Merged Zamasu Wasn't All That Tough In Toriyama’s Draft
That’s right, Merged Zamasu was originally kind of a pushover. In the anime as we know it, Merged Zamasu is the closest thing we’ve gotten to an invisible villain in the entire series. Goku and Vegeta couldn’t beat him, Vegetto couldn’t beat him, and Trunks couldn’t beat him. It took Zeno erasing an entire universe to put a stop to him. As Toriyama originally wrote it, however, the joint effort between Goku and Vegeta would have been enough to put Zamasu in his place. Zeno would probably still have had to step in, but our megalomaniac Kaioshin certainly wouldn’t have left as lasting an impression.
16 Goku Black Isn't The First Evil Goku
The idea of an evil Goku is so full of potential and interesting that Toei beat Toriyama to the punch two decades earlier! Turles, Tullece, or Taurus if you’ve been around since the fansub days, was Dragon Ball’s first evil Goku and, boy, was he weird. The main antagonist of DBZ Movie 3, Turles looked exactly like Goku despite having no connection to him. He’s not a brother, a cousin, or even a distant uncle. Turles is just some dude who happens to look exactly like the main character of Dragon Ball.
If anything, Goku Black is Toriyama proving that an evil Goku can be done right. Turles simply isn’t a good attempt at the whole doppelganger shtick. He’s a villain who looks like Goku, but Goku Black is actually an antithesis to Goku. They counter one another in every sense of the word. He’s not the original, but that’s for the better.
15 The Goku Black Arc Is The Darkest Arc In The Entire Series
Even though Dragon Ball Super started out on the lighter tonal spectrum, it finally managed to not only capture the dark atmosphere of Dragon Ball Z but surpassed it as soon as it reached the Goku Black arc. This saga saw not only the return of Future Trunks, but also stakes in the DB universe. Suddenly, Trunks’ universe was in danger and there was little Goku could do to help.
With the added darkness of this arc, Dragon Ball Super got into some rather morbid territory. Trunks had PTSD, Bulma was killed by a man wearing her childhood friend’s face, and Chichi and Goten were brutally murdered by Zamasu. Concluding with the total erasure of Trunks’ universe, the Goku Black arc stands out as the darkest period in DB history.
14 Toriyama Edits The Super Manga On Occasion
In placing Super’s manga in the hands of his trusty protege, Toyotaro, Akira Toriyama managed to personally continue his magnum opus while doing the bare minimum possible. A doting creator will be a doting creator, however, and, despite finally achieving his dream of doing the absolute bare minimum, Toriyama couldn't stop himself from editing the manga.
On rare occasions, Toriyama will intercept Toyotaro’s work and demand an edit. It's worth mentioning that Toriyama is not an editor. This makes his editing all the more special: he's intervening out of passion. You can take the man out of Dragon Ball, but you can't take the Dragon Balls out of the man.
13 King Kai Was Written Out To Accommodate His Voice Actor
Ever stop to wonder why King Kai hasn’t been that active in Dragon Ball Super? It’s simple, really, his Japanese voice actor’s quite an old man. At 86 years old, Jōji Yanami has been voicing King Kai for nearly three decades. That’s a long time and, at his age, it’s only natural that he’d lose a lot of the luster he once had as our great Kaio. Comparing the first few episodes of Super to his last few appearances in Z are night and day. You can hear his age in his voice. In 2015, it was announced he would be taking an indefinite medical leave from the show. Despite being replaced, King Kai hasn’t appeared too often, likely out of respect for Yanami’s absence. It also doesn’t help that any replacement would likely just be seen as an emulation of a legendary voice.
12 Goku’s Rivalry With Jiren Potentially Would Have Started Much Earlier
In the original episode summaries for the Tournament of Power exhibition matches, Jiren was listed as Belmod’s guest instead of Toppo. At the time, this was chalked up to internal mistakes that ended up going as far as the official summaries, but it stands out as the only mistake of its caliber. Instead of looking at it as a mistake, it’s certainly possible that Jiren really was meant to accompany Belmod.
We could have gotten a richer rivalry between Goku and Jiren. As it is now, Jiren isn’t really interested in Goku. That likely wouldn’t have changed had they met at the exhibition match, but it would have severely changed their dynamic. After losing to Jiren there, Goku would have a more personal goal to strive for. His relationship with Toppo is interesting enough, but all the recent focus on Goku and Jiren has undermined it.
11 The Manga Is Promoting The Anime This Time Around
Usually when it comes to the anime/manga dynamic, the anime serves as an adaptation of the source manga in order to promote it. Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z both served the dual purpose of adapting the original work while also encouraging fans to buy the manga. This time around, the anime is the main product and the manga is the one promoting it. This was more obvious in the early months of Super where the manga was much further ahead. We were seeing the Universe 6 tournament in the manga long before it happened in the anime. It basically served as a hype piece. Since then, the manga has slowed itself down and started acting as its own entity, but it’s still very much supplemental to the anime.
10 The Manga Is Significantly Ahead Of The Anime
Despite the anime eclipsing the manga in terms of how far each is in their respective story, the manga is, inexplicably, further ahead. It’s not the main product, but Toyotaro’s drafts of the Tournament of Power are apparently so far ahead that Toei has been using it as a basis. This is seen most clearly in the teaser for the arc where, instead of animation, pages from Toyo’s exhibition match were used to advertise the saga. The crazy thing is, that chapter didn’t come out until months later! Toyotaro has powered through so much of Dragon Ball Super that it might even be possible he’s done with the Tournament of Power at this point. You really have to wonder what his average work day is like to pump out so many monthly chapters this far in advance.
9 Vegeta Has Never Been So Close To Surpassing Goku
Something that often goes unnoticed in the original series is how Vegeta actually compares to Goku. He’s considered his ultimate rival, but Goku holds a rather significant lead over him throughout Z. Vegeta is naturally stronger in the Saiyan saga, but Goku is able to push through thanks to Kaioken. Goku outclasses him completely in the Namek and Buu sagas, and Vegeta is only stronger than Goku in the Android saga when the latter is having a heart attack. The story’s a bit different in Super.
Ever since Resurrection F, Goku and Vegeta have been pretty equal. Goku does have Kaioken and Ultra Instinct at his advantage, but they’re otherwise totally even. In fact, it’s likely Vegeta’s base form is stronger thanks to all the times he’s hopped into the Room of Spirit and Time these past two arcs. It’s doubtful Vegeta will surpass him since that isn’t the point of his arc, but he’s dangerously close.
8 Belmod And Marcarita Were Originally Lovers
It makes sense that a God of Destruction would be close to their angel, but Toyotaro made one pair a bit too close for Toriyama’s liking. In designing Belmod and Marcarita, the pair in charge of Universe 11, Toyotaro noted that they were lovers. Unfortunately, Toriyama wasn't keen on this idea and had Toyotaro change it to the traditional relationship we see between most Destroyer/Angel pairings. Even in Dragon Ball Super, workplace romances are discouraged. To be fair, though, they're so aesthetically similar to Harley Quinn and The Joker that removing the romantic angle was probably for the best in terms of originality.
7 Zamasu Was Likely Conceived As Early As Ressurection F
All parties involved in Resurrection F knew that a sequel to the biggest Dragon Ball film of all time would need a new Super Saiyan form. Toriyama got diligently to work with his musical inspiration and got to designing. Interesting, the idea of giving the form white hair was proposed but Toriyama shot it down because it would clash with the design of an antagonist. The thing is, Resurrection F’s only real villain is Freeza.
What this means is not only was Toriyama actively thinking about the future of Dragon Ball at this point, he must have partially come up with Zamasu’s character design to some extent! Think about it, Super Saiyan White would clash terribly with Zamasu’s white hair, especially when he merges with Goku Black. Fans would be bickering about whether or not Merged Zamasu was Super Saiyan White for years to come! Toriyama, you absolute mad man.
6 Bringing Back Super Saiyan God Was Toyotaro’s Idea
While Toriyama does write a general outline for the series, Toyotaro and Toei are at liberty to deviate and add their own twists to his format. In fact, Toriyama has actively encouraged Toyotaro to toss in some new ideas. The return of Super Saiyan God in the manga, and by extension the anime, was not a Toriyama idea, but rather a Toyotaro. Wanting to the give the manga its own flair, Toyo has Goku adopt SSG into his active roster and even ended up giving it to Vegeta. Since the manga is so ahead of the anime, it's likely Toei saw Toyo’s use of it and liked it enough to bring it back for their Tournament of Power. Could this mean we’ll see Super Saiyan God Vegeta in the anime?
5 Toyotaro (Most Likely) Wrote Dragon Ball AF
If you’ve read Dragon Ball AF before, you might be asking yourself, “wasn’t that written by Toyble?” Well, in all likelihood, Toyotaro and Toyble are one and the same. If you compare Super’s manga to the AF doujinshi, you’ll notice quite a few similarities between the authors. Both have similar art styles where they emulate Toriyama’s recent style, both constantly reference Toriyama’s choreography in place of their own, and both feature some strikingly similar plot points. Remember Vegeta triggering Super Saiyan Blue in bursts by using Super Saiyan God as his base in the manga? Toyotaro/Toyble already did something similar in AF. From fanfic writer to the official pen behind Super’s manga, Toyotaro is living every fan’s dream.
4 Trunks Is Technically A Kaioshin In The Manga
Not everything is going to end up the same between the anime and the manga, and one of the biggest changes between the two mediums has to be Trunks’ role in the Goku Black arc. In the anime, he’s an active participant in the fight against Zamasu, holding off Goku Black and even finagling a new powerup near the end of the arc. In the manga, he’s a supportive role where he can heal our heroes thanks to his new Kaioshin training.
During the entire Goku Black arc in the manga, Trunks is technically a Kaioshin! Now, he isn’t one physically or biologically, but he’s gone through the training and can use their signature healing so he’s basically an honorary member of the grew. It makes sense as this continuity of Super saw Trunks formally becoming Supreme Kai’s apprentice. That’s got to come with some quirks.
3 Toriyama Has Complained About Super
Fans can mock Dragon Ball GT all they want, but they can never change the fact that Toriyama has never said a negative word about GT despite formally complaining about Dragon Ball Super. Perhaps it’s because he’s actively involved in Super’s production this time around, but the Father of All Things Dragon Ball.
In his opening comment in the Super History Book, Toriyama wrote, “Dragon Ball once became a thing of the past to me, but after that, I got angry about the live action movie, rewrote an entire movie script, and now I’m complaining about the quality of the new TV anime.” Super may be infinitely better than GT, but it doesn’t have its creator openly lambasting it.
2 You Can Look Up Official Spoilers If You’re Too Impatient
Even though Dragon Ball, and by extension Dragon Ball Z, aired weekly in Japan, there’s a good chance you ended up watching new episodes on the daily. The series was already on the way out by the time most countries got syndication rights, so there was no need to pad out the anime in weekly bursts. Nowadays, that isn’t possible. If you’re watching Super, you’re watching it one episode at a time, one week at a time. That addictive thrill of watching Dragon Ball Z every day just isn’t possible anymore. Or is it?
Not really, truthfully, but you can come very close by reading up on spoilers! At any given time, you can look up Weekly Shonen Jump, Animage, and Animedia summaries of future episodes. I’m going to be honest with you here, these summaries are juicy. They don’t give everything away, but they’re very liberal with major details. If you find you’re missing that old school DBZ rush, cave into temptation and read up on officially sanctioned spoilers.
1 Dragon Ball Super Isn't The First “Official” Sequel
Even though Dragon Ball Super is being heavily marketed as the official sequel to Toriyama’s original manga, this isn't the first time Dragon Ball has had an “official” sequel. We all know GT was widely considered non-canon by the fandom, but it wasn't considered non-canon by Toei. In fact, all signs pointed at GT acting as the franchise’s ultimate conclusion.
Then Online came.
Online was an MMORPG that Toriyama was heavily involved in. He supposedly wrote all the lore and created a brand new timeline that retconned GT. For all intents and purposes, this was Dragon Ball’s “official” sequel. Now we have Super. Right now, it really is the series’ official continuation, but who knows where the future will bring us? Maybe in ten years, it’ll finally be Dragon Ball AF’s turn in the sun.