The story of Dragon Ball is currently continuing in Dragon Ball Super, but there was a time that the series seemed to have come to end. Not only that, but there were actually two different endings to the series.
Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama originally concluded his eleven-year run writing and drawing the series in the mid-1990s. However, in the early 2000s, he returned to his seminal series for the manga’s “Kanzenban,” or “Perfect Edition” release.
The Kanzenban of Dragon Ball featured new art by Toriyama, all of the original color pages from Shonen Jump magazine, and compressed the story from 42 volumes to 34. Toriyama made a few story tweaks, included some changes to the ending.
The original ending showed Goku passing the torch to his apprentice, Uub. That part of the ending remains the same but, as explained in the above video from Geekdom 101, that passing of the torch moment was made more explicit by Goku giving possession of the Nimbus Cloud over to Uub, making it clear that Uub was the new young adventurer destined to protect Earth just as Goku had been when the original Dragon Ball began.
This moment is reinforced by a change to the scene's narration. Originally, Toriyama wrote that the Dragon Balls would protect the Earth in the future. In the updated ending, Toriyama changes that statement to say that it is the strong people on Earth – in other words, Goku and his friends, including Uub – that will keep the planet safe in the future.
Most fans were okay with these little tweaks, especially since the original version of Dragon Ball’s ending was criticized for being too vague and feeling a bit rushed. However, there was another change that was less popular.
The original ending came with a message from Toriyama himself stating that yes, this was really the end of the road. The Kanzenban removed that message and replaced it with a scene of Vegeta stating that he would one day surpass Goku in power.
Many fans felt this scene did damage to Vegeta’s character arc, and that at this point in his story Vegeta would have accepted the fact that Goku was stronger than him. However, in retrospect, it seems that Toriyama may have had future stories in mind. The events of Dragon Ball: Battle of Gods, Dragon Ball: Resurrection F, and Dragon Ball Super – which all take place before the ending of Dragon Ball – shows a version of Vegeta who is still competitive with Goku, but in a different way. Their rivalry is now a friendly one, rather than one where Vegeta would like to kill Goku if possible.
This falls in line with a statement by Dragon Ball Super artist Toyotarou, who has said that the events of Dragon Ball Super will not alter the ending of Dragon Ball. Eventually, the story in Super will catch up to the moment when Goku passes the torch to Uub. In the meantime, fans are left ot wonder if Super will re-animate that moment to include the Kanzenban changes.
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