It's Time for Dragon Ball Super to Give Gohan a New Power-Up

There would be no Dragon Ball Super hype sweeping over the globe if not for the groundbreaking success in Dragon Ball Z. However, it's just as important to note why it was that Dragon Ball Z really resonated with so many viewers - and a big part of that reason is Gohan. Until the final twists of the Majin Buu Saga, much of Dragon Ball Z's story was focused on one thing: telling the story of how Gohan went from a scared little boy, to the world's most powerful warrior. Well, Dragon Ball Super has been criticized for losing sight of Gohan in its story of Saiyans achieving divine power - but it's time to change all that.

It's time for Dragon Ball Super to give Gohan a much-needed new power-up - and soon.

As stated above: much of Dragon Ball Z's main intrigue was in telling the story of Gohan's transition from frightful little boy, to the iconic moment when he finally took down the evil android Cell and saved the world. In fact, Gohan's ultimate ascension moment (wearing that Piccolo-style purple gi) in his final battle with Cell remains one of the most indelible and iconic moments in all of Dragon Ball history. It's so indelibly iconic, in fact, that entire new video game (Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot) is dedicating time and opportunity for fans to retrace Gohan's entire path from Dragon Ball Z's Saiyan Saga to the Buu Saga finale, where Gohan unlocked his massive hidden power potential.

...Which brings us back to the modern age of Dragon Ball Super.

DBS has largely sidelined Gohan, and the series has almost completely abandoned the exploration of what Gohan's hidden power potential (again, one of Dragon Ball Z's biggest storylines) means in the larger scheme of Saiyan power evolution. While Goku and Vegeta have been making big strides by unlocking the divine powers of Super Saiyan God, Super Saiyan Blue, and well beyond (Super Saiyan God Evolution, Ultra Instinct), Gohan has manifested none of that.

The only hint that Dragon Ball Super provides about Gohan breaking through new limits is during the lead-up to Dragon Ball Super's final anime arc, the Tournament of Power. In preparing to fight for his universe's very survival, Gohan trained harder than he had in years, eventually entering into a sparring match with both Piccolo and this father, Goku. Those fights force Gohan to tap deeper into his hidden potential than he ever has before. As Gohan himself eventually declares:

Gohan: "Well dad, this is me at my current full power."

Goku: "Nice, but don't you still have to go Super Saiyan?"

Gohan: "No, I have a new goal now: an ultimate form that no Saiyan has achieved before. And I'm gonna pursue this form by going down a different path."

The manga followed a similar storyline, giving Gohan an even bigger power-up, as well as a bigger shining moment in the Tournament of Power, wherein Gohan stood tall against Super Saiyan Kefla and unlocked his "Ultimate Form", battling the fused female Saiyan so hard that he split them apart. Dragon Ball Super also reminded us during the "Future Trunks Saga" that in several timelines Gohan becomes the final Z-Fighter of his father's generation left alive, and evolves into a teacher and general who mentors Future Trunks and holds the line against calamities like the Android invasion.

Between the brief teases of greater Gohan power in Dragon Ball Super and the future where that power is realized, exists a big missing junk of story that needs to be explored. With fans now demanding the next Dragon Ball Super anime's arrival, if Toei is looking for additional material beyond the Broly movie and the manga's "Galactic Patrol Prisoner" arc, a Gohan power-up story should be the first stop.

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Fans are tired of waiting: It's time for Dragon Ball Super to make Gohan great again.

Dragon Ball Super currently airs its English dub on Adult Swim during the Toonami programming block on Saturday evenings, and is also available to stream on Funimation and Amazon Video. The Japanese-language release of the series is complete, and available to stream on FunimationNOW and Crunchyroll. The manga has chapters that can currently be read for free thanks to Viz Media, and Dragon Ball Super's big movie, Dragon Ball Super: Broly, is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.