This past week, both the Dragon Ball Super English Dub and Dragon Ball Z Kai dub series on Toonami featured Gohan-centric episodes. DBS' "Future Trunks Saga" storyline revisited a timeline in which Future Gohan was a masterful warrior and mentor to Future Trunks; DBZK saw Gohan locked in a brutal battle with the latest fused form of Majin Buu.
Seeing Gohan back in the Dragon Ball limelight again (if only for a week) was actually a refreshing experience! It reminded us of something that the latest chapters of Dragon Ball Super English sub has failed to: Gohan is one of the most badass and powerful characters in the franchise. Here's why he needs to be one of the main heroes of the franchise, going forward:
He Was One of the Biggest Plot Elements of DBZ
Dragon Ball Z made a three-saga long epic out of Gohan's character arc, before unleashing him as the main hero of the epic "Cell Saga." Gohan's fierce training to unlock his hidden potential against Cell resulted in the series first SSJ2 power-up (classic moment), and later, during the "Buu Saga," we saw Old Kai unlock even more hidden power in Gohan's base form, which made him a pivotal player in that fight, as well.
Simply put: much of Dragon Ball Z seemed dedicated to the power-up fantasy that took Gohan from feeble child to the sort of warrior we saw in Future Trunks' timeline. The series lost that focus at the end, and DBS didn't correct it. But it's time to.
He's the Way to Correct Over-Powering
Right now, Dragon Ball Super has created its own wave of problems regarding power-ups, taking Goku and Vegeta to new levels that are literally redefining the mechanics and physics of Dragon Ball fight sequences. For a lot of fans, the "Universal Survival Saga" has come with an overly-rapid pace of power-ups, but Gohan could be the way to fix that in the next Dragon Ball series.
Gohan's power progression has always been marked as different from Goku and Vegeta's, and his transformations have never followed the exact same path. That leaves a lot of room for the next Dragon Ball series to introduce some new kind of power via Gohan - one that doesn't necessarily require the same color-coded transformations that we're now seeing with SSBB and Ultra Instinct. Given Gohan's half-human, half-Saiyan background, it could even be a power-up that the full-blooded Saiyans aren't even able to achieve.
Gohan could allow Dragon Ball the same fresh start with limit breaks that we got with DBS and it's introduction of SSG and SSB.
It's Time to Retcon the Nerf
The entire notion of Gohan having Nerfed power levels in Dragon Ball Super has always been rather disingenuous. The theory is that Gohan being a scholar and family man has distracted from his training and lessened his power; however, in Dragon Ball Z, Gohan was the most emotion-driven character, achieving his biggest battle moments or transformations during highly-emotional moments.
Now that Gohan has a bigger family than ever, he has much more to protect. With characters like Beerus, Golden Freeza and the Zenos having threatened the very existence of Earth, Gohan should've ostensibly been tapping into more emotional power than ever before. At this point, having his power Nerfed just seems very far away from the line of series logic. Let's correct that.
He's a Perfect Mix of Brains and Brawn
Right now, Dragon Ball is populated by a lot of brawlers who aren't necessarily brainiacs (Goku, Vegeta), and brainiacs who aren't nearly as strong as the brawlers (Piccolo, Bulma). However, the series hasn't really given us a mix of both.
Gohan is a character that could be more than just a brawler waiting to meet the next opponent on the battlefield or scream his way into a new power-up; he could actually handle complex missions (covert-ops or big mystery quests), and could invent anything from tech to new forms of ki application like only a scholar could.
If we wanted to really put that brain power to use, Gohan's big brain could unlock some psychic power-ups that would definitely change the game of how Z-Fighters battle.
He's the Natural Series Successor
It's almost crazy that Goku is still the main character of the Dragon Ball franchise. As stated, a lot of Dragon Ball Z seemed specifically geared toward telling the story of how Gohan grows up to surpasses his father - and then we sort of lost track of that thread, as Goku and Vegeta went on to stay on their thrones.
However, all things must change eventually, and Goku can't be the lead focus of Dragon Ball forever. If characters like Gohan, Goten, and Trunks, don't get to eventually move up the ladder into the limelight, then what was the point of having them?
It Would Be a Great Timeline Bridge
As stated, the latest episode of the Dragon Ball Super dub revisited the timeline of Future Trunks, to once again examine the relationship between Trunks and Future Gohan. Like with the Cell timeline, Future Gohan is the last remaining warrior of the Z-Fighters defending Earth, and trains Trunks to be the world's final hope.
The fact that this version of Gohan is out there in another timeline means the potential for Gohan to became a great leader and warrior has already been mapped out in the canon. The next Dragon Ball series just needs an excuse to make that transition happen in the current timeline.
Goku and Vegeta vs. Gohan
Finally, there's one purely indulgent and gimmicky reason that we want to see the next Dragon Ball series put Gohan in a bigger position of power: We want to experience the novelty of Gohan having to battle both Goku and Vegeta!
As we said, Gohan seemed like he was once supposed to be the successor to Goku and Vegeta's status as top fighters of the universe, and for Gohan fans to really get their due, the son must rise up and smack down his predecessors. Gohan needs that decisive proof that he's the real MVP, and so does the fandom.
Dragon Ball Super airs on Crunchyroll Saturday evenings at 7:15 p.m. CST. Adult Swim airs the English dub during its Toonami block Saturday evenings at 9:30 p.m, and is now available to stream on FunimationNOW and Amazon Video