The Dragon Ball Super anime has been on indefinite hiatus for more than a year now, but that doesn't mean the series hasn't been making some big moves in other ways. The Dragon Ball Super manga has launched a brand new story arc, which has gone well above and beyond fan hopes and expectations. The "Galactic Patrol Prisoner" arc has introduced one of the most popular Dragon Ball villains in years (Planet-Eater Moro), while also teasing fans with some big new power-ups for both Goku and Vegeta. Best of all, though, Dragon Ball Super's latest arc has done a major course-correction to bring the storytelling flow of Dragon Ball Super hew much closer to the series' Dragon Ball Z heyday.
The first thing that Dragon Ball Super has done with its Galactic Patrol Prisoner arc is return some the edge that Dragon Ball Z brought to the series. That sophomore series by Akira Toriyama got bloody, had sadistically brutal and violent villains, and stakes high enough to warrant major character deaths. DBZ also offered a much more complicated path to achieve victory, which DBS is now paving.
In DBZ, Goku and Co. were always ridiculously outclassed in terms of power and skill by the villains they faced in Dragon Ball Z, to the point that someone almost always died in the initial battles with the villain(s). Goku, Krillin, Piccolo, Vegeta all died horrific deaths during the series (even if those deaths were later reversed). With the "Galactic Patrol Prisoner" arc, Dragon Ball Super has put down the novelty fights that defined the big Tournament arcs in the series, or the gimmicky villain battles (Gold Freeza, Zamasu / Goku Black) and has once again introduced a truly frightening villain in Planet-Eater Moro.
With Moro we get a villain who actually drawn out of elements of canonized mythos and backstory, with a unique new power set (magic, vampiric life-force draining, de-aging, power transfer), a gang of henchmen ravaging the cosmos (Galactic Bandit Brigade) and the willingness to leave a hefty body count without blinking an eye (the destruction of the last Namekians). In short, with an actual villain who has an actual backstory and personality, Dragon Ball Super has a chance of putting up a villain that actually stand along the greats that Dragon Ball Z introduced (Vegeta, Freeza, Cell, Majin Buu...).
Of course, the Dragon Ball Z comparisons go both ways. Like so many DBZ story arcs, Dragon Ball Super's "Galactic Patrol Prisoner" arc has gone back to the tried-and-true technique of stalling its climax. After the break-neck pace of the first half of the story, "Galactic Patrol Prisoner" made the pivotal move of having Goku and Vegeta break up their partnership, with each retreating to far reaches of the universe to see new training and power-ups, after being defeated (and nearly killed) by Moro. But if you hated DBZ's Snake Way arc for Goku, there is some solace: Dragon Ball Super's stalling tactics actually add to the series, as Goku and Vegeta's training segments has revealed much more insight into the Planet Yardrat (home of Instant Transmission); the angel race; and of course, the mysterious power that is Ultra Instinct. So while we may still have some of the storytelling stumbles of Dragon Ball Z, at least Akira Toriyama has learned a thing or two from his mistakes?
Finally, the most recent chapters of Dragon Ball Super have given us the much-needed course-correction of letting the supporting characters of Dragon Ball Z once again shine. While Goku and Vegeta are off-world, Gohan, Piccolo, Androids 17 and 18 - even Yamcha, Tien, and Roshi - have all had to step up and battle Moro and his forces. Dragon Ball Z might've always had Goku and/or Gohan ultimately win the fight, but it really was an ensemble character piece. Dragon Ball Super has been widely criticized for pushing Goku and Vegeta's power levels through the roof and leaving all the other Z-Fighters behind; "Galactic Patrol Prisoner" is finally addressing that lack of attention - possibly setting up an entire Dragon Ball Z-Fighters series.
If you were a big Dragon Ball Z fan but lost track of the series when Goku and Vegeta started sporting red and blue hair, Dragon Ball Super's "Galactic Patrol Prisoner" arc may be the perfect point for you to jump back on. You can check out the Dragon Ball Super manga FOR FREE right HERE.
The Japanese-language and English dub releases of Dragon Ball Super are now complete and available to stream with FunimationNOW and Crunchyroll. Viz Media is releasing new chapters of the manga at a monthly rate that can be read entirely for free through the Shonen Jump digital library, and Dragon Ball Super's big movie, Dragon Ball Super: Broly, is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. Fans in Japan are also able to enjoy fresh non-canon adventures from the franchise with new episodes of Super Dragon Ball Heroes' promotional anime series.
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