The Dragon Ball franchise is at a major crossroads right now. The Dragon Ball Super anime has been on hiatus for over a year now, even while the main storyline of the series has continued in the manga and the Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie. It's clear to most fans that Dragon Ball needs to evolve in the next few years, and one clear way to do that would be branching the franchise out into multiple series. Gohan and the rest of Earth's Z-Fighter crew have largely been left behind in the overpowered era of Dragon Ball Super, but it's long past time for them to get the limelight again.
This is why Gohan and the Dragon Ball Z-Fighters need their own spinoff series, without Goku and Vegeta.
Right now, it's actually the Dragon Ball Super manga that's making the best case for why Gohan and the Z-Fighters need their own series. The current manga storyline, "Galactic Patrol Prisoner," has seen a terrible ancient threat rise in the universe again: Planet-Eater Moro, a sorcerer who feeds on the lifeforces of entire worlds and their inhabitants. Moro has already eradicated New Namek and used its Dragon Balls to make some terrible wishes, and nearly killed Goku, Vegeta, and a god-powered Majin Buu in the process. That near-death thrashing has split up Goku and Vegeta's partnership, as each Saiyan has run to a different corner of the universe to seek new forms of combat training from powerful teachers. In the meantime, Moro and his crew of magically-enhanced escaped convicts have targeted Earth and are on their way there, which has forced the Galactic Patrol to deputized the remaining Z-Fighters of Earth into their service.
We have yet to see how the full events of the "Galactic Patrol Prisoner" storyline play out, but with Akira Toriyama himself shaping the story, this movement of pieces on the gameboard is not just some frivolous indulgence. The situation with Moro is clearly indicative of a larger problem in the current Dragon Ball universe: There are god-level threats out in the universe that only a warrior like Goku can face, but Earth (and it Dragon Balls) will forever remain a target. A series that scales back the power levels of heroes and villains would be a welcome change for many Dragon Ball fans, and it creates space for the series to return to the real focus of Dragon Ball Z: the evolution of Gohan.
The first act of Dragon Ball Super's Tournament of Power arc reminded fans just what reservoir of potential there is in Gohan. Not only did Gohan step up and unlock even more of his latent potential to power-up for the ToP, his mental acuteness and strategy skills also earned him the title of team captain. Again, this was all perfect stage-setting for a later storyline where Gohan is a full-fledged leader of the Z-Fighters; it's a development that both DBZ and DBS have already teased as a likely inevitability in their respective Future Trunks storylines, which see Gohan become the leader and mentor of the future Z-Fighters, after Goku is dead. Having that timeline play out in a different way after Future Trunks' influence is a great connective thread to spin into a new spinoff series.
Finally, in an era when anime is finding big success by rubbing elbows with the superhero genre, a Dragon Ball series that focuses on Gohan could also lean into superhero tropes via Gohan's heroic alter-ego, the Great Saiyaman. Right now, Great Saiyaman is used as comedic relief, but if Gohan becomes the true top defender of Earth, that could quickly change. In fact, the focus on how Gohan balances his civilian life and warrior life would propel the series, and differentiate it greatly from Goku's story. Finally, the Great Saiyaman had a sidekick in his wife Videl, aka the Great Saiyawoman - a character that fans would love to see back in the mix. So between Gohan, Piccolo, Videl, The Androids, Krillin (even Yamcha!), a spinoff series featuring Gohan and the Z-Fighters would actually come pretty stacked with characters fans have been waiting to reconnect to. More importantly, they're fighters who will have to go back to the sort of team work and training that made Dragon Ball Z battles so thrilling, when you weren't entirely sure the bad guy could be beat without major deaths and sacrifices (even if the Dragon Balls could undo that tragedy).0comments
Would you be excited for that?
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.