'Dragon Ball Super' Animator Shares Goku Super Saiyan Throwback

The past and future of Dragon Ball seems to be colliding as we approach the release of the Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie, as various elements of the expanded franchise mythos are getting streamlined into franchise canon.

The theme of "From then 'til now" seems to be seeping into all sorts of Dragon Ball fan art and videos - such as this latest example, which serves as a nice throwback to Goku's original Super Saiyan transformation back in Dragon Ball Z:

The sketch comes from Yuya Takahashi, one of the more standout animators of the Dragon Ball franchise. As you can see, Takahashi's style is more in line with the Dragon Ball Z and GT design formats, as well as invoking the classic Dragon Ball Z movie aesthetic. Takahashi was the key animator on the films that became Dragon Ball Super's earliest storylines: Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods and Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F'. Needless to say, he knows a thing or two about Goku's history of power-ups, which is why this particular piece of artwork has such interesting implications for the Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie.

What's intriguing is that this piece of artwork by Takahashi is that it pays direct homage to the moment of Goku's very first Super Saiyan transformation, during Dragon Ball Z's "Freeza Saga". That first transformation showcased an entire animated sequence of Goku's body transforming (werewolf-style) into Super Saiyan form - a process that faded quickly, as later SSJ transformations relied on the explosion of golden aura and golden hair color to convey the power of the change. However, Dragon Ball Super: Broly director Tatsuya Nagamine has already said that one retcon he wants to make with the film is indeed getting back to showcasing the actual physical process of Saiyan transformation. As translated from a recent interview:

"Nagamine felt the image of what a DB anime was like had gotten too fixed; he wants to refresh how Super Saiyan transformations/Kamehamehas/etc are depicted, using the latest animation methods."

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In case some fans are still unclear: Nagamine's intention is to totally make Akira Toriyama's "tingly back" theory for SSJ transformation an official part of the process again. Just one of the many tweaks to Dragon Ball lore that's going to make Dragon Ball Super: Broly one of the franchise's more controversial releases.

Dragon Ball Super: Broly will hit Japanese theaters in December, and is expected to arrive in the U.S. around mid-January 2019. Dragon Ball Super is currently airing its English dub on Adult Swim during the Toonami programming block Saturday evenings at 9:30 p.m. ET. It is also available to stream on Funimation and Amazon Video. The Japanese language release of the series is complete and available to stream on Funimation, VRV and Crunchyroll.