Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is now out in theaters – the second highly-anticipated feature-film from the Dragon Ball Super franchise. Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is following in the footsteps of its predecessor, Dragon Ball Super: Broly, by taking some fan-favorite classic material from the Dragon Ball Z era, and giving them some updates for the new Dragon Ball Super era. In taking on that challenge, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero does require some previous knowledge of the series to fully understand and appreciate what this pivotal chapter is doing.
Here is what you need to now before watching Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero:
What Is the Red Ribbon Army?
The Red Ribbon Army are the central antagonists of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero – but their roots go all the way down to the beginnings of the Dragon Ball series. The RR is a paramilitary organization that dips into criminality, as well as wild experimentation. Goku battled the RR many times as a young boy, eventually infiltrating the group's headquarters and dismantling its leadership (Commander Red, Commander Black).
The Red Ribbon Army's legacy rolled over into the Dragon Ball Z era years later: Founding member Dr. Gero was the RR's mad scientist, who developed the world's most cutting-edge form of artificial life, in his line of Androids. Those Androids eventually got sophisticated enough in power and tech to threaten all life on Earth; Dr. Gero used his creations (Android 19) to turn himself into an android (No. 20), with only his evil brain surviving. However, Gero's most advanced androids (No. 17 and No. 18) eventually went rogue and killed him in his android form – but not before Gero's ultimate creation was birthed: Cell.
Cell was created from Gero collecting data and samples from Earth's most powerful fighters; Cell hatched in an alternate future where Androids 17 and 18 were already destroyed; Cell came to the main Dragon Ball timeline to absorb No. 17 and 18 (the keys to his perfect form), as well as other powerful Z-Fighters of Earth. Cell was ultimately destroyed by Young Gohan in the epic "Cell Games" battle – which seemed to be the end of the Red Ribbon Army's story in Dragon Ball – until now.
Why Aren't Goku and Vegeta Main Characters?
The marketing and promotion of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero makes it clear that the film is NOT placing Goku and Vegeta at the center of its story – the honor of being in the spotlight belongs to Goku and Piccolo this time!
As Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama explains, Gohan, in particular, has gotten left behind in the Dragon Ball Super era, and that needed correcting:
"Gohan is actually stronger than anyone...or so it's said," Toriyama explained. "But lately he hasn't really gotten a chance to shine... I figured I'd try giving birth to a new superhero, by putting these two in the spotlight through their intense battles with the Gamma androids."
That sentiment has definitely been expressed and felt by Dragon Ball fans, ever since Dragon Ball Super started. Goku and Vegeta have been given multiple new power transformations during the run of DBS – breaking limits to become more ridiculously overpowered compared to just about any other characters from DBZ. Gohan and Piccolo were particularly noticeable as characters that DBZ built WAY up as future main players, only for DBS to largely ignore them.
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero will be the springboard that once again make Gohan and Piccolo able players in the new Dragon Ball Super power hierarchy. That's why Goku and Vegeta aren't really needed. Timeline constraints also make far easier for Super Hero to leave Goku and Vegeta on the sideline so as not to upset continuity.
What Is Gohan's Power Level?
It's important to know that Gohan is, in fact, one of the most powerful characters in all of Dragon Ball. Dragon Ball Z spent a wild amount of time from its first arc (Saiyan Arc) to its last (Majin Buu Arc) teasing us with the idea that Gohan has latent powers buried deep inside of him, just waiting to be tapped. The Cell Games arc culminated with Gohan being the first to reach the Super Saiyan 2 level of transformation – a new power (at the time) that was used to defeat Cell.
Since Cell, Dragon Ball has come back to the well of Gohan's latent powers a few times – his reservoir of power was opened up by the Kais to fight Majin Buu; Gohan also tapped back into his powers after a length hiatus, in order to help his family, friends, and entire universe fight for survival in Dragon Ball Super's Tournament of Power Arc.
However, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is poised to take Gohan's power to a new level – which is, admittedly, one of its biggest selling points.
What is Piccolo's Power Level?
Like Gohan, Piccolo has ben revealed to have a source of deeper power during DBZ and DBS. He fused with another Namekian, Nail, in DBZ, and has unlocked more power inside himself in subsequent DBZ and DBS storylines. By the time of Dragon Ball Super's current Granolah Arc (in the manga), Piccolo and Gohan are both noted to be much stronger than before the Tournament of Power – but still far from the level Goku and Vegeta have reached. Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero will presumably correct that power imbalance for Piccolo as well as Gohan.
How Is Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero Connected to Dragon Ball Z?
Without dropping any spoilers (and they ARE out there), Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero will be picking up direct threads from Dragon Ball Z - most obvious being the connection to the Android and Cell sagas.
Super Hero's main antagonist is Dr. Hedo, who has been revealed to be even more of a genius than his granddad, Dr. Gero. Hedo will create the RR's most advanced android warriors yet (Gamma 1 and Gamma 2), as well as a mysterious "ultimate weapon" creation that has fans hoping a classic DBZ villain android is coming back as well...
So, in many ways, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is a direct sequel of sorts to Dragon Ball Z's Android stories.
When Does Super Hero Take Place In The Dragon Ball Timeline?
Dragon Ball Super's creators have confirmed Super Hero's place in the Dragon Ball timeline: it takes place after Dragon Ball Super: Broly, and occurs concurrently with the current "Granolah the Survivor" arc happening in the manga. That timeline explains where Goku adn Vegeta will be (training and battling off-world), and allows for Super Hero to also bring back some elements of Broly – like the titular character himself.0comments
All of Dragon Ball Super's events still take place before the time-jump forward in the epilogue of Dragon Ball Z.
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is now in theaters.