'Dragon Ball Super' Illustrator Explains Why It's Hard to Add Tension

A burgeoning complaint about the currently running Dragon Ball Super is how the series tends to highlight cool moments, like Goku's recent transformation into "Ultra Instinct" during his battle with the newly fused Kefla in the "Universal Survival" arc, rather than try and build up to those moments. Without proper build-up, these moments have the potential to seem random.

According to Toyotarō, illustrator on the official Dragon Ball Super manga, the problem may have origins as far back as the Future Trunks arc as Goku, Vegeta, and Trunks struggled against a fused, immortal Zamasu:

Clarifying a statement he made in Volume 4 of the Dragon Ball Super manga, as translated by Todd Blankenship on Twitter, Toyotarō said "Zamasu wasn't that strong" and that he fused Zamasu with Goku Black in order to add necessary tension to the final battle because the Dragon Balls' ability to resurrect characters has removed the tension of death from the series.

This is an interesting statement because with only universe's survival at stake, it's missing the personal draws to each fight. The Earth is in a perpetual state of danger throughout the Dragon Ball series, so it's become little more than window dressing at this point. Paying attention to personal stakes is crucial now more than ever. Threatening something Goku cares about that he wouldn't necessarily be able to recoup with a Dragon Ball wish would make for a livelier show.

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But with opponents like the supremely strong Jiren waiting in the wings, and with less than 20 minutes left in the tournament, I'm sure the stakes are going to go through the roof soon.

Dragon Ball Super airs on Crunchyroll and Funimation NOW Saturdays at 7:15 p.m. CST. The English dub airs on Adult Swim's Toonami block Saturdays at 11:30 p.m.