Even as Dragon Ball Super: Broly is in theaters and setting new records for the franchise, the Dragon Ball fandom has still been highly critical of the series is treating Gohan.
Today brings a piece of Dragon Ball Z fan artwork that's based on some real design concepts from Akira Toriyama himself. It once again invokes the debate over what could've been, when it comes to Gohan's role in the Dragon Ball saga:
As you can see above, this design imagined Gohan as more of a late '80s/early '90s pretty boy, with much better fashion sense. According to the artist, this isn't just some kind of fan-fiction wishful thinking, but rather a design first imagined by Toriyama himself:
Here is the design. I couldn't understand his jacket very well.— 🐖happy new year!🐖 (@allofmywhy) January 20, 2019
I want to see more drawings of him 🤗 pic.twitter.com/pdiRkIO0Do
This concept is much different than the bookwork scholar version of Gohan that we actually got in Dragon Ball Z, and on into Dragon Ball Super. The path of Gohan's character arc following the Cell Saga remains one of more controversial decisions that Toriyama has ever made, as evidenced by the fact that fans are still debating it to this day.
It's not just the fans: Dragon Ball Super English Dub star Chris Sabat recently re-ignited the Gohan debate, thanks to his assessment of how weak the character has become in DBS. Gohan is one of few franchise regulars that doesn't make an appearance in Dragon Ball Super: Broly, which is yet another slight that Gohan die-hards cannot seem to abide.
Who knows? Maybe this more confident and outgoing Gohan Toriyama once imagined woudl've been a bigger badass in the series by now. At least we know that his choice in fashion would explain where his future protege, Future Trunks, got his look! Both the "Android Saga" of Dragon Ball Z and "Future Trunks Saga" of Dragon Ball Super reveal that Gohan became a fierce warrior and mentor to Trunks, when Goku and Vegeta fell. Apparently, Toriyama once had tighter connective tissue between the two characters - maybe those plans could be revisited in a future storyline.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly is out now. Dragon Ball Super currently airs its English dub on Adult Swim during the Toonami block Saturday evenings at 9:30 p.m. It is also available to stream on Funimation and Amazon Video. The Japanese language release is available to stream on FunimationNOW, VRV, and Crunchyroll.