DRAGON BALL SUPER - SERIES REVIEW Alright ladz, the show wrapped up and I'm done waiting to write a review. Before I begin, though, I want to give y'all some personal background when it comes to my whole interest in the franchise. Perhaps suprisingly, Super has been my first real entry into the Dragon Ball universe. As a kid I missed all the hype around the original Dragon Ball show and instead watched things like Pokemon, Digimon and Yu-Gi-Oh! I don't believe I even saw Dragon Ball being broadcasted that much on my local networks. Then as I got older and hit my teens, I was introduced to more modern things like Naruto and so Z, which has long since stopped being that big, was merely an old shounen show which some older anime fans wanked and used to hype it's "planet busting" characters to make lower scale shows like Naruto and Bleach seem lame. As such, I had no interest in the franchise as it has been dead at that point and the little fandom I saw from it was cancerous. It was quite interesting to see the return to life in the Battle of Gods movie (and even the Kai remaster before that) though it wasn't until a full-blown series Dragon Ball Super was announced that I took interest in the franchise. And so I gave it a go. And I actually liked it. At the time I was big on (semi)serious shounens so the comedic and laid back attitude of Super (which ironically was what a lot of Z fans didn't like about the series) sat well with me. So I started watching it regularly (with certain periods of cooling off and then warming up to the show again) up to the day of writing this review. Aside from being just a personal confession, the point of these last two paragraphs was to show that I will NOT be judging this series based on some nostalgia from Z and preconceived notions of what it should be. The series is doing it's own thing and will judged on it's own merits. In this review I will talk about each of it's 5 arcs, give them a score and then the final score will be a median of those. It's about time I started. Beerus Arc If there was one thing this series started to it was controversy. "Why are they recapping the movies?" was the thing many fans had a problem with. As someone who had not actually seen the Battle of Gods movie, I wasn't one of these people. Further more, Battle of Gods was an entry to the (now obsolete) Z part of Dragon Ball, not Super. Not to mention, the movie wasn't televised so it made sense to have them officially (re)introduce major characters such as Beerus and Whis. (Also the arc wasn't a recap so much as it was re-imagining as a lot of things were added and fleshed out as well as changed with only the basic plot-outline remaining.) I'm glad they did this. Not only was this a great entry arc for me but it actually broke all new grounds in a franchise that had seemingly run it's course. The addition of gods and angels was a great way to shake up the power dynamic which seemed to be all too much in favor of our heroes so simply another alien threat wouldn't feel plausible. Speaking of that threat, Beerus was a great antagonist for this arc. He had a stark contrast from the franchise' previous villains who were all macho monsters. Beerus was a power house but he had a personality. A quirky, playful and at times even noble personality which was interestingly combined with his fearsome side. Him and Whis really were made to look like they came from a different world with a completely different mentality that is fitting to a higher being rather than being held down by a human-like ambition for conquest etc. The arc was a breath of fresh air for the franchise and set the tone for the more comedic and laid-back show than the series' predecessor for better or worse. Another thing worth mentioning is that Beerus was actually not defeated. Toei did a great job with the sleep thing and really feleshed out Beerus as not just a bad guy but a geniune addition to the franchise that was here to stay. He still, as the series ended, remains one of my favourite characters. The arc of course wasn't perfect. While Super had a fairly high production quality in it's first couple of episodes, the infamous episode 5 is an example of how inconsistent the visual side of things was (though this tends to plague the series as a whole though I think it was still fairly well handled at this point. The only real problem I would have with this arc is the uneven pacing and the dragged out final battle between Goku and Beerus. (Then again this is Dragon Ball.) Pros: interesting characters, expanding the lore, fresh tone Cons: inconsistent animation quality, uneven pacing Score: 4/5 Golden Frieza Arc Here we get to the part where I slightly fell off from the series. The Super adaptation of the Ressurection of F movie is one of the most hated parts of the show and is considered to be the worst part of it. I would actually agree with that. This is by far the worst arc in the entire series. The problem with it is that the movie it adapted was pretty bad itself. The whole story feels way too linear and simplistic and the whole Frieza return seemed like a cheap marketing move to cash in on the nostalgic fans that may not have been hooked by the more comedic outing that came before this film. The most famous Dragon Ball villain gets ressurected out of nowhere, he trains a bit, comes back to earth and is defeated will little effort even after having attained a brand new form by our heroes who also attained a brand new form (which got a lot of hate for being "just a recolor" but I personally don't mind since even in Z the visual difference between SSJ1 and SSJ2 was minimal). Worst of all, Vegeta was robbed his chance of revenge (partly atleast since he did beat Frieza to a pulp) since the show literally pulled a Deus ex Machina just to give Goku the win. Also, the art and animation quality for the (already underwhelming) final fight were the worst that ever came out of the series. Everything from the storyboard to animation to soundtrack to art was just bad. We could talk about this arc's flaws the whole day so let's instead talk about the bits that I liked. Mainly, Vegeta and Goku training together with Whis on Beerus' planet. Seeing those characters interact and enjoying their collectively goofy antics amounted to one of the most entertaining and memorable moments for me personally out of this series. If I had to put it in such a way, I'd say I like 1/3 of the arc. The rest can go in the trash. (Seriously though, how do you make such an iconic villain feel boring and pathetic.) Pros: good comedy, action for old Z fighters Cons: uninteresting premise, anti-climactic ending, terrible visuals for the final fight, boring Frieza Score: 1/5Universe 6 Arc If the previous arc made me lose interest in the series, this was the arc that made me regain it. It had more comedic training with Vegeta and Goku which was my favourite part of the previous arc but it also had more brand new characters and who else but a relative of my fav Beerus - Champa. Here we first learned that Dragon Ball takes place in a multiverse and that there are so many more things that we haven't seen before. This added even more story-telling potential for the franchise and quickly washed off the bad taste in my mouth left by the previous arc. Champa-Beerus relationship was hilarious, Vados was an interesting counterpart to Whis and the whole arc gave us something we still haven't seen in this series but was iconic in both the original and Z - a tournament. With pretty serious stakes even! (Altough masked as a comedic food war between Beerus and Champa.) Here we also got the Super Dragon Balls which I wasn't really that excited about but since we already had different kind of dragon balls before I guess it wouldn't hurt to have another one. The most important part of this arc were definitely the rival characters introduced as the Universe 6 team. While Botamo and that metal head whose name I couldn't even remember were lame and uninteresting, Hit and Frost were great additions to the series and Cabba was good not only because he showed us a new sensei-side of Vegeta but also because he told us that there were other Saiyans out there. This was a pretty big deal. Anyway, the arc had very interesting and intense fights and what I especially liked about it was that it played well on the whole role of gods and how the characters we previously thought of as unstoppable (hint at the cancerous "Goku beats all" fanboys) were literally just playthings to the real top dogs (or cats). This theme was very well portrayed throughout the arc and brilliantly turned on its head as an even bigger figure was introduced in the form of a comically small Zeno. Ofcourse, the arc had some issues as well. Piccolo was fodderized and Buu didn't do anything. It seemed more and more that this series was just going to be a Goku (and to a degree Vegeta) show. Over all, I think this was one of the better arcs in the series. Pros: good visuals all around, more expanding of the lore, new interesting characters, great fights Cons: side-characters were mistreated Score: 4/5Goku Black Arc Here we come to the only arc in the show that (in my opinion) could match the Frieza arc in controversy. It started out great. We got Future Trunks, a new frightening villain (who was actually our MC!), a dark and serious tone, tons of mystery and great fights. This was everything the fans were hoping for so what in the world could go wrong? I'll be brief: the finale. The finale simply killed this arc. I loved everything in it, from Zamasu's goal, to Goku Black's attitude to cool mystery that was Black's identity but the final battle was dragged out so much with constant back and forth from the future to the present and this may well have been the first time in the series that we were shown in such an obvious manner that power scaling has gone to hell. Trunks can't match Black, oh look now he can stall him. Vegeta can't match Black, oh look now he is kicking his ass. Oh look Black is beating him up again. For such a strong premise and such a great character set up the final fight's unnatural pacing and a lack of being able to tell who's stronger than who really prevented me from getting all in to the fight. Things got a lot better when we got Vegito back but for some ridiculous reason they decided to shove him aside (and I don't even mind the retcon btw) in order to have Trunks take the win. I'd be fine with that too had they not given him a completely illogical power up which Deus ex Machinad the way to victory. Even still, Zeno had to be called to clean up the mess by literally destroying the entire universe, killing everyone in it, therefore accomplishing Black's goal and making all that the heroes tried to do meaningless. Honestly, this was when I cooled off from the series and just decided to take a break from it. The second part of the arc took away everything great the first part gave to the show and left a bunch of trash instead. Pros: great villains, tonal change kept things fresh, good production quality over all Cons: far too many weird decisions that dragged the great start into a terrible conclusion Score: 2/5Tournament of Power Arc What turned out to be Super's final arc was also it's longest arc. It packed the greatest stakes so far, the most characters in a Dragon Ball tournament ever and it put even the fearsome gods at the mercy of the now two Zenos as they had to depend on the mortals of their respective universes to survive which echoed nicely Goku's words to Hit two arcs prior. Given the series' inconsistent output so far, what was to be expected from this arc? It could have been great, it could have been another disaster. What did it turn out to be? Well, neither. The arc lasted far too long for it's own good, pushed in way too many underdeveloped characters that nobody cared about and failed to meet the expectations for the more hyped characters such as the female Saiyans. Kale and Caluflia ended up being huge disappointments who, instead of adding actual girl power to the Saiyan race, provided us with even more power scaling shennanigans while they themselves were just boring and their power ups an insult to the SSJ lore. On the other side of the spectrum, it brought back Frieza (again) but this time it did it right by fleshing him out and never leaving us with a dull moment with him on the screen with the episode in which Goku goes to get him being one of the series's more memorable, big climax battles aside. Not all older characters were as fortunate though, as Picollo and Gohan were once again treated poorly (even though they did better than in the previous arcs) and the fact that a lot less prominent character such as Android 17 played a bigger role than these two simply baffles me. The entire old crew being there (while a lovely sight) felt rather forced as it was hard for me to believe that Tien, Roshi and Krillin had much of a role to play (and they didn't aside from beating fodders) other than filling a slot in the Universe 6 roster. On the antagonist side, we had Jiren who was meant to be this new foe that was so strong that all of the previous opponents Goku had to face paled in comparison. What should have been an epic enemy turned out to be a laughably bad plot mechanism that was simply there as an obstacle to our heroes, being overpowered when it was needed to push Goku to attain a new form and suffering from plot-induced stupidity when it was convenient so the minor characters could stand a chance. His design is lame and everything but imposing, his attacks were literally just punches and his personality boiled down to a constant poker face. Having described him like that, you could literally put Saitama in his place and have the same result. He was literally just One Punch Man for the most part. (Minus the awesome humor of the latter.) This all became a lot better in the last couple of episodes in which this arc really shined. Goku's new form was by far the best part of this arc and it did wonders to break the stale fight coreography. When Goku went Ultra Instinct, you'd know things were going to get awesome. There was never a boring moment with it in the play. This helped make the last couple of episodes which were by far the best both direction and animation wise. The final fight was nothing short of spectacular and it really did give the series a great send-off even if everything up to that point left much to be desired. Pros: Ultra Instinct, Vegeta and Frieza had a lot of character developement, epic conclusion Cons: too long, Jiren was terrible, a lot of boring characters, power scaling issues Score: 3/5CONCLUSION So after all this what can be said of Dragon Ball Super. It was neither great nor terrible. It was somewhere in between. I think this is the most fair way to describe it. A bag filled with both good and bad with the end result being a mixture of both. It is a show that you didn't have to be a long-time Dragon Ball fan to enjoy (I'm a living proof of that as I have enjoyed the show despite all it's flaws), it did a good job expanding the lore and it added a lot of fresh stuff both character and combat-wise. Still, it suffered from a lot of unused potential, inconsistencies and at some times bad production and sometimes bad writing. It's flaws are plenty, but it started and ended on a good note hoping that you'd forget all of the bad stuff that happened in between. It succeeded with some but not with others. Final Score: 3/5 Those would be my thoughts on Dragon Ball Super. If anyone actually bothered to read this gigantic post I am grateful for your time and patience and if none of you did, well I can't blame you. Anyway, I'm interested in hearing what you guys think so please share your thoughts. Let's send the series off with a collective discussion.