The Dragon Ball phenomenon is back with DRAGON BALL SUPER: SUPER HERO, this time with even more epic action as fan-favorites of the manga franchise, Piccolo and Gohan, take on the vengeful Red Ribbon Army. Ahead of the animated action film opening at AMC Theatres starting August 19, we joined in on an early preview of the film with San Diego Comic-Con’s enthusiastic fans, who were the lucky first to see its footage (outside of its release in Japan). We’re ready for the thrilling martial arts adventure and 21st entry into the Dragon Ball franchise!
On Friday, July 22 at SDCC’s Hall H, the movie’s producer Norihiro Hayashida and Piccolo voice actors Toshio Furukawa and Chris Sabat teased what to expect from the movie at the con. During the panel, we learned a ton more about the forthcoming summer anime release.
It’s All About Piccolo And Gohan
This second Dragon Ball Super movie, following 2019’s DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY, will center on one of the franchise’s most popular characters, Piccolo, once again voiced by the series legendary talents in Furukawa (in Japanese) and Sabat (in English). The movie will explore Piccolo’s bond with Gohan, once again voiced by Masako Nozawa, who made a special virtual appearance at the panel as well. Nozawa called Piccolo and Gohan’s relationship in the movie a major “highlight” of DRAGON BALL SUPER: SUPER HERO.
Furukawa also spoke of getting the chance to reprise the role of Piccolo after playing the role since 1986.
“Once the series was over, I was wondering to myself what’s going to happen to the future of Dragon Ball now?” Furukawa said, translated in Hall H from Japanese. “And that’s when they brought the offer for me to be part of this movie and they mentioned that Piccolo and Gohan were going to be major roles, and be protagonists in this, to which I responded ‘Ooh. I’m going to get a lot of screen time on this movie. This is great!’”
Piccolo fans rejoice! And the voice actor is a bit of a superfan himself, as he proclaimed during the panel. Furukawa, who traveled all the way from Japan to San Diego for the event revealed he has collected in the neighborhood of three-thousand Dragon Ball figures. The voice actor added he’s heard a lot of American collectors could certainly top his own collection, but he confines his many figures to one room in his home.
The Red Ribbon Army Returns
In DRAGON BALL SUPER: SUPER HERO, our heroes will face off against the Red Ribbon Army, who was previously defeated by Goku generations ago. During the first 20 minutes of the movie shown at SDCC, there’s set up for a new mastermind named Dr. Hedo, who is the genius grandson of Dr. Gero and Vomi, making it a bit of a personal affair. With some help, a plan is hatched to build the “greatest android” that was ever created and resurrect the previously fallen Red Ribbon Army.
The film then catches us up with Piccolo, who is training a preschooler named Pan – and also the granddaughter of Earth’s hero Goku – though she is still finding her footing when it comes to controlling her “Ki”. Early in the film, Piccolo has tension with Gohan, Goku’s eldest son and father to Pan, He asks him if he’s been training, warning there’s “no telling when danger might strike again,” but Gohan is unalarmed. That is until Dr. Hedo’s plans take flight soon after.
Dragon Ball For The Big Screen
During the panel, producer Norihiro Hayashida called DRAGON BALL SUPER: SUPER HERO a movie that balances heavy action and battle sequences with slice-of-life components within the narrative. Another balancing act the movie implements is between 3D and traditional animation. Hayashida shared that the filmmakers went for a new animation pipeline never done for a Dragon Ball film before.
“Oftentimes, when you see 3D and anime, they don’t mix too well and it has this weird feel,” Hayashida said. “In order to overcome that we invested a lot into the hand drawn component of it as well. After we did the 3D animation, there was a lot of touch up hand drawn animation being done on top of that, just to smooth it out and make the experience very seamless.”
DRAGON BALL SUPER: SUPER HERO looks to be a Dragon Ball experience meticulously handcrafted for the big screen, between its intense fight scenes, touching bonds between its characters and formidable villains, you won’t want to miss this one. Tickets are on sale now.