Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is the second film to be released with the Dragon Ball Super branding, and it is the 21st Dragon Ball feature film overall.

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero
English Publisher: Crunchyroll
Format: Blu-ray/DVD Combo
Release Date: March 14, 2023

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is a film that focuses on Piccolo and Gohan rather than on Goku. This film also has the distinction of being the first Dragon Ball project to be produced mainly using 3D animation. This different style threw me off right at first, but I became so engrossed in the story that I adjusted to this new animation style.

In this film, Magenta, the son of Commander Red of the Red Ribbon Army, is trying to revive the organization in order to exact his revenge on Goku for defeating his father years earlier. He recruits Dr. Hedo, the grandson of Dr. Gero, to aid him in his plans. Hedo is a fan of superheroes and really has no desire to get revenge for his grandfather, so Magenta uses his love of superheroes to convince him that Bulma’s Capsule Corporation is an evil organization bent on world domination.

Piccolo, who has been training three-year-old Pan, has some words for Gohan after he’s asked to pick up Pan from preschool because Gohan is too busy with his research to pick her up himself. The two storylines come together when one of Hedo’s new androids, Gamma 2, attacks Piccolo out of nowhere. Seeing the Red Ribbon Army logo on Gamma 2’s outfit, Piccolo covertly follows him and learns about Magenta’s plan, the creation of Cell Max (a new version of Cell), and a plot to kidnap Pan in order to draw Gohan out. Piccolo manages to be assigned as part of the mission to kidnap Pan.

Gohan doesn’t take Pan being kidnapped lightly, so he takes on Gamma 1 and Gamma 2 with Piccolo’s help. Most of the other Z Fighters appear on the scene (minus Goku and Vegeta, who are training at Beerus’ place and can’t be reached, and Yamcha is missing with no explanation). Both Gohan and Piccolo get new power ups in this film, but they need help from everyone to take on Cell Max, who serves as the “final boss.” After Hedo and the Gammas realize they’ve been tricked by Magenta, they get some redemption in this film. While we do get some scenes of Goku and Vegeta, they ultimately aren’t terribly important for the story being told in the film. The main reason these scenes exist to show why Bulma is unable to reach them when Piccolo discovers what’s going on.

One of my favorite things about Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero are the throwbacks and “easter eggs” that appear throughout it. The one that really grabbed my eye and made me chuckle a little was seeing Magenta’s footage of Vegeta… it was taken at the time Vegeta was wearing the infamous pink shirt. There were other things I noticed, but this was the one that amused me the most.

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero has a great mix of action and humor, and I appreciated that the story didn’t rely on Goku to save the day. That’s become such an integral part of the Dragon Ball formula, so I appreciated seeing Toriyama shaking things up in that regard with the screenplay for this film. After seeing the films that Toriyama directly had a hand in writing, I think that they’re the strongest films in the Dragon Ball franchise.

When it comes to the Blu-ray included in this release, it has 1080p High Definition 16:9 (HD Native) video. For audio, it includes Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD: Japanese 5.1. For the DVD, it has English 5.1 Surround and Japanese 5.1 Surround for the audio. I watched the Blu-ray in this set, and I had no complaints with either the video or the audio quality.

There are only two bonus features included on the Blu-ray Disc, and there are absolutely no bonus features on the DVD. The first bonus feature is trailers for the film that are in Japanese with English subtitles, and the other is promo videos for the film that are also in Japanese with English subtitles. Crunchyroll didn’t seem to go to any real effort for the bonus features of this release. At least when FUNimation Entertainment released Dragon Ball Super: Broly on home video, they went to a lot of effort to produce bonus features with the English voice actors.

Even with the lack of bonus features, this Blu-ray/DVD combo release of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is still a “must get” for Dragon Ball fans who want to include this film in their anime home video library.

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