Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball franchise has a longstanding tradition and is considered to be one of the best anime and manga franchises ever. The recently-released Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero movie is the latest addition to the series and is special in many way. Super Hero is the twenty first Dragon Ball feature film overall, the fourth produced with Toriyama’s direct involvement, the second to carry the Dragon Ball Super branding and the first to be produced mainly using 3D animation. In this article, we are going to tell you whether this excellent movie is canon or not.
As the creators of the movie explained and revealed during this NYCC panel, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero will be taking place directly after the events of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, which was a canon movie in its own right. This means that Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is also canon and that the events of the movie can be considered as being official.
The rest of this article is going to bring you all the known and unknown information related to the canon status of the Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero movie, the 21st Dragon Ball anime film. You’re going to find out about the canon status of the movie’s plot, how it connects to the main narrative community, but also some additional details about this great anime film.
Is Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero canon?
The whole idea of this article is to decipher and tell you whether the movie is canon or not. Namely, we know that most Dragon Ball movies are not canon, but the previous movie – Dragon Ball Super: Broly – broke with that tradition and became a canon work. Now, from what we know about Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, as has been confirmed by the creators during NYCC, the movie is set right after Broly and is thus – canon.
Usually, a plot analysis is necessary in such articles, but in this case, we had our work cut out for us, which is quite great. The involvement of Akira Toriyama also pointed to the movie being canon, as we could deduce from his message:
“An all new movie since “Dragon Ball Super: Broly” is currently in the making! Just like the previous movie, I’m heavily leading the story and dialogue production for another amazing film. I really shouldn’t talk too much about the plot yet, but be prepared for some extreme and entertaining bouts, which may feature an unexpected character. We’ll be charting through some unexplored territory in terms of the visual aesthetics to give the audience an amazing ride, so I hope everybody will look forward to the new movie!”– Akira Toriyama
All of these elements pointed to Super Hero being canon even before the fact was officially confirmed. This is why the NYCC confirmation didn’t really surprise us, as we had anticipated such a thing from the very beginning, when the first authentic production information surfaced online.
How does Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero tie into the plot?
Well, while we do have confirmation that the movie itself is canon, it wasn’t always easy determining the movie’s exact position in the timeline. In order to do that, we had to combine the out-of-universe information with have with the in-universe information we could see in the movie itself. So, where does the movie fit in in terms of chronology?
As for the out-of-universe element that helped us determine the chronology, we had to rely on Dragon Ball Super: Broly, a highly-popular canon anime film. Since we knew that Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero was going to take place just after Broly, we had anticipated that it would function as a direct sequel set in the same period of time, i.e., without a timeskip. This takes care of the out-of-universe explanations.
And the in-universe explanation? There is none, at least not as precise as we would’ve wanted it. In the movie, Pan is three years old, which means that it takes place around more than a year before the Peaceful World Saga, where she is four. The film takes place at some point after the Galactic Patrol Prisoner Saga, and presumably by extension the Granolah the Survivor Saga.
What happens in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero?
While on Beerus’ planet, Goku and Vegeta continue training and improving their skills under Whis, now assisted by Broly to help control his anger. Meanwhile, on Earth, the resurrected Red Ribbon Army, led by Magenta and Carmine, recruits Dr. Hedo, Dr. Gero’s grandson, to exact revenge on Piccolo and Gohan.
Under Hedo’s tutelage, the Red Ribbon Army creates two new androids, Gamma 1 and Gamma 2, to appear in public as superheroes. The Red Ribbon Army uses Gamma 2 to attack Piccolo, who loses the fight and is seemingly killed, but he tracks Gamma 2 to the Red Ribbon Army’s base. There, Piccolo discovers that Magenta and Hedo are working on a new android called Cell Max, a new model of their old enemy Cell.
To get Gohan to fight her, Magenta decides to kidnap his daughter Pan. After learning that she has been kidnapped, Gohan drops out of college and confronts the base with Piccolo, who used the Dragon Balls to achieve a new form called “Orange Piccolo.” Gohan unleashes his potentially raging form, battling and overpowering Gamma 1, while Piccolo battles Gamma 2 with his orange form.
After their second fight, Piccolo overpowers Gamma 2, who then stops the fight between Gohan and Gamma 1. After a turnaround, Gamma 1 and Gamma 2 help Gohan and Piccolo save Pan. Hedo attempts to assassinate Magenta, but before he dies, Magenta activates Cell Max and releases him as a giant Kaiju-type monster.
Gohan, Piccolo, Gamma 1 & 2 now with Goten (who managed to crack Cell Max’s skull), Trunks, Android 18, and Krillin battle Cell Max. Gamma 2 sacrifices himself to injure Cell Max and destroys his left forearm. Piccolo battles Cell Max until he is seemingly killed in his giant form, causing Gohan to transform into a new, angry form, further increasing his power.
With his new form, Gohan destroys Cell’s brain with the special beam cannon while Piccolo restrains him. After the fight, Gamma 1 and Dr. Hedo join Capsule Corp. In a post-credits scene, Vegeta wins against Goku on Beerus’ planet.