Dragon Ball Super has finally connected the anime and manga timelines. For years now, Dragon Ball Super has been very unsure how the events of the anime series, manga and two feature films (Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero) all fit into canon. Well, now that Dragon Ball Super manga has finally ended its hiatus and started a new story arc, it has been made clear that all the recent events in the Dragon Ball manga and movies are all part of the same universe!
WARNING: Mild SPOILERS Stay tuned!
In the first chapter of Dragon Ball Super’s new “Super Hero” arc, we get the new status quo for the series, which helps us orient ourselves in space and time.
How Dragon Ball Super’s new arc connects the movies and the manga
The first thing Dragon Ball Super’s new Super Hero Arc establishes is that the story is set after the events of the previous manga arc, “Granolah The Survivor,” which ended with the massive reveal of a new threat to the galaxy: Black Freeza. This new Super Hero arc begins by telling us that Goku and Vegeta are hanging out on Lord Beerus’s Planet, training to fight Black Freeza.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, it’s been made equally clear that this new “Super Hero” story arc takes place after the events of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero film, as many of the characters from that film appear in the manga story, and are clearly living in the new status quo the film set for them. That includes Dr. Hedo, who works for Capsule Corp but is revealed to still be up to some shady schemes, using corpses as fodder for his robot experiments. Goten and Gohan (the main focus of the new story arc, so far) are also clearly still in their teenage forms from the Super Hero movie, making this story a direct continuation of where the movie started.
Why Dragon Ball Super’s Continuity Matters
The Dragon Ball franchise has a long tradition of having both clear canonical storylines, as well as non-canonical story arcs and/or movies. That approach was fine Dragon Ball Z era, which Dragon Ball’s its popularity was much more niche, and the concept of large franchise universes didn’t really exist. Needless to say, everything has changed in the last decade: Dragon Ball has become a worldwide phenomenon, and the series has attempted to clean up its continuity as a result.
The problem is that Dragon Ball’s popularity was never regulated: certain characters and/or elements of non-canon stories and/or films became more famous and iconic than canonized stories. A clear example is Broly – a character introduced in a non-canon Dragon Ball Z film, which grew to become so iconic that franchises couldn’t ignore him and brought him back for several more films, eventually adapting him into canon with a rebooted origin story in Dragon Ball Super: Broly.
It is clear that Toei, Akira Toriyama, Toyotaro and all Dragon Ball the team is now committed to stitching the franchise together into one shared continuity – the question is, will fans find the Marvel approach more satisfying?
Dragon Ball Super’s new manga arc is free to read online.