A quick guide to refresh your Dragon Ball memory before seeing the latest film
Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO is on its way to theaters, so it’s time to brush up on your Dragon Ball history! Maybe you don’t have time for a full rewatch of all the anime and need a cheat sheet for the catch-up before seeing the massive, long-running franchise’s latest entry — don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know before seeing Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO.
Last Time On Dragon Ball
The first thing to know before seeing SUPER HERO is where the Dragon Ball franchise left off. The last entry, outside of the manga, was Dragon Ball Super: Broly, the first film under the Dragon Ball Super moniker. The film rebooted the non-canon Broly into a now-canon place in the franchise, depicting the ultra-powerful Saiyan being banished from planet Vegeta and eventually being recruited by Frieza to exact revenge on Goku and Vegeta. Though you don’t need to know everything that happened in Broly, you should know that the titular Saiyan was left alive on a remote planet after his fight with Gogeta and will make an appearance in SUPER HERO.
Prior to the events of Broly, there are some things to keep in mind from Dragon Ball Super for the events of SUPER HERO. In Super, we saw Gohan and Videl have their daughter, Pan, we saw Gohan regain his former strength, and saw the bond between Piccolo and Gohan’s family grow stronger.
Also worth knowing is that SUPER HERO takes place in between the end of Broly and the Peaceful World Saga of Dragon Ball Z, which sees Goku and friends many years later. As such, Gohan is older, Pan is older, and Goten and Trunks are now teenagers.
Past and Future
Going back further into the Dragon Ball timeline, you’ll want to know about the history of the Red Ribbon Army before seeing SUPER HERO. Originally formed to gather the Dragon Balls to grant their leader, Commander Red’s wish, the Red Ribbon Army was defeated by Goku, who brought down dozens of soldiers and several Androids created by the Army. However, this defeat wasn’t permanent, since Dr. Gero, a scientist for the Red Ribbon Army, plotted revenge, creating Androids and turning himself into an Android to one day destroy Goku. He also went so far as to create a bio-android known as Cell, who was created from the cells of the greatest warriors on earth, plus Frieza! Of course, Goku and Gohan eventually managed to defeat these powerful monsters of a mad scientist.
Speaking of Gohan, Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO centers around the relationship between him and his first teacher, Piccolo. Before seeing the film, it’s best not to forget the bond these two share, which began when Piccolo took Gohan to the wilderness to train him for the arrival of the Saiyans. Though it was begrudging at first, the two eventually grew close, Piccolo later sacrificing himself for his student. This bond only got stronger throughout the years, extending to Gohan’s daughter, Pan, who serves a big role in SUPER HERO as well. Gohan’s respect for Piccolo as his first teacher runs deep, leading him to don similar clothes to his master in the Cell Saga and again in SUPER HERO.
From the characters’ earliest appearances as a young child, it was clear that Gohan, a human/Saiyan hybrid, was brimming with warrior potential: He was able to stun Raditz with his rage, quickly learned to survive on his own in the wilderness, fought alongside Krillin on Namek, was the first to go Super Saiyan 2 and his ultimate form proved his power was equal if not greater to that of Majin Buu.
Gohan’s potential has been a central theme in the Dragon Ball franchise and SUPER HERO seems to bring this thread to new places. Though he lost his fighting prowess in early Dragon Ball Super, he eventually got it back in time for the Tournament of Power, appearing to be keeping up with training leading into Super. Simply put, Gohan’s potential has always been great and Dragon Ball keeps finding new ways to explore it.
As long as you peruse through this handy guide, you'll have everything needed to be informed for what's to come in the latest entry in the Dragon Ball franchise, and if you want a more in-depth guide, check out which episodes you need to watch before seeing SUPER HERO in theaters!
Don't forget to score your tickets right now for Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO, and make sure you’re prepared to power up when the film hits theaters in the U.S. and Canada on August 19.
Sean Aitchison is a writer and researcher from LA who watches too much anime and knows too much about Sonic the Hedgehog. Follow him on twitter @Sean8UrSon for his work and listen to his podcast, Sonic Podcast Adventure (@SonicPod).