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3 Dragon Ball Movies You Can Skip & 2 That Are Unmissable

Few franchises have the staying power to produce new material for nearly 40 years consistently. Undoubtedly, that's part of what makes "Dragon Ball" such a pop culture staple, especially as far as anime and manga fans are concerned. The manga released its first issue in November 1984, a factor that makes the franchise older than many of the members of its fanbase.

Of course, when a franchise is as popular as this one, you can also count on plenty of merchandising and the creation of superfluous stories to keep fans engaged. That's why most of the 21 movies in the "Dragon Ball" series, as well as the three live-action entries, are considered to be non-canon. However, for fans who are trying to decide which ones they want to watch, we've got a handy place for you to start.

With that in mind, we've got a handy list of two "Dragon Ball" movies that you absolutely want to be sure to watch so that you can be up to date for the current run of "Dragon Ball Super." Plus, here are three that you can easily skip, even if you're a franchise completionist.

Skip Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!

The lowest-rated film on IMDb's list of "Dragon Ball" movies is "Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!" (a.k.a "Hey! Son Goku and Friends Return!!"). The 2008 film comes from the "Z" iteration of the franchise and takes place after the defeat of Majin Buu (Kozo Shioya/Scott McNeil) at the tail end of that series.

There are two likely reasons why fans think you can skip this one. The first is that coming in at a meager 35 minutes, there really isn't much to "Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!" Furthermore, despite a battle that centers on Goten (Masako Nozawa/Kara Edwards) and Trunks (Takeshi Kusao/Laura Bailey) battling some dangerous aliens from Frieza's (Ryusei Nakao/Linda Young) army, the plot of the movie is basically the same at the end as it was at the start. 

Lastly, considering its non-canon status and the fact that it introduces yet another secret Saiyan who survived the obliteration of their home planet, this one is best thought of as a curiosity due to its lack of importance to any of the franchise's key characters.

Watch Dragon Ball Super: Broly

Despite appearing in four movies in the "Dragon Ball" franchise, Broly (Bin Shamada/Vic Mignogna) was a non-canon character until he was re-introduced in "Dragon Ball Super: Broly." That's the key reason why fans would be remiss to skip this one. The film not only brings the character back into creator Akira Toriyama's official continuity, but also has larger ramifications for the overall mythos of the franchise.

The story of "Dragon Ball Super: Broly" follows the return of the titular Saiyan to exact vengeance on Vegeta (Ryo Horikawa/Christopher Sabat) and Goku (Nozawa/Sean Schemmel) for the actions of Vegeta's father, which saw him exiled to a far-away alien planet.

Highly regarded by both fans and critics alike, the Rotten Tomatoes consensus reads: "'Dragon Ball Super: Broly' may seem like colorful chaos to newcomers, but for longtime fans, it represents this long-running franchise near its action-packed apogee." Whether you're here for the series' signature epic battles or you just want to catch all of the important plot developments, this powered-up addition to the franchise is not one you will want to miss.

Skip Dragon Ball: Sleeping Princess in Devil Castle

Though the franchise properly began with the original "Dragon Ball" series that follows a young Goku through his various travels, many fans missed it entirely, starting instead with the sequel "Z" series. That's one of the main reasons why viewers may want to give "Sleeping Princess in Devil Castle" (a.k.a. "Sleeping Beauty in Devil's Castle") a pass. Still, there's more to it than just that.

The movie is also the second-lowest rated on IMDb of all of the animated films in the "Dragon Ball" franchise. "Sleeping Princess in Devil Castle" follows Goku and Krillin (Mayumi Tanaka/Sonny Strait) as they undertake a quest from Roshi (Kohei Miyauchi/Mike McFarland) to rescue a beautiful woman from an ancient evil in hopes of becoming the master's new proteges.

Being that "Dragon Ball: "Sleeping Princess in Devil Castle" is an unnecessary, non-canon movie that is also from the earlier, less exciting, and more light-hearted era of the franchise, fans can safely give this one a pass unless they really want to see every last bit of the animated series.

Watch Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero

Once again, the main reason that you'll want to watch "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" is that it's considered canon for the ongoing events of the current series. Still, with that aside, there's plenty for fans to dig into and enjoy with this one. For one thing, the animation is crisper than any other animated movie in the franchise, and the film puts the spotlight on Gohan (Nozawa/Stephanie Nadolny) and Piccolo (Toshio Furukawa/Sabat), both of whom achieve new forms in the film.

As for the plot, it follows a battle with the revived Red Ribbon Army, while also seeing Piccolo training Gohan's daughter, Pan (Yuko Minaguchi/Jeannie Tirado), and Goku, Vegeta, and Broly training together under Whis (Masakazu Morita/Ian Sinclair). "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" also sees the return of Cell (Norio Wakamoto/Dameon Clarke) in a new form called Cell Max, as well as some truly excellent, high-adrenaline battle sequences.

Finally, scoring impressively high marks on Rotten Tomatoes from both fans and critics, "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" is an absolute must-see for those who want to stay up to date on the events of the main series. With that in mind, "Resurrection of F" and "Battle of the Gods" from the "Z" branch of the franchise are also newer entries that are considered series canon.

Skip Dragon Ball: The Curse of the Blood Rubies

If you're looking for one more that you can easily cut out of your marathon "Dragon Ball" watch sessions, look no further than "Curse of the Blood Rubies." This is by far the most superfluous of the movies, as it basically just retells the first arc from the manga, with a few changes thrown in. With this in mind, not only is "Curse of the Blood Rubies" not canon, it may actually muddy the waters for your recollection of the main continuity.

The movie is also among the lowest-rated by fans in the "Dragon Ball" franchise, offering yet another reason for viewers to give it a pass. However, for those who are going to skip the initial series and just want to get some bearing for how Goku met Bulma (Hiromi Tsuru/Wendee Lee) and some of his other pre-"Z" friends, "Curse of the Blood Rubies" can serve as a quick primer.

Note that this film is also sometimes known as "The Legend of Shenlong," a title that can be confusing, as the name is very close to that of the Earth dragon, Shenron (Kenji Utsumi/Sabat). Either way, though, fans can use this list as a speedy tool to catch up on the events of the series past and present. As for how many years "Dragon Ball" will continue to be a massive pop culture phenomenon, you'll have to collect the titular balls and ask the dragon about that one.