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Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero Release Date, Characters, And Plot - What We Know So Far

"Dragon Ball" has been going through a resurgence in anime fandom. "Dragon Ball Super" brought new fans in, as well as providing a nostalgic fix for those who got hooked on Toonami "DBZ" blocks in the aughts. "Dragon Ball Super" ran from 2015 to 2018, focusing on Goku and his cohorts rebuilding earth after the defeat of Majin Buu. In 2018, the show got a spin-off movie, "Dragon Ball Super: Broly," which, according to Polygon, brought honor and pathos to the formerly laughable character of Broly.

At the 2021 San Diego Comic-Con @ Home "Dragon Ball" special panel, which streamed on YouTube, executive editor of the "DBS" manga Akio Iyoku dropped details on the next "Dragon Ball Super" movie, "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero." The panel was hosted by MC Sascha and included Iyoku, Masako Nozawa, who has voiced Goku since the '80s, and Toei Animation producer Norihiro Hayashida. The panel explained the team's plans for "DBS: Super Hero," previewed the animation, and when it's coming out.

When will Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero premiere?

"Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" is expected to premiere in 2022. The last "Dragon Ball Super" movie, "Dragon Ball Super: Broly," was released in Japan on December 14, 2018; it didn't make it to America until 2019, per Polygon. It is unclear whether "DBS: Super Hero" will have the same delay between Japanese and international releases as "DBS: Broly."

It used to be that there was a wide gap between anime movies' Japanese and international release dates — if they'd get an international release at all. "DBS: Super Hero" is the 21st "Dragon Ball" movie, and many of the previous films never got a theatrical release in America. Some premiered on Cartoon Network's Toonami block and were dubbed in English. Some remain niche objects outside of their native Japan. But anime movies are becoming more of a force in the global box office game. After "Demon Slayer: Mugen Train" broke Japanese box office records, it was released in America and became the biggest U.S. debut of all time for a foreign language film. Expect to see "DBS: Super Hero" sooner rather than later.

Which characters are in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero?

The Comic-Con @ Home panel revealed new character designs for many of the characters you'd expect to see in a "DBS" movie. Piccolo is back, and his look hews more closely to his manga version. "It's the same color as in the manga," said host MC Sascha, "which is why I didn't notice!" The change reflects the deeper involvement of "Dragon Ball" creator Akira Toriyama. We also saw character designs for policeman Krillin, and a kindergarten version of Pan — the daughter of Gohan and Videl. Iyoku said Pan would play "an integral part of the new movie."

The panel also showcased an original set of characters for the "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" movie, two uniformed aliens with numbers on their jackets and retrofuturist laser pistols. Panelists were mum on the characters' names or roles in the film, but Alien No. 2 had a wicked grin. Could this be a villain that the "Super" heroes have to defeat?

What is the plot for Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero?

Plot details are scant for "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero." "I really shouldn't talk too much about the plot yet," series creator Akira Toriyama said in a written statement, via CBR. "[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!"

The team wants to focus on the superheroic nature of Goku and his pals. "There's two 'supers' in there, which is great!" Iyoku said at the panel. "We really wanted to emphasize that this movie is all about the superhero vibes. Toriyama is really focusing on the aspects of the superhero this time." Like American superheroes, the "Dragon Ball" fam has gone through multiple timelines, continuities, and media formats since their creation in 1984.

Toei Animation producer Norihiro Hayashida remarked on how different this movie will be from "DBS: Broly" in terms of its tone. "There are a lot more slice-of-life scenes that really put a spotlight on the rich world that Toriyama has created," he said. "Of course, that's not to say the movie doesn't have its share of intense scenes! It's a perfect fusion of classic 'Dragon Ball' and new aspects to the series."