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Written by Cristian Stanic
From Goku’s brand new character design to intriguing story rumours, there’s a lot to unpack from the latest teaser trailer for 2018’s Dragon Ball Super movie.
Here’s what we know so far, starting with the character designs.
Even without the side by side, the difference in the trailer is obvious. The detail and shading from Tadayoshi Yamamuro’s character designs (right) are gone, replaced with original creator Akira Toriyama’s minimalistic, bubbly design (left). It’s easy on the eyes, and closely resembles Goku’s look in late Dragon Ball and early Dragon Ball Z, particularly in the Saiyan Saga.
Yamamuro has been the lead character designer for the Dragon Ball franchise since the end of the Cell Saga, and while his work in the Buu Saga is phenomenal, his work on the Super series didn’t have the same exaggerated style and attention to detail. This film is definitely a throwback to Maeda’s early work, which is appreciated.
More importantly, these new character designs are incredibly ‘animation-friendly.’ The simplicity lends itself to amazingly detailed fight scenes, and trust us, we can expect some absolutely hectic battles in the new film, especially if the latest preview clip is anything to go by. Even just that short snippet shows some very high-quality animation. Goku’swarm-upp movements feel natural, light and bouncy, his hair sways as he moves, and it all flows so well. And that’s to say nothing of the bit where he flies towards the camera with a great looking punch. So cool!
The character designs are great, but this film also has a Toei Animation dream team working on it. First, and most importantly, series creator Akira Toriyama is involved with the story and character designs. Second, Tatsuya Nagamine has taken the helm as the film’s Director. He hasn’t got a lot under his belt, but what he does have is top quality. His most notable work is Director of One Piece Film: Z, easily one of the best One Piece films. It had some top-tier action, but also had a great narrative and a lot of emotional resonance. Nagamine has also worked on standout, fan favourite episodes of Dragon Ball Super.
Naohiro Shintani is the Animation Director, also notable for doing the Key Animation for One Piece Film: Z, but also quite a few episodes of One Piece, and the Yo! Son Goku And Friends Return! special in 2008. This will be his first go at Animation Director, but the early signs are positive. The final confirmed staff member is Kazuo Ogura as the film’s Art Director, who was also an integral part of One Piece Film: Z.
So far there’s not much to confirm of the story, all we have is the rumours that it’s going to be about the origin of the Saiyans, possibly involving Freiza. From the teaser, it also looks like Goku is going to come up against a brand new foe. The armour suggests they’re definitely Saiyan and right now Bardock and Broly are the two top guesses. From the fur and the yellow eyes, it could also signal the return of Super Saiyan 4! It’s too early to call now, but we are incredibly excited to see where this new film goes. The currently unnamed Dragon Ball Super film is set for release in 2018.
You can catch Dragon Ball’s Stephanie Nadolny, the voice behind Teen Gohan and Kid Goku, at Supanova Comic Con & Gaming Melbourne (21–22 April) and Gold Coast (28-29 April).