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Published by VegettoEX
16 November 2017, 9:53 PM ESTComment

Voice actress Hiromi Tsuru, best known as the voice of Bulma in the Dragon Ball franchise (along with Bra, Tights, and even baby Trunks), has passed away at age 57.

At around 7:30 p.m. on November 16th, Hiromi Tsuru was found unconscious in her car on the Shuto Expressway in Chūō, Tokyo; her seatbelt was fastened and the car’s hazard lights were on; there was no sign of an accident. She was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead; the [Tokyo] Metropolitan Police Department are investigating the cause of death, and say it may have been due to illness.

UPDATE: Tsuru’s agendy, Aoni Production, announced that the cause of death was aortic dissection. A private, family-only funeral will be held.

Tsuru appeared in the Dragon Ball series with its very first episode in 1986. In 2004, for her interview in the Dragon Ball: Tenka’ichi Densetsu guide book, Tsuru stated:

Dragon Ball is a really amazing and interesting work. There are a lot of battles, but if you can sense the message that’s there in them, I’ll be happy. Also, please be partial to Bulma!

Published by VegettoEX
15 November 2017, 2:46 PM ESTComment

FUNimation’s online shop reveals a 20 February 2018 release date for their third part of the Dragon Ball Super television series on DVD and Blu-ray.

After a startling meeting with Beerus’ brother Champa goes sideways, the godly brothers decide to settle their differences in the best way possible: by putting their best fighters to the test. It’s a battle of universes as Universe 7—the home of Goku and the Z Fighters—faces Universe 6 in a brand-new Martial Arts Tournament! And the ultimate prize is one worth fighting for—the Super Dragon Balls from Universe 6. Can Goku gather the best fighters for a chance at true glory? And who is the mysterious Monaka that Beerus boasts as his strongest warrior? Get ready for an out-of-this-world competition!

The bilingual (English/Japanese) two-disc set will span episodes 27 to 39 and is slated to contain 25 minutes of bonus material. The set will retail for $39.98 MSRP on DVD and $44.98 MSRP on Blu-ray.

The Dragon Ball Super television series airs Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. on Fuji TV in Japan. The series now receives weekly simulcast streams on services such as Crunchyroll. FUNimation maintains also announced their American streaming and distribution license for the series, with the English dub beginning earlier this year on Cartoon Network, and the home video release kicking off this summer.

Published by VegettoEX
04 November 2017, 10:55 AM EST1 Comment

Spanish fandom website Misión Tokyo posted a fan Q&A from the Salón del Manga convention in Barcelona this weekend featuring Kimitoshi Chioka (first series director on Dragon Ball Super) and Hiroyuki Sakurada (current producer on Dragon Ball Super). A follow-up private interview was also conducted which supposedly resulted in what could be considered exciting or at least semi-important news. A bit of translation-related confusion may have led to some initial overeager reporting externally, though a few interesting tidbits are at least hinted at if not flat-out dropped entirely.

NOTE: The following analysis and summary is based on the answers in their original Japanese form. While the Spanish translations to and fro have also been reviewed, we are not considering them in what you read below beyond confirmation on the questions being asked.

Interview #1 (Video)

The production team discusses previous ventures and what factors are involved in deciding whether a series continues on; ratings and merchandise sales are important factors in whether sponsors continue to support a show, so as long as these remain healthy, there is no issue with continuing. Dragon Ball Kai is cited as an example where ratings were fine, but merchandise was not selling; after all, the material was limited to the original series, which was already available and had been selling well for decades.

As for Dragon Ball Super specifically, the production team are asked about the relationship between the anime and manga versions of the series; both are based on Toriyama’s story suggestions and the main characters are designed by Toriyama himself, though Toyotarō’s involvement has also recently extended to some supporting characters. They cannot say whether or not Dragon Ball Super will link up with the original ending to the manga/anime, as Toriyama has not yet decided how it is going to end.

A question regarding a rumor about a new theatrical film for 2018 is proposed (and how it may relate to the television series), to which the producers simply remain coy and ask everyone to please look forward to an announcement of some kind.

Dragon Ball GT is cited as an example where Toei Animation continued the series beyond Toriyama’s original vision, and whether or not something like this could happen again. The production team responds without a clear answer, but does note that Toriyama is nowhere near his limits in terms of the larger Dragon Ball story, so please look forward to it and wait patiently.

The current Tournament of Power is discussed, specifically with regard to the sheer number of characters; it is fun, but also difficult to keep track of everyone, but the format gives a new kind of excitement not previously experienced, having Goku fight in the middle of it all. The interviewers ask about certain aspects, such as Gohan’s involvement and Boo’s thin-then-fat-then-out storyline, if characters like Yajirobe could appear again, and later on in the interview if Cell could possibly come back, if Goten and Trunks could become important again, why Yamcha is so comical now, if there will be any more tail-based transformations… to which the production team explains that they are simply following Toriyama’s draft that is delivered to them (a response that pops up several times over in the course of the interview).

The interviewers question whether the team considers an international audience watching the show while it’s primarily aimed at grade-schoolers in Japan; they are mainly focused on their target audience, which is unchanged from when the series originally began. A later question goes into more detail about a possible tonal shift, but the directors do not see it as any more “adult” than before; if anything, it is simply more “Z”-like. Later on, they discuss how they are aware that depending on the country, certain scenes may get cut due to different standards, but they believe it is all right so long as the fun of Dragon Ball remains intact.

The group also discusses whether Toei has the power to have Toriyama change the story, to which they amusingly explain they can ask him little things here and there, but they cannot force him. On a day-to-day basis, a director will give suggestions regarding the scenario and storyboard, check in on the animation that comes in, etc. with lots of team-based collaboration; there are roughly 21 people involved in the direction on an episode-level. From script to completion, an episode takes roughly six months of production (four alone for the animation). As already known, the show is produced digitally using specialized software, though the original drawings and keyframes are still done by hand.

With regard to Trunks’ blue hair, after a bit of confusion over who is and is not Super Saiyan Blue, the team simply answers that Toriyama gave instructions for the colors.

As to whether or not there could be additional crossovers (such as with One Piece), more hour-long specials, or even a spin-off for characters like Jaco, the team responds that anything is possible, but there is nothing concrete to report right now.

Interview #2 (Audio)

In a separate, private interview conducted earlier — which the group subsequently provided an audio recording of — the group dives into a few more specifics, with the production team commenting on the forthcoming Q&A session. They explain that incorporating the theatrical films Battle of Gods and Resurrection ‘F’ into the new television series was Toriyama’s idea, and was part of introducing the characters Beerus and Whis, who the producers deemed essential to the story, to children who may not have already seen the movies. They stated that they cannot say when the series will end, as the Universe Survival arc is only just now heating up. Least and favorite parts of the production are discussed, with the overall stress of such a project being the least favorite. They move to a discussion regarding Toyotarō’s involvement; as we already know, Toriyama does the story suggestions, while Toyotarō does the manga based on that along with some secondary character designs. The discussion then turns to what the interviewers suggest is a shift to a more “adult” tone over the course of the series, but the interviewees do not agree–it has always been grade-school oriented, but of course it can be enjoyed by all ages; rather, it has just become more Dragon Ball-like. When questioned on the director shift in Dragon Ball Super, they respond that it is simply Toei’s way, allowing them to change up the taste of the show.

The interviewers ask point-blank about a “new movie” — making the assumption that one is happening, without one actually having been announced — to which the production team responds that they cannot announce whether there will be a new movie, and to please be patient. They do say that with regards to future developments in Dragon Ball Super, we will find out “soon” — then specifically say “at the end of the year” — but do not commit to it being a movie in any way. It is questioned whether the current arc is the last; the production team answers that the current arc will last until March, but Toriyama naturally has something in mind for the story of the Dragon World.

Analysis

By way of these interviews, certain individuals initially reported variations on the series ending or possibly ending in March. From our standpoint, we do not believe this is necessarily a correct interpretation of the answer(s). Rather, it fits the pattern for starting to release new information on a new story arc several months before it debuts. Talk of an announcement for later this year combined with forthcoming new story developments lines up well with Jump Festa 2018 this December, which is always a key point in time for new series developments and early previews — see last year’s Universe Survival arc preview as a prime example.

As far as key takeaways from these interviews, most concretely for Dragon Ball Super, the production team specifically says:

  • They cannot say when Dragon Ball Super is going to end (as the Universe Survival arc is just heating up)
  • They cannot say whether or not Dragon Ball Super will link up with the original ending to the manga/anime, as Toriyama has not yet decided how it (i.e., Dragon Ball Super) is going to end
  • The Universe Survival arc itself appears to be slated to run through to March 2018
  • Toriyama certainly has something in mind for a continued story
  • There is nothing to announce right now regarding the future potential for things like additional crossovers, television specials, or theatrical films
  • Additional announcements will come in due time, starting later this year
Published by VegettoEX
03 November 2017, 9:11 PM ESTComment

The fourth collected volume of Toyotarō’s Dragon Ball Super manga — originally and currently serialized on a monthly basis in Shueisha’s V-Jump magazine — officially hit Japanese shelves 02 November 2017 for ¥400 + tax. Spanning 200 pages, the volume covers chapters 21 through 24. The volume takes its title of “Last Chance For Hope” (HOPEへのラストチャンス HOPE e no Rasuto Chansu) directly from chapter 21 itself.

In his introduction to the volume (inside the print edition’s dust jacket), Toyotarō states:

Toriyama-sensei said that “Dragon Ball is a collection of weirdos, but through one thing or another, they end up looking like good guys.” Not “they are good guys”, but “they look like good guys”. So that’s how it is, I thought.

Per the norm (to offset the odd number of pages per chapter), Toyotarō has included fun drawings between chapters. In one drawing, Gowasu welcomes (the presumably not-yet-super-evil) Zamasu to study with him in the Kaiōshin realm.

Minor redraws from the original V-Jump serialization (left) to the collected edition (right) include Goku’s Super Saiyan God transformation in chapter 22:

Chapter 23 has been expanded from 45 to 49 total pages with new panels and entire new pages showcasing Vegetto’s overpowering of Merged Zamasu.

Whereas the third volume only included a brief series of illustrations and comments about the approval and revision process with original author Akira Toriyama, the fourth volume returns with a follow-up to the first volume’s “Tori-Toyo Talk”. In the new joint talk, Toriyama and Toyotaro “…discuss the secrets behind the birth of the ‘Future Trunks arc'”, touching on how to convey the psychological state of characters on the page, as well Toyotarō being asked to adopt some of the more “loose” aspects of Toriyama drawing and story-telling.

TORIYAMA: As far as his illustrations go, previously it always seemed as if he was chasing after my Dragon Ball. However, recently his own colors have started to emerge, and I think it’s made for a definite improvement!

TOYOTARŌ: Oh, I’m much obliged.

TORIYAMA: Let’s see… if I have to say something else, then I guess it’s that you’re too careful! Particularly with battle scenes, it might actually be good to cut corners a bit.

TOYOTARŌ: Battle scenes are really difficult, and I’m always fretting over them…

TORIYAMA: I had trouble drawing fights, too. But sometimes drawing them with a rough touch can produce good results, oddly enough. That’s why it’s important to cut corners (laughs). That’ll be perfect!

TOYOTARŌ: I’ll keep that in mind!

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSLATION

The first two volumes included short bonus chapters that were originally printed in the 2015 and 2016 Jump Victory Carnival attendee books. Though this year’s event did in fact come with a third bonus chapter, it does not appear here in this fourth collected volume.

The volume ends with a two-page spread teasing the “Universe Survival arc” manga adaptation, as well as a new image of Goku (itself an homage to Akira Toriyama’s original illustration for the 1986 #25 issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump in Japan).

The fourth volume is available for purchase via CDJapan and Amazon Japan. Unlike prior volumes, a digital release was made available the same day as the print release.

The first collected edition saw its release in April 2016 covering the series’ first nine chapters, one spin-off chapter, and a special interview between Toyotarō and original author Akira Toriyama. The second collected edition saw its release last November covering the next six chapters, one more spin-off chapter, and a special interview with Toyotarō. The third collected edition saw its release last June covering the next five chapters.

The Dragon Ball Super “comicalization” began in June 2015 as a promotional tie-in for the television series. The manga runs monthly in Shueisha’s V-Jump magazine, with the series’ twenty-ninth chapter coming last month in the magazine’s December 2017 issue. Illustrated by “Toyotarō” (in all likelihood, a second pen-name used by Dragon Ball AF fan manga author and illustrator “Toyble”), the Dragon Ball Super manga covered the Battle of Gods re-telling, skipped the Resurrection ‘F’ re-telling, and “charged ahead” to the Champa arc to act as further promotion for the television series. Viz is currently releasing free digital chapters of the series, and began their own collected print edition this spring. The second collected volume is due out in English from Viz in December.

The Dragon Ball Super television series airs Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. on Fuji TV in Japan. The series now receives weekly simulcast streams on services such as Crunchyroll. FUNimation has also announced their American streaming and distribution license for the series, with the English dub beginning earlier this year on Cartoon Network, and the home video release kicking off this summer.

Published by VegettoEX
24 October 2017, 10:10 AM ESTComment

One of the most repeated “facts” in Dragon Ball fandom — perhaps only rivaled by “Akira Toriyama intended to end the series with Freeza” — is that Toriyama “forgot” about the character Lunch. Introduced in the second story arc and sticking around through the 23rd Tenka’ichi Budōkai, Lunch was an integral part of the core group that is effectively written-out of the story with no dramatic fanfare.

Wait: was she written out, or did the author actually forget about her? Turns out it’s a little of both, but likely not in the way that you think!

In conjunction with our recent translation of Daizenshuu 7’s “Secret Stories of the Dragon Ball Characters” Q&A with Akira Toriyama, check out the most recent addition to the “Characters” page of our “Rumor Guide“, detailing in-depth how Toriyama simultaneously forgot and never-actually-did-truly-forget about Lunch!

READ THE RUMOR GUIDE
Published by VegettoEX
24 October 2017, 9:54 AM ESTComment

The seventh Daizenshuuthe “Large Encyclopedia” — contains a wealth of both in- and out-of-universe information about the Dragon Ball franchise. From a tour of the cosmos to the special attack dictionary, it has long been held as one of the most comprehensive sources available from the original rights-holders.

Often overlooked is a short, single-page Q&A session with original author Akira Toriyama entitled “Secret Stories of the Dragon Ball Characters“. In it, Toriyama details a few quick tidbits: Lunch’s disappearance, the origins of No. 17 and 18 as delinquents, the fate of the Pilaf gang, Kuririn and No. 18’s relationship, and differences between the different timelines’ respective Trunkses.

READ THE FULL Q&A TRANSLATION

This Q&A has been archived in our “Translations” section. Be sure to also check out our “Rumor Guide” entry on Lunch’s disappearance!

Published by VegettoEX
23 October 2017, 9:12 AM ESTComment

On the heels of a Microsoft website update detailing an “Ultimate Edition” pre-order with the same release date, Bandai Namco has confirmed a 26 January 2018 release date for Dragon Ball FighterZ on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in North America.

The European branch has announced the same 26 January 2018 release date:

Meanwhile, this weekend’s December 2017 issue of Shueisha’s V-Jump magazine confirms a 01 February 2018 release date for the game in Japan for ¥7,600 + tax.

The 3-on-3, “2.5D” fighting game is set for an early 2018 release worldwide and is under development by Arc System Works for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC (via Steam). The game is advertised as running at a 1080p resolution and 60fps frame rate, with higher resolutions available on the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X consoles. Currently-announced playable characters include Son Goku, Son Gohan, Vegeta, Freeza, Cell, Boo, Trunks, Piccolo, Kuririn, #16, #18 (with #17), Yamcha, Tenshinhan (with Chiaotzu), Ginyu, and Nappa, as well as “Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan” (SSGSS, or “Super Saiyan Blue”) versions of Goku and Vegeta that can be accessed early via pre-orders. A closed beta was recently held on consoles — tune in to Episode #0427 of our podcast for some initial thoughts.

Arc previously worked on Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden for the Nintendo 3DS, as well as the Super Sonic Warriors games (Bukū Tōgeki and Bukū Ressen) on the Nintendo Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. The developer is otherwise known for their Guilty Gear and BlazBlue series of fighting games.

Published by VegettoEX
23 October 2017, 8:51 AM ESTComment

A new pre-order bundle for a “Dragon Ball FighterZ: Ultimate Edition” on Microsoft’s website details additional downloadable material coming to the game in the form of a “FighterZ Pass” with access to eight additional characters, an “Anime Music Pack”, and a “Commentator Voice Pack”, with a listed release date of 26 January 2018 for $109.99:

Pre-order and receive early access to the Open Beta, early character unlocks to SSGSS Goku and SSGSS Vegeta, 2 exclusive lobby avatars, and 3 stamps.

Schedule for the Early Access to the Open Beta will be provided at a later date.

The Ultimate Edition includes:
• The game
• FighterZ Pass (8 new characters)
• Anime Music Pack (11 songs from the Anime)
• Commentator Voice Pack

DRAGON BALL FighterZ is born from what makes the DRAGON BALL series so loved and famous: endless spectacular fights with its all-powerful fighters.

Partnering with Arc System Works, DRAGON BALL FighterZ maximizes high end Anime graphics and brings easy to learn but difficult to master fighting gameplay.

High-end Anime Graphics
Using the power of the Unreal engine and the talented team at Arc System Works, DRAGON BALL FighterZ is a visual tour-de-force.

3vs3 Tag/Support
Build your dream team and sharpen your skills to master high-speed tag combinations.

Thrilling Online Features
Ranked matches, interactive lobby, crazy 6-player Party Match… There is something for every taste!

Exclusive Story Mode
Discover a never-seen-before scenario featuring Android 21, a brand new character whose creation was supervised by Akira Toriyama himself.

Spectacular Fights
Experience aerial combos, destructible stages and famous scenes from the DRAGON BALL anime in 60FPS and 1080p resolution!

UPDATE: Bandai Namco formally unveiled the “FighterZ Pass” for all editions of the game as an additional $34.99 purchase indeed slated to include eight additional (unannounced) characters.

The 3-on-3, “2.5D” fighting game is set for an early 2018 release worldwide and is under development by Arc System Works for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC (via Steam). The game is advertised as running at a 1080p resolution and 60fps frame rate, with higher resolutions available on the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X consoles. Currently-announced playable characters include Son Goku, Son Gohan, Vegeta, Freeza, Cell, Boo, Trunks, Piccolo, Kuririn, #16, #18 (with #17), Yamcha, Tenshinhan (with Chiaotzu), Ginyu, and Nappa, as well as “Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan” (SSGSS, or “Super Saiyan Blue”) versions of Goku and Vegeta that can be accessed early via pre-orders. A closed beta was recently held on consoles — tune in to Episode #0427 of our podcast for some initial thoughts.

Arc previously worked on Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden for the Nintendo 3DS, as well as the Super Sonic Warriors games (Bukū Tōgeki and Bukū Ressen) on the Nintendo Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. The developer is otherwise known for their Guilty Gear and BlazBlue series of fighting games.

Published by VegettoEX
23 October 2017, 8:45 AM ESTComment

In conjunction with this weekend’s December 2017 issue of Shueisha’s V-Jump magazine in Japan, Bandai Namco have announced Nappa and Ginyu as playable characters in the upcoming Dragon Ball FighterZ video game:

Nappa can summon a Saibaiman and has his iconic mouth blast attack, while Ginyu can summon the rest of his squad and can swap health with his opponent.

The 3-on-3, “2.5D” fighting game is set for an early 2018 release worldwide and is under development by Arc System Works for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC (via Steam). The game is advertised as running at a 1080p resolution and 60fps frame rate, with higher resolutions available on the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X consoles. Currently-announced playable characters include Son Goku, Son Gohan, Vegeta, Freeza, Cell, Boo, Trunks, Piccolo, Kuririn, #16, #18 (with #17), Yamcha, Tenshinhan (with Chiaotzu), Ginyu, and Nappa, as well as “Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan” (SSGSS, or “Super Saiyan Blue”) versions of Goku and Vegeta that can be accessed early via pre-orders. A closed beta was recently held on consoles — tune in to Episode #0427 of our podcast for some initial thoughts.

Arc previously worked on Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden for the Nintendo 3DS, as well as the Super Sonic Warriors games (Bukū Tōgeki and Bukū Ressen) on the Nintendo Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. The developer is otherwise known for their Guilty Gear and BlazBlue series of fighting games.

Published by VegettoEX
21 October 2017, 3:51 PM ESTComment

Continuing onward from the previous chapters, Viz has added their English translation of the Dragon Ball Super manga’s twenty-ninth chapter to their website, continuing the “Universe Survival arc” of the series. This continues the recent initiative of Viz simultaneously publishing the series’ chapter alongside its Japanese debut, which saw its release today in the December 2017 issue of Shueisha’s V-Jump magazine in Japan.

The Dragon Ball Super “comicalization” began in June 2015 as a promotional tie-in for the television series. The manga runs monthly in Shueisha’s V-Jump magazine, with the series’ twenty-ninth chapter coming today in the magazine’s December 2017 issue. Illustrated by “Toyotarō” (in all likelihood, a second pen-name used by Dragon Ball AF fan manga author and illustrator “Toyble”), the Dragon Ball Super manga covered the Battle of Gods re-telling, skipped the Resurrection ‘F’ re-telling, and “charged ahead” to the Champa arc to act as further promotion for the television series. Viz is currently releasing free digital chapters of the series, and began their own collected print edition this spring. The second collected volume is due out in English from Viz in December, while the fourth collected volume is due out in Japan from Shueisha next month.

The Dragon Ball Super television series airs Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. on Fuji TV in Japan. The series now receives weekly simulcast streams on services such as Crunchyroll. FUNimation has also announced their American streaming and distribution license for the series, with the English dub beginning earlier this year on Cartoon Network, and the home video release kicking off this summer.