Since the official announcement this past weekend, fan speculation regarding the Dragon Ball Z film slated for next March has reached fever-pitch. Adding further fuel to the fire in the English-language fandom has been a follow-up post on Anime News Network the day of the announcement, claiming that the film will be set specifically during the “lost decade” between manga chapters 517 and 518, and “a story in the official history of Dragon Ball”. While ANN do link to a Japanese source, we’re not entirely convinced.
First of all, while ANN claim that this information came from Weekly Shōnen Jump #33 (released this past Saturday, 14 July), the only details about the film contained in the magazine are literally what we have already reported: the cover of the magazine and the two-page spread with staff information and Akira Toriyama’s special comment. (Incidentally, the two pages in the image from our previous news post are reversed from their position in the actual magazine: page 12, with Goku and Shenlong, is on the right, while page 13, with the group standing together, is on the left.)
Looking more carefully at the Japanese source, the information is not attributed to the magazine, but is presented in an authoritative tone that suggests an official announcement. At the same time, the only link provided in the article goes to the film’s official website, which offers no such details. A number of other news outlets, all of them (like ANN’s source) aggregators without bylines or clear routes of access to the original authors of the articles, share these same points. Normally, this would indicate corroboration of the story, but they are also uncannily similar in their use of language: each mentions that this film will be the 18th theatrical Dragon Ball film, and the first in 17 years; each specifically cites the “lost decade” (空白の10年間) between manga chapters 517 and 518; and each mentions that the movie is meant to be part of “Dragon Ball’s official history” (ドラゴンボール正史). Several of them cite the same source as ANN, while the remainder either give no source or link to the official movie website, which, as we have already established, does not contain this information. Taken together, this suggests that all of the articles were copied very closely, either from one among them, or from a press release which we have yet to track down.
At present, we can only speculate as to the actual origin of this particular information; it is tempting to point to Comic Natalie, ANN’s source, but as they have not responded to our request for comment, we have not reported on it up to now. However, as we can no longer simply ignore it, we will instead urge caution. It seems possible, even likely, that these articles are right about the particular timeframe of the film, given the characters present and the costumes they are wearing. The other aspect of these claims, on the other hand — that the film is meant to be part of the story proper from the manga — is so audacious that we will refrain from commenting on it further until we are able to independently confirm it one way or the other. In short, please take everything you hear about this film, even from Japanese sources, with a generous serving of salt until more details are revealed through official channels. Except if it comes from us, of course.