Now that it has been a few weeks since the mysterious countdown dropped hints and both Jump and Akira Toriyama himself broke the news of next year’s new Dragon Ball Z movie, the usual cycle of excitement and misinformation seems to be coming into play.
While there is nothing “new” to report right now, we felt it was worth taking a look at everything again and doing what we do best: helping you to dissect the information in a logical and authoritative way.
Wait. New movie?
Yes. A new Dragon Ball Z movie is in production in Japan for a theatrical release there 30 March 2013. It is the first new theatrical presentation for the franchise in seventeen years. An official website for the movie has been opened at www.dragonball2013.com.
What is Akira Toriyama’s involvement in this new movie?
Original manga author Akira Toriyama has been involved with the TV series and movies in different ways over the franchise’s history. While the main man did design some extra villains, landscapes, and even some additional story elements for filler, he did indeed spend most of his time focused on the manga. While he came up with the concept for the 2008 Jump Super Anime Tour special, that particular feature was written by Takao Koyama. For this new movie, Akira Toriyama has stepped up into a role he defines as the first time, “… that I’ve been deeply involved with the animation from the scriptwriting stage”. That being said, the actual script is being written by franchise newcomer Yūsuke Watanabe, while the directorial role sits with Masahiro Hosoda.
When in the story will this movie take place?
Early, unsourced reports were noting that the new movie would take place some time between manga chapters 517 and 518, a decade’s worth of time not shown in the series between the defeat of Majin Buu and the 28th Tenka’ichi Budōkai (incidentally, the exact same time frame that the 2008 Jump Super Anime Tour special took place during). Japanese news and blog sites seemed to be copying-and-pasting the same phrases between each other — specifically “lost decade” (空白の10年間) and that it was meant to be part of “Dragon Ball’s official history” (ドラゴンボール正史) — but again, there was no source listed for these claims. It was not until the movie’s script writer, Yūsuke Watanabe, took to Twitter in response to a fan’s inquiry noting that it would take place between the comic’s “final chapter” and “just before that” (wherein “chapter” does not literally mean “chapter ###”, but rather a part of the story), where we saw the first official confirmation straight from the horse’s mouth.
Should I accept this movie as part of the canon?
While there are certainly separate and sometimes distinct continuities within the series (which sometimes cannot fit together), neither Akira Toriyama nor any of the additional rights holders have ever made any explicit claims about which particular productions are what they consider the hard “truth” of the franchise. Script writer Yūsuke Watanabe did note on Twitter that “GT isn’t part of the original work, after all~”, though this is not much of a sensational statement: productions like Dragon Ball Online which are licensed via Shueisha tend not to include GT-specific elements, which were all created by Toei Animation. Additionally, no, this movie is not a cannon, nor ammunition for one.
Who else is involved in the production of this movie?
Longtime franchise in-between and key-animator Tadayoshi Yamamuro will be the animation supervisor for the new movie. Nothing has been stated about, for example, the musical score of the movie (though we can probably safely assume that Kenji Yamamoto will not be involved).
Which number movie would this be?
The teaser trailer that debuted at Saikyō V-Jump Festa later aired on Fuji TV with a bit of surrounding context. Footage was shown from the animation’s 10th anniversary movie in 1996, which also showed on-screen DVD cover art with the number “14″. This was in reference to the individual DVD releases of the franchise’s movies released from 2008 to 2009. For the individual discs, Toei began with the first Dragon Ball Z movie, went onward to its thirteenth, then the 10th anniversary movie, and then the original three Dragon Ball movies. This meant that the 10th anniversary movie was “Volume 14″ in that particular release run. As for a number to assign to next year’s new movie, none have specifically been given by any of the producers. Depending on your definition of “movie” and which extra features you might have already tossed into your own personal chronology, this could be “Movie 14″ or even something like “Movie 17″ if you count the three significant pieces of new animation since 2008 (Jump Super Anime Tour special / Plan to Eradicate the Super Saiyans / Episode of Bardock).
How will I be able to see this movie?
Right now the only thing we know is that the movie will see a wide theatrical release in Japan 30 March 2013.
I need more. I can’t get enough. Don’t stop.
Check out Episode #0304 of our podcast, where we got together to discuss our hopes and wishes for the new movie.