2013 In Review: Top 5 Dragon Ball News Stories
Published by 01 January 2014, 9:46 AM EST

2012 was a significant year for us — the merged Kanzenshuu launched! — and it was also a significant year for Dragon Ball. It should be pretty safe to say that 2013 knocked it out of the park, however.

Much like last year, we thought it would be fun to take a look at the biggest stories of the year. Some of 2012’s biggest stories were teases of 2013 releases, while others (like “Project Versus J”, the original code name for “J-Stars Victory Vs”) still have not come out! How did this year shape up?

These were the top five stories of the year according to total website traffic, rate of traffic growth, social media conversations, etc. There should not be much of a surprise where all of these stories stem from…!


#5: June 1st – “Battle of Gods” Japanese Home Release Full Details

After the movie ran through its theatrical showings, the next thing for fans to turn their attention to was the impending home release of the new film Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. The initial details really sweetened the deal for fans, including those thinking about importing, with a “Limited Edition” version coming with a full bonus disc, a “three-dimensional wall figure” of Super Saiyan God Son Goku, a booklet, and postcards featuring the cover art of all of the franchise’s theatrical films.

All this excitement was even before Toei announced the bonus disc would include the 2008 Jump Super Anime Tour Special…!


#4: March 3rd – “Battle of Gods” Made “With a View Toward International Screenings”

Look, it was great that Japan was getting the film and all, but we are selfish fans. We all wanted to see Battle of Gods, too! Even before the movie’s theatrical debut, Toei Animation producer Gyarmath Bogdan revealed that the film was being made with “a view toward screenings overseas.” It was no surprise how bonkers fans became.

Since then, the film has screened theatrically in various countries across the world, and has even started to receive international home releases (kicking things off with an English-subtitled release in Hong Kong). North America, however, is still left out in the cold, with absolutely no word on either a theatrical or home release.


#3: February 28th – Gohan Will Not Be A Super Saiyan in “Battle of Gods”

It would not be Dragon Ball fandom without massive disagreement and speculation over the color of someone’s hair. Oh, and how strong they are.

When the early teasers and trailers for Battle of Gods started trickling out, fans quickly noted how odd it was for Gohan to be transforming into a Super Saiyan. If the movie were to take place between the defeat of Majin Boo and the 28th Tenka’ichi Budōkai, Gohan would have received his power-up from the elder Kaiōshin and would no longer be transforming like this. While there were certainly conversations to be had about why Dragon Ball GT went with Gohan being able to / having to transform again, no-one really gave it a second thought for this point in the series.

When a fan asked scriptwriter Yūsuke Watanabe about it on Twitter, the answer was that Gohan would not be transforming into a Super Saiyan during the movie, and that trailers fall outside of his responsibilities.

Sure enough, while Gohan is seen as a Super Saiyan during one particular important scene of the film, his brief fight against Beerus is devoid of any Super Saiyan transformation. Was it a scene animated for the trailer before a final version was done for the film? Was the scene re-colored/re-animated from this “wrong” version in the trailer after fans brought it to the production staff’s attention?

We have no idea!


#2: March 12th – “Battle of Gods” First Preview Screening Complete: Spoilers!

By mid-March, we were unable to control our excitement over Battle of Gods. Prior to its formal release on the 30th, March saw a couple preview screenings across Japan. The first preview screening took place at Shinjuku Wald 9 with both Masako Nozawa and Shōko Nakagawa making special guest appearances.

Our Japanese super-friend-fan kei17 scored a lucky ticket to the preview screening and was able to supply us with some key details about the film and its story. It was our first confirmation for a lot of Super Saiyan God material, and we all sat there drooling over every single last tidbit.


#1: February 14th – “Super Saiyan God” Form Teased For “Battle of Gods”

The April 2013 issue of V-Jump dropped one of the biggest bombshells of the year: Goku would be receiving a new power-up in the upcoming film Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, and it would be called “Super Saiyan God”.

Nothing else in 2013 even came close to this one — even the preview screening spoiler tidbits were at a somewhat distant second place. Dragon Ball + Goku + new transformation = instant pandemonium.

2013 was an incredible year for Dragon Ball, and from the looks of it, the year will go down as one of the biggest in the franchise’s entire history. Battle of Gods hitting theaters and home video was big enough as it was, but things like Jaco the Galactic Patrolman and new guide books also added a huge amount of excitement.

For what it is worth, the next most-popular news story coming — very closely — in the #6 spot was the reveal that FUNimation’s new Dragon Ball Z Blu-ray sets would be coming in widescreen. What would a year for Dragon Ball be without a few re-releases?

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