2013 was a packed year for Dragon Ball. The new film Battle of Gods saw its Japanese theatrical debut and home release, plenty of international releases (both theatrically and on home video), video game tie-ins, etc. Beerus and Whis were fantastic new additions to the pantheon of Dragon Ball characters. It felt like original manga author Akira Toriyama had truly immersed himself back into the series. Oh, and he also wrote a prequel to Dragon Ball (!!!).
What could possibly top that in 2014? Oh, right: another new movie is on the horizon! Without the final product itself even coming out until 2015, we had 2014 as a transition year filled with news.
These were the top five stories of the year according to total website traffic, rate of traffic growth, social media conversations, etc.
#5: July 19th – More “Future Warrior” Screen Shots for “Dragon Ball XENOVERSE”
In a year filled with announcements of an upcoming new movie, you would think there could be little else that might even have a chance of sneaking in to the top five news stories. Dragon Ball XENOVERSE — the upcoming multiplayer online story-based fighting game extravaganza for consoles and PC — is one of those other projects dropping bombshell after bombshell. While we now know that the “Future Warrior” is your own player-created character (and can be one of five different races), Bandai Namco’s slow drip of information with their own specific design kept fans salivating and coming back for more. The original shots showcasing the red hair and cape got people talking, but the Super Saiyan transformation had fans losing their minds.
#4: July 15th – V-Jump Unveils New “Dragon Ball Z” Movie In Development
There is little that can set fire to Dragon Ball fandom like a new movie announcement. While Battle of Gods was announced and then followed-up by plenty of quotes from original manga author Akira Toriyama, the 2015 movie was being written by the man himself. Sign-off from notoriously-hard-to-please former-editor Kazuhiko Torishima and promises of more action scenes had us all begging for more information. The movie’s announcement in V-Jump (and subsequent leaks thereof) proved the magazine’s relevance and importance to Shueisha, particularly in light of Saikyō Jump‘s odd mid-year release schedule change and Weekly Shōnen Jump‘s then-upcoming shift to digital-and-print releases.
#3: February 17th – “Dragon Ball Kai” Returns With Majin Boo Arc in April 2014
It was perhaps the biggest, most-open, worst-kept secret we’ve had in quite some time: Dragon Ball Kai was coming back for the Majin Boo story arc. When, though? And how? Would it truly not air on Japanese television as Mayumi Tanaka originally noted back in late 2012? Somewhere along the line plans heavily shifted, and with Toriko out the window, Dragon Ball Kai reclaiming its timeslot on Fuji TV seemed to make perfect sense. Of course, the whole story arc has been a confusing mess with two separate versions, a cropped presentation even in Japan, Norihito Sumitomo coming in as (technically) the third composer on the “refreshed” series, four closing themes, etc. While it has slowly begun to make its way out to the international markets, FUNimation has officially kept quiet about their acquisition and production on it, despite that being yet another poorly-kept secret. All signs point to them having anticipated its release by this point. Dragon Ball Kai seems to have a cursed production from beginning to end!
#2: July 18th – Toei Opens Official Website For 2015 Dragon Ball Z Movie
The announcements of the 2013 and 2015 movies received plenty of attention, but when we start getting nitty-gritty details is when all the fans come out of the woodwork. The new movie’s official website teased us with an ominous message: “The worst wish in history. That is the beginning of despair.” We had little else to go on at that point, but it was enough for fans to drive themselves mad with speculation. Who was making this wish? After the light-hearted fare of Battle of Gods, would the new movie truly bring us to these depths of despair?
#1: December 4th – “Revival of ‘F'” 2015 DBZ Movie Trailer Teased on Japanese TV
We had a title, new characters, a significant returning character, and a few other tidbits of information. When Mezamashi TV first showcased animation from the upcoming movie, that was enough for the floodgates to open. It felt real. It felt tangible. There was truly another new movie on the horizon. Freeza is back and has something up his sleeve. Goku and Vegeta are seemingly off with Beerus and Whis. It was just a tease for an eventual proper trailer, but it was enough for fans worldwide to immediately drop what they were doing. Our first actual look at Revival of “F” was, far and away, the biggest story of 2014.
Toriyama’s words were close runner-ups with his “Twel-Boo Mysteries” Q&A from the June 2014 Saikyō Jump nipping at the heels of the Revival of “F” news stories. Various other movie comments, interviews, and Q&As followed suit in traffic numbers.
2014 was a great year for Dragon Ball as we celebrated its 30th anniversary… but 2015 is already knocking down the door promising more excitement, so cheers to 2014 as we leave you behind in search of further adventures!