The second annual Dragon Ball Games Battle Hour was held this last weekend, which is a two-day online streaming event featuring exclusive news and updates, content, and promotional information related to Dragon Ball manga, animation, games, figures, and other various merchandise. As a part of the event, a pre-recorded “Super Stage” panel was held at the end of Day 2 (20 February 2022) to promote the upcoming Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero movie, which is slated to premiere on 22 April 2022 in Japan. The panel, once again hosted by Sascha, included Toei Animation producer Norihiro Hayashida, Shueisha executive producer Akio Iyoku, and the film’s director Tetsuro Kodama.
The panelists quickly jump into discussing the film’s key visual, or rather the portion that was left off when it was originally revealed in December 2021. Akio Iyoku notes that they put special thought into the key visual, placing Gohan and Piccolo front and center as they will play a “prominent role” in the film, and that the new characters were drawn in poses that portray their individual personalities. More so, the car featured in the background was designed by Akira Toriyama and extends farther to the left, revealing some additional familiar characters: Bulma, Kuririn, No. 18, Trunks, and Son Goten.
Of special note are Trunks and Goten, who are shown performing the Fusion dance (with a misplaced index finger) and appear to have actually grown since their last appearance in the series. Akio Iyoku makes note that some time has passed since the events that unfolded in the Broli film, so naturally the two have gotten a bit older and taller. Sascha is curious if a teenage Gotenks will make an appearance, but none of the panelists are willing to confirm or deny. Moving on, Tetsuro Kodama details his involvement with the production as its director, and the pressure that comes with overseeing such a globally renowned franchise. He also notes that from the beginning their mission was to break new ground in animation and cultivate new fans for the series, which is how this project came to be. Finally, he debuts three completed clips (with no audio) from key scenes in the film.
The featured clips include Dr. Hedo tossing a grenade into an abandoned military base, Gamma 2 confronting Piccolo near his home, and Gohan battling with Gamma 1 and 2. The group goes on to discuss each clip’s composition separately, including the general shadow and texturing effects, fluidity of the animation, and other fun tidbits. One special tidbit Tetsuro Kodama points out is the umbrella that Carmine is holding in the last clip, which features a Red Ribbon Army handle design. Norihiro Hayashida adds that “smoothness” really is the key word for this film, as the camera work they have used makes the action look amazing and is nothing like anything seen in a Dragon Ball production before. Not only that, but there are a lot of moving parts to the background in each scene, not just the character movement in the forefront. Akio Iyoku agrees, saying with what he has seen so far his expectations are sky high. The studio set suddenly goes dark, and the full setting artwork for the New Red Ribbon Army base is shown. Akio Iyoku then provides some insight into the production team’s decision in bringing back the Red Ribbon Army.
Sascha: Iyoku-san, we saw the Red Ribbon Army logo in the key visuals, so would it be safe to say they’re the key to all this?
Iyoku: Yes, they’re the enemy… or will become the enemy… How we ended up deciding whether or not to include the Red Ribbon Army was by first talking about how we wanted the battle to take place on Earth.
Sascha: Because it has become so intergalactic in scale?
Iyoku: That’s right. So when we decided to have them fight on Earth we started saying, “Once, there was the Red Ribbon Army”, and how this could be a battle against an army, not just one-on-one. And everyone in the army has their own motivations and way of thinking, including Magenta and Carmine. So we thought that because not everyone thinks the same way, we would be able to create an interesting antagonist, which is how we ended up settling on the Red Ribbon Army.
The “Super Stage” closes with a lengthy interview with Miyu Irino, the voice of Dr. Hedo, in which he discusses his admiration for the Dragon Ball series and excitement for now being a part of it. He mentions that playing a scientist in the Red Ribbon Army is a special treat for him, as growing up he would play Dragon Ball card games and started watching the series around the arrival of the Artificial Humans and Cell. Following the interview, Akio Iyoku announces that “Super Hero” will be coming to North America sometime in the summer of 2022. Masako Nozawa then pops in to provide a quick final message to fans around the world, telling them to go see the movie and that she cannot wait to see everyone again. Sascha then wraps up the panel with a brief last word from each panelist, who all express their excitement for the upcoming release that is now just 2 months away.
The story, script, and character designs for Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero are being crafted by original manga author Akira Toriyama. Shueisha’s executive producer Akio Iyoku has noted that the movie’s story will take place after the events in Dragon Ball Super: Broly, but before the 28th Tenka’ichi Budōkai, and feature the revival of the notorious Red Ribbon Army. The film’s director will be Tetsuro Kodama, who was most recently the CG Sequence Director for the Dragon Ball Super: Broly film, with Hoon Jung-jae taking over the CG Director role after being a CG effects artist in the preceding two films, Battle of Gods and Resurrection ‘F’. The film’s theatrical score will be composed by Naoki Satō and it has been noted that the Japanese cast recorded their lines in early October 2021. The movie is currently slated for release in Japan on 22 April 2022 and in North America in the summer of 2022, although no definitive release date has been set at this time.