What do you think of the tone difference between Z and Super?

Discussion specifically regarding the "Dragon Ball Super" TV series premiering July 2015 in Japan, including individual threads for each episode.

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SpiritBombTriumphant
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What do you think of the tone difference between Z and Super?

Post by SpiritBombTriumphant » Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:23 am

So Dragon Ball started out as a Journey to the West homage with Goku as Sun Wukong and Bulma as whomever (I'm not familiar with the story). The series is a martial arts gag-manga that slowly became less gag and more martial arts. We here at Kanzenshuu as site goers are all familiar with the original premise and tone of the series and how it slightly changed once the manga got to the Z portion. It was never supposed to be about a group of superheroes with blonde hair kicking ass and taking names with guitars and electronic synth in the background like Faulconer/Funimation made it (as awesome as that was). It was more of what Kikuchi scored it which is an eastern style martial arts comedy that, again, becomes less gag-like over the time and more focused on martial arts.

While it may have gotten a bit too serious for what Toriyama intended with the Cell arc, the series generally was the same throughout its run and became much more of what Toriyama wanted with the Boo arc and the ridiculousness that ensued during it. Now here is what I want to know about everyone and how they see this.

Super goes the completely different direction. Its score is made to appease the Western audience that grew up with Faulconer. Gone are the drums and horns/trumpets that Kikuchi frequently used. Now we have much more synth (first OST, at least) and then more rock and techno songs ("Power to Resist" "Distant Journey" the disco song from Boo Kai they used too often, etc.). The tone is completely different than what Z originally was scored for, what the manga is, and in terms of the timeline placement it does not fit. Basically, Super is modernized and made to cater to the Western audience while in terms of the story and what Toriyama envisioned, it goes from the martial arts tale to fighting bad guys (whom each have a lei motif, unlike with Kikuchi where villains did not) and kind of, sort of ass kicking.

Basically, does this bother you guys? I like Super's score (most of the second soundtrack, at least) and I think it's a great series (Goku Black onwards), but I feel that if you watch Z in its original Japanese format then the difference between the two shows is vastly different. It bugs me.
alakazam^ wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:24 pm
Shiyonasan wrote:Just when you thought there couldn't be anymore Yamamoto rip offs...
At this point, I think it's safe to say everything he did was plagiarized. Basically, if you hear a tune that sounds like it could have vocals, then it most likely did.

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Re: What do you think of the tone difference between Z and Super?

Post by Dragon Ball Ireland » Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:51 am

I don't really see a huge tonal difference between OG DB and Z, more a progression that mirrors Goku's growth. It's the story about pushing to be the best you can in the face of adversity, and learning about the pros and cons of combat through life experience. Super is a bit of a departure, but it doesn't really reflect changes in the story, its still very similar overall.

The beginning of the series is more gag heavy because Goku is young and goes through a number of non serious training sessions and adventures but it gradually becomes more serious as Goku starts losing loved ones and learns that while fighting can be fun and games it can also have reprecussions when power is in the wrong hands. The score gets more dramatic to reflect when the story is more serious, but it wasn't until Super it got really goofy.

The tone didn't really change once Raditz arrived, I still see it as Goku growing and learning from experience that combat has consequences and again Kikuchi's score mirrors those realizations. Goku initially thought Tenshinhan, Yamcha and Chaoitzu couldn't be revived because they were revived once before and tensions escalated in his fight with Vegeta. Dragon Ball was still a gag manga at heart during this portion of the story, as after Goku defeated Vegeta he still had that desire to fight him again to push himself to become even stronger. Super still shows Goku wanting to train hard and fight strong opponents, but it flanderizes that aspect of his character, likely to humour fans who look at him that way.
SpiritBombTriumphant wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:23 am
It was never supposed to be about a group of superheroes with blonde hair kicking ass and taking names with guitars and electronic synth in the background like Faulconer/Funimation made it (as awesome as that was). It was more of what Kikuchi scored it which is an eastern style martial arts comedy that, again, becomes less gag-like over the time and more focused on martial arts.
It was never about that at all. Goku and his friends are not superheroes, they are martial artists whose main goal is perseverance and training to be the best at their craft. Yes they save the world from villains but its not what they set out to do. Funimation's reversioning with the Faulconer score tried to change the narrative, but that's not really relevant anymore as the newer dubs have more accurate scripts and don't use drastically different replacement music. It was always a martial arts tale, the only difference, as I said is that Goku learns that fighting becomes more serious when he has stronger, more dangerous foes to contend with. Kikuchi's score still had the same overall tone of a great martial arts epic, it was just less of an adventurous feel than earlier parts of the series.
SpiritBombTriumphant wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:23 am
While it may have gotten a bit too serious for what Toriyama intended with the Cell arc, the series generally was the same throughout its run and became much more of what Toriyama wanted with the Boo arc and the ridiculousness that ensued during it.
Agreed, the Buu arc was more comedic as a whole, but unlike earlier parts of the series it shows Goku's personal growth as he witnesses the danger Gohan is in during his fight with Kid Buu and wants to help defeat him, but Kikuchi's score was still a natural progression of how the story has moved forward. Sumitomo's score in Kai took a more wacky turn in tone, but I assume your referring to Z as that's what your comparing Super to. Suffice to say Super's score was made more with the gag aspects in mind, but like Kikuchi it still changed slightly when it needed to and became more serious in moments of tension.
SpiritBombTriumphant wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:23 am
Super goes the completely different direction. Its score is made to appease the Western audience that grew up with Faulconer.
There's no way of knowing that for a fact unless TOEI claims it. To this day they never have so its all just speculation why they went with a more electronic score rather than a traditional orchestral one like Kikuchi or Tokunaga.
SpiritBombTriumphant wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:23 am

The tone is completely different than what Z originally was scored for, what the manga is, and in terms of the timeline placement it does not fit. Basically, Super is modernized and made to cater to the Western audience while in terms of the story and what Toriyama envisioned, it goes from the martial arts tale to fighting bad guys (whom each have a lei motif, unlike with Kikuchi where villains did not) and kind of, sort of ass kicking.
The score has a different feel to it, but the tone isn't a huge departure in terms of what the writers are going for in the story. Its still a wacky martial arts tale and the theme of master and apprentice that was prevalent in OG DB is still there as Goku finds a new teacher in Whis. You also have some seriousness, especially in the Zamasu arc. I like that Super has a good mix of both, if anything I'd say it caters to all kinds of fans, not just the western fanbase specifically because not everyone likes the same aspects of this series.
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Re: What do you think of the tone difference between Z and Super?

Post by SpiritBombTriumphant » Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:14 am

Dragon Ball Ireland wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:51 am
SpiritBombTriumphant wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:23 am
It was never supposed to be about a group of superheroes with blonde hair kicking ass and taking names with guitars and electronic synth in the background like Faulconer/Funimation made it (as awesome as that was). It was more of what Kikuchi scored it which is an eastern style martial arts comedy that, again, becomes less gag-like over the time and more focused on martial arts.
It was never about that at all. Goku and his friends are not superheroes, they are martial artists whose main goal is perseverance and training to be the best at their craft. Yes they save the world from villains but its not what they set out to do. Funimation's reversioning with the Faulconer score tried to change the narrative, but that's not really relevant anymore as the newer dubs have more accurate scripts and don't use drastically different replacement music. It was always a martial arts tale, the only difference, as I said is that Goku learns that fighting becomes more serious when he has stronger, more dangerous foes to contend with. Kikuchi's score still had the same overall tone of a great martial arts epic, it was just less of an adventurous feel than earlier parts of the series.
Yeah, I know. That's why I said "It was never supposed to be about a group of superheroes with blonde hair kicking ass and taking names." You literally are agreeing with what I said. You spent a good 80% of your post just agreeing with what I said...
Dragon Ball Ireland wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:51 am
The score has a different feel to it, but the tone isn't a huge departure in terms of what the writers are going for in the story. Its still a wacky martial arts tale and the theme of master and apprentice that was prevalent in OG DB is still there as Goku finds a new teacher in Whis. You also have some seriousness, especially in the Zamasu arc. I like that Super has a good mix of both, if anything I'd say it caters to all kinds of fans, not just the western fanbase specifically because not everyone likes the same aspects of this series.
The tone is vastly different from what it was in Z. I've gotten a more Western vibe to it. Kind of like a very diluted Faulconer. It has more of the butt kicking and facing bad guys with spectacular fights, all using essentially super powers to fight each other. The tone/vibe was not there in Z. And Toei staff have gone on record before of doing something to appease Western audiences. I specifically remember they mentioned upping the fight scenes for us for the RoF movie, and I believe they mentioned something similar regarding Broly. They pay attention to us.
alakazam^ wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:24 pm
Shiyonasan wrote:Just when you thought there couldn't be anymore Yamamoto rip offs...
At this point, I think it's safe to say everything he did was plagiarized. Basically, if you hear a tune that sounds like it could have vocals, then it most likely did.

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Re: What do you think of the tone difference between Z and Super?

Post by Kataphrut » Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:48 am

I'm not a music expert, but I'd say Kikuchi's DB/Z score and Sumitomo's Super score, while being quite different from each other, were fairly diverse and capable of capturing the tone changes of their respective series. Kikuchi's eastern kung flu flick score did evolve as the series went on to match the growing sci-fi/Western influence of the later parts of the series. And Sumitomo's peppy rock and techno from the early parts gave way to moody synth in the Goku Black arc (I've heard it aptly described as "Metal Gear" music) and booming orchestral brass in the ToP. That's more than I can say for the Faulconer score, which just sounds like noise.

In terms of story tone, if DB is a mystical adventure, DBZ is space opera and DBGT gritty sci fi, then DBS is a divine comedy/sitcom (all of the above filtered through the lens of martial arts action-comedy of course). The fact that it's set in the 10-year timeskip and the stakes are lower means it focuses more on the personal improvement journey of the characters. There are gods that are actually powerful and effective, creating a power ceiling, goalpost, and safety net to prevent things from getting too serious. There are fewer villains and more rival antagonists- everyone is a potential sparring partner for Goku to test himself against now, even Freeza. And there's more focus on slice of life stories. Toriyama's DB gave you the impression the characters never hung out between arcs, but in Super they're having tea on the back deck of Capsule Corp every other episode.

Basically, DBS is taking all the characters and concepts from the original series and putting them in a consequence-free zone where they can just...be themselves. I don't mind it, but it's perfectly understandable to dismiss it as a load of fanservice.

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Re: What do you think of the tone difference between Z and Super?

Post by supersaiyanZero » Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:59 am

The difference is huge because there is a huge gap in production quality between the two.

Super was rushed because all Toei could see were dollar signs, and we got a very half assed series as a result. The music is abysmal, but faring no better is the music placement. On top of that, characters regress to the point where we're bludgeoned to death with a beat by beat recap of their biggest fights in the original series, but much more poorly done and almost zero emotional impact.

You need not look that far and just watch how they had Piccolo "sacrifice" himself for gohan again. Pathetic.

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Re: What do you think of the tone difference between Z and Super?

Post by Gokitalo » Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:17 pm

Well, the thing is that Super started out really as an action/comedy, which was likely due to the Battle of Gods film (and the Buu Saga before it) bringing back some of that early Dragon Ball humor. As the show progressed, however, it slowly slid back into the dramatic tone of the Z era, starting with the Trunks arc and culminating in the Tournament of Power.

I do enjoy Super's tone on the whole quite a bit: I've laughed out loud at a lot of the comedy bits :lol: The emotional moments are pretty great too, which we got plenty of in the Trunks arc and the ToP. I also really like some of the less action-packed, character-driven episodes: Trunks' dinner with Gohan, Videl and Pan is a favorite. We got a few episodes like that in the Z anime, but not so much in the manga. I also really admire how the show made an effort to retain Freeza's menace, which is something the character lost in his later filler appearances in Z.

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