Dragon Ball Super is just around the corner, premiering in Japan on July 5th. It's been a whole eighteen years since any incarnation of Dragon Ball was serialized on TV, and stakes are appropriately high for this brand new adventure! Fans have been throwing around a number of questions, from who the new villains will be, to the tone the show will take, to whether Dragon Ball GT will be rendered completely non-canon. I'm more interested in a matter of viewership, and just how appealing Dragon Ball Super will be to people who've never checked out Dragon Ball Z. You can also check out all other coverage of Dragon Ball Super right here!
Dragon Ball Super and new audiences
When I talk about people who've never checked out Dragon Ball Z, I'm not talking about the lazy adults who aren't caught up but want something cool to watch (athough their right to viewing is as valuable as anyone else's); I'm specifically talking about children. Let's fact it, Dragon Ball always has been a children's property. It was designed to appeal to kids throughout the run of Dragon Ball Z, and it was designed that way when Akira Toriyama first made his vision a reality. It's fine to like it, and yes, adult fans are the ones who've stuck with Dragon Ball the longest, but it's also crucial to admit that, with the eighteen year absence, there are a LOT of potential new fans for Dragon Ball Super.
Remaining an accepting place for new and young fans is vital for the longevity of Dragon Ball, and in respects to Dragon Ball Super, will improve the run of the show in general. Let's take a look at some elements Dragon Ball Super could change in order to attract new fans.
Back to basics
If you go back and watch the very first episodes of Dragon Ball, you'll notice a simplicity to both the story and aesthetics that give the feeling that you're watching this for the first time all over again. I'm not suggesting that Dragon Ball Super wipes its slate clean and full-on reboots. It's already pretty apparent that's not what it's aiming for. A simple tidying up is all that would be needed, with fewer characters occupying the story at once, and fewer references to previous events that brought us to where we are now.
Shorter fight scenes
This is the one feature of Dragon Ball Z that people will make fun of till the end of time. Entire arcs comprised of epic battles are no doubt a factor that puts people off joining the Dragon Ball Z fandom. What could Dragon Ball Super do to remedy this? Well I wouldn't suggest ousting the long fights altogether to appeal to new fans.
Rather, that old adage of simplicity would help, with any early fight scenes being discrete and well executed. That way, a new fandom is won over, and by the time we reach the gargantuan ridiculousness on display in Dragon Ball Z, they're completely on board. Perhaps the kids of today will already be into the craziness of the old Dragon Ball Z fight scenes. I remember staying on my best behavior at school so I could get home every afternoon and see how Goky vs Frieza would play out. Perhaps nothing has changed.
How do you feel about a new generation of Dragon Ball Z fans coming along with Dragon Ball Super? If, as a long time fan, you feel at all threatened by them, just remember this. You are cool to them! You'r the bigger kid who's been around longer, and knows the ropes! Turn this new phase of the Dragon Ball Z fandom into something positive!