“Dragon Ball Super Hero”: a new film that pays homage to American comics

It is an understatement to say that this anime was expected. With more than 260 million copies sold, the manga “Dragon Ball”, created in 1984 by the Japanese Akira Toriyama, is one of the most widely read in the world. The same goes for its many derivatives in series and animated films – “Dragon Ball Z”, “Dragon Ball Super”… This “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero”, in theaters this Wednesday, is the second feature film from the series “ Dragon Ball Super”, after “Broly” in 2018.

For those who were not in front of their post in the 1990s, when the TV series “Dragon Ball” then “Dragon Ball Z” made the success of “Club Dorothée” on TF1, the plot and the characters of this new film resemble more or less to the previous ones. Originality this time, it is not Son Goku, the hero of the saga with extraordinary powers, but Son Gohan (his son) and Piccolo, who will have to face a known enemy: the evil Red Ribbon Army, defeated by Son Goku in his youth. To reconstruct it, a big boss will call on a geneticist to create indestructible cyborgs with frightening abilities, which our heroes will have a hard time eliminating…

Parents often complain about the violence of the subject of this license, most of these stories consisting of very brutal, noisy and endless fights – 20 to 40 minutes depending on the film. This new opus is no exception to the concept. However, this “Super Hero” will be able to delight fans of inspired graphics. Because, if it declines the usual graphic line of the license, the film, whose story revolves from beginning to end around the notion of superheroes, hence its title, does the same on the form.

Towards a success in the room?

Enlightened fans will quickly spot in the feature film many references to all kinds of superhero films, and especially to the great American comic books from which they are drawn – whether Marvel or DC Comics. At the turn of the images, we recognize strong homages to immense designers of the genre such as Jack Kirby, Frank Miller or Alex Ross. It’s unusual in an anime, and it contributes to the graphic success of this new film.

Finally, as for the reception that will be reserved for “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero”, we can already bet that it will settle more in the long term than its predecessor, “Broly”, in 2018, which had achieved almost 70% of its total admissions in its only week of release. Until then, this type of film was not distributed in a very large number of theaters and was the sole phenomenon of fans, who all rushed there from the first days, admissions dropping drastically thereafter.

But since “Demon Slayer” in May 2021, distributors and exhibitors have understood that interest in this type of anime could exceed that of minors alone, and that young adults who love manga culture may also want to enjoy it. , but in a less dazzling way. Admittedly, much of their success is still in the first week of release, but they stay in theaters longer and then continue to attract viewers.

Like the recent “One Piece Film – Red”: 575,000 spectators the week of its release, from August 10 to 17, and 971,000 to date, seven weeks later, and while it is still attach. “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero”, distributed by a major studio, Sony Pictures, and which tumbles over more than 400 copies, should not derogate from this new rule…

Editor’s note:

” Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero », Japanese animated film by Tetsuro Kodama. 1h39… From 9 years old.