It's been a wild ride since Dragon Ball Super made its debut in 2015. Goku, Vegeta, and friends have discovered other universes, battled gods, faced off against old foes, traveled to the future, and broken past their limits time and time again. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and Toei Animation recently announced that episode 131 will be the final Dragon Ball Super story. If you've been loving this Dragon Ball revival, don't fret! There's no way the series is gone.
The fact of the matter is, Dragon Ball Super is just way too popular for Toei to pull the plug for long. The Dragon Ball franchise is a huge part of what's keeping Toei profitable. Since Super made its debut, overall profits for the Dragon Ball brand have skyrocketed. In 2014, Dragon Ball as a whole generated ¥1.174 billion, or about $11.2 million. In 2017, that number rose to ¥9.288 billion, or around $88.7 million. That's nearly eight times the profits from just a few short years ago. There's no way Toei is going to let that kind of money disappear.
The second thing to consider is that Dragon Ball Super's narrative simply isn't complete yet. It might seem hard to top a season where the fate of the multiverse is at stake, but there's more story to tell. Toyotaro is the illustrator on the Dragon Ball Super manga, and he's also series creator Akira Toriyama's chosen successor. According to Toyotaro, the goal is for Super's story to catch up with the ending of Dragon Ball Z. While the bulk of Z's story wraps up with the defeat of Buu in Age 774, there are a few final episodes that follow a ten year time skip from the Buu saga. Dragon Ball Super picks up a few years after Buu's death, taking place in between the end of the Buu saga and the final episodes of Z. The current Tournament of Power story is set in December of 780, six years after the Buu saga. That means there's still another three and a half years left in between Super's current age and the ending of Z that Toyotaro wishes to revisit.
Next up on the list of clues that Super will return is the upcoming movie. A new movie (with Toriyama involved) is set to launch this December. Although there's no official title for it yet, Toei Animation has confirmed that it will be the first movie to carry the "Super" title, and will follow after the events of episode 131. Even though Battle of Gods and Resurrection 'F' are set during the first two seasons of Super, they were known as Dragon Ball Z movies. Why switch branding to the Super name just as you're retiring it? With the series taking some time off, launching a movie under the Super brand is the perfect way to get fans excited for the show's revival.
When Dragon Ball Super goes off air, it will be replaced in its time slot by the latest iteration of Gegege no Kitarō. However, flyers from Toei indicate that the show's run is planned for around 50 episodes. With episodes airing weekly, Dragon Ball Super's time slot could become available again as early as April or May of 2019, just a few months after the movie makes its debut. Fittingly, April also marks the 30th anniversary of Dragon Ball Z's debut in Japan.
Voice actors from the show recently gave their thoughts on the finale, and several gave hints that the show will be back. Masako Nozawa, who voices Goku, Gohan, and Goten, stated that the show is "taking a little break," but she hopes it will return "while the iron is still hot."
Piccolo voice actor Toshio Furukawa expressed similar sentiments, stating "While this episode marks the end of the TV anime for now, I expect that it will probably start up again. Of course everyone should look forward to the movie in December, but also look forward to what will happen afterwards!"
Krillin voice actor Mayumi Tanaka gave perhaps the clearest indication that the voice team expects to return, telling fans "Dragon Ball will definitely keep on going, so this doesn't really feel like the final episode. The TV anime may end, but there's still the movie and games…I think it'll be back again before too long!"
Toriyama himself has even hinted at a return, telling fans "Now then, the animated version on TV will be ending for the time being..." So Dragon Ball Super is going away for awhile, but this is almost certainly not the end, and it's probably for the best. The year off (or however long it may be) provides numerous benefits. Animators from the show can focus their efforts on making the upcoming movie a masterpiece. Toyotaro can take the year to get the manga caught up to the anime, and the English anime can catch up to its Japanese counterpart. Then, when the series makes its return, Toei's team will have had plenty of time to plan, write, and animate the return of Dragon Ball Super.
A Note From the Editor-in-Chief
Hey, everyone! I just want to take a moment to explain what's happening here. Gamnesia is a website dedicated to news about video games and the culture that surrounds them, and that's not changing. Gamnesia will always be about the games. However, when we post articles or memes (on social media) about anime-related games, we've always gotten an extremely positive reaction from our viewers. There are a few of us here at Gamnesia who are big fans of anime, so from time to time we'll be trying out articles like this. If you guys like what you see, we'll keep 'em coming!