During its time, the Granolah arc and the events of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero have been running parallelly in different formats (The Manga & Movie respectively). But fans have been wondering whether the film is part of the Manga continuity and if it were so, where would it be placed? After the Moro arc? Before the Granolah arc? And in which year does it take place?
The confusion arose after Executive Producer and Toriyama’s right-hand man Akio Iyoku vaguely answered fan questions in New York Comic Con 2021 regarding the film’s connection to the original Dragon Ball Manga and its placement within the Dragon Ball Super Manga.
Q. The Dragon Ball Super anime connects the story with the last chapter of the manga, but what about this movie?
Is it a continuation from the end of the manga?
I love Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball manga, so I’d be really happy if the story is connected.
Mr. Iyoku: Dragon Ball Super is a story take place in the climax time era of the Dragon Ball manga, which covers the period 10 years after fight of Goku and Majin Buu. This story is written by Toriyama-sensei, naturally it is connected to Dragon Ball.
Q. Could you tell us what period this movie is set? After the Granolah Arc but before the 28th Tenkaichi Budokai / World Tournament?
Mr. Iyoku: Thank you for reading the manga which is just out now. The Granolah Arc is still taking place in the recent chapters, so I’d like to avoid spoilers, but the new movie takes place after the BROLY movie but before the 28th Tenkaichi Budokai / World Tournament.Source: Dragon Ball Official Site
Now, that has changed as the Granolah arc has finally concluded and details about the next Dragon Ball Super Manga arc has been unveiled!
But before we jump into the main topic, let’s talk about the canonicity of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero.
Is the Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero movie Canon?
Depends on what you define as Canon & what continuity you’re referring to. But let me tell you straight off the bat that, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is Canon to both the Anime and the Manga.
According to Iyoku, there are currently two lines or continuities of Dragon Ball Super running – the Anime/movie line and the Manga line. If you’re referring to the Anime continuity, then yes, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is Canon to that since it is written as a sequel to Dragon Ball Super: Broly.
According to that continuity, it takes place after the events of the Broly film (since the script for Super Hero was decided before the Broly movie was released in theatres).
Iyoku affirms the film’s relationship to the original storyline (as stated above), as the script and dialogues were written by series creator Akira Toriyama himself. As with Battle of Gods, Resurrection “F,” and Broly, the story of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero links to its preceding arcs.
But what about the Dragon Ball Super Manga? Are the film’s events connected to that as well?
Yes. The promotional material in V-Jump and the announcement for the arc succeeding the Granolah arc confirms that.
Having said that, now let’s address the elephant in the room.
When does Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero take place in the Manga?
The events of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero take place after the Moro and the Granolah arcs in the Dragon Ball Super Manga.
Now let’s gather and analyze the evidence one by one, starting with the V-Jump promo material for the movie.
The magazine’s June 2022 issue (released on April 20, 2022) included a special recap of “Gohan’s growth” within the series from the eyes of Piccolo.
While recollecting his key moments in Dragon Ball Super, the officials included a scene from the already completed Moro arc as well!
The Moro arc isn’t adapted into an Anime at that time so they were clearly referring to the Manga continuity.
The 2nd piece of evidence comes from an advertisement in V-Jump Jan 2023 issue (released on Nov 20, 2022) where it contains details about the next Dragon Ball Super Manga arc, featuring Teen Goten & Trunks.
Within the ad contains a panel of Gohan and Piccolo in the Moro arc with the latter saying to the former “Now get out there and end this!”. Another dialogue box is sketched above that panel which has the sentence “Prequel to Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero movie!” written in it.
The Moro & Granolah arcs concluded in Chapters 67 & 87 respectively. And the next Dragon Ball Super arc begins from Chapter 88. So this clearly means that the events of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero takes place after the 1st appearance of Black Frieza.
Additionally, it seems that the succeeding arc covers not only the prequel but the entire story of the movie, starting from events that take place before the film’s main story.
This is confirmed by Dragon Ball Super’s Interval Special in Nov 2022 published in V-Jump.
But it doesn’t mean the Manga will adapt the movie scene by scene. There could be some changes depending on what fits and what does not. But the overall conclusions will be the same.
Now, here comes the most difficult question to answer pertaining to this topic.
What year is Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero exactly set in?
In simple terms, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero takes place a little more than a year before the 28th World Martial Arts Tournament, when Goku fights against Uub.
This can be figured out, approximately, by comparing Pan’s age in both the film and End of Z (EoZ).
Pan states in Super Hero that she is three years old, yet in the final chapter of Dragon Ball Z, it is revealed that Pan is four years old.
Now let’s talk dates. When does Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero gets placed within the timeline?
There is no official word yet. However, we can make ‘educated guesses’ based on guidebooks and statements by the author.
According to Daizenshuu 7, the 28th World Martial Arts Tournament happens on May 7, Age 784.
If that’s the case, then the film takes place in Age 783. Simple, right?
Hehehe. I wish.
The Daizenshuu 7 states that her birth year is Age 779. Which means she should be 5 years old in Age 784.
Did the staff in charge of writing the guidebooks make a mistake? Maybe. However, the following logic can sort of reconcile the situation:
Pan is born in Age 779. But she’s 4 years old during the 28th Budokai Tenkaichi. And that event takes place on May 7th every year. That means, she’s technically 4-going-on-5 during that time.
If that’s the case, then Pan is born sometime after May 7 in Age 779. (Thank God the Daizenshuu mentioned the exact date of the tournament).
It’s not official but according to Herms, Pan is probably born sometime around late May to June in Age 779 (glance at his Twitter thread for the logic).
Now, let’s get into the subject we dreaded in school and college (math) and figure out the exact time frame of when the movie could take place.
|Late May to June, Age 779
|Late May to June, Age 779 – Late May to June, Age 780
|Late May to June, Age 780 – Late May to June, Age 781
|Late May to June, Age 781 – Late May to June, Age 782
|Late May to June, Age 782 – Late May to June, Age 783
|Late May to June, Age 783 – May 7, Age 784
|4.9 (But still 4)
Since Pan is 3 years old in the film, the events of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero take place between Late May to June, Age 782 And Late May to June, Age 783.
It’s also curious to see how much Trunks and Goten have grow. Piccolo couldn’t even recognize them. And it’s been a while since he last saw them.
In the Anime continuity, the last time we saw Trunks and Goten was in the Broly movie. But in the Manga, they appeared in a tiny panel during the celebratory feast after killing Moro, still looking like toddlers.
So, both the Saiyans had around 1.5 – 2.5 years to initiate the growth spur. And this falls into the logic provided by Gohan in the film where he says that Saiyans stay small for a long time then suddenly begin growing faster.
This is similar to Goku being tiny for around 4 years between the age of 12 to 16. He then suddenly became gigantic after 3 years, much to the surprise of everyone.
The Saiyans’ ability to suddenly grow faster after a certain age probably hit harder for Goten and Trunks since they’re half Saiyans. And anything lesser when it comes to hybrids is better than full bloods…
Regarding the prequel of Super Hero, I’m not sure when exactly it’ll take place. The Granolah arc concludes somewhere around the later half of Age 781. It could happen anywhere between that and Late May to June, Age 782 (or even after that).
Figuring out timelines in Dragon Ball are tricky as heck, especially in Super. Still waiting for a guidebook to hit the shelves…