A Recap of the Dragon Ball Special Panel at San Diego Comic Con 2021

It’s been two years since the entertainment world’s seen one of its most hallowed events, the San Diego Comic Con, occur in person. And it’s all thanks to the fun-killing menace that is COVID-19. As a result, this marks the second year where SDCC’s been held online, and while that’s still a downer, we’ve made do with some fun panels. Case in point, the opening day of Comic Con gave anime fans a special look at the next film in the legendary Dragon Ball franchise. Whether you got the chance to see it live, or don’t have the time and just want a quick rundown, here’s a recap of what happened at the Dragon Ball Special Panel.

A Legendary Song By a Legendary Singer Starts the Show

If you grew up watching anime in the 90s and early 2000’s, you’ll probably recognize this phrase: “Cha-La Head-Cha-La.” Arguably the most important words in all of anime, this phrase is also the title to the theme song of the Dragon Ball franchise. Most fans of the series will recognize the song by those words alone.

Those who tuned in to see the Dragon Ball Special Panel were in for a major treat. Not only did they get to hear that iconic song, they got to watch it be sung by the guy who first performed it, Hironobu Kageyama. It’s been thirty-two years since he released that song, but he’s still got it.

SDCC 2021 Dragon Ball Special Panel-Hironobu Kageyama Sings Cha-La Head-Cha-La
The legend sings the legendary song; Source-San Diego Comic Con, Toei Animation

The Panel Had Some Legendary Guests Taking Part,

While SDCC is still being held online, the Dragon Ball special panel was lucky enough to have everyone taking part in it in the same room. Besides the moderator, the guests included Akio Iyoku, who serves as an editor for series creator Akira Toriyama. Norihiro Hayashida, the producer for DBZ: Ressurection ‘F’, Dragon Ball Super: Broly, and the upcoming Dragon Ball film. Lastly, we have the Japanese voice of Goku herself, Masako Nozawa. She’s 84 years old, and she’s still going strong!

A Word From Akira Toriyama

With the focus of the panel being on the upcoming movie, one big question was just how involved would series creator, Akira Toriyama, be? Akio and the others let fans know that, much like Broly, Toriyama was deeply involved in this new film. In fact, he was already on the script for the next film while on the set for Broly.

Artwork for the New Film Revealed

With Toriyama’s extensive involvement in the movie came some of his famous drawing skills, and the panel guests were more than happy to showcase it for us. Fans were delighted to see artwork and character drawings created for the new movie, with many surprised by the attention to detail put into them. For example, if you look at Piccolo, you’ll notice that his arms now match his color scheme in the manga. What was even more surprising, though, was the reveal that the Namekian now has his own house. Until now, everyone assumed he was either homeless or lived on the Lookout.

  • SDCC 2021 Dragon Ball Special Panel Artwork 3
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In addition to some new artwork for Krillin and a look at two new characters for the film, fans went gaga over one particular image. That image being Pan, Goku’s granddaughter, dressed in a kindergarten uniform, which is beyond adorable.

  • SDCC 2021 Dragon Ball Special Panel Artwork 1
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  • SDCC 2021 Dragon Ball Special Panel Artwork 2

The New Movie’s Title Revealed, Along With A Teaser Clip

As the panel came to an end, fans got two more surprises as we finally learned the title for the upcoming movie: Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. While the franchise is no stranger to superheroes, with Goku’s son, Gohan, having the alter ego of the Great Saiyaman, this is the first time that the franchise will focus primarily on them. Some fans see the title as bland, and may criticize it for jumping on the superhero bandwagon, but the jury’s still out on whether it will make a good movie. In addition, we also got a look at a brief teaser for the film, featuring a notably more CGI designed Goku. Could this be a sign that Dragon Ball’s making the switch from 2D to CGI? For now, fans can only speculate.

SDCC 2021 Dragon Ball Special Panel-Dragon Ball Super Super Hero
Source-San Diego Comic Con, Toei Animation

A Lot to Look Forward To

Whether or not you think the news about DB Super: Superhero is good or bad, you can’t deny the fact that Dragon Ball is determined to keep going for as long as possible. With the franchise having been around for more than thirty years, one would expect it to have packed it in a long time ago. However, much like its main hero Goku, it refuses to throw in the towel. If anything, the fact that we’re getting another Dragon Ball film proves that there are more stories left to tell. I, for one, am looking forward to how this new movie turns out.

Click here to see the panel for yourself.