An Overview of the New Dragon Ball Arc
The new Dragon Ball arc of Dragon Ball Super will prove to be one of the most exciting of the series yet!
The events of Dragon Ball Super opened with a bang—the introduction of the God of Destruction, Beerus, and Goku's first Super Saiyan God transformation (known as Super Saiyan Blue)—and never let up. Broly, about as beloved as an antagonist can get, made his debut as a part of the Dragon Ball canon in Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Goku and Vegeta's fusion, Gogeta, also made an appearance in that same movie. Not too long before that was their fusion into Vegito in the "Future" Trunks Saga, and, as if that wasn't enough, the Tournament of Power Saga treated audiences to what was essentially a 50 episode long fight scene. What it lacked in complexity, it made up for in beautiful animation and a plethora of quirky, fascinating, powerful characters.
The Dragon Ball Super manga, on the other hand, has been doing just that. The new Dragon Ball arc, The Galactic Prisoner Patrol Saga, has brought us both something fresh, in a brand new villain and a dose of nostalgia, in revisiting the Namekian population that are now living on a new planet.
In the new Dragon Ball Super arc, Goku and Vegeta's lives have slowed down, but they simply weren't made for that kind of life. Conflict finds them easily, and within a few illustrated pages, they are agreeing to help find a recently escaped prisoner: a goat-man named Moro. The Dragon Ball character Moro was once a powerful wizard who had gotten hungry for the life force of others. His binge-eating killed thousands, destroyed over 300 planets, and made him powerful enough to wage war on the Supreme Kais of Universe 7. The Grand Supreme Kai, who rules over an entire universe, died to lock him away—a testament to his strength alone.
Of course, after 10 million years in jail—with no innocent souls to swallow—he weakens.
And now, he's hungry.
The Namekians created the titular Dragon Balls. This makes them one of the most important species in the entire Dragon Ball universe, yet they've been living in hiding since it was torn apart by Frieza, Vegeta, and the fighting they brought with them way back in Dragon Ball Z. Moro goes after them to get his hands on some Dragon Balls in order to wish for his former strength.
What he intends to do after that is unspecified so far, but there's no doubt that it won't be good. He'd have the power to challenge the universe deities again. Should they fail to defeat him this time, Moro would be free to eat up the entire universe. After that, who knows? Maybe he'd create a farming system of mortals to keep him fed. Maybe he'd just move on to the next universe.
Fortunately for everyone, Goku and Vegeta exist to keep it from getting that far.
Goku never backs down from an opponent. Sure, he gets scared like everyone else; but where most people may realize that they can decide not to fight, that type of thought never seems to cross Goku’s mind. He’s shown it time and time again, starting from when he's featured as 13 years of age to when he’s a grandfather in Dragon Ball Super, and he’s shown no signs of slowing down. For all his sweet naïveté and adorable laughter, it's hard to picture him losing—especially after mastering Ultra Instinct.
But he can't fully rely on his transformations in this fight. So many times in his history, it was raw determination that pulled him through. When his lifetime of perfecting martial arts techniques and training his body failed him, it was his spirit that allowed him to access new Super Saiyan transformations.
What does he do when faced with an opponent that can drain his energy by merely touching him? In his attempt to turn Super Saiyan Blue, Vegeta couldn't even transform into a normal Super Saiyan.
This new arc will likely see the leading man searching for a way to outclass Moro that doesn't involve being faster or stronger.
Goku has been consistently relied on as the archetypical "good guy" from the start. It can even be argued that he's not a violent guy—he doesn't fight because he wants to harm people. He just likes the challenge, wants to protect the people he loves, and strives to find new levels of strength within himself.
He believes in the good in people.
There's never any doubt that he will strive to do the right thing.
We can't, however, say the same for Vegeta.
Vegeta has done a lot of bad things—chief among them is his (shameless, ruthless, kind of badass) destruction of an entire Namekian village. This was back when his sole interest was to be the strongest living being in the universe. Maybe that urge is still there, but his priorities have changed, and innocent lives are no longer a disposable resource for that goal.
Moro comes very close to eating a Namekian child, only for Vegeta to rush in and rescue him.
"I have a troubled history with these Namekians. I did them untold harm. So no, I can't allow even one more of them to perish."—Vegeta, Dragon Ball Super, Chapter 44. "Kakarot. Let me take this one."
(Maybe Ultra Instinct is out of his reach, but Vegeta's mastered gravitas in a way Goku never will.)
Vegeta has a very personal stake in this fight: redemption for all his wrongdoings. Upon him and Goku's arrival on New Namek, he doesn't even face the Namekians, nor does he speak to them. Maybe that's him being his grumpy self, or maybe it's the guilt he feels for hurting so many Namekians.
Ever since he teamed up with Gohan and Krillin against the Ginyu Force, Vegeta's been on a slow yet steady, sometimes rocky, often painful path to hero status. His newfound purity of heart was confirmed in the Dragon Ball Super: Battle of Gods, when he was allowed to participate in the Super Saiyan God ritual. Besides Yamcha making a couple of muttered jabs about how he's such a jerk though, and people wondering out loud if he's gone evil again every time he punches someone, Vegeta's been allowed to leave his mistakes behind him. Maybe The Galactic Prisoner Patrol Saga is the time he faces—and more importantly makes up for—his past.
Bringing the Story to Life
"I like seeing the story come to life," is what a friend told me recently.
The Dragon Ball Super manga is beautifully illustrated and written, and captures the heart of the story, portraying determination and resilience as well as any other artistic medium could—but the action just works so well for animation.
The Dragon Ball Super anime, created by the renowned Akira Toriyama, has generally followed the manga's storyline. A strange goat-man condensing entire planets into orbs of energy small enough to fit in his mouth may see like a tall order, but after what we saw in the latest episodes of Dragon Ball Super, we have high expectations. Goku and Vegeta's struggles with Moro have already brought us one great fight scene of Vegeta facing off against Moro. It will only bring more fisticuffs, and maybe a space battle between Moro and The Galactic Patrol. Seeing those scenes animated and voiced should be an interesting experience that (might) top the "Tournament of Power" and the Broly movie.
The Endless Possibilities
The Galactic Patrol Prisoner arc has yet to be completed, but it's already off to a great start. Fans, like me, are excited to see how the new Dragon Ball arc challenges the heroes, and how Dragon Ball Super2019 will ultimately bring them to new heights, transformations, and battle tactics.