Iconic Animated Series Shocks Fans, Turns Entire Cast into Kids

in Entertainment, Television

animated-series

Credit: ITM

The art of cinema has inspired nearly 130 years’ worth of artists to create impactful stories through a variety of platforms. While live-action movies and television have been two of the biggest titans of entertainment, animation has evolved to rival them equally. Now, one of the most acclaimed animated series of all time has left many fans baffled as they announced that the new season will pull a “Muppet Babies” by turning the entire cast into children.

muppet babies
Credit: Disney

Even with the lengthy legacies of The Simpsons, SpongeBob Square Pants, or Avatar: The Last Airbender, Dragon Ball remains one of the most popular and expansive cinematic universes in animation history. The show was based on the celebrated Japanese comic series (AKA manga) that debuted in 1984. It would be adapted into a Japanese animation style known as ‘anime’ in 1986. Since it has a mythology as dense and complicated as Star Wars or Doctor Who, here is the basic premise of the franchise for the uninitiated.

dragon-ball-manga
Credit: Shueisha

The original anime series plays out like the classic retelling of Superman. A baby alien crash lands on Earth after the destruction of their planet, Vegeta. The infant would be discovered by a martial arts master who would train him to be the ultimate warrior. This prodigy, Goku, was a talented, curious, and mischievous child who used his superpowers of strength, speed, and energy projection to compete in fighting tournaments, battle with corrupt gangs, and search for seven mystical orbs called ‘dragon balls.’

dragon-ball
Credit: Toei Animation

Once all the dragon balls were found and joined together, they would function like a genie’s lamp to grant its summoner one to three wishes. The light-hearted show would pivot from this storyline as Goku became an adult in Dragon Ball Z. Instead, they would introduce new action-heavy sagas involving powerful, invasive alien species or menacing androids looking to control or destroy the Earth. Goku would build a team of trusted allies to help protect humanity at all costs. This more dramatic evolution of the series would attract a massive fanbase with its compelling character arcs, riveting fight sequences, and stunningly drawn animation.

dragon-ball-z-characters
Credit: Toei Animation

Even after Dragon Ball Z ended in 1996, its syndication on numerous animation networks would generate a whole new generation of fans. After a long hiatus from animation, Dragon Ball would come blasting back with an approved sequel series called Dragon Ball Super in 2015. This series would galvanize the fanbase’s desire to have more Dragon Ball stories, but there was no confirmed plans for a revival by creator, Akira Toriyama, after the show officially ended in 2018. Yet, fans felt it could return since the manga was an ongoing series.

dragon-ball-super
Credit: Toei Animation

At New York Comic Con yesterday, Toei Animation revealed that a new Dragon Ball series will debut next year. Dragon Ball Daima will be the latest upcoming saga which will center around several classic Dragon Ball characters. The series will star the legendary Goku, the fan favorite “bad boy” Vegeta, and the sassy genius Bulma. However, the creative team divulged that the entire cast of characters will be transformed into children.

dragon-ball-daima
Credit: Toei Animation

Executive producer, Akio Iyoku, stated that the series creator, Toriyama was “deeply involved beyond his usual capacity” in its creation. He continued with, “[He] has planned entirely new episodes for the storyline.” This news set the internet ablaze with confused, delighted and angered fan reactions since the Comic-Con panel. Here are some of the responses:

***WARNING: NSFW Fan Reactions Ahead***

Fan reaction to Dragon Ball Daima in a nutshell
byu/Toon_Lucario inDragonballsuper

Many critics are surprised by the choice as there has already been a storyline that featured Goku as a child called Dragon Ball GT. This series would later be removed as canon and became the forsaken love-child of the Dragon Ball universe. Although Toei Animation did not provide many specifics about why the Dragon Ball heroes will become children, the company attempted to reassure fans by dropping a new teaser to set the tone for the new installment.

Despite the lack of a definitive plot, the animation in the teaser looks phenomenal, and Toriyama’s involvement suggests that Dragon Ball Daima‘s narrative may have a little more impact than GT‘s did when it debuts in Fall 2024.

What do you think of this reveal for the celebrated animated series? Will this familiar premise put off the fans or is it a refreshing new take?

in Entertainment, Television

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