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Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is a 2022 anime film based off the Dragon Ball franchise. It is the second film in the Super series following after Broly, the 21st film overall, and the first to be completely computer generated instead of the traditional style.
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The film sees remnants of the Red Ribbon army still seeking revenge against Goku, having created their own androids to take on the man who singlehandedly destroyed their organization. The androids are made in the form of superheroes who believe Goku to be the enemy and it doesn't take long for a clash to be imminent, made even more likely when Pan, the daughter of Gohan and Videl, ends up kidnapped by them. Will our heroes be able to face these new foes, or will the Red Ribbon Army succeed in their machinations?

The film was set to be released in Japan on April 22nd, 2022 but due to an unfortunate hacking and ransomware incident, the film was ultimately pushed back and released on June 11, 2022. A dub of the movie was released on August 19, 2022. This is also the first Dragon Ball content released under the Crunchyroll banner since Funimation's merger.

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Trailers: First Trailer | Second Trailer | Third Trailer | Fourth Trailer | Final Trailer | English Dub Trailer


Tropes:

  • Accidental Truth: To convince Hedo to help, Magenta claims that the Capsule Corporation realized their advanced technology, such as the capsules themselves and anti-gravity, thanks to help from aliens. Doctor Brief did indeed receive the technology for anti-gravity vehicles from the Galactic Patrol (specifically, he reverse-engineered it from Jaco's ship when he needed it fixed and the Patrol let him keep the design, outdated by their standards, for helping Jaco)
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Advertised Extra: Goku, being the face of the Dragon Ball franchise, was the first character revealed way back when this movie was officially announced, and he had prominence in the first trailers before the real stars of the movie, Gohan and Piccolo, were given more focus in following promos. Not wanting to waste Broly's tremendous popularity as well, he was given a trailer spot, just to show he appears in the movie, and has official merchandise in Japan for this movie in particular despite his total lack of real presence in the story.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Downplayed. Gohan has, yet again, allowed peace time to allow him to go rusty and take things easy, leaving him not at the level he could be. Unlike before, Gohan is still training, keeping his body fit & maintaining access to his power forms, though Ultimate Gohan is a bit harder to access than usual, and even teaching himself the Special Beam Cannon in private, but it's clear that this time it is a factor of motivation and time that hinders Gohan, and while he maintains his strength better than before he still sees it as a less of a priority than Piccolo would like. Indeed, the threat Cell Max posed and Goku and Vegeta not being around makes Gohan understand he needs to be better prepared and keep training.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: While far from the first piece of Dragon Ball media to be computer-animated, it's the first theatrical film to use the medium.
  • Anti-Climax: The Stinger shows the end of Goku and Vegeta's sparring match, which they've been doing off-screen for most of the film. Vegeta wins, but only after the two have become so exhausted that they're both reduced to slowly throwing punches at each other with absolutely no dramatic flare.
  • Anti-Hero: Dr. Hedo prefers straight laced heroes and creates the Gammas to be strict protectors of justice. However, Hedo is also shown to be not a particularly moral man himself, with him not above engaging in criminal behavior, blowing up prisoners for bullying him and he agrees to work with the Obviously Evil Red Ribbon due to them offering to fund his research.
  • Art Shift: The main movie is done in CGI but flashbacks to events seen previously are in 2D, done in the source art style which is most noticeable when Krillin reminds Piccolo of when he grew large to fight Goku at the end of Dragon Ball.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Dr. Hedo deliberately designed a fatal flaw in Cell Max's body in case it went out of control or the Red Ribbon Army used it for evil, in this case its head which is the only place it can be attacked to destroy it permanently.
  • Back from the Brink: The last mention of anything Red Ribbon in the main series (not counting Fighterz with Android 21 wearing the logo on her clothes) was in the Cell Saga of Dragon Ball Z, but even then that was more Gero's own ploy than the army's which quickly fell by the wayside once Androids 17 and 18 turned on him to follow their own whims and Cell, once he entered the picture, just acted of his own accord rather than in the name of the organization. This is the first time since then that Red Ribbon Army has actively gotten involved against our heroes once more: While the Red Ribbon Army proper was destroyed by Goku way back, its legal front (Red Pharmaceutics) survived and has been rebuilding the army in secret.
  • Badass Adorable: Pan has definitely inherited her family's fighter spirit, and shows off some very impressive feats considering she's only three, including one-shotting a man about 10x her size.
  • Badass in Distress: The Red Ribbon Army had seemingly kidnapped Pan, who's strong enough to take down multiple men in just one punch. In reality, Piccolo and Pan only went along with the kidnapping to inspire Gohan to fight seriously and catch the Red Ribbon Army by surprise.
  • Barrier Warrior: Gamma 2, can erect a forcefield around himself. To stand out from the others in the series his comes out as a honeycombed Beehive Barrier that deflects ki attacks rather than tanking them.
  • Battle in the Rain: Gohan confronts the Red Ribbon Army in the rain and spends a portion of it fighting. It ends when Gohan unleashes his Ultimate form, blowing away the rainclouds.
  • Behemoth Battle: Not only is Cell Max gargantuan compared to the original's size, Piccolo grows to the same height in his Orange Piccolo form, reusing an ability he hadn't used since the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Krillin stays out of the fight for the most part, but when the group is trying to distract Cell Max for Gamma 2's gambit, Krillin hops into the field and uses Solar Flare to blind Cell Max long enough for Gamma to strike.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Gohan is seen dragging Gotenks away from the blast radius of Gamma 2.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Gohan, Piccolo, and the Z Fighters manage to stop Cell Max's rampage and the Red Ribbon Army have been destroyed for good this time. Dr. Hedo and Gamma 1 are also given a fresh start after Bulma offers for them to work at Capsule Corp. However, Gamma 2 died performing an Heroic Sacrifice in order to defeat Cell Max, and like with Android 16 he cannot be revived with the Dragon Balls due to being an artificial life form lacking a soul to revive with.
  • Blatant Lies: Magenta claims to Dr. Hedo that Bulma and Capsule Corp have allied with alien threats who seek to take over the world.
  • Blind Without 'Em: As it turns out Gohan's glasses aren't just for aesthetics, when he isn't going Super Saiyan he is genuinely near sighted without them to the point that he drops a Senzu Bean that Piccolo throws for him. Piccolo wonders if going Super Saiyan somehow fixes Gohan's eyesight.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Gohan defeats Cell Max, shooting him with a Special Beam Cannon.
  • Breaking Old Trends:
    • This is the first movie since Wrath of the Dragon to not have Vegeta or Goku play major roles in Dragon Ball media. And this is the first one since Bio Broly to not have Goku play any role in the climatic battles on screen.
    • This is the first movie to have a heroic character be Killed Off for Real.
  • Breaking the Bonds: With the plan to motivate Gohan reaching its successful conclusion, Pan snaps free of her handcuffs. It was established beforehand by Piccolo that she could at any time.
  • Brick Joke: During Piccolo's fight with Gamma 2, he wonders why he keeps seeing the android's special effects. When he infiltrates the Red Ribbon base, it is revealed that 2's special effects are exactly that thanks to holographic projection.
  • Call-Back:
    • Gohan confronts Gamma 1 and 2 in a Battle in the Rain when he arrives at the Red Ribbon Army's base. In the History of Trunks special it was shown his Bad Future counterpart had his final battle with the alternate Androids 17 and 18 in similar circumstances.
    • On Gohan's desk are two photographs:
      • Goku holding the four-year-old Gohan at Roshi's Island. Resembling the first ever appearance of Gohan in the Manga Chapter 196 (October 1988).
      • A Wedding Group Photo of Gohan & Videl with Goku, Piccolo, and Goten, first appearing in Dragon Ball Super Episode 3.
    • During the Red Ribbon Army's briefing, a file photo of Vegeta is seen wearing his infamous pink shirt.
    • Piccolo recalls how the Grand Elder of Namek could bring out the latent potential of others.
    • After witnessing Piccolo unconscious at the hands of Cell Max, Gohan's breaking point visually homages his Super Saiyan 2 transformation. This even includes the darkened background with a piercing red line, followed by Cell (Max)'s reaction to this turning point.
    • Gohan missing a Senzu Bean by failing to catch it and it falls into a crack is incredibly similar to Gohan missing the Potara earring in the Buu Saga.
    • Oddly enough, to filler from the Dragon Ball Z anime - Krillin attacks Cell Max with a Kienzan, only for the attack to be completely ineffective. The same thing happened in a DBZ filler scene against the original Cell.
      • Similarly, Piccolo driving a vehicle, coming from the filler episode where Chichi forced him to get a driver's license.
    • Gotenks slams into the top of Cell Max's head in an extremely faithful recreation of when he did the same to Super Buu during their battle.
    • When Piccolo grows giant to fight Cell Max Gohan assumes that it would be enough to deal with Cell Max only for Piccolo to point out that he doesn't actually get stronger by growing. In reference to how when he grew giant to fight Goku the increased size ended up being a hindrance in the long run.
    • Cell Max's death is an inverse of the fight with Raditz, with Piccolo pinning the villain in place while Goku's son finishes the fight with the Makankosappo.
      • The shot of Gohan's Makankosappo blowing through Cell Max's head is framed almost identically to Goku's punching through Hirudegarn with the Dragon Fist.
    • Cell Max dashing past the Z-Fighters and appearing to be upside down before striking Gohan is exactly what happened to him with Hirudegarn.
    • After being soundly defeated, Cell Max (who resembles the original's Semi-Perfect form) swells up like a balloon and catastrophically detonates. Thankfully, the blast is far from the planet buster his predecessor's was.
  • The Cameo: Grand Elder Guru, Frieza, King Cold, Future Trunks, Android 19, Android 17, Cell (in all his forms), and Majin Buu all make brief flashback appearances throughout the movie.
  • Canon Immigrant: The concept of Dr. Gero's wife known as Android 21, or rather the person she is based after, first introduced in Dragon Ball Fighter Z is formally placed as canon in this movie: Vomi is her human name, wife of Dr. Gero and mother of two, an unspecified one and Gevo, the one Android 16 was based after. Hedo is the son of the unnamed child, making him Gero and Vomi's grandson. This movie, however, only canonized Dr. Gero's wife Vomi, taking Android 21's design entirely - the character as seen in FighterZ is not acknowledged.
  • Canon Welding: The film incorporates numerous revelations given about the Red Ribbon Army and Dr Gero's family given in side-material since the original manga's conclusion into the main canon, all to lead into the reveal of Cell Max.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • While on Beerus's homeworld, Vegeta comments to Goku that, after fighting against Jiren, he realized that Jiren's strength came from him having no wasted movements and only using as little energy as possible until the moment of an attack; something that Goku comments he didn't pick up on. When the two begin their spar, Beerus comments that Vegeta's movements are slightly different then usual. The Stinger shows Vegeta, having learned that lesson, is able to edge out Goku's stamina in their fight, resulting in him falling and Vegeta winning.
    • At the start of the movie Dr. Hedo tells Magenta that he injected himself with a solution that makes his skin invulnerable to bullets and blunt force trauma. This comes into play later as it saves his life when Magenta turns on him, and later on, his skin allows him to survive from Cell Max's rampage. His skin-strengthening design also ends up piquing Bulma's interest, leading to her offering him a job at Capsule Corp at the end of the movie..
    • Early on, when Piccolo asks for his full potential to be unleashed to Shenron, the dragon does so, then tells him that he threw in something extra. The way he says it, it sounds like it's the mirror so he can look himself over. In reality, it's the Orange Piccolo form.
  • Climax Boss: Cell Max is the Final Boss of the movie, but lacks agency of his own due to being a mindless artificial Kaiju.
  • Combat Breakdown: Happens twice for laughs and played seriously once.
    • Gohan and Gamma 1's fight ends with the two of them evenly matched and resorting to awkwardly grappling each other's faces, with Gohan's fingers in Gamma 1's mouth.
    • The fight against Cell Max has the Z Fighters giving it their all against the ultimate threat and in the end Piccolo is reduced to grappling Cell Max to try and hold it in place for Gohan to land the killing blow.
    • Goku and Vegeta's "no super forms, no ki blasts" sparring match starts with then flying through the air and demolishing the landscape but when returned to post-credits, ends with the two of them exhausted and throwing weak punches at each other in a crater with Vegeta finally knocking Goku down before he also collapses.
  • Composite Character: While Cell Max visually resembles the original Cell's Semi-Perfect form, his role is similarly written to two movie-exclusive villains: Bio-Broly and Hirudegarn. Like Cell Max, the former was an in-universe attempt to recreate and weaponize their original super-powered fighter who was killed by Goku's family. The latter was a giant, insectoid-like rampaging beast capable of over-powering the Z-Fighters even at their strongest.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • This movie reveals what was speculated in Broly that Bulma uses the Dragon Balls to make herself look younger every year. However, this conflicts greatly with End of Z which establishes that Bulma has aged normally like any other human, which is why she complains about the Saiyans not doing the same. Notably, this film happens one year prior to the End of Z.
    • Teen Trunks now has blue hair (much like his future self did in Super), yet Gotenks still has purple in his hair.
  • Crisis Makes Perfect: Pan can't fly while training in the beginning, but with Krillin's encouragement, manages to fly to save her life during the climactic fight with Cell Max.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Piccolo in his new "Potential Unleashed" state is able give Gamma 2 a much better fight than previously, however, does gradually become overwhelmed by the android.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The film mostly focuses on Gohan and Piccolo being the main heroes this time around, as opposed to the usual Goku and Vegeta. This is enforced by the cover art as seen above- Goku and Vegeta are off to the side, while Gohan and Piccolo take center stage.
  • Deliberately Distressed Damsel: Piccolo convinces Pan to play along with the Red Ribbon Army's plan to kidnap her, as he believes that Gohan finding out his daughter is in potential danger will trigger his parental instincts and reawaken his fighting spirit. It's made very clear that Pan is never in danger while she's at the Red Ribbon base, as she can easily flee, Piccolo is there, and the only remotely dangerous enemies are the Gamma Androids that are unwilling to hurt a child.
  • Demoted to Extra: Gohan and Piccolo truly are the stars of this movie; Goku and Vegeta do not play a hand in the conflict at all. The two Saiyans remain focused on their training amongst each other and Broly, being completely unaware of the late dire situation due to a comedic communication impediment between Bulma on Earth, and Goku's training party.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Goku, Vegeta, and Broly spend the movie training on Beerus' planet with Whis, due to an ice cream tub-related mishap with his staff, not answering his phone when Bulma calls. Buu is also taking another nap, so he's effectively out of commission. Whis finally does notice the call at the end of the film, and openly wonders what they've all missed on Earth.
  • Disability-Negating Superpower: It's revealed that Gohan doesn't need glasses when he goes Super Saiyan.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: With Goku and Vegeta (and by extension, Whis, Beerus, and Broly) busy with their own story, Gohan, Piccolo, and the rest of the Z Fighters available are the main focus of the movie's plot. They all hold their own and emerge victorious against Cell Max but Gohan believes in hindsight that, even if Goku and Vegeta joined in, the fight wouldn't have been less difficult.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Piccolo dons a Red Ribbon uniform at their headquarters. Thankfully for him, the only distinguishing marks visible are around his eyes.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Due to extensive surveillance, Red Ribbon has learned of the Saiyans, Piccolo, and Majin Buu and discovered that they're all allies of Capsule Corp, leading them to believe that Bulma is the ringleader of an evil alien alliance to conquer Earth and that Dr. Gero and Cell died in failed attempt to stop them.
  • Fastball Special: Due to flubbing the Fusion Dance, the heroes opt to use fat Gotenks as a human cannonball against Cell Max.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: When a Red Ribbon soldier points a gun at Gohan to intimidate him, Gohan nonchalantly flicks the gun right out of hands.
  • Flawed Prototype: Thanks to Magenta spitefully activating Cell Max before he was ready, he ends up becoming a massive, berserker beast unable to heal.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • At the very start of the movie, Pan complains about how hard it is to learn how to fly; later, during the battle with Cell Max, she ends up managing to fly in order to escape an energy blast that destroys the ground she's standing on. This acts as a mirror of Gohan's reluctance to put in the training necessary to achieve his full potential, only for him to successfully manifest it as Gohan Beast when he thinks Piccolo has been killed.
    • An extremely subtle one when Piccolo forces weighted armor on Gohan. Initially Gohan acts like it is too heavy for him, but then immediately walks around in it normally and even does his research while wearing it. This hints that Gohan has been secretly training despite his workload, as he confirms to Piccolo after the final battle.
  • Fusion Dance: Goten and Trunks decide to help Gohan and Piccolo, fusing into Gotenks. However, they flub the dance, forcing them to fight as Fat Gotenks.
  • Gangsta Style: This is how Carmine consistently uses his handgun.
  • The Glasses Come Off: Gohan arrives at the Red Ribbon headquarters wearing his glasses, which he takes off as he goes Super Saiyan.
  • Golden Super Mode: Gohan is studying a recently-discovered breed of ant that turns gold when fighting. He names them "Super Saiy-ants", much to Piccolo's distaste.
  • Handshake Substitute: Seeing their plan to motivate Gohan succeed, Pan and the disguised Piccolo bump fists.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Gamma 2 uses all of his remaining energy in a do-or-die attack in order to destroy Cell Max's head. Sadly, due to Cell Max blocking him, the best he does is heavily damage him, rendering him without an arm. Like Android #16 all those years ago, he can't be brought back; due to having being made rather than born.
  • Hidden Depths: Videl and Gohan keep buying Piccolo items involving an adorable penguin-beaked cat creature despite the Namekian vocally expressing his disdain for them. Likewise, Lemo is revealed to be an incredibly skilled chef while on Beerus' planet (which he explains as having done a lot of work in the canteens when he was serving in Frieza's army), which quickly endears him to the God of Destruction.
  • History Repeats: Like in the Android Saga in Dragon Ball Z, remnants of the Red Ribbon Army emerge once again to exact revenge on Goku and/or his friends, using a new generation of Androids. Like the Cell Saga, Gohan awakens a new power when his friends are in danger in a climactic battle. Coincidentally, it involves a new Cell.
  • Honor Before Reason: Dende points out that a well placed wish to Shenron would quickly take care of Red Ribbon's schemes but also knows that Piccolo's pride as a warrior wouldn't abide taking such an easy way out.
  • I Got Bigger: When Trunks and Goten arrive at the Red Ribbon Army's base Piccolo is taken aback as they now physically resemble young adults as oppose to the child like forms they had in Super. Gohan states that all Saiyans stay small for a while before getting massive growth spurts, retroactively explaining Goku's rapid growth in the OG show and why Trunks and Goten still looked like children during Super. Although this explanation has already been given via interviews by Toriyama, and this is the first instance where it's outright stated by the characters.
  • Immune to Bullets: Yes Orange Piccolo is completely bulletproof much to chagrin of the Red Ribbon Army. Who'da thunk??
  • Improvised Training: In the most absurd way; Piccolo growing impatient and disappointed with Gohan's neglect of Pan and his training as a warrior actually plots a way to manipulate Red Pharmaceuticals' own plan to get back at Goku into being unwitting actors to make Gohan get off his ass. As in, Piccolo has Pan play the captured victim so Gohan will pay attention to her and fight whatever Red Pharmaceuticals throws at them on the way, forcing Gohan to shake his fighting rust off and make rescuing Pan his sole focus.
  • Kick the Dog: Bad enough that Carmine refuses to let Pan have a single cookie, but he even goes as far to eat one right in front of her.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The activation of Cell Max by Magenta; turns out most of the movie's plot was just a silly squabble by Magenta sweet-talking Dr. Hedo into seeing everyone affiliated with the Capsule Corporation (Goku and friends) as villains to be defeated by Red Pharmaceuticals, thus Gamma 1 and Gamma 2 are created to be heroes who defeat said "villains"; Piccolo uses this ploy to force Gohan to pay more attention to Pan and go back to grow as a warrior, planning with Pan for her to play the kidnapped victim while Piccolo pretends to be a Red Ribbon soldier, forcing Gohan to storm the base and rescue his daughter, getting his fighting spirit back by fighting the new androids. All ends almost well when Piccolo ends the charade, then Cell Max is forced to awaken, that's when the movie turns serious and everyone focuses their efforts to take him down.
  • Lighter and Softer: Zigzagged. Compared to the previous film, Super Hero is fairly light-hearted and comedic. Even the conflict between the Z Fighters and Gammas 1 & 2 was due to a misunderstanding caused by Magenta's manipulations. Then Cell Max awakens and the tone of the film darkens considerably.
  • Love Redeems: Downplayed, but Beerus developing a crush on Cheelai seems to bring out a nicer side of him; aside from offering to help her fetch some ice cream (something the incredulous Whis says has never happened before), he also invites Lemo to join them.
  • Male Gaze: Cheelai's butt gets a decent amount of screen time (especially relative to Cheelai's appearance herself) in the movie. Likewise Bulma's buttocks get a bit of focus, especially since one of the wishes she uses with the Dragon Balls is to make them firmer. One scene even smash cuts from Cheelai's butt straight to Bulma's.
  • The Man Behind the Man: It's heavily implied that Magenta was the one to fund Dr. Gero's research into the androids and Cell.
  • Metaphorically True: While Magenta's claims of the Capsule Corp is primarily built on lies, it is true that they're affiliated with people who have a past history of villainy: King Piccolo, Majin Buu, and (though not mentioned by Magenta) Vegeta. Even Goku had a tie to villainy, as his brother Raditz was one and he was originally conceptualized to be sent to Earth to destroy it. Of course, this is completely ignoring the fact that many of them have changed their ways.
  • Minor Living Alone: When Carmine lists Hedo's backstory, he states that his parents died when he was young, and the budding genius effectively raised himself afterwards.
  • Mugging the Monster: The Red Ribbon Army sends normal human soldiers to capture Pan so they can lure Gohan to their base, not knowing that the 3-year-old girl is already showing signs of her superpowered Saiyan heritage. She knocks out one of the soldiers instantly when she realizes a stranger is after her.
  • Mundane Utility: Bulma has been hogging the Dragon Balls for some time, and typically uses their wish allowance on the magical equivalent of cosmetic surgery (though it does serve a secondary purpose of keeping them away from Frieza). Piccolo calls her out on how petty that is.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: When Bulma shows up with a handful of fighters to help out, she says she brought the strongest fighters she knows... and Krillin.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In the opening recap of the Red Ribbon Army's history, the Flying Nimbus is purple like in the original colored manga pages instead of it's usual yellow.
      • Additionally, the transition to Android 19 and 20 resembles the "x-ray" arm construction from the intro of the Android Saga.
    • After having his inner potential unlocked, the amazed Piccolo repeats a few lines from the famous "Motivational Piccolo" dub scene from when he fused with Nail.
    • Piccolo's new Super Mode gains red eyes. The Namekian god-tier transformation in Dragon Ball Heroes (and first seen in Dragon Ball Online's trailer) was accompanied by red eyes. Piccolo's in this form also resembles how the Nameless Namekian and young Kami were depicted in the Dragon Ball Z anime.
    • Gohan's final transformation in the film grants him large Super Saiyan 2-stylized white hair, along with red pupils. This mirrors the look of Goku's Super Saiyan depiction from the Limited Color edition of the manga.
    • Aside from Cell Max's similarities to Bio-Broly and Hirudegarn mentioned under Composite Character, Cell Max's red coloration also resembles Genome / Android Berserker's (a Cell expy himself) god-tier transformation in Dragon Ball Heroes.
    • Gohan using the Special Beam Cannon to kill Cell Max may be a reference to several video gamesnote  where his future counterpart can use the move.
    • Krillin, Android 18, Goten, and Trunks joining the fight against Cell Max, a substitute of the original Cell is very reminiscent of them fighting Bio-Broly, a substitute of the original Broly.
    • Gohan is revealed to be an entomologist. In the Non-Serial Movie Dead Zone, which took place way back before the Saiyan Saga, then 4-year old Gohan was shown to be studying insects already.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer shows that Pan is in danger, being the main drive for Gohan to save the day. However, the full movie shows that she's less in danger thanks to Piccolo's training. The only reason she's in this predicament at all is because Piccolo is with her and he can motivate Gohan to training more.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
  • No-Sell: After transforming into his Beast form, Gohan tanks a punch from Cell Max without even budging an inch.
  • Oh, Crap!: Hedo says the trope word-for-word when Magenta activates the incomplete Cell Max, against all advice, in his dying moments.
  • Outrun the Fireball: When Cell Max blows up, the heroes have to fly away from the massive explosion. If anything, poor Krillin just ends up buried upside down.
  • Papa Wolf: Exploited by the Red Ribbon Army and Piccolo. Magenta orders for Gohan's daughter Pan to be kidnapped and taken to their base to lure Gohan into a trap. Gohan arrives to save her and, naturally, doesn't look too happy with her kidnappers. Piccolo, who overhears the plan in disguise, has Pan play along (since she can mostly take care of herself), hoping this will be a wake-up call for Gohan as both a fighter and a father. Not only does Gohan become extremely angry, he bursts out of the plane that is transporting him to the enemy's base, possibly killing the pilot with the resulting explosion without caring about the consequence.
  • Previously on…: The movie starts with a 2D re-animated montage of a summary for the entire Red Ribbon Army conflict against Goku since childhood all the way to Gohan vs. Cell, and curiously enough the rendition of Gohan and Goku Father-Son Kamehameha is manga accurate this time around, with Goku being in his base form.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Once Piccolo goes Orange, Gamma 2 delivers a rapid fire set of punches to his midsection, only to realize that his punches are doing absolutely nothing and is terrified before Piccolo lays him out with one punch.
  • Real Time: Used for a gag: at one point Magenta shows Dr. Hedo cell phone video footage of Trunks' fight with Frieza. Consistent with the idea that the fights are too fast for normal eyes and minds to comprehend, the entire confrontation lasts only seconds.
  • Remembered I Could Fly: Piccolo forgot that he can turn into a giant, Krillin has to remind him he had that ability. Likewise he utilizes his stretchy arm ability in the climax of the fight to hold Cell Max in place for Gohan to finish him off with a Special Beam Cannon.
  • Retcon: Subverted. Magenta and the Red Ribbon Army are aware of Majin Buu's existence and abilities, despite the fact that during the Buu Saga, knowledge of who he is and what he's capable of was wished away. However, this wish only took away people's memories at the time; people have since been made aware of Majin Buu's general existence as a "student" under Mr. Satan in Super, and some of his capabilities, but simply don't remember that he was a menace to the world. As such, Magenta's framing of him as a threat is technically the truth, insofar as it used to be the case.
  • The Reveal: Gohan has always worked towards being a scholar but the subject of his studies has never been previously established. This film reveals that Gohan is an entomologist.
  • Revenge: The Red Ribbon Army is still holding a grudge for their defeat in the original Dragon Ball and want to take it out on Goku and his allies. Ironically they never get the chance to fight Goku as he is busy training on Beerus's homeworld and their ambitions are squashed after their defeat at Gohan, Piccolo, and the earth based Z-Fighters' hands.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: When Cell Max realizes Gohan's new form has him outmatched, he tries to flee - only to be stopped by Piccolo.
  • Shared Signature Move: Gohan deals the final blow to Cell Max with his own version of Piccolo's Special Beam Cannon, which he taught himself in secret out of respect for Piccolo.
  • Shifted to CGI: This is the first Dragon Ball movie to be animated in CGI, albeit in a cel-shaded look to replicate the artstyle and animation of the franchise thus far.
  • Shout-Out:
    • With his two fins on his head, powers and boisterous attitude along with being voiced by Mamoru Miyano, Gamma 2 can be considered a walking reference to Ultraman Zero.
    • To Shin Godzilla. During the climax, the Kaiju-esque monster Cell Max starts shooting a barrage of purple laser beams in all directions, just like the titular monster did in the movie when devastating Tokyo.
  • Spell My Name with an S: In the artbook for Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot Dr. Gero's son's name was revealed to be Gebo. In this movie, his name is spelled as Gevo, in English, when Dr. Hedo's family tree is detailed.
  • Spin-Offspring: Magenta is the son of the original Commander Red. Dr. Hedo meanwhile is Dr Gero's grandson, and continuing much of his grandfather's work (albeit with far more noble intentions).
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Dende briefly suggests using the Dragon Balls to wish the Red Ribbon army away. Though he immediately dismisses this, well aware that Piccolo's pride won't allow for such a cowardly move.
  • The Stinger: In the post-credits scene, Vegeta has officially bested Goku in their sparring match from the middle of the film. And Bulma gets back at Whis for not answering her call by claiming she had something delicious for the angel, but it got cold when he didn't answer.
  • Strong and Skilled: In addition to being the "mightiest androids, the Gammas also naturally increase in skill the longer they fight a powerful opponent.
    • Despite Orange Piccolo's increased bulk, he does not lose an ounce of finesse. If anything he just gains the raw power to match his vast technical skill.
  • Super Mode: Quite a few:
    • Piccolo starts off showing off his "Potential Unleashed" form, gaining a yellowish-green coloring on his skin. He later reveals a second transformation, a "little extra" bonus granted by Shenron after wishing for his Potential Unleashed form. Dubbed Orange Piccolo, it turns his skin orange and bulks up his physique and height comparably to Lord Slug or Pilina. It's strong enough to No-Sell attacks from the Gammas, but not enough to deal with Cell Max; only barely holding Cell Max off long enough for each stage of their strategy to defeat him.
    • Cell Max's rampage on everyone, culminating in Orange Piccolo's defeat, ends up being the trigger for Gohan to reach new heights, creating the new "Gohan Beast" form.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: The junk food around Whis' staff prevents Bulma from calling in Goku and Vegeta to deal with Cell Max, leading to the likes of #18, Krillin, Goten, and Trunks to aid Gohan and Piccolo. When Whis finally realizes he's been called, the threat's already taken care of, making Whis ponder what could have happened.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Downplayed with the "evil" part, but just like when Gohan turned into a Super Saiyan 2 for the first time and when he became Ultimate Gohan for the first time, Gohan's inner arrogant Blood Knight comes to the front and mocks his opponent after becoming Gohan Beast. This time however, Piccolo manages to bring him back to his senses before any damage is done.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • While Pan can handle herself fine thanks to Piccolo's training, she is still too young to take part in any truly dangerous fights. When the monstrous Cell Max starts wrecking havoc, she stays with Bulma and Krillin for safety. In contrast, Gohan has fought even deadlier enemies when he was her age back in DBZ, whether he wanted to or not, so neither he nor Piccolo want to risk getting Pan hurt/killed.
    • Trunks and Goten haven't used fusion in a while so naturally they are out of practice and flub it during their attempt and are forced to spend the rest of the fight against Cell Max as Fat Gotenks.
  • Sweet Tooth: Hedo spends most of the movie eating Oreos and drinking milk.
  • Theme Naming: The movie details Dr. Gero's bloodline, naming most of them, as follows: Gero, Vomi his wife (Android 21's basis), Gevo his son (Android 16's basis), an unspecified child, and Dr. Hedo the son of this unspecified one, being Gero and Vomi's grandson, they are all named after Japanese and English terms for regurgitation.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: The Stinger shows that after years of being in Goku's shadow, Vegeta finally beat him in a fair fight at the end of their training match, without any transformations or power-ups.note 
  • Time Skip: The film is set sometime after Broly as Pan, last seen as a baby, is now a toddler here. Goten and Trunks have also gotten a growth spurt and look like teenagers now (with Trunks even gaining his Future counterpart's blue hair color to boot). Android 18 has likewise cut her hair, giving her the look from the Peaceful World Saga (which according to said supplementary info, the film is set the year before the 28th Tournament begins as depicted in End of Z). Yajirobe also cameos, now sporting a mustache.
  • Time to Unlock More True Potential: Despite Gohan's Ultimate form being described as the peak of his potential, Gohan is able to access an even higher level of power when he sees Piccolo beaten to a pulp by Cell Max; a power given by his rage.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Oreo cookies for Dr. Hedo, which he's often seen devouring in vast quantities with milk.
  • Trauma Button: The film heavily implies that Cell is this to Android 18. When Cell Max is activated, her voice is noticeably shaking upon realizing that the Red Ribbon Army succeeded in recreating Cell, hinting that she is harboring some form of PTSD from the time she had been absorbed by the original Cell.
  • Underestimating Badassery: The Red Ribbon Army, as usual, completely underestimate the strength of the heroes, being unaware of their ability to transform into stronger forms. However they take this to the nth degree here with them being convinced that Capsule Corps patented capsule technology is a result of their alliance with their alien allies, or that Bulma is an alien herself, believing that there is no way Dr. Brief and his family could have made such technological breakthroughs by themselves.
  • The Un-Reveal: At the end of the movie, Goten and Trunks properly pull off the fusion technique, but the camera cuts away before teenaged Gotenks can be shown.
  • Use Your Head: Fat Gotenks' initial usage in the movie leads to him slamming into Cell Max head-first, cracking Cell's headpiece. Since he doesn't regenerate from this wound, it's enough for the heroes to realize that this Cell isn't the same as the original.
  • Villain Opening Scene: After a recap of the heroes' encounter with the Red Ribbon Army and Dr. Gero, the movie's first scene is dedicated to Magenta learning about Dr. Hedo and his relationship to Dr. Gero, and then recruiting him from jail to build him new androids.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: Zigzagged. The Red Ribbon Army makes the first move in trying to strike down Piccolo and Gohan. But in a twist, Piccolo plans and enacts a plan around Magenta and his forces after Gamma 2's brief skirmish with him, causing a chain of events that would cause Magenta to react impulsively and activate their final weapon too early.
  • Wasteful Wishing: Bulma has apparently been gathering the Dragon Balls specifically to perform minor cosmetic surgery on herself. After Piccolo uses one of the wishes to release his potential, Bulma uses the remaining two to give herself a college age butt and make her eyelashes longer. Even more so when both found out too late that they could've used the remaining two wishes to bring Goku and Vegeta over from Beerus' planet.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: It seems that Gohan's falling into the same pits Goku has concerning Pan as he's more driven into his research and not spending time with Pan, leading Piccolo to chew him out over it.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Videl says that Gohan has not been coming home for 10 days and that he has been working on his research all the time. Neither Videl nor Pan are shown to be bothered by it, though. Only Piccolo chews him out for neglecting his daughter, although Gohan gives the argument that he can rely on Piccolo to help them out, which Piccolo does. It's only when Gohan goes Papa Wolf that he completely abandons his research in favor of "rescuing" Pan.
  • World's Strongest Man: As stated by Akira Toriyama, Gohan reclaims this position by the end.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Hedo doesn't like the idea of kidnapping Pan and thinking she's been hurt is what makes the Gammas turn good.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Piccolo disguises himself as a Red Ribbon Army soldier and "kidnaps" Pan, convincing her to play along. The reason being so Gohan would be motivated to continue training. When Gohan starts struggling, he and Pan act as if he hurt her, causing Gohan to go ballistic.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: A lot of the humor in the movie comes from Piccolo reacting to the strange turns of events with a look of slack jawed exasperation.

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