Super Dragon Ball Heroes – Prison Planet Arc (Episodes 1 – 6) Review

I’ll get round to Gundam Wing in a few weeks, having just watched this on a whim I wanted to get the review written because frankly I’m unlikely to watch it again… So, what is Super Dragon Ball Heroes? Why, it’s a “Promotional Anime”, written right under the logo in the top left of the free online uploads of the episodes. What does that mean? It means it’s nonsense… utter, utter nonsense. It exists to give some slight visual context to some made up cards people can use in the popular (in Japan) Arcade game of the same name. Is it still fun to watch though? Well given it’s been a couple of years and I’m only now just getting round to it, I didn’t think so going in, but…

Synopsis:

A mysterious man named Fu appears with Future Mai and tells Goku and Vegeta that Future Trunks has been captured and taken to “The Prison Planet”, which is actually a bunch of planets chained together with huge literal metal chains. The duo head off to rescue him…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

“Xeno Goku and Vegeta” look down on their foe, the “Evil Saiyan” Cumber… *sigh*, it begins!

In order to set the scene for you, let me tell you that the first of these 10-ish minute episodes features Super Saiyan 4 Goku do battle with Super Saiyan Blue Goku. First episode. Yes, Goku and Vegeta meet a version of Goku from another dimension, one that obviously went down a similar route to GT but ended with Goku (and others) joining the “Time Patrol”, a force that track down people who mess with timelines / dimensions. After the two popular forms of Goku do battle, everyone finds out that Xeno Goku (as these alternate dimension characters are called) is here because Fu is such a multiversal disrupting enemy, and the whole thing has been a trap. Fu says there are seven Dragon Balls to find to get off the planet, but that story is literally completely dropped, so ignore that…

Coola appears because why not, and says he heard his brother of this timeline achieved a form he didn’t, before claiming anything his brother does he can too and transforms into Golden Coola, because… shiny Golden Coola card is available to play in the game! This is where Future Trunks appears, but he literally does nothing but watch on the side-lines, so… Yeah. We then get introduced to the lead villain of this arc (well, beyond Fu) called Cumber, the “Evil Saiyan” whose aura can turn people into anger-filled hate machines, or at least does to Goku for one episode, and never does again, so ignore that…

All things considered, Fu isn’t actually a bad villain. His voice actor properly amps up the campy-ness!

Goku and Vegeta use Portara to become Super Saiyan Blue Vegeto, but that only causes Cumber to turn into a Golden Oozaru form of himself before Fu returns him to his normal size because his power was breaking the chains of the planet, then Xeno Goku and Xeno Vegeta arrive and create a Super Saiyan 4 version of Vegeto to nearly take down Cumber, before Goku achieves Ultra Instinct and defeats him for good, but is seemingly left on the planet/s as they explode, the rest of the good guy cast having instantaneous teleported out via Xeno Goku. Oh and just before that a version of Zamasu arrives with an eye patch and some allies and takes Cumber’s body away and Fu claims his plan was a success or something. Yeah…

So in case you can’t tell, this is not something to be taken seriously. AT ALL. It pays no attention to what little logic remains in Dragon Ball and just creates various reasons for the original or what if? cards to appear in motion, or sometimes doesn’t even bother to come up with reasons. Your enjoyment depends entirely on how much you can not care about plot and just want to watch some new Dragon Ball animation for a laugh, and in that sense it was a laugh, for me anyway…

The Bad:

It’s Golden Coola, because… Cards.

Actually, I mentioned animation, I will say that… barely animated would be a better description, but to be fair these “Promotional Anime” shorts are being uploaded to the net for free, so to expect high quality animation from them would be unrealistic, frankly. So although this is in the bad because it is noticeable, I don’t hold it against the “show”, much like say the special effects in 60s Doctor Who, you have to set you expectations to the right level to be fair to it…

That being said, even for a “Promotion Anime” (and no I won’t stop putting that in quote marks) there is so little story to sink your teeth into that it sometimes… hurts. I mentioned Golden Coola appearing and transforming for the hell of it, he literally does nothing. A few shots of him observing the fight against Cumber and maybe throwing the odd attack, but he was literally “written in” just because they have a Golden Coola card and that’s it. Again, that’s what this exists for, but they could’ve tried a little harder, surely?

Overall Thoughts:

A “dream battle” that predictably ends with no actual winner…

Whether you enjoy Super Dragon Ball Heroes’ “Promotional Anime” depends entirely on A: How bored you are, B: If you’re a big fan of Dragon Ball but don’t take it too seriously, and C: If you lower your expectations to meet what is a free animation. If all three of those boxes are ticked, then you can have a certain degree of fun with it. Watching the 45 minute compilation of this “arc” on YouTube was … fun, for some reason. I’m… sort of looking forward to the next one, though the next arc’s compilation is an hour and a half, so that might need to be split up to stop my brain from melting due to lack to stimulation…

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