How many years does an anime franchise have to be inactive before it can be officially declared dead? Given the pace at which fans’ tastes change in Japan, if more than a couple of years go by with no new content, it’s probably time to give up hope, hard as that may for those fervently waiting for a new season of Ranma 1/2, Trigun, or All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku.
But when you’re the most popular martial arts series in the history of the medium, the ordinary rules don’t apply, which is why last year Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods hit Japanese theatres, ending a 17-year drought in Dragon Ball anime. Thankfully, the wait for the next installment in creator Akira Toriyama’s epic won’t be nearly so long, since there’s yet another Dragon Ball Z movie coming next year.
The new film, as recently revealed in a Japanese magazine article, doesn’t appear to have an official title yet, but is currently scheduled to premiere during Golden Week, the string of Japanese holidays that straddle the end of April and beginning of May. Long-time fans can rest easy knowing that unlike the much-maligned Dragon Ball GT TV series of the late 1990s, the 2015 movie isn’t an attempt by producers to keep the series going with only minimal input from its creator. Toriyama himself is taking charge of the character designs and script, which he says serves as both a sequel to Battle of Gods and a continuation of his manga serial.
While designing characters for animation is no easy task, it’s still far less time-intensive than drawing the art for a weekly manga, which has led Toriyama to channel his energies into other areas of the film’s development. “I’ve been getting into the minute details of fine-tuning the dialogue,” the 59-year-old said. “Really, it’s too much for a guy my age to be taking on, but I just got caught up in the excitement of making the movie.”
Producers have told Toriyama to keep the story’s details under his hat for the time being, but he has made a few comments regarding the tone of the movie. “I made a conscious effort to ramp up the action this time around. I’m not really the kind of guy who gets that fired up about those kinds of flashy action scenes, but even I think it’s coming along great!”
▼ Good to know, since Dragon Ball has always been a little short on flashy action.