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Dragon Ball Super: 10 Important Changes Between The Anime And Manga

Battle of Gods and Resurrection F ended up kick-starting a new era for Dragon Ball. With the franchise very quickly regaining its already legendary popularity through the films, it didn’t take too long for Dragon Ball Super to follow. While the Dragon Ball Super anime has since ended, the manga is growing strong– featuring some notable changes.

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Right from the very beginning, the plan for Dragon Ball Super was always to have two concurrent adaptations. The manga was originally conceived as promo material, but it only took 5 or so chapters for the manga to grow enough legs to rival the manga. All the same, different mediums dictated by different creators naturally result in some wildly different story beats for Dragon Ball Super.

10 Resurrection F Is Skipped In The Manga

Airing ahead of the anime as promotional material, the Dragon Ball Super manga began by adapting Battle of Gods– albeit it was a rather rough and rushed adaptation. Virtually every major story beat is sped through, with little room for character depth or thematic substance. It seems even Toyotaro was satisfied by this, as the Universe 6 Tournament arc would see a much increased page count.

This page count came with an assertion that the manga would be more than just promotional material, actually covering brand new narrative material, but this came at the expense of adapting Resurrection F. Unfortunately, this would only set a precedent.

9 Super Saiyan Kaioken Only Exists In The Anime

With Hit pushing him to his limits, Goku has no choice but to stack Kaioken onto Super Saiyan Blue. Risking permanent damage to his body– and even his life– Goku’s Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken manages to overwhelm Hit, turning the tide in Goku’s favor. Realizing Hit isn’t going all out, however, Goku bows out. The manga plays out similarly, but with SSBKK’s notable absence.

Rather than stacking Kaioken onto Super Saiyan Blue, Goku outright masters Super Saiyan Blue by the end of the Goku Black arc, a feat which Vegeta accomplishes for the Tournament of Power. Mastered Super Saiyan has ostensibly replaced Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken on a narrative level and seems here to stay.

8 Trunks Doesn’t Defeat Zamasu In The Manga

Although the manga skipped on ahead to the Universe 6 Tournament arc, the anime’s weekly nature eventually meant that Dragon Ball Super not only caught up to its monthly sister-adaptation, it actually surpassed it. As a result, the Goku Black arc ended in the anime long before it did in the manga– and notably featured Trunks defeating Zamasu and ultimately serving as hero (before Zeno erased everything.)

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This does not end up being the case in the manga, where Trunk (while still important) ends up playing  more supportive role. Goku using Mastered Super Saiyan Blue ends up taking Future Trunks’ place. It lacks the same thematic and emotional weight as Trunks’ fight, but Goku versus Zamasu is one of Dragon Ball Super‘s better fights.

7 Super Saiyan Rage Only Exists In The Anime

On the subject of Trunks playing a more supportive role in the manga, his Super Saiyan Rage transformation is an anime invention. Inspired by a desire to protect his timeline at any cost, Trunks manages to somehow tap into God Ki, giving him the power needed to slice Merged Zamasu in two. It ends up being his timeline’s undoing, but he does more or less get the arc victory.

With Trunks playing back-up in the manga, there’s no place for him to get a new transformation. Rather, Trunks is taken on as Kaioshin’s apprentice, granting him the ability to heal. Trunks ends up playing a Dende-esque role in the manga, albeit one who can still fight.

6 The First Half Of The Universe Survival Arc Is Faster In The Manga

Due to the nature of their mediums, the anime and the manga differ in regards to pacing. In the manga, for instance, the lead-in into the Tournament of Power goes by much faster. The Dragon Ball Super anime dedicates multiple episodes to the exhibition, followed by each character getting at least one episode for their recruitment. Naturally, this drags the plot out.

The manga cuts to the chase and gets Universe 7’s team more or less fully formed as soon as possible. This not only allows the supporting cast to interact with one another, it keeps the manga from falling into the repetitive pattern of Goku’s rather underwhelmingly sparring sessions with his teammates.

5 The Tournament Of Power Is Slower In The Anime

Naturally, the Universe Survival arc’s slow pacing in the first half extends into the anime’s adaptation of the Tournament of Power. Where the manga truly embraces the free-for-all element of the Tournament of Power– featuring fighters dropping like flies every chapter– the anime takes its sweet time, ensuring each episode can focus on a single fight or set piece.

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This works for some sequences (the fight against Kefla, Cabba turning SSJ2, pretty much anything that develops the supporting cast,) but there’s far too much padding. Between the bland setting and a lack of meaningful plot progression, the anime’s Tournament of Power is quite slow.

4 Kefla Fights Gohan In The Manga

After losing Ultra Instinct during his fight against Jiren, Goku spends some time sparring with Caulifla and Kale, notably teaching the former how to trigger Super Saiyan 2. Their spar quickly turns into a proper fight, and while Super Saiyan God is more than enough to subdue the Saiyans, they fuse into Kefla, forcing Goku into Ultra Instinct.

In the manga, Kefla instead ends up fighting Gohan. Rather than relying on his Saiyan strength, Kefla manages to fight Kefla– a Potara fused fighter– to a complete standstill. Considering how weak the anime depicts Gohan, this is a bit of a big deal. Gohan essentially goes head to head with Universe 6’s strongest fighter by far.

3 Goku Focuses On More Than Just Jiren In The Anime

A large reason the Tournament of Power is much faster paced in the manga is because Goku ends up focusing almost exclusively on Jiren. His sole objective is to push himself through Jiren, ignoring everyone else if he can. It makes sense, but it ends up depriving Goku of more action. This stands in contrast to how the anime approaches Goku.

In fact, the whole conceit behind the Tournament of Power stemmed behind a desire to show Goku in every episode. If the tournament were a battle royale, the focus would never need to leave him… and it it shows. Goku gets four big fights with Jiren and a solo fight against Kefla all while being a team player.

2 Broly Is Skipped In The Manga

Even though Resurrection F was skipped in the manga, Toyotaro did at least have the benefit of having penned a three-chapter promo manga for the film. While it cuts off before Goku or Frieza can fight in their new forms, it’s understandable why he wouldn’t want to revisit the arc. Not so for Broly which lacks a promotional manga of any kind.

Worse yet, the manga just straight up skips Broly mid-chapter. The Tournament of Power ends, there’s a full page spread for Dragon Ball Super: Broly, and then the Moro arc immediately begins. It is by far the single sloppiest moment to come out of modern Dragon Ball, period.

1 The Tournament Of Power Has An Actual Ending In The Anime

It really is a shame how badly the manga bungles the Tournament of Power’s ending. Jiren is defeated halfway through the chapter, with very little fanfare given to the arc’s conclusion. As a result, it’s hard to take any of the Universe Survival arc’s themes seriously in the manga– the story’s structure couldn’t even take it seriously.

For all the faults with the anime’s Tournament of Power, it at least understands that such a conceptually momentous tournament demands an equally momentous ending. The final episode is pure excitement from start to near-finish (ending with Goku vs Vegeta is a lame note,) actually allowing the ToP to end on its own terms while reflecting on its themes.

NEXT: Dragon Ball: 5 Reasons Why Gohan Can Still Take Over In Super (& 5 Reasons Why Goku & Vegeta Are Better Fits)

While the Dragon Ball Super anime has since ended, the manga is growing strong– featuring some notable changes.

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