So I’ve finally come around to writing my review of the Future Trunks Arc now that it is over. I wanted to wait until it was over to judge the complete arc. It’s quite unfair to judge a story arc by only seeing part of it. I have to say overall I really like the Arc. It had its flaws which I will get into, but it was a solid arc with decent pacing, a well-crafted story, with a sadly lackluster villain. I’ll try not to rehash too much of my previous article, but some things may overlap.
Is it the greatest arc in DBZ? No that honor still belongs to the Frieza Saga. Some fans love the Cell Saga with Teen Gohan, but that’s where the series kind of went downhill. In the Frieza Saga characters other than Saiyans still mattered.
The first thing I’d love to bring up is that this Arc relit my initial fondness for Future Trunks. I can recall back in the early 2000s seeing Future Trunks for the first time on Toonami. It was recently translated and DBZ was finally getting some new episodes that would appear weekly. As a huge fan of Vegeta I was naturally drawn to Future Trunks. The idea of the dark prince having a son was instantly appealing especially with him being from the future and already a Super Saiyan.
Unfortunately his character arc largely sputtered out in the Cell Saga. It was a rather huge dive for a character that seemed so competent, with a killer instinct. To be fair we also learned that the Frieza Force along with Lord Frieza and King Cold were much weaker than him. It was still painful to him someone start out so powerful be sidelined by the power of the pen. Ultimately he became more of a whiny teen than competent fighter. To be fair he was only 17 at the time of the story if memory serves.
Super has revitalized his character. We find out that nothing good happened to Trunks and the rest of the surviving humans. Trunks himself starts out once more fighting a losing battle of survival with an enemy much stronger than him, which is a great nod to the Android Saga.
He starts out doubting himself and wavering in confidence, much like the maligned Trunks we last saw. He struggles naturally with this new enemy and he doubts himself. Which is natural, since he has never rose to the challenge of defeating someone more powerful than him before. He of course picks himself up and gains confidence, this time it wasn’t just through meeting Goku. DBZ really had a Goku problem that way. This time he leans more on his family and most importantly his father.
His relationship to Vegeta cannot be understated. Super brings to a conclusion all those things that were left unresolved by the original between the two of them. Through his father he believes in himself and really takes on the mantle of being the last of his people in his own realm. He ultimately leaves believing that he no longer needs their help and that he will be ready for whatever comes his way in the future and it was a great conclusion to his arc.
The Other Characters
So Dragonball became notoriously Goku centric as the years progressed. To a lesser extent it became Saiyan centeric as well. The show has increasingly relied more and more on Saiyans as enemies became more powerful, leading to the other characters being sidelined. To an extant Super has only exacerbated this trend with the advent of Saiyan Blue.
This arc is different however. The human survivors and other characters play a large role in the overall plot. For the most part, Trunks can’t do everything himself. It’s up to all the surviving humans to take care of their young and scratch a living together. Even if only for genetic diversity and the survival of the human race, they are very important.
While the Saiyan blooded warriors still do the brunt of the fighting it will be up to ordinary people to rebuild their world. Though with a little help from Universe 6 Bulma. It was quite a breath of fresh air for this to happen, seeing as how there are no dragonballs to magically make everything better again, unlike in the main universe following epic battles.
The arc still does have its flaws. As I mentioned in the previous article the villain is a little stereotypical and his plan makes little sense. My hopes for a more nuanced villain in Goku Black were essentially dashed. He was still good, just not a great villain.
It still does have a Goku problem. You can’t separate Dragonball and Goku, I understand that, but even the most hardcore fan has to admit the show’s constant reliance on him is a bit frustrating at times. This of course could be highly cultural. We westerners no longer prefer heroes like Goku, unlike our eastern counterparts. There are moments in the arc when it comes down to Goku being the only one left standing. However Super is much better at it than DBZ. Those moments are much more limited than they were in the past.
In terms of all Dragonball Arcs I’d say it ranks below the Frieza Saga, but above the Cell and Buu Saga. Unlike the Z arcs it isn’t nonstop action and tension. It has a fair bit of light hearted comedy and other moments that provide a good balance to it. Some fans will not like it, but those are fans who don’t like DBS anyway since it isn’t constant action like DBZ.