Anime, Dragon Ball

Fixing Dragon Ball Super (Part 4): Goku Black Arc, Act 1

*Deep Breath* (x3) This is going to be a rough one, ladies and gentlemen.

Of all the Super-original arcs, the Goku Black arc is among the more polarizing. It has an incredibly strong beginning, but it begins to get more convoluted, confusing, and unsatisfying as the plot moves forward. This all culminates in one of the worst endings to any Dragon Ball story, one that had fans in an uproar.

This is going to be an interesting one to fix. And by ‘interesting’, I mean ‘maybe impossible’. But I’ll try.

I’m going to keep the first episode exactly as it was. Goku Black appears, initially taking the form of a mysterious black cloud. He beats the shit out of Future Trunks, seemingly kills Future Mai (ignore the logic problems of her existing, she’s just there, okay?) and actually kills Future Bulma. Trunks flees to the past using the time machine, Goku Black is properly revealed, Trunks attacks Goku in the past in his confusion, so on and so forth.

We are going to make a few minor changes though. For one, Black doesn’t try to destroy the time machine. Rather, he’s trying to take the time machine. In our version, the time travel ring doesn’t exist; having two different time travel systems with two separate sets of rules just makes it too confusing.

I’m also setting up a thing. Give it some time, we’ll get there.

Once he’s properly calmed down, Trunks explains his predicament to the Goku and the others. He dealt with Buu in his timeline, everything was happy, Goku Black mysteriously showed up and fucked everything up, so on and so forth. Upon hearing this, Goku and Vegeta are eager to go back and fight this new foe. But once she learns that Black is after the time machine, Bulma tells them all to wait a few days and goes into her lab, refusing to elaborate.

During this down time, we get some character drama. Vegeta squares off with Future Trunks, establishing the power gap between them by showing his time-traveling son Super Saiyan God (which is the blue one in our version, in case you’ve forgotten). Goku does much the same, showing him Saiyan God (red). All of this fills Trunks with confidence that they can defeat Black when he couldn’t.

It’s around this time that he runs into Gohan. Driven by the events of the Universe 6 arc, Gohan is training harder than ever with Piccolo. Trunks immediately assumes that Gohan must be on a similar level to Goku and Vegeta and asks him to help, partly because of the relationship he had with his timeline’s Gohan. Gohan shatters Trunks’ belief, but still volunteers to help.

Also, Trunks has to deal with Krillin and 18 being married and having a kid. Which is something the time traveler can’t quite emotionally accept. We’ll also throw in a few lines about what 17 is up to as a bit of foreshadowing for his role in the Tournament of Power.

While this is happening, we have occasional cut-aways to Goku Black. Remember in the original, how it’s established that he killed all the Supreme Kais in order to put the Gods of Destruction out of commission? Well, we’re going to actually show him doing it! While Trunks is catching up on what has been happening with the crew in the main timeline (which shall be called Timeline A, with Trunks’ timeline being B), Black attacks a world of the Supreme Kais!

In this action scene, Black squares off against the Supreme Kai of Universe 4 (the specific universe doesn’t really matter). He ambushes the Kai while that universe’s God of Destruction is off doing something else. However, shortly after his attack, the Kai calls for said God of Destruction to come back. So now, Black is fighting on a time limit. One that he ultimately manages to overcome.

A few things are learned about Black in this sequence. One: his fighting style is similar to that of a Supreme Kai. Two: he’s not an especially powerful fighter, but he’s getting stronger at a rapid rate. To illustrate: at the beginning of the fight, he only has his base form, but at the end he figures out how to use Super Saiyan. Three: he speaks to the Kai with an oddly familiar tone, as if he knows him. Then, as the Kai dies, Black whispers something in his ear which shocks the dying Kai; he decided to reveal his true identity to his opponent before his death.

Once this battle is done, Black goes into hiding to heal his injuries. While recovering, he grins to himself, satisfied that his plan is coming together. That grin quickly vanishes when he remembers Trunks. He curses the young saiyan for stealing the time machine, an instrumental piece of his plan. But he finds assurance in that the boy is a saiyan and will undoubtedly return.

Cut back to our crew in Timeline A. They’re all prepared and ready to fight, with Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, and Trunks all crammed into the time machine. Before they go, Bulma presses a capsule into her son’s hand, telling him to open it should something terrible happen to the time machine.

With that, our four saiyan heroes travel back to the future to confront Black, feeling confident and excited. The battle is set to begin.

Next time on Dragon Ball Super: Rewrite. Which… is what I’m calling this now, I guess.

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