Will there ever be a new Dragon Ball series? Every Dragon Ball fan wants one, and people keep asking me to tell them. Unfortunately there are some things I just don’t know, so I went straight to the official sources to find out!
In this article you’ll see how I contacted FUNimation, VIZ, and even a Japanese voice actor of DBZ to find out if there will ever be a new Dragon Ball series.
Fans Want a New Dragon Ball Series
The Dragon Ball manga ended in 1996 and the Dragon Ball GT anime ended in 1997. Since then we’ve had lots of video games and an occasional animated special, but no new series.
Because there was no new Dragon Ball series, Dragon Ball fans created their own.
The first was Dragon Ball AF. I completely explained the Dragon Ball AF phenomenon and also revealed Dragon Ball AF’s origins earlier this year.
Dragon Ball AF is a huge fan created phenomenon from the late 90’s that by all logical perspectives should have died years ago, yet the rumor of Dragon Ball AF being the next new “official” Dragon Ball series still exists.
Even though AF is enormously popular, fans don’t take it as seriously anymore because there has been a new rumor to take its place since late 2011, called Dragon Ball Hoshi.
Dragon Ball Hoshi Explained has been the most popular article on my site since it was published on February 19, 2012. It has accounted for 36% of all visits to the site, with over 260,000 page views and 192 comments, all from people who passionately want there to be a new Dragon Ball series.
In that article I showed a chart from Google AdWords Keywords Tool that showed the average “global monthly searches” on Google over a 12 month span.
At the time, “new dragon ball series” received 18,100 searches and “dragon ball hoshi” received 49,500 monthly searches.
Meanwhile, “dragon ball af” received over 1,000,000 searches. That’s right 1 million! This made it as popular a term as “dragon ball kai,” a legitimate and official series from Toei.
Now let’s take a look at the results on September 6, 2012.
They’re all even MORE popular now!
The term “new dragon ball series” receives 27,100 monthly searches, “dragon ball hoshi” receives 165,000, and “dragon ball af” receives 1,220,000.
What does that tell us? That the hunger for a new Dragon Ball series is bigger than ever before. Every Dragon Ball fan wants there to be a new Dragon Ball series, and they want it now!
The New Dragon Ball Z Movie
The desire for a new Dragon Ball series has been huge for over 15 years, and the recent announcement of a new Dragon Ball Z movie in development in Japan has fueled the flames even further.
This obviously raised a lot of questions from excited fans.
What is the story?
Who are they going to fight?
Will it be released internationally?
ARGGGHH!!! GIVE ME A NEW DRAGON BALL!! GIVE IT TO ME NOW!
Yeah, like that.
Forums all over the internet are asking the same questions, and nobody has any answers. They make wild speculations and start fanaticizing about what it could be or should be.
So here we are. Fans are going insane and they want answers, but as usual, there are none.
That’s where I come in and go straight to the source: FUNimation and Viz, who work together with Toei and Shueisha, the developers of new Dragon Ball content.
A New Dragon Ball Anime?
FUNimation is the American license holder of Dragon Ball, and one of the largest dubbing companies in the world. Dragon Ball is the anime that single handedly made their company. In their own words, “FUNimation is the house that Dragon Ball built.” Dragon Ball made them a fortune, so you would think that they, above anyone, would want a new Dragon Ball series, right? Just look at the demand!
To find out, I asked my contacts at FUNimation. I won’t name names, but I can say they are the Senior Brand Manager and Vice President of Acquisitions & Licensing.
Here’s what I asked:
“Does FUNimation intend to dub the new Dragon Ball Z film once it is released? A lot of people are asking and I’d like to have a reply straight from the source. I understand negotiations may still be in progress and no official announcements have been made, so “no comment” is perfectly acceptable.”
Also, “Any comment on the question, ‘Will there be a new Dragon Ball series?’”
I asked again in a different way, left voicemail messages, and so on.
Still no reply.
So what does that tell us? Unfortunately nothing!
I waited 2 months and followed up several times before I wrote this post, hoping they would respond and I’d have some real answers for you, but FUNimation’s lips are sealed.
Luckily there’s always Viz.
A New Dragon Ball Manga?
The Dragon Ball anime only exists because of the Dragon Ball manga written by Akira Toriyama. Without a new manga by Toriyama there can be no new anime (unless you want another Dragon Ball GT scenario!), so the real question is, “Will there be a new Dragon Ball manga?”
Toriyama wrote the manga for Shueisha, and Shueisha’s American licensor is Viz Media, who handles Dragon Ball, Naruto, One Piece and many other manga series. I tried my hardest to get through to Shueisha directly, but neither the phone numbers nor emails I found actually worked. And that’s okay, because Viz is here.
So I call Viz and speak with their Marketing Director, who is also in charge of the Dragon Ball property. I ask her the same questions I asked FUNimation, in addition to asking if Shueisha has any new Dragon Ball manga in the works.
She said, “We finished working on the series years ago. We’re now focused on Neon Alley, our live streaming anime service.”
They don’t have any new Dragon Ball related projects in the works. They also don’t have plans to publish Dragon Ball SD, the “super deformed” retelling of the original Dragon Ball story, by Naho Ooishi. It’s not even on their radar.
Naturally they don’t know anything about the new Dragon Ball Z film because it’s animated, and that’s something that FUNimation is going to have to answer, (but won’t).
In short, Viz has no Dragon Ball plans for the foreseeable future.
While not a direct confirmation, this strongly suggests that Toriyama is not working on any new Dragon Ball manga. If he were, then Shueisha would have most likely told Viz to prepare for it, since it’s a series that would undoubtedly draw a lot of attention.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if a new series really is going to come, then it will probably be animated and won’t be based on manga by Toriyama.
Will they Ever Finish Dragon Ball Kai?
Okay, so FUNimation is silent about the new movie and a new series, and Viz says they have absolutely nothing Dragon Ball related in the works. But what about Dragon Ball Kai? There’s still the entire Majin Buu Saga to finish. Will that ever happen?
I asked Ryo Horikawa, the Japanese voice of Vegeta, for the answer, at Anime Expo 2012.
“Will Toei finish Dragon Ball Kai, or do you know if there will ever be a new Dragon Ball series? A lot of fans want to know.”
Ryo said, “I’d love to, but I don’t really know.”
That’s all he had to say about it, and his response tells us that one of the lead voice actors of the Dragon Ball Z series is unaware of any possible completion of Dragon Ball Kai. He hasn’t been contacted by Toei in regards to it or any other Dragon Ball series, which implies that nothing is in development.
If Vegeta doesn’t know, then who does?!
No New Dragon Ball Series
So there you go. We didn’t have any evidence for a new Dragon Ball series to begin with, but lack of evidence has never stopped Dragon Ball fans from getting super excited, now has it? Just look at the huge demand cited earlier. But as it happens, there will be no new Dragon Ball series.
I’m sure the AF and Hoshi fever will continue to spread like the flu and will never go away, but now we have confirmation (or notable silence) that there is no new Dragon Ball series in development.
You may still be thinking it’s possible that Toriyama and Shueisha are secretly working on something in Japan and haven’t shared it with their licensors in other countries, right? Sure, it’s possible. For example, we didn’t know about the new Dragon Ball Z movie until recently, and that has been in development for years. But honestly, it’s probably just wishful thinking.
The only possible source to find the definitive answer is Toei themselves, but don’t you think it’s likely that Ryo Horikawa would be aware of any project coming down the pipeline? And he said he doesn’t know about Kai or any new series, so there probably isn’t one coming within the next year, at least.
And trust me, I want there to be a new Dragon Ball series as much as anybody. In case you haven’t guessed, I’m kind of a big fan.
At this point the situation should be clear, but I still hear your hopeful plea that, “Hey, maybe the silence from FUNimation DOES mean there will be a new Dragon Ball series! They’ll announce it soon!”
To paraphrase Alexander Pope from “An Essay on Man” …
Hope for a new Dragon Ball series, like Shenron, always springs eternal in the human breast.
Go ahead. Make your wish!
And let’s all hope it comes true.