First 'Dragon Ball' Anime in 18 Years to Premiere in July

Creator Akira Toriyama to helm story for 'Dragon Ball Super,' a direct sequel to 'Dragon Ball Z'

Scene from 'Dragon Ball Z.' Credit: Everett

The beloved manga and television franchise Dragon Ball has been revived for its first anime series in 18 years, Dragon Ball Super, which will air in Japan this July, Kotaku reports. An English release remains tentative.

Creator Akira Toriyama will handle the story, which, according to Toei Animation, will be a direct sequel to Dragon Ball Z. Set in the aftermath of Goku's defeat of Majin Buu, Dragon Ball Super will boast numerous characters from DBZ and will find Goku trying to maintain the world's newfound, but fragile, peace.

According to Masako Nozawa, who voices Goku and characters Gohan and Goten, the new series derived its name from the frequent use of "super" — or, "chou" in Japanese — in various Dragon Ball commercials, video games and other media. "I hope that this series will last a long time and have the same impact around the world as its predecessor," she said.

Dragon Ball Super marks the first new anime series since Dragon Ball GT, which aired in 1996 and 1997. That series was the first anime not to be adapted from Toriyama's original manga comics, and also featured limited contributions from the creator. The original Dragon Ball Z aired between 1989 and 1996.

Since Toriyama debuted Dragon Ball in 1984, the series has become a cultural force: The original manga was serialized between 1984 and 1995, and went on to spawn not only three animated series (now four, counting Dragon Ball Super), but also video games, trading cards, and numerous films and TV specials. The show's influence has even permeated the world of music (countless Dragon Ball soundtracks notwithstanding), with R&B crooner Frank Ocean dropping references to Majin Buu on "Pink Matter," the André 3000-featuring standout from his 2012 album, Channel Orange.