Dragon Ball FighterZ caused a stir when it was revealed on the Microsoft stage at E3 2017. Games based on Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball series have been common, with publisher Bandai Namco averaging one published every year. But this was special because never before had Dragon Ball or anime fans have gotten their moment in the spotlight during a press conference at a major trade show. It was surprising.
Dragon Ball FighterZ also marks a departure from the last dozen or so Dragon Ball games. Up until now, we’ve been getting adventure-based games centred around boss battles, like the Dragon Ball Xenoverse series. A 2D fighter may seem like a step backwards for the franchise, but based on the highly positive reception and fervour around the game, it looks like that’s what fans want.
There’s just one thing. Dragon Ball has always centred around a group of strong guys fighting off other strong guys. There have been strong supporting female characters, who also had their time in the ring — like Chichi, Android 18, and Videl. And Bulma is probably the most intelligent character in the whole franchise. But the most recent anime series, Dragon Ball Super, has introduced fans to a whole slew of powerful female characters, including two Saiyans, Caulifla and Kale.
WHO RUN THE WORLD? GREEN DUDES APPARENTLY.
So where are all these women in Dragon Ball FighterZ?
Sure, when you think “strongest fighters in Dragon Ball” you probably think of Piccolo, Vegeta, Cell, and of course, Goku. But Dragon Ball has always been about characters proving their strength and having the courage to fight, even if they know their power level isn’t as high as their competitors. It’s less about getting all the strongest people together and more about getting all the bravest people together, the people with the most potential who are willing to work hard.
So why, then, does the game’s current roster only include a whopping one female fighter in the form of Android 18? It can’t just be Namekians all the way down.
And if the goal was to only put the most powerful Dragon Ball characters on the roster, then why the hell is Krillin on the list? Or Tien Shinhan? Even forever alone Yamcha made the cut. Are you telling me you think Yamcha has a better chance of destroying Beerus than Android 18? You’re absurd.
PLEASE DON’T BE A SAUSAGE FEST
Yes, Dragon Ball is a shonen anime. But as every other franchise that has evolved into the 21st century, it needs to realize that it can’t pigeon-hole its audience. It’s surprising to me that the developers of Dragon Ball FighterZ — fighting game veterans Arc System Works of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue fame — didn’t think about adding more women to its roster.
Of course, I don’t think adding someone like Chichi or Bulma would make sense, even though they are popular. But if you’re currently watching Dragon Ball Super, you know some of the multiverse’s strongest fighters are, in fact, women. Besides Caulifla and Kale — who can fuse into Kefla, which would make an amazing game mechanic — we have the angel Vados and the magical girl gang Kamikaze Fireballs. Hopefully Dragon Ball FighterZ includes these powerful characters as unlockable fighters or even DLC.
The bottom line: Dragon Ball FighterZ can’t be the sausage fest it’s looking like it is. The Dragon Ball universe is filled with powerful female characters, and Dragon Ball Super has made a great effort to introduce more balance into the representation of its cast. We’ll see what we’re in for when the game finally launches on January 26.