Captain Marvel's newest trailer reveals an overlap between the comic book blockbuster and popular anime Dragon Ball Z. Among the new information on Carol Danvers' story arc, her supporting cast, and the Marvel movie's 1995 setting as it pertains to the established Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans got a proper look at Captain Marvel's powers in the new trailer, some of which evoked the visual language of superpowers from Dragon Ball Z.
In the Captain Marvel trailer, Carol Danvers can be seen in full swing as a galactic defender, with her Kree-given abilities charged up and her blasting her way through what appears to be an alien invasion. One particular moment sees her body become enveloped in energy, emanating a powerful glow as she readies herself for battle. It's a great scene that truly encapsulates Captain Marvel's Binary powers as well as her uniqueness amongst Marvel's heroes. But what's perhaps most interesting is how similar it all looks to when combatants from Dragon Ball Z ready up for a brawl.
In Dragon Ball Z, characters would charge up their chi to raise their power level, with their bodies glowing different colors as they achieve new heights of strength. The most iconic of these is Super Saiyan, a form utilized by members of the Saiyan race, such as the iconic character Goku. Going Super Saiyan makes a character's hair stand on-end, changing it to blonde and giving them green eyes - all of which are surrounded in a yellow hue, while their speed, stamina, and strength greatly increase. Captain Marvel's power-up is almost an exact live-action replication of the process, minus her muscles ballooning and her hair changing color.
In the Captain Marvel trailer, and presumably in the movie itself, Carol's eyes glow and her hair becomes wavy, just like Goku's. Plus, her hair stands on-end and her body emanates a field of golden energy. If Captain Marvel's costume switched to the typical blue-and-orange one from Dragon Ball Z, then she'd basically be Super Saiyan. What's more, the scenes in which she's fighting off the alien invasion are similar to the anime series, with her flying around generating energy blasts from her hands just as Dragon Ball's cast do. Obviously, this is just who Captain Marvel is, but there's enough of a similarity that this doesn't seem entirely incidental. Dragon Ball Z is one of the most well-known Japanese shows ever made, and even though it's animated, it stands to reason it may have been a reference point for the concept designers when considering how to bring Captain Marvel's power-set to life on the big screen.
Surrounding a human body in effects like this in live-action and making it move convincingly is not an easy task, and there's not a lot of material to draw from considering what it might look like. This is really Dragon Ball Z's whole gimmick, after all, so the anime series offers a wealth of visual cues to start from in terms of framing and creating a balance between human and alien in feel. And it's always good to animate from a reference point rather than create something entirely new.
And ss if the visual comparison wasn't enough, Carol Danvers' origin story in Captain Marvel is also an inversion of Goku's. The Dragon Ball protagonist crashed on Earth as one of the last of his species and lost his memory, whereas Carol is from Earth but has somehow become a member of the Kree after losing her memory as well; the movie's plot is centered on her finding out where she came from and defending Earth from catastrophe. For both, their powers come to represent them acknowledging their origin and who they are now; Goku fights for Earth as a mighty Super Saiyan while Captain Marvel does the same all while protecting the rest of the galaxy, thus giving Nick Fury a way to contact her if her presence is direly required, as he did in Avengers: Infinity War's post-credits scene.
Taking all of this into account, it's clear that not only is Marvel Studios bringing Captain Marvel onto the big screen in a unique way, but in doing so, they've shown that it's feasible to bring Dragon Ball Z into live-action as well - and also in a big way. Not that anyone should get their hopes up; note that live-action anime adaptations are still a tricky subject with very few passing muster. For now, at least audiences have Captain Marvel to look forward to, with Carol Danvers representing a worthy Super Saiyan stand-in, if ever there was one.