Dragon Ball Games Battle Hour 2023, the ultimate festival for bringing together Dragon Ball fans around the world, was held in Las Vegas, USA, across two massive days on March 4-5 local time and simultaneously streamed worldwide!
While held only online in the previous two years, 2023 marked the first-ever "offline" and on-site Battle Hour!
In this article, we'll be reporting on not only the Day 2 livestreams but also showing off some shots taken on-site at the event venue so you can feel the overflowing hype for yourself!
The main titles featured at Battle Hour 2023 were the console fighting game Dragon Ball FighterZ, the Dragon Ball Super Card Game, which is available primarily in Europe and North America, and the app game Dragon Ball Legends.
This year, Battle Hour played host to the finals of the Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour 2022/2023 circuit that's been building up all around the world since summer of last year.
The top 8 competitors who duked it out on Day 2 were Shanks (Spain), Fenritti (Japan), Tako (Japan), WADE (France), Kayne (France), Seyhan (Germany), Zane (USA), and INZEN (USA).
Let's take a look at how things went down in the finals of the winners and losers sides of the tournament brackets!
In the finals of the winners side, Japan's Fenritti went up against France's WADE.
It's hard to tell due to his mask, but Fenritti took to the stage with a big smile on his face.
Cool and composed, WADE approaches the stage, waving to cheering fans.
WADE wasted no time in putting Janemba's powerful assist to work and taking the first KO, but in the end, it was Fenritti who rose to claim a 3-0 victory.
He even managed to seal the deal with a flashy Spirit Excalibur from SSGSS Vegito!
In the losers side bracket finals, France's two representatives, WADE (left) and Kayne (right), went head-to-head on the stage.
Kayne hadn't given up a round all day and maintained his streak by taking the first game against WADE.
Their final battle went down to the last 30 grueling seconds, but WADE managed to come out on top with a 3-2 victory, putting him back into the winners side bracket for the grand final!
WADE, on his feet and basking in the joy of his victory over Kayne.
WADE and Fenritti being interviewed on stage before the grand final.
Having clawed his way back up through the losers bracket, WADE would now have to face the man who sent him there in the first place: Fenritti.
Before sparks would fly in the grand final, both competitors were invited to the stage for an interview.
WADE commented that many players still don't know how to deal with two of his main characters, Hit and Janemba, with not only confidence but the receipts to back it up, as he'd already used them to score a great many victories leading up to that moment.
On the other hand, Fenritti stated that his nerves had been getting in the way of executing his trademark combos, but that he intended to do his best in the battle ahead.
This time, WADE opted to bring Janemba out front and center instead of taking advantage of his powerful assist and managed to score the first KO.
The battles raged on, and WADE carved out a spectacular trio of victories over Fenritti to force the reset!
Just how was this grand final going to end...?!
After the reset, Fenritti immediately shut down WADE's momentum by scoring two games to zero, putting him a single victory away from taking the title of champion.
Chants of "Let's go WADE!!" began to ring out from the crowd, seemingly lifting WADE's spirit and allowing him to take two consecutive games against Fenritti with skillful use of his assists to tie up the round!
Needless to say, the arena was going ballistic!
After a 0-3 round and now 2-2, both competitors' endurance was being put to the test for this final bout.
The two fought with every ounce of strength they had left, but in the end it was Fenritti who claimed victory!!
Fenritti, seconds after becoming world champion, bowing to the stands.
WADE was looking absolutely depleted after the stamina-testing match, but he soon got to his feet and shared a congratulatory embrace with Fenritti in a mutual sign of respect to one another for the great fight.
At the post-match ceremony, the producer of Dragon Ball FighterZ, Tomoki Hiroki, joined the top 8 competitors on-stage to award the medals.
Fenritti commented on his victory, saying, "I've made it to the finals in the world tour before, but I end up losing every time. This is my first time winning. I don't think it's sunk in yet, but I'm just really happy that I won."
Fenritti smiling from ear to ear at the award ceremony.
Producer Hiroki commented on the exciting back and forth of the grand final match, the way it went from a 0-3 reset to a nail-biting decider at 2-2 being just as dramatic as a real showdown from Dragon Ball!
She closed out her speech by saying, "Thank you all for the exciting matches!" expressing her gratitude to the world tour competitors and all the fans showing their support at the venue as well as online.
She also provided an update on the development status of FighterZ's rollback netcode implementation that was announced at last year's EVO 2022!
According to Hiroki, a public beta is currently being prepared to be released on the Steam version of FighterZ in spring 2023!
The Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour is set to return in 2023.
Producer Hiroki also announced that balance changes are in the pipeline ahead of this year's EVO 2023, where FighterZ will be featured as a main title.
Here's hoping we find out more about all that soon!
The second tournament featured at Battle Hour 2023 was the finals of the Dragon Ball Super Card Game World Championship 2022.
Qualifiers were held throughout North America, Australia, Europe, France, Italy, and Asia to determine the regional representatives who would compete in the finals, where the remaining two spots in the bracket would be filled by the winners of the LCQ (last chance qualifier) tournament held on Day 1 of Battle Hour on March 4.
That means no matter who you are or how much you've played, winning the LCQ puts you straight onto the world stage for the finals!
Those watching Battle Hour online were able to spectate the finals tournament on Day 2.
The top 8 competitors who would battle it out at the finals tournament on Day 2.
Among the top 8 was 2021's world champion, Andrew Dovale (right). His opponent in this close match of the finals tournament was the Asia regional qualifier winner, Wang Poh Ann.
The grand final match was fought between the Italy regional qualifier winner, Philip Tarpini, and the Europe regional qualifier winner, Oliver Symonds from the UK.
Oliver Symonds (left) and Philip Tarpini (right) on stage for the grand final match.
The games were tied up at 1-1, meaning everything came down to the final third game.
The livestream captured the unfolding battles from multiple angles so that online spectators could see the playing field, the competitors' expressions, and their hands as they played at all times.
Italy's Philip Tarpini claimed victory in the grand final, his smile beaming out toward the crowd.
Dragon Ball Super Card Game producer Kawashima presented the top 8 with their medals at the award ceremony.
A special champion card could be seen glimmering inside Philip Tarpini's world champion trophy.
Finally, Dragon Ball Legends held a unique tournament that was fully contained within the bounds of Battle Hour 2023: the Special Pick Tournament!
Here's how it worked: before each match, players drafted their parties one character at a time from sets of three characters, but the catch is that they not only chose a character they wanted for their own party, they also chose one each time to force into their opponent's party too!
Since no one ended up with quite the party they had in mind, the battles that unfolded were unlike anything the competitors had ever experienced in Legends!
In order to rise to the top in the special pick tournament, players would have to know the ins and outs of a wide range of characters, not just their favorites.
Kurootoki (left) and Kid joe yt (right) faced off in the grand final.
Both were carefully considering each pick as the character draft progressed.
Kid joe yt kept his cool in the heat of battle.
And the winner was...Kid joe yt!
Even his opponent, Kurootoki, gave a round of applause.
Dragon Ball Legends producer TOSHI awarded medals to the top 8 on stage at the award ceremony and exchanged firm handshakes with each of them.
Kid joe yt was awarded a medal and a trophy for winning the tournament.
After the ceremony wrapped up, TOSHI made a special announcement about a new character coming to Legends: ULTRA Super Saiyan Rosé Goku Black!
ULTRA Super Saiyan Rosé Goku Black
Producer TOSHI surprised fans with the new character, announcing, "It is a special occasion. I did prepare a little something something for all the Dragon Ball Legends fans. Here we go!"
Related article: Dragon Ball Legends Releases ULTRA Super Saiyan Rosé Goku Black!! "First Spring! Legends Luxury Campaign" Kicks Off!
For more info on the new character's abilities, check out the latest Reveals & Stuff!
Aside from the stage events running throughout Battle Hour, there were also a number of awesome booths for attendees to visit at the venue!
Check out the photographs below!
The Dragon Ball Super Card Game exhibition with 1,300 cards on display.
Attendees who checked in with their online arena apps were able to score the "Las Vegas Super Warrior" title!
The Dragon Ball game history exhibition board.
There was also a space near the history board where attendees could get a taste of nostalgia and play the smash-hit PlayStation 2 games Dragon Ball Z: Budokai and Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi!
The DRAGON BALL: THE BREAKERS gameplay area.
A booth of exhibits featuring Dragon Ball figures from various makers.
A photo spot where fans could take a selfie with nine Dragon Ball Z character statues.
The Dragon Ball Super photo spot featured six statues on display, three of them brand new!
The venue-exclusive VR corner allowed attendees to experience the Cell Games from the perspective of Gohan and even fire the Father-Son Kamehameha!
Those who collected all the tags by visiting various booths even got a special poster!
If you want to catch all the action broadcast from the stages at Battle Hour 2023, be sure to check out the video archives!
©BIRD STUDIO/SHUEISHA, TOEI ANIMATION
©Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.
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