The animation of Dragon Ball Super has been a point of controversy for fans of the series. Many viewers think that the animation has taken a drastic downturn in the franchise's latest iteration, with the studio taking shortcuts and the animation seeming flatter than Dragon Ball Z. Is it really that bad though?
One Reddit user seems to think so. In a post on r/dbz, they make the observation that the animation quality took a nosedive once Super started its run. They do state that they understand that Dragon Ball is one of the most well-known anime globally, so as long as there are fans willing to watch the story continue, there will be numerous spinoffs. But they also compare the animation of Vegeta's fight against Beerus to the scene where Android 16 is killed by Cell, saying the latter had more detail while the former just felt like a camera moving over two still images to create the illusion of movement.
When a poster on Quora asked why the animation seem so bad, another user provided a long, detailed response. They go over how Dragon Ball Z also had bad animation at times, and that there are outside influences as to whether the animation will be taken care of or if it will be rushed, namely scheduling. They say that some episodes weren't completed until two days before airing, though they don't cite their source for this bit of information. They also explain that the character designs don't have the same sharp angles that the originals did and that in turn softens the look of the animation. Outsourcing of the animation is also brought up, as well as the fact that the animators also go off the script's descriptions of events, so if the script isn't right, neither will the animation be.
The argument could be made that many of the screenshots that come up in these conversations are usually taken mid-action when the characters will look funny because of squishing and stretching. These are techniques that animators use to create the illusion of movement or to convey the weight of certain actions, like punching, flying, or sudden movement. It's important to remember that sometimes, the animation will look bad out of context if it's a shot where movement is concerned.
There has been an upturn in the quality as the Super continues, as it tends to do with most series. The animators get a better feel for how things will look and what works and what doesn't work in terms of getting a certain look. While that doesn't excuse bad animation initially, it is a factor. There are also outside influences that impact the time the animators can take on an episode that are not the fault of the animators. Thankfully, it seems that the Super animators finally seem to be fixing most of the main problems fans have had.