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Sep 20 2013

Dragon Ball Z – Battle Of The Gods Review

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Dragon Ball Z – Battle Of The Gods
Directed By – Masahiro Hosoda
Running Time – 85 minutes
Released – March 30, 2013 (Japan)

Dragon Ball Z…to say that you never heard of it, being a fan of anime or not, is to freely admit that you have lived under a rock for the past 20 years. Being an iconic series that helped catapult the anime fandom into what it is now, Dragon Ball Z is a legendary series that fans worldwide have watched again and again. Which is why it was no surprise that when it was announced that a new movie was coming out with Akira Toriyama, the original creator of DBZ, working on the story, fans went nuts. And with the new villian who literally was a God and a new level called Super Saiyan God announced, it was just a question of how awesome would this movie be.

Before you go any further know this: Dragon Ball GT is not part of the official Dragon Universe. Akira Toriyama stated that this movie starts off what REALLY happens after the end of Dragon Ball Z.

A picture of Super Saiyan God Goku.

A picture of Super Saiyan God Goku.

Dragon Ball Z – Battle Of The Gods, the 18th feature film that actually falls in the DBZ canon, takes place during the 10 year time skip (between Ch. 517 and 518 of the manga) after the Z fighters defeated Kid Buu and saved the world yet again. The story involves the God of Destruction Bills who, after awakening from a 39 year slumber, learns that Frieza has been defeated by Son Goku, as revealed by his retainer Whis. Whis shows scenes of Goku’s past, until Bills interrupts him and tells him he has seen enough. 39 years prior, the Oracle Fish foretold that a mighty opponent would appear before Bills, the Super Saiyan God. Bills, with Whis, then tracks down the warrior who defeated Freeza, Goku. On King Kai’s planet, Bills proceeds to challenge Goku, who is ecstatic over the new challenge but ultimately becomes overwhelmed and defeated. Disappointed by the subsequent lack of challenge, Bills departs in order to seek out more powerful adversaries on Earth.

(Warning: Slight Spoilers Abound!)

So there are a number of good parts of the movie. The action scenes in Battle Of The Gods were a major plus in my book. In every DBZ episode, the action scenes were nothing more than rapid punches, kicks, high-speed clashes that ended in a lot of property damage, and a super move that would ultimately destroy the villan. There was very little of the cut-copy-paste formula in Battle Of The Gods as the action scenes were done really well and honestly looked like a legitimate fight between two Juggernauts rather than random flailing. The CGI was also done really well, especially on Super Saiyan God Goku’s aura.

Another part that I enjoyed was the verbal interaction with Bills and Goku in the final fight, where Goku first achieved Super Saiyan God Mode. The best way to summarize it without giving anything away was that Bills was schooling Goku on what it meant to be a God. Also, Vegeta being the first person of all the Z fighters – Goku included – to not only land a clean hit on Bills, but to even go so far as to make him bleed a bit. Granted, it was after Bills slapped the daylights out of Bulma for slapping him, but for Vegeta to damage Bills at that moment was perfect simply for the fact that it wasn’t just Goku that was a threat this time. And how the fight ended made it all the more worth it to me.

Because this time, the final fight between Goku and Bills ended the same way the first fight between the two did. And Bills did destroy the earth…in a very slick manner.

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However, with the good comes the bad and the major complaint that I had with the movie was everything that wasn’t an action scene. Despite the imminent threat of destruction that was Bills, the movie had a fairly light and comical tone to it which is something that DBZ had when it wasn’t about fights. It was that tone that honestly soured my experience of it. Why, you ask? When I think of a DBZ movie, I’m expecting something that’s going to be a fight from beginning to end like The Tree Of Might, Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan or Cooler’s Revenge. And it was my general expectation of that which made this movie hit a sour note for me. Cause honestly, I shouldn’t see Vegeta singing and dancing on stage just to keep Bills from losing his cool and destroying the Earth.

And I get it; when you’re dealing with someone as powerful as Bills who gets what he wants or annihilates everything, you gotta keep him happy by any means necessary. But still…

Also, the sequence devised for Goku to reach Super Saiyan God Mode held way too many Sailor Moon vibes for me. It made sense but really? Really? And finally, the incident that made Bills choose to destroy the Earth just left me looking dumbfounded. And I understand it b/c it goes back to Bills being a being who gets whatever he wants, but he was willing to destroy the entire planet because he didn’t get to try a cup of pudding? A CUP OF PUDDING?!?

Overall, after watching the movie 3 times, I have to say that Dragon Ball Z: Battle Of The Gods was an okay film, however it didn’t quite make the impact that I was expecting. Which is not to say that the movie was bad but considering that I was expecting an action-packed movie from beginning to end, I was a bit disappointed with what I watched. The action scenes were very well done and the overall movie was a good general step away from the generic DBZ formula, however the goofiness that they added into it soured it for me a bit. That doesn’t mean that I won’t watch it when the English dubbed version comes out.

Final Rating: 3 Out Of 5