Anime Review: Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods

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I was going to try to cover a few more of the books that I got for Christmas, but seeing as a movie I really wanted to see showed up on iTunes and I still had some credit left over, I decided to get it.

Today, I will be reviewing that movie, which is called Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods.

Seeing as most people should know what the dragon ball series is about, because many of the people of my generation got their start in anime fandom from this series, I am going to skip the series synopsis.

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A few years have past since Goku defeated Kid Buu and everyone, including the Z warriors, is enjoying a time of peace.

However, when a powerful being awakens from his and makes his way to Earth, they must a find a way to defeat this new enemy who demands a fight with a level of power that very few people know about or lose their lives, as their planet falls against the might of a god of destruction.

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While I normally would not like things like this these days, I kind of liked this movie. Nostalgia is probably the main reason, because I was a big fan of the series in the past, even though I have brought it up in a negative light on this blog quite a few times, but there were a few other reasons that I liked this movie. For example, I do not think that I laughed so much as I had throughout much of the movie. In many anime that focus more on the fights than an actual story, much like Naruto and the other well-known titles, things seem to be very serious whenever the villain appears. Here, however, I just could not help but laugh when Beerus was beating the living daylights out of everyone, or even just having fun at the party Goku’s friends were holding. I was also laughing when Vegeta tried appeasing Beerus by humiliating himself on stage. Out of everyone introduced throughout the canonical works of the Dragon Ball series, Vegeta is not usually the one that creates humor. As such it is certainly nice, that somebody else created some laughs to go along with things. The main fight between Goku and Beerus on Earth was also quite good. Like the fights between Misaka and the members of Item in A Certain Scientific Railgun S, which corresponds to volumes 4-6 and beginning portion of volume 7 of the Railgun manga, my eyes were glued to the screen and made me want to watch all the way through. For a movie that I mostly liked because of nostalgia, this is definitely good thing, considering the fact that things are not dragged on as much as the episodes featured in the Z portion of the anime. The thing that made me want to watch all the way through though was the mention of Super Saiyan God. Despite the fact that I already knew what the transformation was like, I really wanted to found out for myself whether the information was correct. After all, this is the first time in the series that a new transformation was introduced in a movie, instead of the television series or manga. Outside of those things, there was not much else I particularly liked. The fact that this movie made me laugh quite a bit and reminded me of when I was a huge fan of the series, as well as the fact that the fight was interesting, made this a decent movie.

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Although I did like the movie, there are some issues. However, aside from the biggest complaints that DBZ gets in general, such as lack of development, which is where Yu Yu Hakusho really shines, and the common clich& of fighting anime, only two things really disappointed me. First, even though I was really interested in seeing what the Super Saiyan God transformation was like, I was still very disappointed in what it turned out to be. Yes, I did go into the movie knowing what the transformation was like, thinking that it was probably as unappreciated as the Silent Party arc of A Certain Scientific Railgun S, though the Silent Party arc is definitely the weakest portion of Railgun S, but that still does not change the fact that I was very disappointed with the form overall. I was expecting the transformation to be something like how drastically different Super Saiyan 3 was from Super Saiyan and Super Saiyan 2, seeing as Super Saiyan 3 lost the eyebrows that were present in the other two transformations. Unfortunately, Super Saiyan God looked more like a form of Kaioken. Super Saiyan God was supposed to the biggest thing for this movie and Akira Toriyama did not deliver a great look for the new form. Now, I will acknowledge that it has been some time since Toriyama has done anything with the Dragon Ball series, since this is only the second thing produced since the special featuring Vegeta’s brother that is consider canon, but I really think that Akira Toriyama should have really looked back at what he did before with the series, in order to see what fans really wanted from the transformation. Another thing that really disappointed me about the Super Saiyan God transformation was what it took to get that power. The thing that I really liked about the series was that like people in real life who struggle through their hardships, the characters in the Dragon Ball series find the strength in themselves to conquer those problems, much like how Gohan finished off Cell, despite having serious injuries. However, Super Saiyan God was not achieved through any effort at all. Instead the form was achieved through means that are similar to how Goku forms the Spirit bomb, but on a smaller scale. So not only does the form seem to be closer in appearance to Kaioken, but is reminiscent of the Spirit bomb? Honestly, such a transformation is useless in battle when the opponent is not willing to just sit there and wait for the transformation to complete. Fortunately for the main cast, pretty much all of their enemies from Frieza all the way up to Buu and Beerus have waited for new transformations to become complete before attacking. At least Goku himself even agreed that it was kind of dumb in the movie. The thing that annoyed me the most though is that this movie is not a stand-alone work. During the time that Goku and his friends try to achieve Super Saiyan God, they go through two attempts and when the first one failed because the numbers were not sufficient, they start wondering about Vegeta’s brother and trying to get him to come back. While I do kind of know who he is because of reading a few things online, I never really connected the dots between him and the mention of Vegeta’s brother here in the movie. Really, the special featuring Vegeta’s brother should have been dubbed and released before this movie. After all, even if the special was as terrible as people say it is, seeing as DBZ is not really seen as a great series these days and I cannot really confirm if the special is indeed terrible, this movie would not be making me wonder who the new saiyan was and it would not confuse those that just jumped into this movie after so many years of away from the series. The fact that the Super Saiyan God transformation was disappointing in more than one way and that we never really know who Vegeta’s brother is pretty much ruined the experience of this movie.

Despite the fact that there were things that I kind of liked about the movie, that were not due to nostalgia, the negative hurt it enough to just make the movie good enough to kill time. I only recommend this to DBZ fans that have seen everything released prior to this movie, because there would not be as many questions as I have come across when I watched this and those that never liked the franchise would hate this movie as well.

What are your thoughts on Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods? Did you like or hate it? If you liked it, was it due to nostalgia or did something really stand out? Was there anything you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.