Review

Dragon Ball Z was my gateway anime growing up. When I started to watch the show on Cartoon Network’s Toonami, I didn’t even know that there was a difference between cartoons and anime. All I knew was that I was watching an awesome and action-packed show. I grew up with Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, Gohan and the rest which created a connection with these characters making me care about them to this day. After I finished Z, I was sad that there was not really anything else to see. However, now almost 20 years after the last DBZ movie, Battle of Gods just finished up a limited run in theaters here in the United States. The movie might not be what a fan would expect, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The story begins at some point after the Majin Buu arc as Goku has achieved Super Saiyan 3 and is training on King Kai’s planet. In the meantime, a being named Beerus, the God of Destruction, has awoken from his slumber wanting to battle a Super Saiyan God that he saw in a vision during his slumber. After his assistant, Whis, informs him that Frieza had destroyed Planet Vegeta and that the Saiyan that had defeated the tyrant resided on Earth, the two are quickly off to see if the remaining Saiyans have any information.

While the premise is fairly standard, the execution is less so. Goku only appears at the beginning and end of the film resulting in a middle section that is not as action-packed as a stereotypical episode of the show may be. This section revolves around Bulma’s birthday party with almost every allied character showing up there. Bulma’s birthday turns into almost a comedy anime which was a surprise especially how it is a major portion of the movie.

It's her party and she'll yell at everyone because she's Bulma.

It’s her party and she’ll yell at everyone because she’s Bulma.

While the Dragon Ball franchise has always had its comedic moments, Battle of Gods is consistently funny. There were multiple times where I found myself actually laughing out loud at some of the jokes which is rare for me. From Oolong’s retorts about Bulma’s age to Trunks talking to Mai, there is quite a bit of humor with most of it revolving around the different characters at the party.

However, this wouldn’t be a Dragon Ball Z movie without awesome action sequences and, don’t worry, Battle of Gods has those. Surprisingly, the movie took a “less is more” approach to the action. There is a small fight at the beginning of the movie, a brief one in the middle and a big one at the end with none of them taking up a particularly large amount of screen time. This ended up being a good thing. You have more time with the characters that you know and love listening to what they have been up to (since this kind of retcons GT). When the action scenes came along, they felt impactful and necessary.

A marked improvement over Super Saiyan 4 most would say.

A marked improvement over Super Saiyan 4 most would say.

The animation and choreography of the fight sequences are top notch. There is a decent amount of CGI integrated with the 2D art which I usually find jarring, but it worked here. The glow surrounding Beerus and Goku as they are about to face off looks more like what a power up aura would in real life and the rocks that the fighters are usually thrown through have a more well-rounded look as well. The characters (even those that do not fight) as a whole look sharp and cleaned up from when we saw them last.

Most of the characters’ voice actors return with the exception of Bulma’s and Shenron’s for some odd reason. While Bulma’s replacement sounds different, she does a good job of fitting in with the character. Shenron on the other hand sounds like Piccolo and Vegeta because . . . well it is their voice actor, Chris Sabat, who is providing the talent. This definitely pulled me out of the immersion as at first I thought it was actually Piccolo speaking. Besides that, hearing Sean Schemmel as Goku always makes me feel warm inside like I’m a kid again.

While Beerus doesn't quite crack into my favorite DBZ villains of all time, he is one of my favorite movie villains for sure.

While Beerus doesn’t beat out Frieza or Cell for me, he is a pretty great villain who has a mixture of quirkiness and stoicism

As I was leaving the theater, that was the feeling I had. Joy and wonder like I had when watching the series for the first time ran through me as I walked to my car, secretly wanting to try a Kamehameha like the good old days. Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods is worth seeing. If there are any complaints about the film, the odd replacement of voice actors, the ratio of action to speaking and the ending could spark some debate. However, regardless of all of this, the ending does open up a ridiculous amount of spin-off potential in the future. You’ll know what I mean when Beerus says it. This movie is definitely worth a watch if you are a DBZ fan.

 

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About the Author

Ross
A recent college grad who just loves playing games. Hopefully I can help you save some money (and possibly spend more than you would like).