Retro Anime – DragonBall Z Movie 01: The Deadzone

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Ah, DragonBall Z, the series which has gained as many fans as haters but is firmly established in the history of animé. This movie was released way back in 1989 in Japan and was released uncut stateside in 2005 but was it worth the wait?

Not really.

DragonBall Z: The Deadzone plot is quite thin but then this is typical fair for such an animé. Goku’s son, Gohan, is kidnapped by Garlic Jr’s henchmen as he plans to gather all the DragonBalls to wish for immortality. With this new found power Garlic Jr wants to take revenge for his father’s defeat by the hands of the mighty Kami-sama by overthrowing Earth by ruling with terror. Goku, fresh from his fishing trip then sets out to save his son and avenge his wife’s defeat by the evil henchmen.

Akira Toriyama‘s trademark style is ever evident and even now is instantly recognisable which is always a hallmark of great design. The animation however is quite rough around the edges however one cannot complain so much considering its age. The DVD comes with both the English and Japanese audio soundtrack and this review was done whilst watching the English Dub. While I know many will be screaming in outroar right now for me watching something dubbed I find that the English cast suit the characters much more.

In the Japanese soundtrack Goku is voiced by seiyuu Masako Nozawa, who does a good job at conveying the emotions, however her voice isn’t deep enough and doesn’t create the ‘manly’ image Goku should possess, considering he is supposed to be the strongest fighter in the universe. Sean Schemmel as Goku does a more convincing effort and the rough, coarse tones of Christopher R. Sabat as Piccolo is forever remembered and suits the character superbly.

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With typical DragonBall Z style, many moments in the animé appear very camp with many cheesy moments, even though they are unintentional. From the way Krillin says ‘Goodbye’ as he leaves in a camp tone (English dub, the Japanese soundtrack has a more suitable ‘Goku…’) to the names given to the special moves to power up like ‘Tooti Fruity’ from one of the henchmen. The action in parts are well choreographed however the ending was a bit soft but sets things up for future movies as it is the first in a total of thirteen movies!

In all DraqgonBall Z: The Deadzone is one for the fans only as the material hasn’t aged well.

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