Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dragon Ball Z - Battle of Gods: Movie 14 (Uncut, English Dubbed Version)

Seventeen years. That's how long it has been since the last Dragon Ball-related movie was released in Japan. Dragon Ball: The Path of Power (a retelling of the original series) hit theaters in Japan in 1996. Even if you count Wrath of the Dragon (the final Dragon Ball Z movie at the time) being dubbed into English and released on DVD in 2005 that's still quite a gap between movies. 

It's 2014 and there's a Dragon Ball Z movie being shown in Mobile, Alabama, of all places and for a very limited time. It's the new Battle of Gods film that rocked the Japanese box office in 2013. 

I've been waiting a long time for this moment and you can bet that as soon as I found out that a Dragon Ball Z movie would be playing in a theater so close to home... Well, of course I pre-ordered my tickets as soon as possible. Despite my intense anticipation for this movie I chose not to watch this movie in subbed form on the internet. I easily could have, but I wanted to wait for the dub. 

While I am pro-sub for many anime these days I think I will always hear Chris Sabat as Vegeta and Sean Schemmel as Goku. No disrespect for any of the other voice actors to lend their talents from the Canadian cast of the Ocean dub to the original Japanese voice actors, but I just had to watch this movie on the biggest screen possible with the voices I will always hear as my childhood heroes. I respect anyone who has voiced the man in the orange and blue fight suit, but Sean Schemmel yelling out "Kamehameha!" Man, it doesn't get much better than that. 

That being said, this movie is not as much of an action film as you might think. Toriyama Akira had an actual hand in this movie and I could see his fingerprints all over this movie. For starters, this movie was really funny. The first half of the movie has action, but the emphasis is placed largely on the comedic bits and that has always been one of mr. Toriyama's strengths. I think the funniest part of the movie was when Vegeta made a fool out of himself in order to prevent Beerus (Birusu) from destroying the Earth. 

I laughed and the entirety of the audience laughed with me, but when we weren't laughing you could hear a pin drop. The movie wasn't even all that loud compared to other movies, but everyone was making an effort to be quiet and that more than made up for it. When we laughed, though... You could barely even hear the movie. I think that has to qualify this film as a success no matter what. 

If you were a fan from the beginning of the series and enjoyed both Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z then you should really get a kick out of this movie. If you're more into the action aspect of the series (Z, in particular) then you may be a tad bit disappointed. 

But the action on the big screen is so good when it does happen and I'm pretty happy that this was my first anime movie to see in theaters. 

Of course, this movie isn't perfect. I really want to say that this movie is awesome and the best Dragon Ball Z movie yet, but I still say that honor goes to Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan... even though that one isn't really even canon. Battle of Gods is canon, though. It takes place at the end of the series in the ten year gap between manga chapters 517 and 518. That is a definite plus for me. Yeah, it mentions a villain (although I never really saw him as a true villain because all of the previous Dragon Ball Z villains were ruthless and killed without remorse... Beerus is a bit different) that wasn't mentioned at all before in the anime or manga, but since Mr. Toriyama said it is canon then I've got to agree with him. 

This movie does fit, timeline-wise. It even brings back Emperor Pilaf and his cohorts for a long overdue encore and that was a pleasant surprise. I'm not sure if that was meant to serve as an official prelude to the beginning events of Dragon Ball GT or if it was just a fitting tribute to one of the first major villains Goku ever faced, but it was pretty awesome either way. 

I suppose if there is anything that you have to wonder about then it would be the Super Saiyan God form. That is something that is solely mentioned and shown in the movie. It was a fairly awesome transformation, but it certainly raises questions about the sequel series Dragon Ball GT and why that transformation wasn't used at any point during that series. I imagine that would have come in handy against a villain like Omega Shenron. Of course, I don't give two shits about Dragon Ball GT anyway so I don't care that much about it to nitpick. 

I enjoyed this movie so much, though. No, it's not Paprika or any Studio Ghibli film and it probably won't make the list of any all-time great films even as far as anime is concerned, but it's still pretty damn good for those of us who have come this far. 

I am eagerly looking forward to the next film that Mr. Toriyama has promised to come out in Japan in 2015 and I am all the more glad that Toriyama is again involved in the story he had created. I'm sure this film's follow-up will be just as good, if not even better. 

P.S. - I was a bit bummed that Tiffany Vollmer couldn't return as the voice of Bulma, but Monica Rial did a good job. Rial voiced Bulma in Dragon Ball Z Kai so this wasn't her first time doing voicing Bulma, either. I just prefer Tiffany Vollmer. 

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