Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dragonball Z Movie 14: Battle of Gods

 April is sometimes Dragonball Z Month here, and this year is the final installment of said month. Going for all the marbles. This month has truly been Over 9000.

A decade after Movie 13 (two decades in Japan), we got this one more or less out of nowhere. Indeed, after a long, long absence, Dragonball Z finally returned to our lives in a big way. Does this feature film measure up to the DBZ of olde? Read on.

Spoiler alert: It totally does. It also takes place a couple years after Movie 13, if that.

We begin with several fly-throughs of space. Sets the tone right away, letting us know that this movie will involve the greater universe.

 Some impressive CGI in these shots. Looks waaaay better than past space-scenes in the show.

 King Kai. After all these years, I still don't know what in the blue hell this guy is supposed to be. Is he the result of the unholy union of a vulcan and a catfish?

King Kai has recieved word that the God of Destruction has awakened. Since the... uh... GoD is so powerful, Kai knows that Gokou will want to meet him if he finds out. Kai also knows that Gokou would get his ass kicked, so he thinks it's better to just not let Gokou know anything.

Gokou figures it out, and gets ready to insta-transmission his way to find the GoD. That's gotta be the most overpowered ability in all of fiction. It totally trivializes any drama that might be created from needing to travel or look for someone.

But wait! Instead, they... drive? Well, they need to go back to Kai's house. Or something. I blacked out a little bit during this part.

Meanwhile, on a stumpy pillar somewhere, Supreme Kai and Kibito Kaioshin do what they do best... be useless. They do give us some info on how badass the God of Destruction is, though. He even makes THEM wet their pants. Didn't Buu also have that effect on them? Well, whatever.

Gokou is READY FOR ACTION. Bring on the God of Destruction!

Roll credits, complete with lots of sweet CGI.

Here's the God of Destruction's castle. It's a unique-looking wonder of construction, and it hovers in a nebula somewhere. This is quite a creative structure/setting, and some of the great sci-fi writers would be proud.

The God of Destruction is...

...NOT THIS GUY! It's...

...a sleeping cat...rabbit...creature named Beerus. Bills in some translations. This is the most unintimidatingly-named character I've seen since True Blood's creators decided to name their main badass "Bill".

Beerus is fairly intimidating for a rabbit. He's reminiscent of Anubis. Seems he's been asleep for 36 years, and he's so powerful that he needs to be awakened with massive bomb charges set around his bed.

Again, some very cool ideas here.

In any case, Beerus is amazed to learn that someone finally defeated Freeza. He was going to do it himself, but now there's no need.

Beerus journeys to visit the possibly-drunk Oracle Fish, who knows everything. Beerus wants to know who it is that defeated Freeza, and only Oracle Fish has the answer.

After wobbling around a bit, Oracle Fish reveals the wherabouts of Gokou. Beerus is eager to meet this fearsome opponent who could defeat Freeza, and it seems like the two are on a collision course.

I hope Oracle Fish is a recurring character. Matter of fact, I hope he drunkenly stumbles in every time anyone wants some information.

Oolong wants to know if Muten Roshi will ever notice his supple skin? Oracle Fish.

Vegeta wants to know if he'll ever get to star in his own movie and defeat a villain himself? Oracle Fish.

Chi Chi wants to know if her useless boyfriend will ever give her an orgasm? Oracle Fish.

These higher planes are pretty snazzy-looking and  ethereal. I like it. The other guy is Whis, who appears to be the assistant to Beerus. Whis is able to travel at super-high speeds, making him a sort of intergalactic limo.

Case in point, as Whis proceeds to zip them towards Earth at some level of warp. They're going to find Gokou, and this would be a huge surprise for our hero if King Kai hadn't already inexplicably spoiled the movie's plot to him.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Bulma is throwing a party. Everybody is getting crunk.

Muten Roshi is being irritating, as usual, griping about something or other.

Also, Bulma was much hotter with long hair. Back when she was walking around in her underwear on that spaceship during the Namek Saga? Yeeeeeaaaaahhh.

Beerus arrives at King Kai's planet (which has been rejuvenated since it got blown up long ago), and after making fun of its small size, he has a meet-and-greet with Gokou.

Beerus has no idea what a Super Saiyan is, so Gokou gives him a demonstration.

And this... is Super Saiyan 2. You know it because the hair is more erect. And there's electricity. Super Saiyan 2 is the best of the lot, if you ask me.

Finally, there's Super Saiyan 3. Gokou offers to dial it back down to SSJ2 to fight Beerus so that he isn't too tough on the god. Those are some fightin' words.

After a fight that was nearly too quick to get a good shot of, Gokou is left laying while Beerus isn't even scratched. Even in SSJ3 form, Gokou could take all of two hits from Beerus before he keeled over.

Beerus is on a whole other level. Weirdest thing is that he doesn't even seem to exhibit ki. It's almost like his power level is zero. Now that'd be an interesting concept to explore.

After the fight King Kai's planet is in SHAMBLES, and it's all Gokou's fault. Again. Gokou is, as per usual later in the series, a huge sociopath who only cares about battle. However, in this case, he's met his soulmate in Beerus... another huge sociopath.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Vegeta is training when he gets word of current events. While Gokou just wanted to fight Beerus, property damage be damned, Vegeta is determined to protect Earth from the God of Destruction.

When Vegeta seems more like a noble good guy than your supposed noble good guy, there's a problem.

Unfortunately, it's too late to prepare. Beerus is already here. When Vegeta looks this shocked, you know that shit just got real.

With one twitch, Beerus could blow the planet up. He wants to meet someone who can give him a real battle, since there are multiple Super Saiyans. Gokou was disappointing, so perhaps someone else will be more of a challenge.

We flashback to Vegeta as a kid, when he witnessed Beerus stepping on his father's head.

...well, this is an odd thing to happen. I guess Beerus visited Planet Vegeta for some reason. And evidently he's always a complete asshole to whoever he visits.

A clearly drunken Bulma shows up and tries to talk Beerus and Whis into the world's grossest foursome.

What follows is... Beerus partying with our heroes. The only person missing is Chaozu, who exploded as soon as Beerus arrived.

But wait! Now the movie must come screeching to a halt, as the nefarious Pilaf and his gang have arrived. For a second I thought this was Garlic Jr, which would have been even less interesting.

I suppose if I'd seen more of the original Dragonball series yet, I might care about these guys, but as it is... I just don't. I'm guessing most DBZ fans are in the same boat, since a relative minority are also familiar with its far less known predecessor series.

To sum up: Pilaf and his goons are a bunch of weirdoes trapped in kid bodies who are after the Dragonballs for some reason. I believe they found them once before and wished for eternal youth, which ended up being a bad wish to make. Maybe they want to undo that.

Heck, even if I DID know who they are and like them, this is really out of place and totally breaks up the flow of the movie. I don't think we even see Beerus again for about ten minutes of screen time, and that's a problem.

Pilaf and his goons are caught by Trunks and Goten before they can make off with the 'Balls. However, the girl, who is apparently 41 years old, manages to stash the Number Four ball.

Trunks really likes to point at people. Moving on quickly...

Gokou trains on King Kai's planet while Kai and Bubbles hide behind a barrier. Doesn't Gokou have a better place to train at this point?

Back on Earth, things take a turn for the dark as the 41 year old child pulls a gun on Trunks. It turns out that Pilaf's gang now they want to wish for infinite wealth since they can't find jobs as kids. Still don't care, even though CHIBI TRUNKS HAS A GUN TO HIS HEAD.

Things like this simply don't matter in post-Buu DBZ. If he got shot and it actually killed him, they could just bring him right back. That won't happen, though, because he's impervious to bullets due to his super strength.

Gohan thinks this is all a game, so he turns into Great Saiyaman and goes on a BLISTERING anti-Obama rant! I did NOT see that coming!

After Gohan deflects the bullets, one of them hits Videl in the leg. Another one hits Beerus in the forehead and bounces off. Well, this was a disaster in the making.

Dende heals Videl, and I can't help but notice she now has 'The Bod. Those are some great hips going on there.

No word on what happened to The Pilaf Gang after they nearly KILLED VIDEL, but I still don't care. Vegeta does a dance onstage to amuse Beerus so he doesn't blow up the planet. Because Vegeta is apparently the only one with any awareness of the fact that the God of Destruction is present here. The rest of the cast is busy being as moronic as possible and getting people shot.

This movie is getting dumber and dumber by the minute...

Oh! Hold that thought! It appears that Beerus and Buu are having a dispute over... pudding. Buu doesn't want to share. Ooookay then.

It's DBZ's biggest bad versus the new bad! Who will emerge victorious?

That question is answered very quickly, as Beerus one-shots Buu. No worries, Buu isn't dead. He just got knocked into some bushes.

Everyone else LOSES THEIR SHIT at the sight of Buu getting knocked over a hedge. Forget his pregnant wife getting shot in the leg, THIS is going too far! Don't you ever push Buu over a hedge, you son of a bastard!

Beerus then proceeds to easily dispatch Gohan AND Buu at the same time. It isn't even really a fight. Gohan is such a jobber.

But wait! Gotenks has arrived! The Goten/Trunks fusion also likes to point at people. Well, this whole thing escalated quickly...

He doesn't even bother to go past SSJ1, and Beerus literally spanks him until he falls to the ground unconscious.

"Sexy!" says Muten Roshi when reached for comment.

It's down to Beerus and Vegeta, and Vegeta doesn't have a chance. Wait, why are they all fighting in the first place again? Because Buu didn't want to share his pudding? Can we just get some more pudding over here for the God of Destruction and apologize?

After Beerus SLAPS BULMA for sassing him, Vegeta flies into a rage.

Yes, VEGETA goes into an SSJ rage to protect his wife from being slapped, but Gohan is all "no biggie, we have Dende!" when HIS wife gets SHOT IN THE LEG.

Vegeta continues to be the most likeable and responsible person in this movie.

Beerus easily dispatches Vegeta, though Vegeta did put up a surprising amount of fight. More than Gokou did, come to think of it.

And speak of the devil himself, here's our sociopathic protagonist. Beerus needs more of a challenge, and discusses with Gokou how they could perhaps make that happen.

Our heroes proceed to summon the Eternal Dragon to ask about Super Saiyan God. According to Oracle Fish, it's some sort of mysterious higher form that Saiyans can achieve. Beerus wants to fight it... OR ELSE.

Shenlong describes Super Saiyan God... and it sure looks a lot like SS4 from Dragonball GT. That's odd.

Shenlong notices Beerus and gets all freaked out. Wow, EVERYONE is terrified of this guy, even the immortal wish-granting giga-dragon.

The only way to become Super Saiyan God... is for a bunch of Super Saiyans to hold hands and send all of their power to one person. Of course, Gokou has to be the one, because Lord Help Us if anyone else gets to star in a DBZ movie.

Meanwhile, Dende reveals that Videl is pregnant, while Videl stands there being shapely as fuck.

...I already spoiled it earlier in the post, but yeah. Maybe if Gohan had known this he would have gotten more upset earlier.

Gohan is all "FOR REALS?"

Way to set an example for the kids with unplanned pregnancies, guys. Hey Gohan! Haven't you heard of condoms, ya rat bastard?

Since Videl has a half-saiyan in her belly, she can join hands to give them the extra push of Saiyan energy they need to turn Gokou into Super Saiyan God. Well, that... makes a bit of sense, I suppose. Then again, since she isn't even showing, how far along is this baby? Can an embryo go Super Saiyan? Shouldn't she blow up?
While they do the ritual, Beerus is enjoying the lemonade of Earth. I wonder if Earth cuisine really is super-unique to him, or if he has sampled things like lemons in countless other worlds already.

Gokou reappears as Super Saiyan 4 Super Saiyan God. This is actually a lot cooler than SS4, to say the least. None of the weird ape fur, and dialed back as opposed to further exaggerated.

It also has a sweet CGI fire-aura. It's like Super Saiyan, just... more intense, and different enough to rock.

The fight between Gokou and Beerus kicks into high gear, and it's hard to express just how awesome this fight is. They soar around in this city, chasing each other without actually damaging their surroundings at all. It isn't the orgy of destruction that Movie 13 was.

You the viewer are right there with them, soaring through the air and spinning and diving. Superb camera-work, and I don't know if DBZ has ever given us something this dynamic before.

Gokou and Beerus have a bit of a standoff, as it seems they're evenly matched. Also, that's quite a massive city.

They take the battle into the wasteland, soaring past... a t-rex? Luckily, they didn't take it out. It might well be the last of its kind. The Last Dinosaur.

SSG Gokou gives this battle everything he has and barely gains any ground, only to discover that...

...Beerus has only been fighting at half-strength.

These visuals are really insane. Tidal waves going up on either side of the combatants... stuff like this is what I wanted to see from DBZ back in the day. They went all-out with this battle, visually.

Bills lands on the water like the most nimble and graceful of mud-skippers.

At this point, Super Saiyan God... wears off. That's right, it was on a timer. After dodging rapid-fire blasts (seen here), Gokou proceeds to go SSJ1 and fight in that form. And he doesn't seem much worse off. That makes about as much sense as Kid Buu being the strongest version of Buu.

I do enjoy the color scheme to this battle, however. I hope we haven't seen the last of Super Saiyan God. Its fire aura makes SSJ1's gold aura here look... old and tired in comparison.

The battle continues into the upper atmosphere of Earth. Awesome.

Gokou has to stop a huge attack from Bills that threatens to blow up the Earth if Gokou fails to repel it. This exact situation has happened quite a few times over the series, hasn't it?

This blast is like a mini-sun, as the insane visuals continue.

The People of Earth are generally only seen in DBZ when they're reacting to something in horror, and this movie is no exception.

Gokou regains Super Saiyan God form (I guess it has a cooldown) just in time to repel the blast. That was a close one.

It appears that they're done. Gokou isn't getting anywhere even in his temporary SSG form, despite Beerus only fighting at half power. By my math, this means Beerus is at least twice as powerful as Gokou's new mega-form. Wow. This leaves things quite open for future stories, which is why we're getting Dragonball Super now.

Gokou falls out of SSG again, and... he's happy. He lost a fight, yet he feels good knowing that such an opponent exists.

Beerus is okay with Gokou too, glad that Gokou obliged his need for a challenge. No destroying Earth, it seems.

He also reveals that Gokou is only the second-strongest opponent he's faced.

The first? Whis, who it turns out is actually Beerus' teacher. EGAD! It makes a lot of sense now, though. When they traveled through the cosmos, Whis was the one propelling them through space. It crossed my mind at that point that he might secretly be more powerful than Beerus.

A strange scene follows where Beerus drops Gokou off with his friends, thanks him for the battle... and then announces that he's going to destroy Earth anyway. After he charges up and makes everyone soil themselves in horror, he proceeds to blast a nearby rock and call it a day. So that's what he meant by "destroy Earth"! Hahaha! What a jokester! Unfortunately, jokes won't pay the laundry bill for our heroes.

Bulma also makes him apologize for hitting her, which is pretty cool. A woman standing up for herself in DBZ? Just this once, it's like women are more than baby-factories in this universe. Are we seeing a more evolved DBZ for the new millennium?

Beerus returns to his flying space garden to go back to sleep. Are we going to get a Rocky II style rematch in Movie 15? Personally I'd like to see more new concepts vis-a-vis higher planes instead.

...well, I'll go ahead and say it: Movie 15, the final movie, won't be any of the above. I'll get to it soon enough.

But first, Whis and Beerus enjoy some sushi from Earth.

Beerus can NOT handle wasabi. It seems even gods have a weakness.

Whis proceeds to knock Beerus into a three-year coma with a karate chop. Wait, Whis is powerful enough to knock Beerus out for three years? How is Gokou going to even scratch him in their potential future battle?

Our heroes stand tall and talk about the day's events. If this were an RPG with a three-character party limit, my main party would always be these three guys. Well, maybe switch Gohan in for the main character role.

The credits are WELL worth watching, and rapidly flip through basically the entire series in manga form. Just awesome.

That was a pretty damn good movie, to say the least. The Pilaf stuff was unnecessary, and some of the events at the party were completely moronic, but the big battle and aftermath were well-done.

What did you think about this movie? Or this post? Leave a comment below.

Other Dragonball Z Posts

More Dragonball Universe posts!

Dragonball Z: Legend of the Super Saiya-Jin (Super Famicom)

Dragonball Evolution
Dragonball Z Movie Retrospective
Dragonball GT Thoughts


  1. It's obviously great to see DBZ again and especially great to see it in current, HD animation. I thought this movie was pretty cool and I liked that it is just goofy. Silliness and humor has been at the core of Dragon Ball since the beginning, and Billis as a silly, but all powerful villain is kind of perfect. I'm glad they didn't try to do a super serious thing because I don't think that tone would've worked.

    I also think the Super Sayain God form looks pretty cool. I like that the ultimate Sayain form is skinny and not even more muscled. And the pink hair is actually kind of badass haha. Billis' egyptian-god like look is cool, too.

  2. This was a really funny review. Looks like Videl sure filled out since the show. I guess they needed a sex symbol for this movie.

  3. What a weird movie. The three robbers are the Pilaf Gang from the original Dragonball series, as you surmised. They're the first villains in the show.

  4. "What in the BLUE hell is King Kai" heh heh heh
    Big year for retro rabbits, considering Sailor Moon just came back too.
    Oracle Fish has a lot of potential, I agree.
    Bills..doesn't transform? He's just quiet? That's awesome.
    NOOO KING KAI'S LOVELY LITTLE LONELY PLANET, will everyone consider this important enough to Dragon Ball for?!
    Toriyama is being awful indulgent bringing this Pilaf gang back. But it's totally hilarious that these guys can't get jobs because they look like kids.
    (Smash Brothers Chant) VE-GE-TA! VE-GE-TA! VE-GE-TA!
    "Regardless, Videl's Magical Uterus has saved the world." Videl RULES! People with V names are owning this movie.
    This battle looks to be what we came here for. So characters doing inexplicable things aside we got what DBZ is famous for, awesome fights and goofy humor. Looks like a good day and I hope they keep improving for the next one.

  5. You don't need an oracle fish, I can answer those questions. No, yes, NO, and hahaha no.

    Bulma was drawn like crap in those spaceship episodes!

    Vegeta may never get a starring role in a movie, but he was really good in this. What a goddamn hero. He's like the Ziggler to Gokou's Cena.

    Hey yeah, where WAS Chaozu in this? Tenshinhan was there. Maybe they broke up.

    I liked the Pilaf part. It didn't slow the movie down like the Icarus stuff in Tree of Might or the sloooowness of Broly 1. This gave some of the other characters something to do and I liked to focus being taken off of Beers for a bit.

    If Trunks got shot the bullet would shatter and do no damage to him. Which is later pointed out in the movie. Pilaf's gang is hilariously in over their heads.

    Well it's not like Gohan was going to erupt in a rage of vengeance at an 8 year old who he already admonished for somehow having a real gun (as opposed to the fake gun he assumed it was).

    Not even remotely SSJ4. The tail is there in that image because it was ancient Saiyans they used that power once.

    Beers and Whis seemed to be endlessly delighted with the food of Earth, to the point where Whis speculates that Beers didn't destroy the planet because of it.

    You oughta look into rewatching this with a better subtitle track (or the dub, possibly) to get a better grasp of what was going on during some of the parts that had you confused. It was great to finally be able to read this review!