Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dragonball Z Movie 9: Bojack Unbound

This is almost without a doubt the best of the original thirteen Dragonball Z movies. It's so good that it makes the rest look awful. It gives Gohan his first main event role in a movie. The villains are the coolest gang of ruffians in any DBZ movie, or perhaps even the series at large. Also, in this one Yamcha fights. If that isn't a selling point, I don't know what is.

Presented by Trojan!

This movie revolves around the latest World Martial Arts Tournament, as wrestlers from the world over arrive to do...martial arts. Here's famed Mexican wrestling sensation Slim Fantastico, master of the super hurricanrana.

And here's festive Peruvian brawler Road Warrior El Grande Sack.

The people of the DBZ world look on in anticipation, and they're as dumb as ever. And some of them are animal-people. I don't know why. It simply is. +1 for Mr. Satan balloon.

Before we see the wrestlers (who are apparently from another galaxy, as they're referred to as "Intergalactic Fighters"), there needs to be a Rumble-style tournament to determine Earth's eight best fighters. The eight survivors will then pair off in matches, and the four winners there go on to face the Intergalactic Fighters. Hoo boy, I can't wait to see Gokou Vs. festive Latin music superstar Slim Fantastico.

But wait! This is right after the Cell Games, so... Gokou is dead. He won't be joining us. Craziness. Chi Chi is here to cheer on Gohan, the new hero.

Future Trunks is here, and he's at his maximum power for the series. By all accounts, the final round of any tournament now should come down to he and Gohan.

Baby Trunks is also here! Is having two of the same person existing in the same timeline such a good idea?

Meanwhile, Muten Roshi is lurking, peering around for women to check out. Can you spot the crafty bastard?

He leaps at the opportunity to join a bunch of young ladies at their table, freaking them the fuck out in the process. Good God man! You gotta be mildly tactful! ...unless you live in Boston.

Chi Chi and Bulma stare daggers over the fact that their respective sons are the two strongest fighters now.

Looking at their auras makes me realize, I'd love to see female super saiyans in this show. Like, at all. Or just women-heroes who can hold their own with the men. Android 18 is on par with the men, but only when she's a villain. When she ends up on the side of good later, she is by then far-surpassed by the guys.

Then again, I suspect that adding female super saiyans would cause the modern internet to explode with #GamerGate nonsense about SJWs or something. I don't even know what that's all about.

The Final Eight are revealed! There's Gohan Vs. uh...Ted Turner! Trunks Vs. Tien! Piccolo Vs. Kuririn! Akibono Vs. Bruce Lee!

The four winners of these fights go on to face the Intergalactic Fighters, then the winner of THAT tourney gets to face the fearsome Mr. Satan (and his power level of like... 12) for the world title.

First up... Trunks Vs. Tien. I like Tien. He got to be semi-powerful a lot longer than Yamcha did, but I still wish he were a more significant character overall.

He's got no chance against Trunks whatsoever once Trunks goes Super. Man, how cool-looking is Trunks? I wish we'd gotten a lot more of this guy. His absence is yet another strike against the Buu Saga.

Trunks wins and extends the hand of friendship. Trunks/Tien Buddy Movie, make it happen., from this angle Tien looks like a giant, yet very short penis.

Kuririn fights Piccolo, and Gohan cheers on Piccolo from the sidelines. Kuririn is all "gee, thanks, asshole"

Piccolo then proceeds to...leave. Okay then. Kuririn wins by countout!

Gohan wins his fight quickly, and apparently the sumo guy beat the bowl cut guy off-camera.

At this point the four remaining fighters get fired off into some sort of sub-dimension fighting-zone via pods. This is exactly like The Running Man when the fighters would get shot into the battleground, right down to cameras being everywhere.

Kuririn's head catches on fire after a rough landing. THIS is as close as Kuririn will ever get to Super Saiyan.

Kuririn's opponent is Zangya. Wait, she isn't one of the Intergalactic Fighters! Indeed, it turns out that this mysterious group of villains have murdered the IFs and taken their place, laying in wait for our heroes.


What say you, Kuririn? Think you can go 2-for-2 with romancing villains?

Trunks, meanwhile, battles this very cool-looking guy with a sword. ...waiiiiit a minute. This guy with a sword...check out the hair, and the bandana. This guy is totally Crono!

They fight in a field of flowers, which is pretty awesome. Too bad Trunks doesn't have his sword anymore, this could have been DBZ's first swordfight. At least he has cooler hair and a higher SSJ form than he did when he had the sword.

The scenery in this movie is really impressive for DBZ. Is this still even the same show?

After they fight for a bit, Crono loses his shirt and buffs up to become Giga-Crono.

Elsewhere, Gohan fights a small, annoying mage. In what appears to be a gigantic toy-box. What the hell is with that mega-baby? Good GOD.

Meanwhile, Mr. Satan hides in the bathroom. It wouldn't be a DBZ movie without the D-Characters doing dumb time-wasting stuff. At least even the filler is very well-rendered in this movie. Everything about this movie has a little extra oomph, which is why this is still the best of the DBZ movies to this day... aside from Movie 14, but I'll get to that.

Trunks blocks Giga-Crono's sword with his arm! In DBZ, weapons are pretty much useless for the most part.

Trunks fires back with a punch, and...KILLS the guy. That's for the wrestlers, you son of a bitch!

It's pretty awesome to see a non-main character actually destroy an enemy goon in one of these movies.

Meanwhile, up in Heaven (or something), Gokou is hanging out with King Kai. No more planetoid because it got blown up during the Cell fight. Kai warns him about the current Big Bad:

Bojack, a super-powerful demon who was imprisoned in King Kai's planetoid for a long time. Since that planetoid got blown up, Bojack's soul was released onto the cosmos. Along with his four goons, I suppose. They're sorta like Khan and his Botany Bay crew.

I'd say Bojack isn't as powerful as Broly, but he's up there.

After Bojack's remaining goons take out Kuririn and Trunks, Gohan is ready to fight them. But first... Tien and Yamcha are here! DON'T WORRY GOHAN, WE'LL HANDLE IT

Yamcha gets THROWN. Don't worry, I can see his parachute. He's okay!

After that two-second "fight", Gohan goes Super Saiyan with some added laser beam flair. Seriously, this is pretty damn cool.

He does a sweet dash-elbow that I recognize from Super Butoden 2.

In general, he holds his own better than the others did, even when Bojack's goons strike in packs.

One of the many things I like about this movie is how damn HIP the villains are. They're the coolest guys (and girl) in the room at all times. They don't seem too upset at the death of Giga-Crono.

Bojack throws a massive energy ball at Gohan (looks like his ki-color is green, like Broly) only to have it intercepted by Super Piccolo. Whoa, nice shot Piccolo.

Tuxedo Piccolo has arrived! But what of Pretty Soldier Sailor Trunks?

This environment is so cool. It's all fake, with a sky that breaks to reveal another world past it. I like how this empty city is full of steeples and Assassin's Creed structures for characters to stand on looking awesome.

One of my favorite shots of the movie, if not the entire DBZ series, is this one. Piccolo charges at the villains, and the camera slowly rotates around their perch towards them as they all look on bemusedly.

Bojack swings into action and quickly thrashes Piccolo. Have I mentioned how cool this Victorian cityscape looks? I want to run around the rooftops and climb on everything.

Bojack has this cool barrier move that he can use to block energy blasts. He doesn't make much use of it, but it's there and it's a cool move.

A not-so-cool move is this weird snare attack used by his goons. Specifically, the small one. It can "tie up" a character with energy and prevent them from moving, which incapacitates Trunks.

He's sorta like the Gerudo of the group. You know, the time-stopping guy from the Ginyu Force. He can freeze people in place and then the other minions can attack.

Vegeta bursts through the landscape to save Trunks. Bojack is perched on a steeple, because this movie is all about perching on steeples.

Vegeta and Bojack have this great sequence where they fire beams at each other through a building. I don't think we've ever seen a battle utilize a real-world environment like this up to this point in DBZ.

Vegeta with a blue beam! This fight is going all over the place, and it's the kind of competitive fight we didn't get in the previous couple of movies.

Trunks tries to talk sense into Vegeta and gets an elbow for his trouble. By God, Vegeta WILL win this fight!

...or not, as Bojack powers up and becomes SUPER GREEN BOJACK. This guy was the final boss of Super Butoden 2 for the Super Famicom.

Bojack takes on Gohan and turns him into a bat? I guess. Point is, he rolls over everybody now that he's big and green.

Man, Gohan is getting pummeled. THAT LANDSCAPE THO

Up in Heaven, Gokou gets really angry at seeing his son get beat up and starts screaming at Kai to let him interfere. You can't interfere, you're dead! You're like Patrick Swayze in Ghost, which means you can only look on while Gohan gets pummeled.

Bojack proceeds to crush the life out of Gohan while his goons all sit around being the hippest squad in DBZ.

Finally, Gokou says "fuck it" and instant-transmissions his way OUT OF HEAVEN. King Kai is shocked by this complete disregard for death as a storytelling device with any kind of weight!

Gokou punches Bojack in the face, completely flooring him and making the whole cast look bad in the process. After that one punch Gokou gets zoomed back into Heaven, at least.

This kind of flagrant death-trivializing is an early portent of the upcoming Buu Saga, where death would be about as inconvenient as a parking ticket.

After seeing his father for a brief moment, Gohan POWERS THE HELL UP. It's time for SSJ2 (the best of the SSJ forms, btw)

SSJ2 is awesome. Gohan gets electricity and his hair stands straight up at all times.

THIS guy should have been the main character of DBZ going forward, but unfortunately this is his finest moment (aside from killing Cell in the show). After this, Gohan gets shunted back to the midcard like he's Daniel Bryan or something.

Gohan proceeds to one-shot EVERYBODY.

I mean, he just outright slices everybody in half with his attacks. He did the same thing to the Cell Juniors in the show, to the point that this whole fight is basically a greatest hits version of the Cell fight from the SSJ2 transformation on out.

Question is, will he also slice Zangya in half, even though she's a lady? OOOOH SHE'S A LAY-DY

We don't get to find out because Bojack goes ahead and kills her with an energy blast. That or he just goosed her.

Gohan proceeds to impale Bojack on his fist...yeah, just like the last two movies ended. However, this time, the bad guy isn't one-shotted.

Bojack (w/ stomach hole) has Final Attack materia equipped and goes for one last big move!

Gohan powers up a beam in response! Will we get an epic tug-of-war between the beams?

Not quite, as the beams just sorta stop each other and both guys charge through the explosion. I think Gohan struck him again on the way through, because Bojack explodes in a cool effect.

Gohan goes back to normal and collapses. THE BOY HAS BECOME A MAYYYYN.

We end with our heroes in the hospital, as usual. Insert healthcare joke here.

...oh yeah, Kuririn was also in this movie, totally forgot for a while.

The credits are really cool, showing us a bunch of shots from Gohan's life. There really is a sentiment here that Gohan is the new series hero as opposed to Gokou, and it's pretty cool.

Like I mentioned before, this is still the best DBZ movie of the original thirteen, and possibly overall. It's a great watch, even today. It immediately follows the most exciting saga in DBZ (the Cell Games) and sorta fills the void between that era and the next era years later. Since that next era of the show was pretty bad in comparison, I kinda wish they had stopped with the Cell Games and this movie.


  1. The king of earth is a dog man. I don't even know WHAT Pilaf is. This series is so weird.

    The fact that there was never a "Future Self n' Me" with the Trunkses is such a wasted opportunity.

    Well, I see Chaozu, Oolong (it's not a movie without Oolong!), and... ah, there's Roshi.

    Mr. Satan has quite the snazzy demon cape.

    It's nice that Trunks get to no-sell a sword for a change.

    This is the only movie where Gohan has this look. As old as he gets before the time jump and in his father's colors. Him in SSJ2 with this look is as unique as Gogeta is.

    Wow, Gokou isn't even SSJ with his cheating punch and it still floors Bojack! ...well, I suppose dying gave him a bit of a boost, at least...

    Definitely the best movie, love this one.

  2. It may or may not be super-canon, but those six filler-episodes that take place between the Cell Saga and Buu Saga have Gokou in the afterlife and he can go SSJ2. So basically he got SSJ2 right after Gohan did (but needed a death to get strong enough for it), but it's oft-forgotten because a big deal wasn't made of it. He used it to defeat Pikkon in some sort of galactic tournament.

    I believe Movie 9 takes place during that six-episode space between Cell and Buu, so yeah, Gokou would be SSJ2 when he punched out Bojack. I don't know when else this movie could take place.

    I wouldn't have minded seeing more of that storyline. Lots of possibilities. Instead we got whisked back to Earth at episode 200 for the worst, most everything-trivializing DBZ saga. At least it started well with Gohan and Videl doing normal kid stuff and general fun times.

    1. Yeah man Gohan and Videl doing cool shit was so underrated, it was a fantastic throwback to the original DB too what with it happening on Earth and not being all about fighting but just about him doing stuff.

      the whole bigass babidi ship and super buu arc were way too long.

  3. This is my first time ever seeing this movie and I agree it's terrific. It's so good that there's actual fighting time and that the rest of the crew got chances to shine. The environments are really cool and because it's a fake world we don't have to worry about people being in the buildings that got destroyed. The flower field fight is super-classy. The bad guys are full of 'tude and their blue color is good. They also remind me of Chrono Trigger. In general you are just spot on with these comments.

    Did the DBZ creators have a rule that the good guys could never kill a woman?

    The punch from heaven is lame but I was mentally prepared for that.

    It's nice to imagine an alternate reality of the show where the last saga is like this. It's also nice to imagine this being the end so everything is tied up well, but with the show still as popular as it was they had to continue until people were sick of it.

    Amazing black-and-white shot after Gohan and Bojack hit each other a final time. Spectacular screenshot.

    Thanks for the credits GIF. Makes me feel good inside.

    Look how much I commented on this one!

    1. Yeah, Movie 9 could have been a great show arc. Well, anything would be better than most of the Buu Saga.

      I sorta wish the movies had been integrated into the show. If the show had shorter arcs it would have had room for more small arcs.

      Like it could start with Movie 1 as the first arc for like 5-10 episodes, leading into Raditz arriving and the Saiyan Saga.

      Problem is that the movies use characters who are dead or out of action at the time that they'd fit into the show, so they'd need to be very different. In particular, Gokou would be missing from Movie 2 and 3 due to death and injuries respectively. But yeah, if they moved things around a lot, the movies could have been part of the show in-between other arcs. Would have liked to see Movie 8 take place before the Cell Games, then Movie 9 be 15-20 episodes, then Great Saiyaman episodes, then Movie 10 be the show finale over a bunch of episodes as Gohan fights Broly for the fate of Earth.

      I think Movie 9 might be the only DBZ movie that fits into the show chronology without any problems, since it takes place during the empty space after the Cell Saga. Movie 1 is also debatable in terms of whether or not it slots in before the show begins.

  4. Faltou a cena que vegeta abre os bra├žo s pra atacar bojack