Friday, May 20, 2022

Dragonball Movie 1 - Curse of the Blood Rubies (1986)


I've covered all of the DBZ movies, so it's time to plumb the depths of OG Dragonball and the four movies that lurk within. I have no idea what to expect from any of these, as I've never seen them before.

This first one is also known as Legend of Shenron and was released the same year as the first season of the Dragonball anime (1986). It's a bit interesting because it serves as a replacement for the Pilaf Saga (the first ten episodes or so), only substituting a new villain where Pilaf was. What's the point of this? I'm not sure. But it exists, and chronologically it could well be considered the beginning of the whole series. Things get REALLY weird with the four Dragonball movies, as the first 3 are retellings of different parts of the first half of the Dragonball show. Then the fourth is a RE-retelling of a bunch of stuff from the show, including a large amount of Movie 1. ...I don't get it. Well, for now, let's check out the first one.

Old-school logo. This may be from 1986, but it didn't get an English localization until 2009. Was the very last Dragonball (or Z) related property to get a localization (the other 3 DB movies all got released earlier). That's right, THIS was the final Dragonball movie that the West got pre-Super/revival.

A village is being excavated by some nefarious soldiers, despite the protests of the villagers. This one giant guy stands up to the soldiers, only to find that their leader is an even giant-er guy.

The Head Goon reveals that they're excavating for Blood Rubies, these super-valuable gems, for their leader King ::checks notes:: Gurumes.

The big guy gets knocked out and they resume their excavation. They're also polluting the air because why not shit on the townspeople even more? This looks like a job for Kid Gokou.

Here's King ::checks notes:: Gurumes. Have to make sure I spell that right.

He's cursed to be eternally hungry, and needs the Dragonballs to wish to no longer be hungry. The Blood Rubies afflicted him with the curse. Why's he mining more of 'em then?

Meanwhile, out in the, I'm reminded of how much nicer the vistas tend to be in DB/DBZ movies compared to the shows. They put more budget into these and you can see it in the skies and environments.

Gokou is here, fishing for Grandpa Gohan. Man, we are WAY back in time here.

This movie might be the closest thing to Dragonball Evolution plotwise out of all the DB/DBZ movies.


What, you thought I was joking?

"ERP" says the fish when reached for comment.

As Gokou makes off with his ill-gotten fish dinner, he runs into...Bulma??


The bullets don't kill him, but still hurt. His power level is only like...70 here or something like that.

More importantly, can we take a moment to reiterate that Bulma just SHOT A CHILD

We get a gander at Bulma's gams and I forget all about that child-shooting business. GLAD TO HAVE YOU ABOARD THE TEAM, MAAM actually their first meeting, or at least a retelling of it from the show. Gokou has never seen a girl before, or even a human at all besides Grandpa Gohan. "Why are its legs so long and skinny" he wonders aloud.

Bulma is on a Dragonball hunt, and convinces Gokou to lead her to Grandpa's 'ball since goons are out and about trying to find them. They race back to where it is, but it looks like they're too late, someone else already jacked it.

So now they must team up to recover the stolen 'ball!

I think ::checks notes:: Gurumes is up to 6 out of 7 obtained at this point. We're joining En Media Res here.

They see the evil minions flying off in their fighter jet with the 'ball. Gokou thinks it's some sort of metal bird.

Bulma whips out a Capsule Plane to give chase, while Gokou... horrified by the "black magic" being employed by this strange demon.

They pull up alongside the Goon Plane and tell them to pull over! I'd say most guys would pull over for those 'gams.

Unfortunately for our heroes, the pilot is NO MAN:

The villain's other main goon (besides the giant guy) is this redhead. She proceeds to blast them out of the sky with the plane's machine guns. So wait, Bulma is carrying a giant pistol around, yet her plane doesn't have any defenses?

We get another SWEET vista as our heroes drive around in a car, now empty-handed.

Bulma is starting to take to Gokou a bit, while Gokou sits around being sleepy and hungry.

In the woods, they find this random girl being menaced by...

...a giant horned...pig-demon?

It morphs into the Axe Knight from Dragon Quest, now armed only with a bowl of soup. this thing Oolong?

After he runs out of MP, his morphs wear off and he reverts to his normal form, looking uncannily similar to Kim Jong Un.

But wait! Before Gokou and Oolong can battle, they look to La Luna to see a new challenger appear: YAMCHA.

Yamcha is going to fight them. Holy hell. I don't even know what's goin' on.


Yanno, this being a retelling of the first few episodes of the show feels kind of weird and unnecessary. At least Dragonball Super doing the same thing in reverse made sense, because they made Movie 14 and 15 before Super began and needed to expand on them. However, these movies were made well after the Dragonball show was in full-swing, and retold stuff that IMO didn't really need to be retold so soon. I'd be more enthused about these movies if they were side-adventures to the Dragonball show, like what the DBZ movies are.

This is like the most evil Puar has ever looked. So weird to have PUAR AND YAMCHA as a big threat.

Since this is a movie and not the show, it just flies right through their fight. After an extremely quick (but good for what it was) clash, the fight ends when Bulma shows up.

Yamcha takes one look at her and "Dreamweaver" plays.

He turns beet red and proceeds to walk off a cliff, losing a tooth in the process. He says now Bulma won't want to date him because of the missing tooth, and runs away before she can meet him.

Back at the ranch, the party has lunch. For some reason Kim Jong Oolong is now a party member as well. Dunno how that happened or why. Regardless, they talk about the legendary Turtle Hermit, Muten Roshi. Gokou wants to meet this guy since he's said to be a great fighter.

Elsewhere, Yamcha (still missing a tooth) declares that he needs to find the Dragonballs so he can wish to no longer be shy around women.

Puar is appalled. He could wish for limitless wealth or to live forever, and instead he wants to overcome shyness?

Elsewhere, our heroes meet Roshi for the first time, in all his bow-legged glory. Gokou asks him for training.

Yamcha (now with all his teeth again) jumps in and tells Roshi not to do it, because they're just trying to steal his shell when he's not looking.

WTF Yamcha? How'd he even get here? Ah whatever, let's just get to Movie 2.

Bulma sees Yamcha and is SMITTEN. She's making this easy for him and he still can't do anything with it.

Instead he gets on his jet ski and just leaves, completely humiliated by nothing at all.

Roshi has a dragonball and our heroes need it, so he says he'll turn it over if Bulma shows him...her "supple boobies". She sighs and agrees. But wait! She has a plan.

That plan? Get Oolong to transform into a clone of her and let Roshi feel HIM up instead! Oolong says he'll do it...for a pair of Bulma's panties, as he is a panty collector. She agrees.

Well, now I sorta understand that bizarre scene in one of the DBZ movies where Roshi was feeling up Oolong in a camping tent.

Oolong becomes Bulma, and Bulma is taken aback by how hot she actually is. Oolong meanwhile just starts feeling himself up.

::checks how much time is left on this movie::

Oolong flashes Roshi and it's the greatest moment of his young life.

Before the flash, we get a stunning glamour shot of Bulma's chest. This reminds me of Ren and Stimpy when they'd do an extreme close-up of something (usually something gross, like an ear), and it'd go into like this foggy glamour-shot mode.

While all of this is going on, the bad guys show up in a submarine and launch a missile strike on Kame House.

My God! They just destroyed Kame House! OOLONG IS DEAD!

Roshi gets all pumped-up like Scott Steiner and unleashes a Kamehameha wave!

He destroys the submarine in one shot (the two bad guys bailed out).

I wonder how long he can maintain this full-body erection because I think Bulma might be impressed.

Gokou observes the Kamehameha and wants to learn it. Roshi says it takes decades of training. Gokou then proceeds to instantly figure it out and launch one of his own. It's much smaller than the Roshi beam, to be fair.

After that, our heroes head for the evil castle of The Villain to get the other Dragonballs.

Gokou fights the big guy in midair using the Kintoun cloud, which Roshi gave him (it'll only support your weight if you have a pure heart, so presumably it's useless to Roshi).

Eventually Gokou defeats him with the extending Power Pole attack. One thing I like about early Dragonball is that fights are won with tools and thinking, as opposed to Z where it's just "who has better power level" and nothing else. Dragonball fights can actually be more entertaining than Z because of this, despite not being as flashy.

Yamcha shows up here too and starts grabbing up all the Blood Rubies while the commotion is going on.

He runs into Bulma, and they're both totally smitten. However their meeting is cut short by the arrival of...

...the Lightning fury! Get outta there, Jack Burton!!

No, it's actually the hot redheaded goon. Ahhh, now Yamcha must choose!

...or not.

Yamcha tries to fight her and...

...accidentally touches her boob. Because of course!

Yamcha is totally smitten...again! Hilarious!

With him unable to be still and fight, she starts throwing grenades towards the group and they just end up running away.

Yamcha saves Bulma from a falling rock and she's all "MY HERO"

Poor Yamcha, he's had a boner for like half of his runtime in this movie. Well, I guess in a roundabout way he's gotten his wishes of being irresistable to girls.

Now they fight ::checks notes:: Gurumes. He's basically just an inflated monster, usually things like this are jobbers in the DB-verse. Unfortunately Gokou's Kamehameha isn't that strong yet, and bounces off of his giant belly.

Bulma realizes that the other Dragonballs are all in this guy's stomach (for some reason, maybe he thinks they have to be eaten). So she throws the last Dragonball into his mouth and yells the dragon-summoning phrase, which causes Gurumes to explode. Damn!

The dragon appears. He's all official here since he's never seen this crew before. Within a couple years he'll be like "yeah, whadda ya want"

Everyone starts jockeying over each other trying to make a wish. Yamcha wants to be "good with women" despite that he has women falling over him already. Bulma wants a boyfriend, preferably one who knows what to do with the clitoris.

However, one voice rings above all the others: That small child from the village. She wants her home to be safe and peaceful again!

Man, the hell with Yamcha and Bulma here.

The kid's wish wins. In order to do this, Shenlong removes all the Blood Rubies from the landscape so no one will want to tear it up anymore, and repairs all the damage.

Ya know, that's pretty cool.

Bulma is angry because she wanted to wish for a boyfriend!

Yamcha is also angry because he wanted to wish for a girlfriend!

Then they turn around and notice each other.

Bao chicka wao.

::checks notes:: Gurumes has now reverted to a human form. He's sorry for what he did, but he's just really hungry all the time and needed to consume everything. So the people from the village give him some fruits to eat and tell him that there's no need to destroy the land because the land has all the food he needs.

Well, that's all pretty heartwarming and bumps the movie up a notch.

And everyone lived happily ever after, except Oolong who is never happy about anything because he doesn't rule over a totalitarian commiestate where the people are living in a perpetual cycle of fear and self-hate.

Also worth noting that the bad guy's two goons survived and moved on with their lives, so that's cool.

Gokou sails off into the blue yonder and that's it for this movie. A very mid start for the DB movie-verse, and I don't understand why it needed to re-tell part of what the show already did. Especially considering A) The show had already happened and B) Was only in its second year at this point. So these events had literally just happened. At least some of it is different, like the villains.

Well, I'm glad that's over. The movie has one good thing going for it. Like I said, it's the closest actual DB anime to Dragonball Evolution in storyline. So that's kind of interesting to look at.

Here, have a much better movie than DBE: Big Trouble In Little China

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