Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone




It's time to Rock the Dragon.


Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone
AKA
Doragon Boru Zetto: Ora no Gohan o Kaese!!
AKA
Dragon Ball Z: Return my Gohan!!
AKA
Dragon Ball Z: The Movie
Release Dates: July 15, 1989 (Japan)
Run Time: 42 minutes
Starring: Goku, Piccolo, and absolutely not Krillin 

*Note: I watched the Funimation dub. I didn't watch with the original Japanese audio nor the Ocean dub because I didn't want to*

***

Today we celebrate the first film released under the Dragon Ball Z banner. This brand is no longer about the whimsical adventures of a young monkey boy; this is the hardened, gruff, 90's mature children's cartoon for adults. No longer will we be subjected to a carefree child collecting magic balls and making new friends along the way. That boy has cocooned and metamorphosed into a man, and that man is about to rock the dragon. This first installment is a short one, so we only have 42 brief minutes to set the tone for your childhood. What better way to kick off a new chapter in these beloved characters' lives, as well as a new entry in the Dragon Ball mythos, than Piccolo alone in the mountains, screaming so loud that rocks explode.

It's not exactly what I had in mind, but at least I know I'm in the right place. There's nothing more comforting than the warm embrace of a big green monster yelling mountains apart.

Piccolo says aloud to no one in particular that next time he sees Goku he's going to beat his ass, because I guess this was still at a point where they hated each other. It's funny how us fat little treatboys and treatgals saw this feud completely backwards in America. I'm sure kids in Japan loved this heated rivalry after following Dragon Ball from start to finish, but we got Z first in America so we saw them work together from episode 1 and the vibe was "ah they're best friends but the green one's kind of a twat. It's an interesting rivalry, but I hope nothing silly happens like the two of them being forced to resolve their differences to join forces against a stronger threat. I also hope that doesn't happen 20 more god damn times in the series."

3 silhouetted creatures (one of which is running in slow motion like the Six Million Dollar Man) appear and promptly beat his ass with little fanfare. Why? Because it doesn't matter if this is canon or not, if you're not Goku, you don't matter. I can't hear a word you're Saiyan you slimy green fuck, if you want a prime piece of real estate on this show then grow a tail or hit the bricks.

After being on the business end of a resounding ass kicking, Piccolo is hit with energy blasts from the 3 of them and presumed dead. The trio's leader emerges and laughs, declaring that since Kami and Piccolo are of the same body and mind, ipso facto Kami is dead too. Which would mean the Dragon Balls no longer work, rendering all of this pointless. Before you can pause and say "hey wait, what?" the movie cuts to Kami cowering and bemoaning Piccolo's death. Except Kami is able to cower and bemoan because he's still alive. Also he thinks Goku is responsible. Remember in Dragon Ball when Goku wouldn't kill Piccolo because it would kill Kami? What's that? You don't? Thank goodness. Right as the whirlwind of nonsense overwhelms me and causes me to black out, Kami looks through the fourth wall and says "No...it can't be!" and it cuts to credits.

I've never been more confused in my god damn life.

you better believe that's Krillin being blocked by Goku
Look at the absolute state of this title card.

So that was an...interesting start. Not only was it frantically chopped together like it was scenes from different episodes, but it didn't make a bit of sense. Let's right this ship with....Gohan studying. Fuck. Me. If there's one thing I hate about Dragon Ball Z, it's Yamcha. If there's two things, it's Yamcha and Gohan being forced to study. I spent all day studying at school, rushed home to watch DBZ, and was tricked into 20 minutes of a little dweeb studying instead of explosions or yelling. Absolute garbage. As I was saying, Gohan is hitting the books when he’s interrupted by a visitor. Is it that purple dragon hallucination named Icarus that only he seems to see and play with? Is it his shit-ass father who can’t be bothered to raise him because he's not a reincarnated devil genie born inside the soul of a young Indian boy? Nope and absolutely not under any circumstance. Goku’s seed falls where it falls, and it’s not up to him to see what becomes of it. Gohan’s big surprise guest is none other than Ox-King. You remember him, right? No? He’s Chi-Chi’s dad.

You know what, my criticisms of this show that I’ve carried with me for decades were ill-informed mistakes. I’ve always complained about how only the Saiyans mattered and if you couldn’t go Super Saiyan by the mid point of Z then you might as well have been Tien’s miniature Siamese fuck doll. I take back everything. Every last word of it. I’d rather have 90 minutes of Goten and Trunks doing a fusion dance and shooting ghosts out of their mouth than Gramps barreling into the movie in his stupid hover-clowncar like the biggest asshole in the year 2917. I've never finished Dragon Ball, so all I know about Ox King is that he's an absolute unit and he doesn't want the monkey boy to fuck his daughter. And you know what, I'm fine with that. There's only so much I can store in my Mental Warehouse, and I'm fine with that being the entire file on him. Luckily it looks like that's all I'll need, because just as quickly as he appeared, that thicc dad is struck down like his name was Krillin. That's a wrap on Ox King, everybody. How about a round of applause. Dust yourself off and join Launch, Puar, and Oolong on the Island of Misfit Characters that Toriyama forgot about when the show went to Namek.

The mysterious attackers - aka the same 3 people who attacked Piccolo - make it clear they're there for the Dragon Ball on Gohan's hat. You know, the thing that would not serve any purpose and turn to stone if Kami were actually dead. Cool. Chi-Chi responds by sending the boy inside, ripping off her apron, and squaring up to fight. She is ready to fight 3 on 1 to protect her son. She doesn't call for Goku, she gets into a fighting stance and attacks. Remember when this is a thing that would happen? When she was a character that did things instead of screaming about her hill-person swamp-thing husband's spawn making it into a good private school? Neither do I, and neither does Toriyama because she's dropped in one hit. Just because you've had a little Saiyan in you doesn't mean you get to share the spotlight.

This gets Goku's attention, because he can't be bothered to care for his family unless they're in mortal danger. That's our affable hero, fishing with his teeth in the nude while his wife and son are beaten to death by goblins.

not even 10 minutes in and we see Goku's bhole
How about leave the fuckin fish

Alas, our brave and noble hero is too late. Gohan is gone and Chi-Chi tells her doddering husband that mischievous green ghouls stole their sweet baby boy for his Dragon Ball. You know, instead of just taking the hat and leaving the child behind. You're getting bogged down in details. It's fine, all of this is fine. I actually called this meeting between you and I because I have a great pitch for you. Go ahead, take a seat. OK so we're gonna have a new villain, right? He's going to blowy our mind. You see, he's a little blue-ish guy named after food and he wants the Dragon Balls so he can wish to rule the galaxy forever. Pretty fuckin sick, right? Yeah I know, I just thought of it. 



My dude has been out of ideas since the late 80s


It's not the fact that Garlic Jr. - our villain of the week - looks almost exactly like Emperor Pilaf and has the same motivation and has a group of useless henchmen. All of those are bad enough on their own, but he has the exact same voice. Almost makes you wonder what the point of this movie is if we're repeating the same thing we've seen dozens of times now. At least this won't be a recurring issue in the series itself.

We go to Garlic's mysterious castle that looks like it could either be floating in the clouds or on another planet entirely. It's never actually stated where it is because why would it be? Gohan whines and cries as usual about how his dad Goku is the strongest in the whole wide world and Pilaf Garlic senses an unusual power in him. Man, remember when that was a thing? Good thing they followed through with that arc and didn't buttfuck that cool idea into oblivion later in the series. Garlic takes the little boy under his wing so he can train him to hone his powers, despite the fact that he'll be immortal so why would it matter if he had a strong baby next to him? 

Now for the mandatory Kame House scene with all of our favorite characters and also the turtle. "A bunch of boogeymen just beat the shit out of my wife and kidnapped my son, better ask Krillin and a septuagenarian sexual deviant what to do next." Bulma uses her Dragon Radar to track the little lad and in doing so discovers that Emperor Pilaf Jr already has 5 of the Dragon Balls. Well, at least this movie did the service of skipping a huge chunk of rounding them up.

"At least we got a location."
"Where is that?"
"It's in the South"

Never stop fucking off you tertiary walking body bags. 

Goku takes the Radar and heads off, failing to heed Roshi's final warning: "These villains are tough! They cut through Chi-Chi and Ox King like they were speed bumps!"

First of all, that's not a thing. Second of all, this movie is such a weird time capsule. Dragon Ball Super has Goku has mastering God ki and mixing it with Super Saiyan ki and fighting in interdimensional tournaments against Gods of Destruction, and here he's being warned that his most ferocious foe yet was able to beat up his stay at home wife and her clinically obese father.

Now we enter the part of the movie where Gohan eats a magic apple and gets shitfaced. There is not an ounce of exaggeration in that sentence. Garlic's Space Goblins state with complete confidence that in no uncertain terms this 2 year old is drunk as a skunk and waving his dick around like he owns the place. That's all fine and dandy, but when I get hammered I don't see this: 



Then we get 2 minutes of a henchman chasing this drunk child around a castle as little Gohan repeatedly Mr. Magoo's himself out of immediate death.

This movie fuckin sucks.

Gohan passes out as Green Henchman and Brown Henchman run into the castle to announce they retrieved the last 2 Dragon Balls off screen with no explanation. Whatever, I'm not gonna complain about that. As much bickering as I will do about Garlic Jr. being an even more useless Emperor Pilaf, I will say I'm ecstatic that we're only 14 minutes into the movie and he's already being granted immortality. If this series is known for one thing, it's certainly not brevity, so I will take it where I can get it.

Garlic does exactly what one would do if granted eternal life: declares himself ruler of the universe, commands all the evil spirits that have been lying dormant to become corporeal again, and vows to kill all humans to avenge his father. A new dark age has begun, and all who oppose him and refuse his rule will die. Yep, that all checks out in this movie where there was a drunken child dancing around a space castle a minute ago. The only problem with his plan is that he seems to be really hung up on avenging his father. That's a noble cause and all, but I don't know who you are and I damn sure don't know a thing about dear old dad. 

Goku arrives at Garlic's mansion just in time, and by just in time I mean he floated in on his silly little cloud after the tiny teal man was granted eternal life and declared himself God-Emperor of the cosmos. Nice hustle, dick.

The monsters recognize Goku for some unexplained reason, but whatever, that's the least of our issues. It's 4 against 1 and Goku is badly outnumbered. Just in the nick of time, a Namekian ally arrives to fight alongside our hero and avenge his so-hold the fucking phone...is that Kami’s green wrinkly ass?

Kami is approximately 700 gorillion years old. Every movement of his dusty old skeleton under his mossy loose skin is agony and every half-choked breath sounds like it's going to be his last. You're going to tell me he's going to go toe to toe with a little green Godking and 3 ghouls named after spices?

So the Namekian Crypt Keeper arrives and one of them says "wait so Piccolo isn't dead" and then I remember that was a thing I was supposed to think for some reason. Like I said earlier, I've never finished the original Dragon Ball series. Has Kami ever fought anything? I mean you know, besides a boy with a tail or his blackface servant?

Anyways, here's an infodump. Does it make sense? Nope. Hope you like getting forcefed exposition when the movie is already half over.

300 years ago Kami and Garlic Sr. competed over who would be granted the title of Guardian of Earth. The previous Kami (I literally just now learned that's a title, not his name) saw the evil in Garlic, which makes sense considering the flashback shows him as an angry red hellbeast. This did not sit well with Garlic, who summoned a massive army of assorted sinister shrieking beasts and tried to take the title by force, but was sealed away for eternity. As it turns out, applying for the position of Earth God and his resume consisting solely of legions of demons did not pan out for him. Papa Garlic vowed that he would have his revenge within 300 years, which is both oddly specific and incredibly vague. I know what you're asking yourself: isn't this essentially just a retread of King Piccolo and his henchmen? Well, 

Goku interrupts the history lesson to shout at the baddies that he's only there for one reason: he wants his Gohan back. I'm with Goku on this one. Sure Garlic is an alien obsessed with immortality who will use his neverending reservoir of power to claim dominion over the entire universe, becoming a galactic tyrant who rules every planet with an iron fist and ruthlessly murders all who oppose him, but it's not like we're gonna get another storyline like that later on. Might as well focus on getting the kid back.

Goku whines about wanting his sweet baby boy back and one of the henchmen responds with, and I swear to God I copied it word for word, "Don't worry about him, he's dead tired." He used a Schwarzenegger pun from Commando to explain that his son accidentally tripped balls on a magic alien apple. Maybe this movie is better than I was giving it credit for.

Goku rushes into the fortress as Garlic's henchmen give chase, leaving the 400 billion year old green man to fight the immortal Pilaf Garlic Jr. I can't say either of those match-ups fill me with excitement. The Henchmen cut Goku off and introduce themselves: Ginger, Nikki, and Sansho. Boy howdy, do I hate Toriyama's puns. You see folks, they're all spices. You've got Garlic, Garlic Jr. and Ginger, which are all pretty obvious. After that you've Nikki, which comes from the Japanese word for cinnamon, and Sansho is some kind of foreign pepper than I can't pronounce. Remember in the DBZ filler arc where Garlic Jr's new henchmen were referred to as the Spice Boys? No? That's probably for the best. 

Anyways, I would tell you which name goes to which monster, but they'll all be dead in 5 minutes so there's not really a point. Life is too short to file this into your memory. I don't know what their original power ups were called in the Japanese version (and I can't be bothered to check), but here they power up by yelling food names. Because of course they do. One of them screams Tooty Fruity. Tooty. Fruity. Very brave choice of Toriyama to go with a food pun out of left field. This is early Dragon Ball Z. How do we get across to the audience that the bad guys are faster and stronger? 

Bigger, faster, and stronger too. They're the first members, of the Gar-lic Crew.

Make them fuggin swole, that's how. Their special ability is simply to power up and get massive hulking chests and arms. Nothing but glamour muscles, the whole lot of them. Truly incredible.

Lest we forget the real heavyweight matchup here, Kami must protect Earth at all costs and face the immortal demon king. I have to reiterate, I've never watched Dragon Ball so I have to pose this question to you again: Is Kami fighting someone a thing that ever actually happened? I've spent my entire life assuming he's one coughing fit away from his heart exploding in his chest and yet here he is shooting eye lasers at a 2 foot tall immortal lima bean. 

It's at this moment I remember that Garlic's dad was sealed away forever like King Piccolo was and he can't be killed no matter how many energy blasts he's hit with. I can't help but wonder how far into the movie we will get before a single character puts two and two together.

Goku is bravely fighting against the Spice of life and it's one of the more visually interesting fights I can remember from anything Dragon Ball Z related that didn't involve the big bad of that particular arc. 2 of the 3 henchmen fire energy beams at Goku, but the blasts are deflected by an unseen fighter. Oh man, who could it be? Vegeta? Trunks? Piccolo? Gohan? Tien? Yamcha? Hercule? ...Mr. Popo?



Throw this movie in the trash. I don't care what anyone ever tries to tell me: I grew up with Z, not the original series, so Krillin will always be useless. "UH BUT IN DRAGON BALL HE ACTUALLY”-yeah, he almost lost in the World Tournament because a guy smelled too bad. Kick rocks forever you cue balled fuck.

Goku mentions it's still 3 on 2, which is quite generous to Krillin, and a familiar voice echoes from the distance. Apparently everyone knows the location of this magical floating space castle. Hurray children, Piccolo is alive! Even though we knew he was all along because if he wasn't then Kami would be dead. I think. Wait a second, why is he being so mean to Goku? I thought they were friends? Oh that's right, I keep forgetting, this was back when he was a villain. Enjoy it while it lasts, you're about two dozen episodes away from being Gohan's surrogate father. 

In a moment that made me squeal with delight, a battle-ready Krillin is stunned by a stream of liquid landing on his noggin. He looks up in search of the source of this fountain only to discover it's Gohan's baby dick. That's right chrome dome, even in a time when Chi-Chi's panoramic papa was a viable threat, you're still a toddler's piss trough. "Remember all of the fun adventures you and my dad had together at the Kame House? Well open your mouth and say Ahh, because this halfbreed dick is gonna start swinging, so you can either duck out of the way or get pasted by my infantile wrecking balls."

Hahaha that was some good, light hearted fun. I dare say it got a chuckle out of me. Those Z warriors are such a handful. Gosh. So anyways, Kami is being mercilessly beaten to death. There's a cool shot where Kami is up against one of the castle pillars and Garlic keeps laying into him, and with every punch in the gut the pillar cracks a bit more. There is no two ways about it, Kami is getting the dogshit knocked out of him. It's almost tragic, this wise old sage who has looked over us and served as peacekeeper getting savaged like this.

Well anyways, time for some more Mr. Magoo bullshit with that half-ape baby. Goku goes to grab Gohan but he's cut off by 2 henchmen. Without a moment to spare, he tells Krillin to go get Gohan. Krillin doesn't get to throw a single god damned punch before he's put on babysitting duty while the grown-ups fight. I've changed my mind, this movie is incredible.

Krillin chases after the baby but is cut off by one of the henchmen. Which one? Doesn't matter. Perspiration builds on Krillin's tiny bald dome. His life flashes before he eyes; a lifetime of playing second fiddle to these furry tailed fucks, of always being the Robin to these monkey Batmen. No more. This time, Krillin will sa-Piccolo intervenes and takes on the baddie so Krillin can get a hold of the drunk infant. Better luck next movie, shithead. Piccolo clowns this spicy boy, evading every punch and killing him in a single blast.

Congratulations, Piccolo. Here's your one (1) mandatory henchman kill to make up for you not doing anything substantial against the big bad. 

Oh by the way, Kami is still slowly being beaten to death by the tiny teal man. But enough about that, Goku is busy fighting the remaining two henchmen who I'm sure are fantastic characters with things like names and backstories. They pull swords out of their bodies, because they're monsters and I guess that's something they can do, and he has to defend himself with...the Power Pole? Wow, remember that thing? What follows is a quickly paced, well animated, intricately plotted fight that is so well done that I can't believe it's from Dragon Ball Z. I know what show I grew up watching, and it never looked like this.



After a bit more tussling, Goku sends the two of them straight to hell with a Kamehameha because the director realized the movie didn't have enough time left to give each villain a separate cool death. 

MEANWHILE, AT THE HALL OF JUSTICE, Kami is still being beaten to death by the little green thing. Completely out of options, Kami bear hugs him and prepares for a suicidal attack. You know, except for the fact that Garlic Jr's immortal and he'll just die and make the Dragon Balls useless. You stupid California Raisin lookin head ass idiot. Don't worry kids, Goku and Piccolo are here just in time so the geriatric alien doesn't have to Kamikaze himself. Huzzah!

The climactic battle for the fate of the Earth is about to begin. Knowing the severity of the situation and the severe consequences of their failure, Goku realizes he will need all the help he can get. He tells Krillin to leave. This movie is incredible, it takes an even bigger piss on him than Gohan did. 

Credit to this movie, they don't do the thing you're expecting. Hell, I've seen this before and I was still expecting it: Goku and Piccolo would easily overpower Garlic Jr, they'd get overconfident, and THEN he would transform into a big nightmarish monstrosity. Nope, Garlic stares them down, tells them they're gonna die defending the planet, then transforms. Dead Zone does a lot of things successfully with its 40 minute runtime, so I'm enjoying it while I can because I know that the people involved in making it absolutely will not learn the right lessons form it. 

Garlic Jr skipped leg day
Garlic was my father, please call me Terrence. 


Garlic proceeds to beat the piss out of them. He's faster, stronger, probably has a girthier green penis. The total package, really. 

Our heroes land punch after useless punch but they are completely ineffective and Garlic zaps them with vague energy blasts (or ki blasts as assholes call them) that level the castle. Oh and just so you know, during the wreckage, Krillin sustains a concussion, gets knocked unconscious, and then drops Gohan, who gets buried under the rubble.

You had one fucking job.

That's when my favorite thing happens.



Garlic grabs them both by the head with his big meaty claws and runs through walls like the Juggernaut before burying them deep beneath the earth. Incredible. 

All hope seems lost for our heroes. What tricks do they have up their sleeves? A new transformation? Kaio-ken? Anything?

Ah yes, the miraculous technique of removing weighted sparring gear. Their ace in the hole is to take off their clothes. Gi, boots, turban. All the goods. After taking off a shirt that weighed approximately 6 pounds, Goku is immediately capable of overwhelming Garlic. Whatever. Piccolo and Goku blast him to hell and back and the movie has the nerve to tease that he's dead, despite literally everyone knowing he's immortal. The entire crux of this film is that he can't die. That's the entire god damned reason we're here. Nah, he's probably gone. Piccolo assumes Garlic Jr. is dead and tells Goku to square up, because this is still the part of the show where every time they team up it's only temporary because one day he's gonna get revenge on that monkey. Hahahaha no you're not you stupid fuck, not in this or any lifetime. Either grow a tail or slowly get weeded out of the title card like everyone else.

So yeah, shock of all shocks, Garlic is alive. Who woulda thunk it, right? It's not like we've spent this entire movie babbling about immortality or anything. He's quite perturbed at our heroes and creates the Dead Zone. What is the Dead Zone, you ask? That's a great question, because we will never know any details about it besides the fact that it's a massive void in the sky that pulls everything in its vicinity into it. Where does it lead to? How did he create it? Why does such a thing exist? Stop asking questions and watch the bright colors, moron. 

"Mr. Toriyama sir, should we use something along the lines of the Evil Containment Wave to tr-" "FUCK IT, THROW HIM INTO SPACE."

Our Heroes throw energy blasts and say convoluted nonsense but it has no effect on Garlic or his monologues. He's gonna trap the world in darkness like they did his father and holy shit who cares. Wait, is that the same Dead Zone his father was trapped in? Is Papa Garlic in there? As a lifelong fan of the show who has done extensive research for the last two decades, I can say with complete confidence: Maybe.

The strongest warriors the planet has ever known and also Krillin are holding on for dear life to avoid being sucked into the Zone, but they're losing their grips. Is this the end of Earth's mightiest heroes and an old grasshopper man? Then, in the distance, a child begins to cry. Gohan emerges from the wreckage, screams a whole lot about his Daddy, and sends a massive wave of energy that knocks Garlic Jr into the Dead Zone. The Dead Zone shatters entirely and disappears, trapping him in there for eternity, or until the anime needs to buy time for Toriyama to write Trunks into the manga. Whichever one comes first. Either way, the world is safe. Hurray.

I had completely forgotten how big of a role Gohan's hidden power played at this stage in the franchise. Even at this early entry they were teasing big things for him. Here's hoping they don't drop the ball. 

Oh...


The world is saved and Kami explains that Garlic Jr. is trapped there for eternity, just in case you didn't get it. He also explains how ironic it is that he suffered the same fate as his father. You know, just in case you didn't get it.

Gohan, who conveniently passed out after all the hullabaloo, wakes up with no memory of what happened. You and me both, kid. Goku and Gohan head back home on their magic cloud and Goku thinks to himself how one day he'll tell Gohan and Chi-Chi about how he saved the world, but he'll wait till he's a little older so he can enjoy being a kid. Oh, that's so sweet. What a heartwarming way to end yo-JESUS FUCK

I'LL GET YOU, SUPERMAN

Well, at least we'll never see him again.


***

Dead Zone is an underrated entry in the Dragon Ball canon. I don't have many fond movies of the 17 (!) Dragon Ball Z movies, so coming back to this one that takes place before Raditz shows up and being genuinely entertained was a surprise. If you had asked me beforehand, I would have put money on this being an absolute turd. The Garlic Jr. filler saga in Z is a low point in the series for me, and something I haven't revisited in probably 15 years. The fights are intricately drawn and animated and I was stunned at how gorgeous some of the backdrops are. Dragon Ball is many things, but well animated usually is not one of them. There are multiple shots of the floating castle that look better than anything in any of the movies that follow. Hell, it looks better than the first couple of arcs of Dragon Ball Super. A lot of care was put into it, and I have come away from this with a whole new appreciation for it. I had completely blown this movie off, but I'm glad I came back and gave it a fair shake, even if the plot is a dartboard of Dragon Ball cliches. 

Is the first half of the movie incredibly confusing? Absolutely. Nothing with Piccolo makes any sense whatsoever. When I saw this movie as a child, I didn't rent it from Blockbuster or download it off Kazaa. I watched anime the old fashioned way: dubbed and edited on Toonami. Their broadcast cut all of this pre-credits nonsense out and the movie makes infinitely more sense that way. If your movie is 42 minutes, it shouldn't be improved by cutting out even more of the runtime. But I digress, it's a great little moment in time for the franchise. Characters that have long since been forgotten get some screen time, The combat hearkens back to the best parts of the original Dragon Ball, and you get to hear Troy Baker voice a random Spice-based henchman in his first ever credited role before he was in every single video game in which you play as a white dude exploring something. It's strange to me that these non-canon movies spawned iconic characters like Cooler and Broly, yet this one is the only one to get an actual follow up during Z. I mean sure, the Garlic Jr. saga is absolute balls and was filler that was hastily thrown together while Toriyama ripped his hair out trying to figure out what to do after the Frieza saga, but at this point they've introduced multiple concurrent universes and still haven't found a place for Frieza's brother. Garlic Jr. isn't a great villain, but it certainly helps seeing him in one tiny digestible chunk, not in a Goku-less arc that you know isn't leading to anything except reruns.

Dead Zone was a welcome surprise. It's made me more optimistic for this journey I've put myself on, and made me reconsider that these first couple of movies that I watched once on Toonami and then wrote off forever are better than I gave them credit for. What most likely happened is that I watched them once, nobody went Super Saiyan, and I declared them lame and never went back. Dead Zone might end up being one of the best movies by the time everything's said and done. I'm older and more open minded, so I'm ready to go into The World's Strongest and give a fair shake to, let me check my notes here, a brain in a robot suit that wants Goku's body. 

Fuck.


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