Anime Review: Dragon Ball Z Movie Collection 1

By Drew Hurley 22.10.2017

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Dragon Ball Z Movie Collection 1 (UK Rating: PG)

Manga Entertainment is bringing the past and future of Dragon Ball to the UK together at long last. Along with finally bringing Dragon Ball Super here, the company is also releasing each of the classic movies in double packs. This first release contains Dead Zone and The World's Strongest, these being the first Dragon Ball movies set during Dragon Ball Z, and are being released on DVD/Blu Ray combo packs, out on 6th November.

The first movie here, Dead Zone, was originally released in 1989 and actually acts like something of a prologue to the DBZ series, although technically going by the timeline it has to have occurred somewhere between the first moments of DBZ but before Raditz's arrival on Earth. It's a familiar little story that sees a 'villain of the week' style bad guy with his minions taking out Piccolo and kidnapping Gohan while gathering up the Dragon Balls. He has a score to settle because his dad didn't get to become Kami. Goku and crew turn up and everyone beats the heck out of each other.

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This feels like a single episode of DBZ, clocking in at only 45 minutes in total, but Dead Zone is filled with all of the signature elements that DBZ fans love and gives fans a reminder of a time where flying was via Nimbus, where Goku can get beaten down by third-rate peons, and power levels are all unknown. This new release is ideal for fans who watched DBZ, where Garlic received his own filler arc, but never saw his original introduction.

The second film, The World's Strongest, opens on Oolong and Goku trying to find out who is once again collecting those Dragon Balls! It's a nefarious purpose here, as it turns out that balls are being gathered by an underling to unthaw this movie's villain from his prison, deep within an icy mountain. The villain is one Dr. Wheelo, a genius from years past who has a plan to capture the world's strongest fighter and take their body. The problem being Dr. Wheelo is going on old rankings and hasn't kept up with tier lists. The Dr. sends his minions out to capture Master Roshi and test his creations out against him, picking up Bulma along the way, too. Goku, Gohan, Krillin, and Piccolo then face off against Dr. Wheelo and his Bio-Warriors.

This movie is a little longer, running in at just under an hour and the story takes place a little later in the DBZ timeline, set between the Saiyan arc and the Frieza arc, which means Gohan is rocking his Piccolo duds, Goku is utilising the Kaio Ken, and Piccolo is more of a rival than a villain here. It's a superior story to the Garlic Junior one and a lot more fun; it feels a lot more DBZ compared to Garlic Junior, which still felt more like the original Dragon Ball series.

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There are three audio options for each film, English with American music, English with Japanese music, or the Japanese dub. On top of these, there is a special audio track for the Dead Zone, a commentary track from Chris Sabat (voice of Piccolo but more famously as Vegeta), Chuck Huber (voice of Garlic Junior and also Emperor Pilaf), and the ADR director of the movie, Chris Cason.

Rated 6 out of 10


The Dragon Ball Z Movie Collection 1 films are definitely "of their time" and are best experienced with both the voices and music in Japanese to really experience the old school charm. The Dragon Ball series has transformed into something very different today to what it was but still, this glimpse into the early days of the franchise is fantastic and something that every Dragon Ball fan needs to see.

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