Anime Review: Dragon Ball Z Movie Collection 2: The Tree of Might & Lord Slug

By Drew Hurley 02.12.2017

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Dragon Ball Z Movie Collection 2: The Tree of Might & Lord Slug (UK Rating: PG)

It hasn't been too long since Manga Entertainment delivered the first collection of these classic instalments of Dragon Ball history; just in time for its long-awaited release of the latest part of the Dragon Ball story - Dragon Ball Super. Now the next two films are hitting, this time both in the Dragon Ball Z story. The first, The Tree of Might, sees a renegade faction of the Frieza Army come to Earth with a tiny seed that could cause huge devastation. The second, Lord Slug, sees yet more alien forces invade Earth, this time in hopes of terraforming it into a new home for their ageing nomad master. This second collection of classic Dragon Ball movies comes courtesy of Manga Entertainment and is available now.

It was a great flashback to a simpler time of anime getting to re-watch the first Dragon Ball movies with the first collection recently. Seeing a time without Super Saiyans and where the human fighters could actually do something - that's fooling no-one; Yamcha and crew are still just fodder for second-rate villains. At least they got a bit more screen time, though - even stupid characters like Oolong. Side note, whatever happened to Oolong? This perverted precursor to Usopp was dumb but fun and just seemed to vanish!

In The Tree of Might while Bulma, Gohan, Krillin, and Oolong head off on a camping trip, a strange sphere flies through space straight towards Earth and, more specifically, the forest the guys are camping in. The object crashes and sets the entire forest ablaze, slaughtering tons of animals and destroying their homes. This is also where Gohan meets and saves Icarus, the cute purple dragon dinosaur that becomes Gohan's friend and method of flight for many future appearances. After dousing the fire, the team gather the Dragon Balls to undo the damage, not knowing that the cause is something much darker.


 
The projectile turns out to be a device sent by a shadowy group of aliens, all seemingly part of the Frieza force, outfitted in battle armour and equipped with scouters. Led by a doppelganger of Goku himself, the group is a renegade force that has broken away from Frieza and has travelled to Earth with a seed to plant. Goku is warned of the danger of this seed by King Kai - King of exposition - that the seed is of a plant known as the Tree of Might, a mythical plant whose fruit was originally intended to be eaten by the Eternal Dragon. Growing the tree will destroy whatever planet it is grown on, absorbing all the nutrients of the world to grow a fruit that grants unimaginable power when eaten.

The seed planted, the Z fighters have to head off and try to destroy the tree before it devours the energy of their world, causing global extinction. Between them and the tree, though, are these seemingly Frieza force villains. They turn out to be a group of warriors that broke away from Frieza, led by a Saiyan warrior, with a positively uncanny resemblance to Goku, called Turles; a warrior that makes use of his knowledge of Saiyan anatomy by sending Gohan on an Oozaru rampage.

The second film once again opens with some strange projectile on a collision course with Earth. This one is a good deal larger than the device Turles' Crusher Corps despatched in the previous movie, however. This seems to be a huge comet, or potentially even a giant icy planet that projections show will destroy Earth should it collide. It seems this planetoid is inhabited, too, so it can't just be shot out of the sky. Goku and Krillin try to adjust its trajectory with Kamehamehas, but that doesn't go too well. Thankfully, though, the planetoid is actually not on a collision course, it's just getting close enough for its inhabitants to jump over and overtake the Earth. They plan on terraforming it, or rather "terrafreezing," it to use it as their new star cruiser.


 
This group is led by an ageing warlord and nomad named Lord Slug, who turns out to be one of the last of a lost tribe of Namekians, known as Super Nameks. Lord Slug is overjoyed to find there are Dragon Balls here on Earth, too, and sets out to gather them to regain his youth and power. One of the best parts of these classic movies is seeing the supporting case of Z fighters face off against the secondary enemies, and Lord Slug certainly has some original and entertaining minions to do battle with, almost reminiscent of the Ginyu force. Particularly enjoyable is "Medamatcha," a stumpy little frog creature with crazy eyes who can split out mini versions of itself and use them to latch onto and absorb the energy of his foes. This movie is a very simple story but it has lots of fun moments and fights. It's rare that you see someone tear off their own ears to get away from obnoxious whistling.

Both films clock in at around an hour or so each and fly by very quickly. Both include the original Japanese dub with subtitles and the English dub but, other than that, there are no bonus features to speak of here, other than a handful of trailers for some older series, including Yu Yu Hakusho - which desperately deserves a re-release, if you're reading, Manga!

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Another pair of old school movies, another retro blast from the past, filled with silly shonen fun. These films really are lost gems that so many fans missed out on and really deserve a watch. This is the perfect time to do so, too, as with the localisation of Dragon Ball Super many lapsed fans are returning to the franchise. There's nothing particularly special here, just fun little movies that fans will enjoy. Worth watching alone just for fans to pick out and spot all the moments from these that went to make up the fantastic Western opening video to Dragon Ball Z Rock the Dragon. The third collection of movies are even better, as readers will find out as when they are reviewed NEXT TIME ON CUBED3!

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