Anime Review: Dragon Ball Z: The TV Specials

By Drew Hurley 31.03.2018 1

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Dragon Ball Z: The TV Specials (UK Rating: 12)

LAST TIME ON CUBED3! Manga Entertainment brought each of the classic Dragon Ball movies to the UK in new digitally remastered double features, from Tree of Might to the 'Legendary Super Saiyan,' Broly. Over the last few months, Cubed3 has covered each and every release in a retrospective as they reached the UK. They had seemingly reached their end, but now a new double-feature is here. Manga Entertainment is bringing a pair of special anime episodes. Available from 16th April, this double pack contains the special episodes The History of Trunks and Bardock, The Father of Goku.

Set in the alternate timeline that Trunks returns from in the regular series, The History of Trunks shows the "What If" scenario that played out in the original timeline. It tells the tale of what if Goku had died from his mysterious heart virus and the androids had been left to run unopposed. They slaughtered each of the Z fighters and mercilessly killed any who were unfortunate enough to cross their path. Set 13 years later, the only remaining Z-Warriors left alive are Gohan and Trunks. Gohan has been single-handedly fighting back against the androids all these years but it's been a constant losing battle, with Gohan only managing to lessen the losses to civilian life. Now that Trunks is getting older and stronger, he plans to help, becoming Gohan's disciple and learning to harness his Saiyan powers.

Anyone who has seen the Android Saga knows what to expect and exactly how this story will play out, but it's still a fun little side story. It's a story glimpsed in the regular series but this special gives a deeper look into a future ruled over by petulant, teenage, super-powered androids. The pair flit between slaughtering groups of humans and then the more heinous crime of *gasp* cutting in line at an amusement park!

The second special is Bardock, The Father of Goku... and Raditz… poor Raditz. No-one cares about Raditz. This special takes the story all the way back to before Goku was sent to Earth, set back when the Saiyans hadn't been obliterated by Frieza. Bardock is serving the diminutive dictator with his own team, subjugating and destroying planets in their great ape forms. Their latest mission sees them taking over a world where the inhabitants can develop the ability to read minds. The last surviving member of this race grants Bardock the psychic powers of his people, a strange gift to grant one of the people who slaughtered his race…

Bardock is recuperating in a medical machine - the Star Wars Bacta tank style devices - when the powers begin to materialise. He sees a vision of what is to come, sees his planet destroyed, sees his son sent off to Earth, and even sees much of his son's life play out. When he comes to, he hears his team has been sent on a special mission by Frieza himself but when he rushes to join them, he finds it's a trap laid by Frieza himself. The portly, pink Dodoria has led some of Frieza's finest to slaughter Bardock and his men, and that's just the beginning. Frieza then travels to planet Vegeta to destroy it and slaughter the entire Saiyan race. Bardock tries to rally his people at the last minute, to join together in a fight against their one-time leader.

This special gives fans brief glimpses of exactly what they would want from a predecessor of the Dragon Ball series. There are scenes with a young child version of Vegeta, as spoilt and entitled as could be imagined, not to mention being followed around by a Nappa… with hair! There's also a chance to see how the Saiyans lived before they were exterminated, to see how Goku's father acted, and more. This is certainly the better episode of the pair, and with Toei just announcing developing a division dedicated to Dragon Ball projects, it shows there's plenty of life in prequel stories.

Both special episodes are rather short, clocking in at under 50 minutes each. Both have the original Japanese and English dubs available, and both are also digitally enhanced, capturing the style of its era but giving it a fresh coat of paint. Beyond these, there are no extra features - a pity - but something that's come to be expected, as the Dragon Ball releases are often hit and miss with bonus features, yet at least the Dragon Ball Super releases are getting a little love, even if their quality is rather sporadic.

Rated 6 out of 10


Dragon Ball Z: The TV Specials has a pair of enjoyable little stories, although the Bardock story is by far the superior of the two. It is certainly worth picking up for Dragon Ball fans. There are another two TV specials out there and while Manga Entertainment has yet to confirm their release, they may be coming soon. In the meantime, fans have the upcoming seasons of Dragon Ball Super to look forward to, so keep an eye on Cubed3 where Season 3 will be dropping soon.

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I really liked these in general, like each one was posistive.

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