Tentacle-Free Anime: "DBZ: Battle of Gods" (2013) Impressions
- by Kazekun, 18 August 2014
Nostalgia: A beast of pure euphoria that can take hold of any one of us at any time, when we see something that reminds us of joyful feelings we had as kids growing up. And I feel people of my generation feel it the most, easily growing attached to the things and shows that once got us pumped and ready for the day. Or the after school day, as this anime would have it. Like so many, I grew up on Dragon Ball Z with after school viewings, and VHS buying to get my fix. So when I found out there was to be a new movie, after almost a decade of mainstream silence, I was beyond thrilled. But did it live up to its long-awaited hype? Well…
If you’re like me, you can’t help but get excited when the names Goku, Vegeta, Gohan and Piccolo come to mind. But if you’re also like me, the rose-tinted glasses in which you once watched DBZ fell off long ago, and you can see the series for how good AND bad it really is. That means that as much as I love this show, at my age it’s time to look at DBZ objectivity.
I won’t get into the details of the series itself, we’ll deal with the merits of the main show in future Shonen Impression installments (once I can find time to sit down and write another one), but what of the new movie?
I think this is due to the fact that Toriyama has gone on record to state that while he enjoyed writing DBZ in its original manga format, he was never as quite sure about it because he wasn’t able to put in as much comedy as he would’ve liked. He likes writing gag comedy stories, and here in the forays of power-ups and punching, Toriyama finally gets to cut loose on his beloved characters and show them for what they really are. It was a long time coming, but it was well worth the wait.
Now, not everyone gets to shine in this. This takes place in a post-Cell landscape, and even a post-Buu landscape (two powerful villains from the original show), so characters like Krillin and Yamcha who are pretty much retired from fighting don’t really get in on the action. It’s mainly Vegeta and Goku that steal the show (as usual), and, surprisingly, Bulma as well who gets a lot of screen time that she normally wouldn’t have gotten in the TV show.
One thing I wasn’t a fan of was the return to Goku as the messiah-savior of Earth motif. I do get it, I always have, he is the main character of the show so he’s got to be the one to save the world, but it does play off as pretty heavy-handed in this. And that’s something I never really enjoyed, Gohan is my favorite character and I still think he should’ve rightly took up the mantle as the head savior of the Earth. But oh well, you win some, you lose some.
This movie also introduces a new level of Super Saiyan which I thought was handled well-enough, but the look is pretty awkward and more reminiscent of Goku’s kaioken form. It’s like an uber-powerful kaioken which is interesting to think about. I wonder if there is a deeper meaning there, or I’m just looking way too much into it.
The action and animation are stunning, with a flying fight between Goku and Beerus that really defies words. And the animation style and character styles are updated to fit the new look from the DBZ Kai opening. Which I was happy to see, I had been yearning for a full length story set with this animation style and was not displeased.
The introduction of Beerus as a villain is also fun; he’s very different than other villains we have seen in the past. Though he undermines the work of Frieza, who is a fan-favorite villain from the original series; I’m not exactly sure why Toriyama decided to make Frieza feel less like a powerhouse than he originally was, but then again he’s done it before so it’s not like I can continue to say much about it at this point. Beerus really does live up to his name in this movie as the God of Destruction, and also introduces us to new concepts that can be easily explored if many more movies are to be made (we’ll get to that in a sec).
This was a wonderful visit back to the world of Dragon Ball, one that was well worth the wait by many fans, me included. And next year we have the opportunity to revisit the world again with a new movie coming out also written and created by Akira Toriyama. I’m sure it’s going to be just as fun to watch and experience. I can’t wait. I’m tempted now to go back and re-watch the whole series in anticipation.
Final Score: 4.5 Super Saiyan forms out of 5
Have you seen "DBZ: Battle of Gods"? How did you enjoy the movie and the review?
Tagged: Tentacle-Free Anime.