Super Dragon Ball Heroes Dark Demon Realm Review

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It’s time to look at a pretty different manga. This one is a short spinoff manga about the Super Dragon Ball Heroes adventures. This part of the franchise has always been cool because it pairs together fighters from various Dragon Ball eras including Super, GT, and the movies. It’s pretty cool but naturally with so many characters running around the power levels can get a bit iffy. Typically GT fans will be very pleased here though because Super Saiyan 4 gets a lot of respect. It’s a blast for sure and you’ll wish this series could have kept going.

The plot involves a group of Demons who have decided to change the past. They are augmenting past DBZ villains to untold heights with the Dark Dragon Balls and then aim to collect all 7 to resurrect their king. (The king is still alive, but heavily weakened at the moment) The Time Patrol can’t let that stand so the Kai of Time summons Future Trunks to help out. He’s a little outgunned on his own though so she also brings in Xeno Goku who is basically end of GT Goku. The two of them may need more backup though as the villains here may be even stronger than Omega Shenron. Fight hard Z Fighters!

The manga never stops to let you catch a breath so you feel like one of the heroes. They have to adapt on the fly because you never know who is going to pop up next. From Super Saiyan 3 Bardock to Super Saiyan Black King Vegeta, there are a bunch of powerful fighters here. Both Vegito and Gogeta make an appearance along with a bunch of other fusions like Gohan and Trunks and classic Gotenks. The pacing is quite excellent and the fights are all a blast. The artwork is great as you’d expect and feels like a classic DBZ story. I won’t go as far as to say it looks as good as DBZ, but it still looks great in its own right.

If the manga has any problems it is the fact that there is so much happening that no individual fight lasts very long. As soon as one matchup is just getting good then the manga has to switch to another one. There’s also the power levels issue I mentioned earlier where some characters look a little stronger or weaker than they ought to. The manga does its best to get around that by being as vague with the power ups as possible, but it’s still tricky. Basically when a character gets infected with the dark Dragon Balls they get a huge boost. So huge that a character like Kid Buu can suddenly match up with the current Gogeta. Then you’ve got the demons who are all absurdly powerful.

So…these demons in their natural forms are able to keep up with Super Gogeta? I mean, it’s not really a bad thing as the more powerful villains the better, but it is just a little hard to believe. The king of evil also gets a lot of hype as it is hinted that he would be the strongest being in the cosmos. Without even being powered up he was looking pretty impressive. It makes for an excellent climax though as we see all of the Z Fighters engaging in multiple battles as they frantically try to reach him. A shame that we couldn’t see that fight, but maybe in a sequel.

That’s right, the manga ends on a big cliffhanger. It looks like the villains from Xenoverse 2 might be showing up. Of course, it’s going to have to wait since the manga then transitioned into the Prison Planet arc and it’s unknown if it will go back to this one afterwards or if you’ll just need to play the arcade game. Either way I hope they keep up these Dragon Ball Heroes stories since there is just so much that can be done with them. I’d also like to see all of these arcs animated since that would just be a blast.

I mean…we even get Super Saiyan 4 Broly to show up! That was hype even if his appearance was rather small. I’m not sure about him only being on par with SSJ4 Goku and that demon guy. In theory Broly should be the strongest one in this place. I do like the manga’s excuse for Goku not going SSJ4 from the start being that it is simply too powerful and that it even corrupts time itself. According to the manga, SSJ4 Goku is even stronger than Vegito which is really something. Makes you wonder what a SSJ4 Vegito would be like. In theory that would be absolutely crazy. That’s also why this manga is so good, it’s absolutely bonkers.

I don’t know the demons very well as I never played Xenoverse, but from what I can see here they seem like fun villains. They all have a lot of personality and good designs. The kid with the scythe is cool as I can’t think of any other Dragon Ball character who uses that weapon to fight. It’s a little unorthodox but it definitely still gets the job done. As for the Kai of Time, the fact that she can fight a little is certainly cool. She may not be a powerhouse or anything, but her barrier spells are very handy.
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Overall, This is an amazing manga. I can’t stress enough how hype it is. It’s very short and basically nonstop fights so there isn’t a lot to say, but it’s something that DBZ fans will really be able to appreciate. It’s only around 2 volumes long so it won’t take very long to read but has high replay value. It would work as a sequel to DB Super if they don’t announce anything in the near future I’ll have a review for the Prison Planet manga out when it finishes, but I suppose that could still be a little while away. Also, I have to admit that it can’t quite match how cool this one is, but it’s still excellent as well.

Overall 9/10

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Dragon Ball Fusions Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 18h 10m
Red Energy 850
Blue Energy 850
Purple Energy 600
Yellow Energy 850
Green Energy 550
Training 55/115
Allies :52

Character Levels
Terry 71
Oatsee 78
Super Pinich 76
Super Goten 72
Stabba 68
EX Gotenks 64
Super Trunks 63
Pan 62
Halda 62
Kid Goku 57
Sirami 54
Litee 54
Cital 54
Manell 53
Nox 53
Rubee 53
Bongo 53
Android 76 53
Uzma 53
Martoh 53
Eeyan 53
Powatar 53
Besabi 53
Chokly 52
Chiwak 52
Chapp 52
Tumeric 52
Calao 52
Snei 52
Pappamad 52
Plauto 51
Yunaly 51
Hirica 47
Mekuji 44
Kalpochof 43
Basco 35
Mustard 35

Dragon Ball Fusions Review

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It’s time for a big Dragon Ball game. The concept of fusing characters together to form even stronger ones is certainly nothing new. People have thought about that for years with Marvel and DC even getting in on the act. Until now fusions were quite limited though, but this game changes things on that regard. It’s finally a game built around the concept so you can fuse everyone together for quite a lot of interesting results. While it’s a very different kind of Dragon Ball game compared to the others, it certainly ends up working out quite well.

The story follows a Saiyan Warrior named Terry. (At least that’s his name in my version) His rival is Pinich and they have decided to enter the Intergalactic tournament. Fighters from across time and space have been invited to attend but each group must have 5 members. Terry decides to form his team with Goku from the original Dragon Ball series, Pan from Dragon Ball GT, Goten, and Trunks. It’s a pretty potent team and they will be the ones who appear in all of the cutscenes but you will be able to switch them out pretty early in the story. Alas, getting to the tournament will be difficult as the heroes must get a lot stronger to prove that they are ready. To this end, they must recruit a great number of fighters and shatter all of the sky barrier preventing them from reaching the tournament. Legendary villains like Broly, Omega Shenron, Frieza, Cell, Buu, Janemba, and many others seek to block their way. Fortunately Terry has more potential than the whole franchise put together so there’s no way that these guys could hope to stop him. Will they win the tournament or does Pinich have a good plan up his sleeve?

The stakes may not be very high until the end, but the story is still fun. The game certainly chose some unique members to be on the main team. I can see why Goku and Vegeta didn’t make it since they’d probably be a little too strong. The series seems to take place around the Resurrection F arc of Dragon Ball Super. It’s cool seeing Terry have allies from the various Dragon Ball titles. We got to cover the original, Z, and GT. I suppose we didn’t get any Super characters because most of them are still technically DBZ characters. The climax is pretty fun as we get a really cool super form for one of the fighters. It was also a very challenging boss fight. The real final boss wasn’t quite as difficult compared to that one since nobody had healing abilities, but it was still tricky.

Lets talk about the gameplay. Instead of the typical beat em up DBZ style, this game is more of a strategy title. Think the Mario/Rabbids game coming up or Yu Yu Hakusho. You move the characters around and attack. When you attack, you decide what direction to launch them in and the opponent gets to guess which way he should block. You always have to tactfully decide which direction is best based on where you think the opponent will block. Bouncing opponents off of each other will get you bonus damage. YOu also have an Ultimate Fusion attack which can defeat most foes in a single hit, but be warned that it means all of you teammates lose a turn so you have to fend off 5-10 consecutive attacks. I’d recommend only using it when you know it will defeat at least one character. You also have Zenkai Attacks which quickly turn the game into a 3D Brawler like Tenkaichi 3 for 10-20 seconds. It’s pretty neat although it clearly wasn’t the game’s focus so it feels hastily put together. You must defeat an opponent with this attack to recruit him/her to your team.

What makes the gameplay a lot more exciting than other tactic styled games is that you aren’t limited to moving your characters one turn at a time. You can attack from anywhere with a few exceptions so the game is very fast paced. The weakness of this style is typically that battles can take forever, but this one feels more exciting. Yes, the battles still can be quite long so you’ll have to have a lot of patience with the game, but it’s usually very fun. The only matches that I don’t really enjoy are when the opponents have instant regeneration. Then you have to win in one turn which can take a while to set up. Sadly the later levels started spamming this quite a bit, but the battles like this are still few when looking at the grand scheme of things. I definitely got hooked on the gameplay by the end.

The graphics are quite good as well. There are a lot of character models in the game and they did a good job of making most of them look unique. The made up characters do look like rip offs at times, but some of them weren’t bad. It was cool seeing so many characters from Dragon Ball history as well. Everyone’s chibi style worked well without being too cartoony. I can’t say that I was as impressed with the soundtrack though. It’s pretty limited and since the game isn’t too short you’ll hear the tunes a little too often. It would help if I liked the themes, but I didn’t for the most part. I liked the epic theme for the final boss though. (Not the actual final boss, but the one that threatened the multiverse)

There’s a lot of replay value here so you’ll have a lot to do. Doing everything in the game should easily take you 40-50 hours I’d say. The main story mode is about 18 hours long. After that, you can get to work recruiting everybody. There are a ton of actual characters to recruit and then all of the NPCs as well. Then you can fulfill all of the training requirements, buy all of the clothes, and beat all of the secret bosses. I wouldn’t bother with some of these things, but recruiting everybody sounds like a lot of fun. I recruited over 50 people by the end of the game, but no named characters. I didn’t actually do any side quests although I imagine most of them will be quite easy at the moment. I certainly would have done it already if there were trophies involved and as it stands I’d probably like to go ahead and do some more of the bonus content someday. Likely not anytime soon though.

It feels pretty good to play a high quality title like this one after a lot of average-below average games lately. This one I would play for fun to level up and prepare for future bosses or just recruit extra people. It’s a game that I would look forward to playing each time. It may not be up there as the best DBZ game because there’s just too much competition but it may be the best DS/GBA/3DS DBZ game aside from Extreme Butoden and even then this game could claim victory. That one had the better gameplay but it was a little limited due to the 3DS control scheme. Fusions was just handled really well and having a full original story certainly helped. While Terry didn’t have much of a personality, Pinich felt like a real character by the end and he wasn’t bad. Perhaps a tad generic and lacking in honor, but at least he never went down the dark path or blamed Terry for anything. He took his losses better than expected. There are some power level issues in the story, but we’ll just say that Goku and friends were holding back so they wouldn’t hurt Terry’s feelings. Then everything makes more sense. I am a little upset that Terry never became a super saiyan though. That was a huge missed opportunity since everyone else basically could by the end.

If there’s such a thing as too much content, I’d maybe say that there are too many attacks in the game. It’s not such a bad thing, but you get to learn new attacks after every fight. You can save them for later, learn them, or just drop them. I usually learned the ones that looked good and dropped the rest because saving them felt like such a hassle. There are various loading screens for each action and I just didn’t feel it was worth it. The problem is that each attack has a ton of different variations. There can be over 10 different Kamehamehas that have different special abilities. That isn’t even counting other versions like the Super Kamehameha. It would be nice if you could just level up your abilities instead of hoping an enemy can drop you a better one at some point. It’s not a big deal though because you can ignore this for the most part and do quite well. It’s not really something that you have to worry about.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Dragon Ball Fusions. It may not look like it would be your thing from afar since the whole strategy turn based combat thing isn’t for everyone, but it’s pretty fast paced. I think they did as good a job with this game as they possibly could have. The huge amount of content in the game is also quite impressive as well as it assures that you won’t run out of stuff to do. It’s going to be a little rough not having a DBZ game to play for a while, but maybe it’ll be time to finally go back to the Card games that I own for the GBA and DS. That gameplay may not be quite as good as Fusions, but maybe it’ll have aged better than I gave it credit for. Perhaps…..

Overall 9/10

Dragon Ball Z: Buu’s Fury Review

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Stop the madness! Is this one of the rare DBZ games that I didn’t own before now? Yes, I finally took the plunge and got the game at long last. It’s a very solid sequel to the last one and the gameplay continues to be quite excellent. Leveling up never feels like a grind here and the game seamlessly throws some of the movies into the plot. It’s all handled very well and while the game is not particularly long, it makes for an enjoyable experience.

The game’s plot adapts the Buu arc from DBZ as you’ve probably guessed. If you’ve never watched DBZ before, it involves the world’s strongest heroes coming together to defeat an evil genie. They’ll need team work and a lot of heart in order to win this round. The text boxes do a good job of adapting the whole arc and keeping in enough details to ensure that you still know what is going on the whole time. It’s a good way of blasting through the arc while still knowing enough to bluff your way through a quiz.

The gameplay is the same as the two predecessors. It uses an overhead view as you can punch or shoot energy blasts. If you can block, then I’m not sure how as I never bothered. Punching is the way to go here and with each level up you can power up a stat. Go for Strength and ignore everything else. The rest are borderline useless by the end while strength will allow you to one shot all minions. This allows for easy level ups and then you can build up your defense. You can also turn Super Saiyan which gives you extra energy and increases your speed. I didn’t notice it actually amping up the strength of my attacks, but it must have had some kind of effect. The gameplay is easy to pick up and you’ll likely have it mastered in no time.

One thing that I’ve always really liked about this series is how easy it is to level up. You can gain 50 levels in a quick 30 minute run and even faster if you’re in the right place. At times, you’ll get a whole level up for each individual minion that you defeat. Considering that they go down like flies, this results in a huge rank up to your characters. It’s quite impressive to be honest and is the single best RPG at the leveling system. It puts titles like FF VII to shame where you’ll have to fight for a very long time to make any kind of head way. I’m still rather sore at that game for making the climax so much work. It’s not so much the difficulty but the fact that if you save in the wrong place…you’re doomed. It’s just going to be game over for you from then on. More on that in another review though.

The game holds up really well when it comes to the graphics and the soundtrack. The sprites are all pretty fun and the images that the game uses for the text are unintentionally funny as well. The characters are constantly yelling and panicking throughout which doesn’t always fit the lines, but that’s part of what makes it enjoyable. As for the soundtrack, there are a number of good themes here. One of them is a remix of a rock theme from the anime, but sadly it cut out all of the rock elements which was a little disappointing. DBZ 2 is still the best when it comes to the soundtrack because of the great Cell theme, but the music here will still get you into a nice groove.

There isn’t a whole lot for replay value after you beat the game. You can max everyone out and grab a bunch of items, but that won’t buy you all that much time. The fact that there is any post game content is still a plus though. The actual game’s story is roughly 6 hours so maybe you could take it to 10 or so by the time you’re done with everything. You’ll likely be buying this game for a very low price so the time is not bad. Especially when you consider how good the game is. Quality over quantity and all that right?

One thing I’d highly recommend is stocking up on food while you can. Save your money for most of the game and then just buy as many Onigiri’s as you can for the final part of the game. I’d also recommend leveling up Vegeta a little since you’ll need him at the end and otherwise it’ll be a little tough to beat Buu. Ideally you want to be at around level 130 or so because then you can finish him quickly. Never use any money to buy equipment since the enemies will all drop a lot of it towards the end of the game. Also, put on the heavy boots and gear to get level ups faster. It makes quite the difference and considering that the game was already easy to level up in…this almost feels criminal.

Overall, Dragon Ball Z: Buu’s Fury is a solid way to end the DBZ adaptions for the GBA. It was a really good trilogy and a very underrated one for DBZ. Granted, I’ll still take Budokai and Tenkaichi any day, but this was a great way to play on the portable. The series did everything that it could with the RPG format and I can’t imagine another title taking it out. Maybe if they ever made a big budget DBZ RPG with anime cutscenes and an awesome plot I suppose. For the GBA though, they maxed it out. I highly recommend checking this game out and seeing what you think of it. Now I just need to get the GT GBA game and I’ll have completed that saga of Dragon Ball adaptions. The gameplay shift is a little unfortunate, but I like beat em ups as well so it should be fun. Until then!

Overall 8/10

Dragon Ball Z Budokai 2 Review

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This is one of those games where you have to ask yourself…is more content always a good thing? I’m going to be honest, I’d like the game a lot more if it didn’t have the story mode that’s present in the game. It’s a shame that more modes can actually be bad for once and it’s a lose-lose situation since I’d be sad if there was none included as well. So I ask…does a bad story mode hurt the game enough for me to deduct a star or should it stay high?

The Budokai series is quite different from Tenkaichi in the sense that it is a 2D brawler. I always enjoy those although it’s safe to say that I still prefer Tenkaichi even though I’m going through a 2D fighting crisis right now. Tenkaichi just revolutionizes 3D gameplay and I never get tired or playing it. Budokai, on the other hand, feels a little limited at times. There’s only so much that you can do as your options are a little limited. It’s not as polished as something like Street Fighter, but the fundamentals are there and the controls are easy to grasp. The problem is that a lot of the game is locked out unless you complete tedious grinds.

For example…you start the game without signature characters like Vegeta and Frieza. I’m really curious to see how the character select screen looked at the beginning and I really should have checked when I had the chance. If you do not defeat them the right way in story mode, then you’ll continue to have to play the game without them and that can be a shame since there’s no way you’ll want to play Story Mode again. Just about everyone is unlocked through Story Mode or with the Dragon Balls, but the unlocks are not easy or quick. They take time.

Let’s go back to why Story Mode is no fun. You start on a Mario Party map and your goal will either be to make it to a location or defeat enemies multiple times. For a fighter like Frieza or Cell, you may have to win 3-4 times and then do that against some of the minions as well. Each turn feels like it takes a long time and you can imagine how sad it is to lose a level after going so far. It shouldn’t sound that bad in theory, but the fights really add up. Even the fact that the story takes a lot of new twists and turns cannot save the final product. You’ll end up just wishing that it was all over after a while. Without the unlockables at every corner I may not be as harsh on the Story Mode. As it is, it’s definitely one of the worst fighting game ones out there.

Aside from that you have other modes like Good ole multiplayer and Tournament Mode. Multiplayer is where you will spend the bulk of your time of course since fighting games like this one are best enjoyed with friends. That’s how it’s always been for the genre and it’s why nothing can beat a truly good fighting game. Tournament Mode should also be decently fun and you’ll earn some money out of it so you can buy some skills. Speaking of which…that’s another unlockable that is rather unnecessary.

Your characters actually don’t have their iconic attacks at first. Mind Blown right? It puts you at quite the disadvantage in Story Mode at times. Imagine playing Goku and being unable to use the Kamehameha. You can find the skills throughout the stages and get them at the shop, but locking a character’s moveset is unprecedented and certainly not in a good way. I really don’t know what they were thinking with this one and it’s a prime example of what I like to call “artificial replay value.”

The graphics are fairly solid. Goku’s voice acting is certainly great as he sounds a lot like Sonic. I feel like this started to change as the games got newer, but the retro ones still have this effect. The blasts are fun to watch and while more effort could have been put into the stages, they look good. The opening cinematic is also a blast and those always added an extra touch to the DBZ series. The soundtrack is a little more forgettable and I can’t actually recall any tunes at the moment, but I remember them being fairly good. Not every game can be the next Sonic right?

Budokai is a little on the old side and it shows, but this still did start the legendary franchise off right. If you like the gameplay here, then you should check out Shin Budokai. It’s a modernized version of this one and naturally it’s been greatly refined. Tenkaichi also came out due to this game so we owe it a lot. I also feel bad for the title since it didn’t ask to have such a terrible Story Mode. It just happened and the game ended up paying the price. We’ve asked the tough questions, but this DBZ title still beats some of the newer ones…sorta. It’s a closer fight than I’d like to admit.

Overall, This review may have been a little on the negative side, but this game is still a good one. When you take away all of the fluff, gameplay is still the most important feature in any game and that part is still done well here. Learning how to block and fight effectively is what will make you a true DBZ warrior. Part of why Story Mode was so difficult was because I didn’t know how to charge my Ki. I still have no idea how to do that even though it’s usually very easy to figure out. Still, the extra difficulty made everything a little more intense so that’s good. I definitely recommend getting this game, but don’t play the Story Mode as it will sour your experience. Despite this game being on the legendary Gamecube console, I actually prefer Budokai 3. The amount of in game lockable content is just too much. It would be good if you could unlock them naturally, but otherwise….I don’t think so. In closing, ignore everything about the game and just head straight to Vs. Mode. That’s the best way to have fun, but good luck with that since you won’t have Vegeta or a number of other cool characters. Maybe they could animate Story Mode and then take out the gameplay when they do a remake someday. That would be the best of both worlds.

Overall 7/10

Dragon Ball Z Resurrection ‘F’ Review

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Well, it’s time to look at the latest DBZ film. I got to watch it dubbed right off the bat, which is great thanks to the limited theater release over here in the US. Battle of Gods was a lot of fun, (9/10) but I still did walk away from it with a lot of mixed feelings. I thought this one ended up being much better and it certainly felt more action packed, which is a good thing!

For the plot, Frieza’s men go to Earth and grab the Dragon Balls in order to awaken Frieza. With their master back, they head out to space so that Frieza can train a little before going back to Earth to fight Goku. Unfortunately, Goku and Vegeta are training with Whis at the moment and are far away from Earth. Can the Z Fighters hold out for long against Frieza’s entire army!?

All right, there is a lot to talk about here so let’s start with the technical factors, move on to the characters, and then wrap up with the power levels discussion. Heh heh, let’s just say that there is quite a lot to talk about on that subject and I even had a member of the audience to back me up on that part!

First off, the animation looks quite good. As you would expect from a modern DBZ film, the fights are very intense and it’s great to see all of the attacks with the modern animation. (Except for the Spirit Bomb, which is still being saved. Probably for one of the final gods) The film still uses that intriguing CGI effect at times for when the characters are clashing. I could honestly do without it, but I’ve never minded having cutscenes in the middle of the epic fights so it’s all good. Would the scenes be better if they were purely animated? Most definitely, but the fights still look great.

One interesting thing to note is that the fights really emphasize power over speed for the most part. Gone are the quick flurry of blows from the older films and I thought that Battle of Gods actually showed off their speed more. Goku and Frieza is actually a slow fight as the film slightly slows the speed in the background so you can focus on each blow. It’s a good effect although I’m hoping for some more speed in the next film since I always love a really fast fight. It’s just epic to behold!

Resurrection F’s soundtrack is one of the big areas where this film beats out Battle of Gods. We had some pretty great themes here while there were no memorable ones in the other film. Frieza’s opera theme is certainly epic to behold and that rock intro to it was great as well. It sounded like Death Note’s second opening. I also really liked the remix of the main DBZ theme even if we only got a short glimpse of it. I guess it’s straight to Youtube for the full version eh?

I’d also say that the writing is good as you may expect from the legendary Akira Toriyama. Even Master Roshi seems like a likable character if you didn’t know any better. He’s portrayed as one of the smart fighters since he quickly estimates how many soldiers need to be defeated and he also looks impressively good at the expense of the other Z fighters as he takes down multiple waves of soldiers with his original Kamehameha and solid fundamentals. That being said, there are still some things that I’m a little iffy on, but I’ll leave that to the individual character pages.

An interesting part of Frieza’s plight is how hell is portrayed. It’s always been a fun interpretation in DBZ world, but Frieza essentially states that Hell is only valid for Earth. If you die somewhere else, then it is a different hell or afterlife so to say. It’s a very intriguing premise and I suppose that it is a little similar to Marvel’s universe where there are many different hells. Hela, Mephisto, and Death all have their own version of the place and that seems to be what DBZ is gunning for. I don’t think it will really be delved into, but that would be an interesting concept to tackle.

Goku is the lead character so it’s only natural that he is a solid character here right? I’ve always liked Goku as he is a great character and he was written really well here. He constantly warns Frieza that fighting him isn’t really the best move. Goku is actually more overconfident, maybe even slightly arrogant than usual, but with his power level, why shouldn’t he be? While his weakness may apparently be that he lets his guard down, I woudn’t call it much of a problem. It doesn’t happen too much and shouldn’t have even happened here except for plot hax and Whis needing to make a point.

Goku still tries to spare Frieza multiple times showing just how heroic he is. However, at the very end, he unleashes a final blast as he makes a critical decision. Considering that hell here is actually quite pleasant and not painful in the slightest, one can argue that destroying Frieza isn’t so bad. It’s still the concept that you should think about, but Goku isn’t a stranger to destroying his foes. Whether accidentally or not, he typically unleashes a final Kamehameha that does the trick. Since a lot of fighters are reincarnated eventually once they turn good, Frieza should be back as well. I didn’t really have a problem with Goku finishing Frieza off though as they can still continue to fight in Hell if Goku so desires. (He probably won’t since he has a good sparring partner with Vegeta!) Since Hell is just a part of Earth according to Frieza, it will be interesting to see if the heroes have to visit the real deal in a future film if one of the gods lives there. The future films have a lot of promise even if I don’t see them getting quite that serious for a few more films as the heroes build up their power levels a little more first.

Vegeta was naturally an exceptional character in this film as always. My one gripe with him was probably that he waited a little too long to do anything while Frieza was messing Goku up. I (Along with the audience who were stating different ways that they thought Vegeta would intervene) expected Vegeta to come in with his iconic neck kick or at least catch Frieza’s punch. While he still did get his turn to fight Frieza, I thought that he could have moved in sooner. His fight with Goku was pretty awesome and his unwavering confidence is back in full force. I’m also glad that he doesn’t want to team up with Goku since a 2 on 1 fight isn’t the Saiyan way.

Whis mentions that Vegeta thinks a little too much before he fights while Goku has the opposite problem and it’s nice to see the film depict this in the fight scenes. Whether intentional or not, you can see that Vegeta fights Frieza in more of a standarized way as he chooses optimal ways to hit the guy while Goku just unleashes on him with a flurry of solid blows. Vegeta uses several of his combat techniques from the video games which was a lot of fun and his personality is still one of the most enjoyable in the franchise. It’s easy to see why Vegeta is such a fan favorite and I still consider him to easily be the best character in the series. I’m glad that they’ve cleaned up his portrayal since Battle of Gods. It’s also worth noting that he continues to show more natural talent than Goku. Goku needed the death of Krillin to make him turn into a Super Saiyan and Vegeta just trained for it. Goku needed the power of 5 Saiyans to unlock God Mode. Let’s just say that Vegeta’s classic approach continues to work wonders for him.

Frieza always was one of the best DBZ villains and it was great to see him return. While Perfect Cell is still the coolest of the big 3 DBZ villains, I do prefer Frieza to Buu. Frieza had a nice amount of arrogance to him and his final form just looks so great. It’s very easy to see why he is such a threat and his theme song in this film is amazing. There’s really not much to say about his personality as it stays very true to his manga counterpart. It’s also nice to see that he was dedicated enough to train to surpass Goku, making him look much better than the average villain. His banter with Goku is one of the better parts of the film and he’s deceptively intelligent at times.

Gohan looks pretty bad as expected since he doesn’t train at all anymore. He really doesn’t care about fighting and just wants to live his life as a normal dude. He doesn’t even arrive to the fight in his full uniform. I do appreciate the fact that the film still showed him to be a bit of a pacifist though as he makes sure to take down all of the minions without actually destroying any of them. That shows a lot of control on his part and also hints at his true power level. If only he could have had more of a fight against Frieza. Since I consider the new films to be the Goku and Vegeta adventures, I’m not sure if this will change anytime soon, but maybe at some point. Gohan getting SSJ God mode as well would be pretty awesome. As a character, he’s certainly still likable.

Piccolo is also a good character and he actually gets his own fight. The only side character to pull that off! He’s still confident in battle while being a nice guy despite his gruff exterior. Unfortunately, he’s the only character who doesn’t use his trademarked attack (Special Beam Cannon) unless I’m missing something. He just uses generic energy blasts against the opponents unless it was supposed to look like his Hell Grenade technique. It’s also possible that he used it in his fight against Tagoma. That was a really enjoyable fight and it was cool to see Piccolo really have to put some effort into his match.

Krillin has a nice role here. He’s now a respectable cop and he even went back to his iconic bald look. Krillin does a good job of weeding out the enemy troops and his confidence is always nice to see. He’s certainly a good supporting character. Jaco got to make his animated debut here and his character was also pretty amusing. His ray gun’s delayed effect is as potent as ever and he’s brutally honest about how he will only help the heroes a little. He’s a nice guy, but he just doesn’t want to mess with someone like Frieza. He would get destroyed in an instant so you can’t blame him there.

Master Roshi got a good role for the first time in DBZ history, which is fantastic for his fans. It’s safe to say that he had quite a few as people cheered and laughed for his scenes. Beerus is still a character that I don’t like. He simply gives himself way too much hype and I can’t stand how everyone is afraid of him and gives the guy so much respect. It’s honestly completely out of character for Goku and even Frieza’s scene will make you wince a little on the inside. Beerus blowing up a planet with a sneeze was cool though as more feats is always a good thing! I could have done without Goku saying that the blast would have destroyed him though. We don’t want anti-feats…granted, he wasn’t in his final form yet. Once Goku and Vegeta inevitably surpass him, that should make things better. That being said…have they already surpassed him. If you remember, God Goku was able to give Beerus a decent fight and SSJ God Goku would likely be 50X stronger thanks to the power boost. That means…Goku should be much stronger, and by extension, Vegeta as well. Good Game Beerus!

Whis also gets a lot of hype, but he’s more likable than Beerus and never tries to get people to fear him. He doesn’t bother with empty threats as he just has fun eating all the desserts that he can stomach. Whis not noticing that he had a phone message was a little….intriguing since his scepter should have let him know immediately, but I’ll assume that he was trolling. He’s not exactly the hero type and just does whatever he feels like doing. His unique ability is certainly handy in a fight although it has more limitations than most other characters who have this kind of technique. Thanks to his high level of hand to hand combat and speed, he should definitely be fine in a fight. It’s hinted that he’s stronger than Beerus and the heroes certainly shouldn’t trust him as I could see the guy ultimately become a villain.

Sourbet is one of the new villains and he’s essentially a Babidi kind of character. He can’t really fight, but he makes plans and gets things done. He’s not a bad villain and I applaud the fact that he went to Earth himself, but he’s not my kind of bad guy. Some more feats would have helped him tremendously. That being said, while his plan worked, it was still a bad plan as it shouldn’t have succeeded. The heroes should have been able to stop him as soon as Shenron appeared thanks to their incredible speed. Ah well, more on plot hax later.

Tagoma is the power hitter of the group and he ends up going against Piccolo in the film. While I think he should have been crushed immediately since that kind of feat would put him on second form Cell, it’s good that at least one of Frieza’s henchmen could really fight. His name is a lot easier to remember than the underlings and as a result, I’ll definitely remember him as the films go by. He made for a good mid-film boss, but I am glad that Piccolo never went down. Had the fight gone on, I’m confident that Piccolo could have made a comeback. (The Gohan fan to the left was panicking during the fight as he thought that Piccolo should clobber the guy so when the fight started to go south, the guy was really going crazy in his chair!)

Shisami had a much smaller role as he got on Frieza’s bad side. It’s safe to say that everyone knew he was doomed from the start once he questioned Frieza. You simply don’t do that! Shenron looked nice and fierce, which is an improvement from his scared days in older films. (As recent as Battle of Gods!) Bulma also got a good role as she assembled the heroes and talked tough to Frieza. Tien’s mostly a nonfactor, but it was still nice to see him contribute to the fight. Pilaf’s crew weren’t even that annoying and they actually did well this time. It’s a little on the plot hax side that the Z Fighters just leave the Dragon Balls lying about, but it works out well for Pilaf. Those 3 were certainly more likable than in Battle of Gods and they even tried to put up a fight!

The audience was certainly very enthusiastic for this film and I’m tempted to say that it was more intense than the Avengers, beating it out for second place. DBZ is a lot shorter than Avengers so the latter had more time for cheers, but DBZ had constant yells and cheers throughout the film. It was great to see the dedicated DBZ fanbase attending the new film. This must have been what it was like in the early 2000’s when DBZ was at its height. People were yelling and making one liners as the film was starting and then yelled a lot with anticipation and tension during the fight scenes. Everyone especially liked Goku’s Ryu inspired backfist hit. It was good to see Goku use an actual advanced martial arts move in that moment!

I have to give a lot of credit to the guy sitting towards the left of the row that I was on. He was really on point for just about every inconsistent power level moment. He was a big fan of Gohan so I knew that he would be pretty upset by the time the film was over since it was already a known fact that he wouldn’t look so good. None of the other Z fighters will ever be acknowledged as a tough fighter who can help out Goku and Vegeta anymore unless something drastic changes. Gohan has a slight chance of improving, but I think that DBZ will just become the Goku and Vegeta adventures for the foreseeable future. The guy had to say “I”m done” about 10 times because Gohan kept underwhelming him with lines like “I can’t win!” or getting one shotted by Frieza in the guy’s first form before Gohan could even turn Super Saiyan.

The thing is, the whole film is built around a plot hole in terms of power levels. Frieza is revived and trains for 6 months. Somehow, this is enough for him to go from being pre Arc 2 SSJ1 level to post Battle of Gods Super Saiyan God mode tier? Seriously? Let’s put this into perspective for a second. Frieza’s final form was on par with Goku’s SSJ1 form and par is a strong word since Goku was clearly stronger at that point. Super Saiyan 2 is around 2-3 times stronger than SSJ1 and SSJ3 is 4x stronger than that. So, if SSJ1 was a 1, SSJ3 Goku is a 8-12 star fighter. After that, we have God mode Goku. Considering that SSJ3 Goku couldn’t last a second against Beerus and God Goku gave him a good fight, let’s say it’s a power boost of about 10x. Then, we have SSJG Goku from this movie, which amps up his strength another 50x. That’s not even counting all of the various zenkai boosts like Base Goku from Battle of Gods easily being stronger than SSJ2 Goku from the older days and maybe even SSJ3. Frieza passed all of that in a mere 6 months? He couldn’t do that if he had 60 years! He is literally making himself hundreds of times stronger just like that. He’s no Saiyan, that’s just not possible. Even for a Saiyan it would be impossible. Remember, Goku had to use the Time Chamber, which turned one year into a day. That’s already more time that he spent training than Frieza.

So, considering that the plot was a power level inconsistency, I figured that there would be plenty more in the film. This doesn’t affect the score in the slightest as the stronger a character gets, the more plot hax there will be, but it’s still worth noting. After all, if there was no plot hax, the planet would have blown up many times over from the intensity of the battles. Goku getting pierced by a random ray gun is also complete plot hax. Granted, Goku let his guard down according to Whis, but even so, in SSJ God form, Goku’s ki should have deflected the blast with ease. There’s no way that it would do any damage to him.

Gohan pretty much deserves his own paragraph. He should be able to wipe the floor with the entire cast. Losing to Frieza in an instant was embarrassing. Now, we can overlook this by saying that Frieza is on Goku’s level now, but then why was Gohan not fighting at full power at that point? Also, if Master Roshi, with a power level of 139 could stand up to dozens of Frieza’s soldiers, then Gohan, Krillin, Tien, and Piccolo should look far more impressive than they did. The fact of the matter is that Roshi should have died instantly when the fight started. Even Frieza’s henchmen aren’t that weak. Saibamen are vastly stronger than Roshi.

There’s no way that the henchmen are that weak. We had one good scene where Gohan moves so fast that it looks like everyone is frozen. The problem is that this should be how things look for the Z fighters the entire time. That’s how wide the power gap is at this point. The minions simply looked too impressive even though they were being crushed the entire time. The heroes should really not need any effort to defeat them. Frieza states that Gohan could take out the entire army if he wanted too…and that’s what should have happened. The gap between the talking and the on screen action was considerable.

It’s interesting to note that Majin Buu doesn’t get to appear even though he was mentioned. That was just really odd and I’m assuming that he’ll be in some kind of Director’s cut. Still, it doesn’t make any sense that he would be out of the picture. This was his chance to shine after all and he blew it! Hercule would have been nice to have as well. At least Shenron finally gets his props here as the villains start to fear him again. He’s probably gotten much stronger since his last fight. It’s a missed opportunity here as the wish should have been to make Frieza stronger than Goku. While that would have to mean that Shenron would be stronger than Goku, it would have involved less plot hax.

One last note on the plot hax side. Aside from Buu not appearing, Yamcha, Chiaotzu, and Android 18 didn’t join the fight either. (Although at least 18 got a cameo) Where’s Android 17 as well? All of these guys should have joined the fight considering what a threat this was and it would have been cool to see the gang fighting. Considering that Roshi could beat the minions, the other fighters wouldn’t have a problem. If you think about it, Android 18 is stronger than quite a few of the fighters who did go to fight Frieza. (Krillin, Tien) It goes without saying that Majin Buu would have been helpful and what about Goten and Trunks? With their SSJ3 Gotenks form, they would have really done well and without power level inconsistencies, they could have probably defeated Frieza. The reasoning for keeping all of these characters out was pretty bad.

So, where did this film rank in the overall DBZ franchise? It goes without saying that it clobbered Battle of Gods and that film was in my top 5! Well, I would actually probably put this as the second best film. It was close, but it barely nudged Super Android 13 out of the spot. After all, Roshi was still being a little dicey here. This film really had no such negatives. Broly will always be the best DBZ film though as I still think that it has the best fight scenes in the series. You want a film where the stakes are real (No Whis and Beerus to keep things light) and the fights emphasize speed as well as power? Broly’s the film to see. While the animation may technically be better in this film on the whole, Broly had more of a theatrical feel to it. The animation just seemed to be on a higher level in that regard and didn’t use any CGI tricks to help itself. I can only imagine how intense seeing that one in theaters would be! It’ll be hard for any film to pass Broly, but if Broly really does return in the next film, that could present a challenge to the classic!

Overall, This was an incredible DBZ movie for sure. It had a lot of great action scenes and a dynamite soundtrack as well. The writing was good and while Beerus annoyed me, the movie did a good job of making almost everyone likable. Even Master Roshi actually acts like a good character, which impressed me. I’m definitely ready for more movies in this series and it’ll be great to see Gogeta appear again as it was certainly hinted at as well as a normal Goku and Vegeta tag team. Considering that they’re both able to fight at such a high level now, it’s easy to see why they would overwhelm any opponent when it is two against one.

Overall 9/10