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One great thing about a series as lengthy as Dragon Ball Z is that the characters develop and grow with the series.
Review by: Honey Thunder
Motion Animated Feature
Running Time: 50 minutes
Rated:PG (violence, blood spray, and mild language)
When Goku meets Cell in their final battle, he also destroys Kaio’s planet. As a result, the super DUPER bad Bojack is released from the star Kaio imprisoned him in. Bojack and his cronies head directly for Earth to exact revenge on Goku via Gohan and consequently, the rest of the Z fighters. Luckily for Bojack, all of the Z fighters (except Vegeta who busy sulking in his room back at Capsule Corp.) are gathered for a World Tournament being thrown by billionaire X.S. Cash (Yes, that is his name.) as a birthday present for his son.
Will Gohan defeat Bojack? Will Vegeta decide to show up and join the fight? Will Goku somehow manage to save the Earth and the Universe…again?
DVD VISION TEST
VIDEO: Excellent. The images are smooth and fluid with no pixels or jumping. Lines are sharp and the colors are bright. The images are bright throughout.
AUDIO: Neat, clean and consistent throughout. Options are 2.0 in both Japanese and English, with a 5.1 surround sound option in English only.
EDITS: There’s a different opening theme in the dub, which is disappointing if you have a perverse love of the original “Cha-La-Head-Cha-La”. The opening credits have been translated into English. This is the uncut version, so the blood spray and mild language remain intact.
EXTRAS: Character profiles and trailers for upcoming Funimation titles.
STORY: One great thing about a series as lengthy as Dragon Ball Z is that the characters develop and grow with the series. In the DBZ universe, Bojack Unbound takes place after the Cell Saga and well before the Great Saiyaman Saga. The story, however, is a familiar one: world martial arts tournament + new super bad guys = Z fighters get asses handed to themselves. The different take on that equation is that the responsibility of saving Earth and the known Universe falls upon Gohan’s shoulders not Goku’s. This story has everything you’d want and expect from Dragon Ball Z. Righteous fighting followed by righteous fighting by VERY angry Super Saiyans. All levity is brought to you courtesy of Goku, Master Roshi, Oolong and the one and only Mr. Satan.
ACTING: Fans of DBZ have a relationship with these characters, which also spans several hundred episodes. If anything were disingenuous to a character in the portrayal, it would be glaringly obvious. Such a relationship exists between actor and character, as well. This familiarity comes through; each performance seems natural and genuine. Mayumi Tanaka’s ability to convey the pathos of Kuririn/Krillin truly stands out. I don’t speak a word of Japanese, yet with the subtitles off I know exactly where Krillin is emotionally speaking. Stephanie Nadolny does a spectacular job handling Gohan’s power-ups and beat-downs, deftly conveying his insecurity, agony, and rage and making all sound easy.
FAN SERVICE: There’s some bounce’n’jiggle and some shots of Bulma’s cleavage (as she’s holding Baby Trunks) and a few gratuitous pans of totally ripped Saiyans.
In a series
spanning well over 300 episodes, there’s not much happening in the
way of character growth and development in Bojack Unbound. What
we’re treated to is more of a “day in the lives” of the Z
Fighters. Goku’s eating, Vegeta’s brooding, Piccolo’s annoyed,
Krillin’s self-effacing, Gohan’s eager to please, and Master
Roshi’s horny self is on the prowl. If it’s been a while since
you’ve immersed yourself if the world of Saiyans, Dragonballs, and
Capsule Corp. Bojack Unbound is a fantastic reminder of how the
richly diverse characters created by Akira Toriyama are so
brilliantly portrayed by the actors at FUNimation. Yes, I am partial
to the American dub. The Japanese cast is great at capturing the
more screwball aspects of Dragon Ball Z; but I’ve always found the
gravitas of the English dub to more authentic to the characters.
That does not mean that Bojack Unbound is bereft of humor. With Goku,
Master Roshi, and Oolong getting minimal screen time, the bulk of
the film’s levity comes from the comedic genius of Mr. Satan
(known as Hercule in the edited version of Dragon Ball Z that aired
on the Cartoon Network).
Chances are you’re not looking for slapstick
when contemplating watching Bojack Unbound. You want righteous
fighting and non-stop thrashing featuring all sorts of intensely
destructive energy blasts. What are you waiting for? This movie is
light on the exposition and full of what made me love the series in
the first place – fighting. There is a ridiculous amount of
violence and blood spray (albeit alien), most of it at the hands of
Gohan. Not the whiny little Gohan or the academically inclined Gohan
but the Gohan that does not play at fighting. Is there anything more
deliciously enjoyable that watching a stone-faced enraged Super
Saiyan beat the hell out of the bad guys? You know the fighting is
hot when the near bonkers Saiyan powers up for 45 seconds and just
wails effortlessly, without flinching…yes, it rocks that HARD.
Luckily the bad guys are worthy opponents. Bojack’s minions are strong and the final battle’s outcome is satisfying to watch. I won’t give it away, but there’s no warriors appearing out of nowhere…. this outcome is earned the hard way. So if you love a great fight that does just as much damage to the fighters as it does to the cityscape within a 10 miles radius, you’re in for a treat!
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