B9? Anyone have B9?
A review copy was provided by FUNimation Entertainment
Evening readers, at long last, the most recent Dragon Ball film Battle of Gods has come out on DVD and Blu-Ray! With a series as storied as Dragon Ball, what does the Inverseman think? Find out.
God of Destruction Beerus receives a prophecy of a Super Saiyan God who will defeat him. Curious of finding and facing this worthy challenger, the deity heads to earth to find this Super Saiyan God and possibly destroy the world in the process. It’ll be up to Goku and his friends to stop someone who may be the strongest in the universe.
Now your typical DBZ film has a certain flow to it: new threat awakens, new threat attacks, Goku and friends challenge new threat, the bad guys die, and nobody brings this up ever again because of continuity conflicts. However, Toryiama takes the helm with Battle of Gods and focuses on an angle of Dragonball many viewers on this side of the Pacific tend to overlook, a lighthearted angle.
Battle of Gods isn’t action and grit 100 percent of the way through, but instead it never takes itself too seriously. The opening moments have Beerus acting like a spoiled kid whining about getting out of bed in front of his attendant Whis. Most of the story actually involves Beerus and Whis crashing Bulma’s birthday party and Vegeta trying to make sure Beerus does not get angry during lest he destroys earth in one fell swoop. While all this is happening, Goku is training and trying to solve the mystery of what a Super Saiyan God is. Yes, it’s an action-packed battle to save the world, but it’s incredibly funny, especially when you remember that we’re talking about Dragonball here; a manga where the author easily names villains after dairy products and vegetables. Perhaps unlike some fans, I don’t take it seriously all the time. I know Toriyama doesn’t.
With its legacy, Battle of Gods is injected with pure fanservice for longtime Dragon Ball fans. There are tons of shoutouts to great moments in the series, cameos, and so forth that all the little details will bring a smile to any fan’s face. The much more humorous story gives some much more fleshed out perspectives on our heroes, putting a lot of character development in place when the usual is just “Goku, please save the world”. It’s wonderful to see all these entertaining personalities put on stage outside of the battlefield but all the while not feeling like some kind of pointless filler episode. After all, one wrong move and Beerus will throw a world-shattering tantrum.
Throughout the party shenanigans, I think the real showstopper here is Vegeta. We get to see a side of Vegeta that isn’t just angry or jealous. We see Vegeta have fun, see him under a different type of pressure, and see a new side of family-man Vegeta. While I will say the story drags a little before getting into the big fights, those moments are there, and they are important. Eventually, the story does have its serious moments and for one of the first times, we get a better look into Goku’s mind. What moves Goku? What makes him tick? Goku does a lot of growing towards the end, especially since the ending to the film isn’t as predictable as I thought; there’s a twist, but I’ll let you guys figure that one out for yourselves. The future of the series is now wide-open and only time will tell where these revelations will go.
On the technical side, the voice acting is excellent. We have the good people at FUNimation back again, and it’s just a big old family reunion. These actors and actresses have been playing these roles for years, they own them. The OST is nothing short of epic with the theme songs evoking the original innocent spirit of Dragon Ball and the high-intensity action both at once. The movie also looks great too. Vibrant colors, classic fight choreography, and all theatrical quality; this film is a real treat. I will say though that the DVD/Blu-Ray extra features are rather meager, especially for such a big release. We only have 30 minutes of clips of the actors in the booth, which while very interesting, we could do with perhaps a commentary or interview or two. It’s Dragon Ball, and I know the cast will have much to say about it. At least give us a sing-a-long version of the Bingo Song, but alas such was a missed opportunity.
Overall, Battle of Gods is one big celebration of all things Dragon Ball. It’s got pulse-pounding fights, hilarious gags, heartwarming moments, and so on to roll up into a collection of all the high-notes of Toriyama’s work. If you’re a Dragon Ball fan, you owe it to yourself to see this movie. Join me next time when I set 15 alarm clocks.
– Tons of character development and story with some interesting twists
– Hilarious jokes
– Wonderfully produced
– Great acting
– Overall love letter to fans
– Drags a little before the action starts
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