Sent to the Earth from the planet Vegeta as a newborn baby. The Saiyan child Kakarot was programmed to destroy the planet. After losing his memory in the spacepod landing, he was found by a martial arts master and renamed to Goku.
Goku was trained very well by his master Gohan, and he eventually grew up to become the planets savior. He now dedicates his life to protecting the weak and innocent from all evil. -Main story summary
For those who may not know, Dragon Ball Z is the second series in the franchise and the direct sequel to Dragon Ball, as well as the predecessor to Dragon Ball GT. Dragon Ball Z is somewhere around almost 300 episodes long and it follows the hero Goku, an alien from another planet raised on Earth who dedicated his life to protecting it from the forces of evil. Either it be against power mad Earth-based Androids, or intergalactic tyrants that can destroy entire planets. The movies are not exactly newbie friendly though, and they require some knowledge of the main series before coming into. Despite this, more often than not, the movies rarely fall into normal continuity and plot holes to the main story are almost always present.
Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone
Piccolo is attacked and defeated by an unknown outfit. Later, Goku's family is attacked leaving both his wife Chi-Chi and father-in-law the Ox King swiftly beaten. His son Gohan is kidnapped, and Goku attempts to track the attackers down with a Dragon Ball detector using the Dragon Ball on Gohan's hat as the lead. Who's behind the attack and what do they want? -summary
When I look back on the very first DBZ movie, I always find it ironic how it's actually among the best in the 13 movie and 2 Specials line up. Each of the following movies venture the exact same path, which is to provide the viewer with low brow entertainment through lots of action and comedy, I have no beef with this. The problem is, once you get pass the first batch of movies, you start to sense the lack of innovation and even creativity. They become unbelievably gimmicky and that feel of a cash in is all over the place. Dragon Ball Z is definitely an anime series you must be a die hard fan of to consistently enjoy.
Dragon Ball Z: The Dead Zone is a pretty fun title. It feels a lot more like the Dragon Ball series, as it takes the viewer on a near non stop action-filled ride. Almost from the very beginning, the action begins and rarely lets up, and it's actually a real joy to watch. The production values pretty much delivers; the battles do utilize that boring reused cel format, but the energy attacks and minimum choreography provide the fun. Especially during one of the moments when Goku is dodging and blocking various attacks, from the combined might of the main villains goons.
There are also some nice background shots of the palace they battle in, and later on in the destroyed ruins of the place. The battles at different points takes place during the evening under an orange sun set that looks really nice. Now normally when it comes down to voice acting, I prefer to watch the dub because that way I can focus better on animation and music, without having to look down at subs. This is one of those rare moments I can't tolerate the dub though. The voice acting itself isn't the problem, but there's this one musical scene that takes place with Gohan that is far better in the sub, because it actually contains the song. While in English, the entire scene feels bland. On top of this, I do believe the sieyuu is far better, with the legendary Kamiya Akira voicing lead villain Garlic Jr and Masako Nozawa voicing Goku. They had some really good chemistry going here.
The plot follows Goku as he tracks Gohan to the villain Garlic Jr. Garlic gathers the Dragon Balls to make a wish, and from here fist start flying again. During the later movies, characters will appear only to be taken down in record time. Here, characters like Piccolo and even Krillin are used pretty well.
One of the main problems I've always heard about this movie was the 45 minute length. When looking at the fact this is a franchise flick, that rarely has a good plot to work with anyway, and a majority of the time the action scenes aren't breaking any new ground. I just can't see length as a problem. If anything, Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone feels too ordinary even for that time.
Overall, this is a solid movie that actually fits into main continuity, something you won't see often in the later movies. The action scenes do depict character deaths, fortunately, it's nothing over the top. The movie feels child friendly for the most part. Fans of the series will more than likely enjoy this. Newbies really shouldn't start here since character development is non existant. For them, I recommend coming into the first season of the main series. If that piques your interest enough to move further, then go ahead and give this a shot.
-Short and to the point, knows what it wants to be
-Average at best, mainly for fans of franchise
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