Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods
It has been a long time coming, but finally the English dub, produced by Funimation, hit theaters in the United States on August 5, 6, & 7. I personally chose to wait until there was an English dub to see this movie, as it was released in Japan over a year ago, on March 30, 2013. I was pleasantly surprised to see that all of my local theaters, north of Houston, were sold out on the August 5th showings, but I was able to see the movie on the afternoon of the 6th. The experience was fantastic and I was quite surprised to see that more than half the theater was sold out on a Wednesday afternoon.
The animation was absolutely beautiful, and thankfully the few parts that were noticeably done in the computer graphics style were few and far between. With vibrant colors and smooth animation, this is easily the best looking animated Dragon Ball movie to date. It might also be one of the best stories in a Dragon Ball Z movie, since there was more time given to the light hearted comedy of the original series mixed with the action that made the Z series so popular. My biggest complaint of the Dragon Ball Z series has always been that it tried to become overly serious towards the end, and the few moments of comedy were quickly ignored in favor of attempts at drama. Battle of Gods brings back the right mix of comedy and drama that made the series so enjoyable.
When the main villain, an Anubis-like god of destruction Lord Beerus, awakes from his long sleep he is awoken by his caretaker Whis and giant floating exploding hourglasses. The stirring of Beerus is similar to that of a cat, which at first gives the impression that this character is not like other more serious villains. However, after remembering of a story the Oracle Fish told him of a Super Saiyan God along with finding out about Freeza’s destruction at the hands of a Saiyan, Beerus along with Whis decide to visit the last remaining Saiyan’s to find the Super Saiyan God. First they visit King Kai’s planet where Goku is training with Bubbles. Goku does his best to challenge Beerus in his Super Saiyan 3 form and fails quickly. Beerus with Whis travel to Earth where all the Z characters are gathered for Bulma’s birthday party. They are greeted by Vegeta, who King Kai has contacted to warn of Beerus’s arrival, and he proceeds to act like a goofball to keep Beerus happy. Goku soon shows up after things go awry, to again challenge the god of destruction, and soon becomes a Super Saiyan God for a moment to do so. The end of their battle is really quite funny, and it leaves the possibility of a new story line open.
It was a real joy to see this movie in a setting with other fans of the series, young and old, who knew of the detailed back stories of each of the characters. Personally, I had the chance to see it with someone who knew of the series, but knew very few of the details and backstory. This person enjoyed the movie as a delightful cartoon, and could understand why so many people love the franchise. In my view, this movie showed the best of Dragon Ball Z, and had the elements of what made the Z series great. If you were expecting something completely different you might be disappointed, but if you are looking for a new great DBZ story then you will be very happy. If you haven’t seen the English dub, done by the always fantastic Funimation cast, you will have to wait for a DVD or Blu-ray, which has yet to be announced. Hopefully, for all of the DBZ fans out there, we won’t have to wait long to relive this fantastic story.