A seemingly canon movie set after the Buu saga, whilst the story is thin, the battles aren’t, and you can definitely say the epitome of a smile and shut your brain off action film…as long as you are a DBZ fan.
What They Say:
Feature-length installment of the Japanese anime series. After Majin Buu was defeated in battle, Beerus the God of Destruction, awakens from his long sleep. Wanting to find out who finally managed to defeat the mighty warrior, Beerus tracks down the victor Son Goku to challenge him to the most fierce battle of his life.
Set up in both 5.1 English and 2.0 Japanese, there was no problems that I noticed during the feature movie release in both English and Japanese. The audio for the whole is superb, with no issues in slowing down or time syncing with the subtitles with the Dolby Surround of course, being the best.
One minor complaint is that no matter what language you watch it in, the theme songs are the English song – there isn’t a Japanese version. Not sure if the original couldn’t be used (which is strange as the menu screen has an updated version of Cha-La Head Cha-La) for any reason, but is a minor disappointment.
Visually, this movie is updated so the art style is more in tune with Dragonball Kai and the colour schemes are off the chart, it follows incredibly well on a widescreen format, no picture issues with distortion when pausing and no freezing or synching with the audio so extremely high quality which was expected due to the care made for basically a feature film release (now I hope this same quality works when/if the UK gets Naruto: The Last…)
The menu is very colourful and almost exploding with the visual effects in the backgrounds with Goku vs. Beerus showing with an updated version of the DBZ main Japanese song with the classic Dragonball Z logo showing with Battle Of Gods – Selecting are Play Theatrical Cut, Scenes, Bonus, Set Up (which when selected explodes into new menu via animation) – the scenes like most movie releases compared to series releases is scene selection, and everything is easily selectable from the main menu and transitioning back to the menu via the movie. Eye catching and simple to use.
Quite a few extras are revealed considering this is the first new DBZ movie in a while based on the updated animation and putting it into canon as well – the first being ‘The Voices of DBZ Unveiled’ We get pretty much all the cast behind the booth, including *deep breath* Sean Schemell (GOKU, KING KAI), Chris Sabat (PICCOLO/VEGETA), Ian Sinclair, (WHIS), Jason Douglas, (BEERUS) Monica Rial (BULMA), Justin Cook (DENDE), Kyle Hebert (GOHAN), Cynthia Cranz (MRS BRIEFS/CHICHI), Chuck Huber (PILAF), Sonny Strait (KRILLIN), Brina Palencia (CHAOTZU/PUAR), Josh Martin (MAJIN BUU), Kara Edwards (VIDEL/GOTEN/GOTENKS) and John Burgmeier (TIEN).
See clips of them performing behind the scenes, including the infamous Vegeta dancing sequence, very comic but some talking about the plot (character Beerus inspired by Toriyamas’ cat) – they show the movie with small squares of the actor voicing – some mistakes showing, Kyles’ discussing Gohans age and what type of voice he is using, Monica getting her direction (comically moans that Bulma finally gets her moment as always about the Saiyans) – Sabat keeps wanting to do retakes of his line because he is Vegeta and that is what he does.
Next is a Behind the Scenes: Battle of the Voice Actors which is basically seeing the fight between Goku and Beerus but seeing Sean and Jason in the background as they are speaking the parts so you can see how the full take was done in the studio – nothing really needed except the fact you can see the movements of the actors whilst speaking into the mic as to get into character despite not on a live stage or anything, it definitely showcases how they get into their roles.
There is a US Trailer and a textless song, but the big extra is the theatrical release on Disc 2 which really is the same movie, but with extra scenes that were cut. Going through it the differences I notice were as followed;
The start there is basically the entire DBZ story abridged but with the updated animations – (Picollo, Vegeta, Frieza, Cell, Majin Buu) with narration, some additional scenes at Bulmas birthday with Mr Satan/Buu/Dr Briefs/Videl – little bit extra bits on King Kai’s planet, a scene with Beerus and Mr Satan, extra scene with Pilafs group, extra scene with Master Roshi being pervy with Videl (and slapped by Bulma) and an extra Trunks scene with Mai, Picollo being annoyed at bingo, extra scenes during the initial fight with Beerus – another Beerus scene when he challenges Oolong to rock/paper/scissors, a scene with Whis joining the gang in the ship and enjoying ice cream, a scene with Vegeta and Krillin (Vegeta admitting he didn’t want to fight Beerus) and a scene where Beeris recovers from the wasabi…
I prefer the theatrical release overall but it does add more comedy overall hence most likely why these scenes were cut for the main story.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Whilst the series of DBZ has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, I will confess that I’ve never seen the movies until this one. With most big Shounen Jump/long anime properties that are popular (Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, etc) there have been movies in line with the series which are one offs, not considered canon or party of the storyline. Strangely enough though, there has been ones now which have had the mangakas authority and used to either be close to canon (the recent One Piece Movie: Strong World had Oda supervising the production, and the even more recent Naruto: The Last is a canon ending helped by Kishimoto to fill in the gap of the time skip at the end of the manga) – DBZ: Battle of Gods is similar though doesn’t have the mangakas help, it is set in a period after the main series where there is enough there that could see this canon and even add more to how strong Goku is and change things completely (more Goku vs. Superman debates now I think…) – the movie itself? Colourful, fun and a treat for DBZ fans.
We start with Goku on King Kais’ planet training when Kai senses something unusual. He realises an awakening of a god named Beerus, literally a god of destruction who has immense power…which of course intrigues Goku as someone he wants to fight, because Goku. Beerus on the other hand is…rather unique. A god that looks like a cross between a rabbit and Lucario from Pokemon is rather laid back despite this claim to power, being woke up after 3 years and bugged by his attendant, is surprised to learn about a Super Saiyan who defeated Frieza and mentions casually about something called a Super Saiyan God…so he feels he needs to meet this person and also where he is from, just in case he doesn’t meet his credentials and he wants to…well…destroy it…
Cue Earth and it is Bulmas’ birthday and a lot of comedy with it, but before celebrations, Beerus visits King Kais’ planet and Goku asks his to spar. Beerus tells him to go full power much to Gokus’ surprise but even in Super Saiyan 3 form he is no match for Beerus who calmly defeats him and decides to visit Earth.
On Earth, Pilaf and his minions are back to try and find the Dragonballs during the party, but are caught by kid Trunks (Trunks doesn’t realise they were trying to steal and instead helps them out by pretending Mai is his girlfriend) and with Pilaf having a history with Bulma there is a bit of sweating going on. But whilst there are some comic moments with almost the entire cast there (Gohan going Great Saiyaman for example), but it is when Beerus visits which causes the issues. Vegeta is instantly fearful when Kai lets him know of his visit…and doesn’t want to incur his wrath. Bulma being a bit tipsy actually amuses Beerus, who surprisingly enjoys the party and especially the food, but any minor slip could cause him to blow up the planet – when a bullet hits him for example (and leads to an infamous and hilarious way of Vegeta literally going out of character to save the world – trust me, it has to be seen to be believed) but enough things usually pacify him. Until he goes to try some pudding…and Maijin Buu hogs them all – that eventually makes him snap. Android 18, Tien, Piccolo, Gohan, Vegeta and Gotenks all are slapped around a bit, though when Bulma is knocked out, Vegeta actually gets to a rage high enough that he actually hurts Beerus, yet still defeated.
Before Beerus can destroy the planet, Goku does arrive and Beerus allows him to learn and know about the Super Saiyan God via Shenlong (who amusingly is just as scared of Beerus as the cast) – they need 6 Saiyans and fuse their energy into one. I really liked how they managed to do this when a throwaway line/plot twist from earlier involving Videl actually was the catalyst to do the Super Saiyan God and was a smart way of doing it. It leads as expects to a big battle with Goku vs. Beerus (brutal battle with fantastic animation), but even after all that, Beerus seems to have the edge but he was impressed at the fact Goku held up so well that the only earth he destroys is a bit of rock. He leaves calmly as the movie ends despite a reaction to wasabi being hysterical as he retires to sleep…
As you can see, the movie is…a bit silly. Beerus being a god of near invincibility who snaps at minor things as excuses to blow up planets is definitely on the childish side of DBZ villains who just blow up things because they can. In Beerus’ defence though, whilst a shallow character – he is utterly hilarious. He will be memorable in a different way to Frieza or Cell along with his assistant Whis who actually is revealed to perhaps be even stronger…but most of the movie he is enjoying Earths’ food. I don’t think most of us expect DBZ to have ground breaking plot and this is a prime example, but at least it is entertaining and the new characters help out at least.
Of course, the fact there are a lot of ‘WTF’ moments doesn’t help. Everyone who has seen DBZ will remember the Vegeta sing/dance sequence for all eternity – this is so out of character of him which also showcases what a threat Beerus is that it is hysterical. Other moments like in the theatrical version that Piccolo getting annoyed with bingo as he is so close to winning, and Mai acting like Trunks’ girlfriend, it is as much comedy as it is action most of the time. Of course, the very real threat of Beerus adds to the final battle and the new God form Goku has if it is considered canon will give fans more ideas and theories on how strong Goku is now.
The biggest plus? The animation and fight sequences are GORGEOUS. It is definitely showcases how evolved the animation has got, and with the recent dub of course with new voices (yet still getting Sean as Goku) it still feels fresh in your mind even if you haven’t seen Dragonball Kai. The voices in both languages are excellent and feels like a real treat if you are a DBZ fan. Of course, if you aren’t or you haven’t seen it, there are a lot of characters to get through and you may need to know the relationships of course (Gohan and Videls’ is a key one) but lets’ face it, this is just a movie for DBZ fans, and I think they will enjoy it.
Battle of Gods is basically a love letter to DBZ fans. Whilst the plot is subpar and the villain shallow, it is made up by every character involved, some new theories, great animation and voice work, and despite said shallow villain, he is extremely entertaining and well worth watching. DBZ fans should snap it up, turn your brain off and enjoy a colourful comedy/action movie with your friends – it will make you smile.
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: A-
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: October 11th, 2014
Running Time: 85 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Review Equipment: Playstation3, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.