What They Say
One hundred years have passed since Goku finally freed the planet from the terrible grip of the Shadow Dragons. The people of Earth have enjoyed a time of peace and prosperity not known for generations. Only Pan remains from those darker days.
But nothing lasts forever…
As Pan grows ill, her grandson… Goku Jr… undertakes an incredible journey of discovery to find out if the power of the dragon balls are more than just legend. With an unlikely ally at his side, Goku Jr. enters a dangerous world where things are not as they seem, a place where each step might be his last.
Goku Jr. must look deep within himself to unlock his true potential if he is to find the answers he seeks. Only then will he truly follow in the footsteps of his legendary ancestor.
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo along with the English language dub. I continue to dislike listening to the English track from the releases from this time period simply due to the changes in the music, never mind the other usual changes. The Japanese track sounds good overall but the music isn’t very heavy throughout while the action sequences are decent though they don’t exactly shake the foundations. Dialogue has some decent placement from time to time but it’s a pretty standard forward soundstage design that doesn’t really stretch itself all that much.
Originally released in 1997, the GT movie is presented in its original full-frame format for this transfer. As is typical of the franchise’s movies, there’s precious little difference between the TV series and the movies in terms of animation style so what you see there is really what you get here. One of the main pluses to this movie though is that there seems to be considerably less grain throughout the print which gives it a much cleaner feel. There’s still some grain there just in the filmstock they use but it’s definitely much reduced. Colors look good and cross coloration is very minimal with only a few areas showing it briefly. With it being traditionally animated, most of the problems in recent shows just don’t exist here.
Keeping to the style of the GT TV series covers, this release has a close-up of Goku in power-up mode that’s nice and clean while the other characters show a bit of age in their image captures that don’t look quite as good but are pretty serviceable if you don’t look at it too long. It’s not a terribly busy cover but it’s par for the course when it comes to the franchise and at least the movie title is readable unlike some of the TV volume numbers. The back cover provides a couple of shots from the show and a good summary of the show’s premise. The discs features are accurate for the most part, audio excepted as mentioned above, and this release does not include an insert.
Unsurprisingly, the menu layout is relatively similar to the style of the GT series menus and we get a close-up shot of Goku’s face during a power-up sequence as a still image while some of the instrumental music plays along to it. The selections are all the standard style and are quick to access. Submenus load quickly and also unsurprisingly our language presets weren’t picked up at all due to the way this disc is configured. Since there are angles involved, it’s typically safer to select languages from the menu anyways with a FUNimation title.
The extras are pretty weak here with just a series of profiles related to characters in the movie that aren’t more than a page a piece. There is also a section called the “10 Craziest Fight Moves” included as well that shows various amusing fight moments from throughout the entire DB/DBZ/DBGT franchise with some commentary on them but it’s mostly a throwaway extra since little has to do with GT.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Presented as a side story to the GT universe, a universe that’s already been considered to not have really happened or exist by a large number of Dragonball fans, the attempt here is to present almost an alternate retelling of the original Dragonball as part of the circle of life. There are plenty of allusions to the original series here in how things start and you can imagine that if it was popular enough, they’d have launched a new series based on it in order to get the franchise rolling again.
While it’s fairly decent, thankfully it’s nowhere near as good as the original and didn’t succeed on that point. The premise is actually good at the start; it’s a hundred years since the end of the GT material we’ve seen and the only person still alive from way back then is “Grandma” Pan. She’s left to the task of raising young Goku Jr, her grandson and someone she’s felt has the strongest potential of all those she’s known over the years. Living together in Satan City, she takes him out to the countryside in order to train and to get him to have the confidence he needs to unlock his inner powers so that he can fulfill his potential.
And there’s the biggest difference between this Goku and the real Goku. This Goku is regularly roughed up by punks, he’s quick to run away from a fight and he’s got almost no confidence about himself or anything at all. And he tends to cry a lot. So the idea is that he needs to get that confidence he needs and the opportunity arises when Pan suddenly falls ill and is taken to the hospital. Fearing that she’s going to die, he recalls some of her “crazy stories” and the one about the Dragonball and its ability to grant wishes sticks in his head. So sucking it up and doing what must be done, he heads off to Mount Paozo where there’s a place that his great grandfather Goku used to go to that might reveal the whereabouts of the ball and he can help her.
His journey is fraught with slightly powered enemies who want to catch him and eat him and he ends up making a good part of it with a new friend and former tormentor, Puck. Puck’s the guy that teaches him that even the nice people are the ones that can really take advantage of you and he serves up some amusing sermons on life and how to live it. The two former enemies become quick friends which just doesn’t click well at times but it does provide something of a Huckleberry Finn kind of feel as the two of them really set out on their journey. When the going gets rough and the various bad guys in the woods and at the mountain try to capture them though there are plenty of moments where they really rely on each other and just try to do right by each other.
A Hero’s Legacy isn’t bad per se but it just suffers from being marginal. As a side story, there are plenty of characters in the GT universe and the GT universe itself I would have loved to have had a story about. But this almost shameless attempt to reboot the universe and start with a more sensitive and caring Goku who is already far more powerful than his great grandfather is after only awakening his powers a day or two prior just imbalances things all the worse. That was already a problem in the Z series in my mind and they’ve gone and made it even worse here. The original Dragonball series in manga form has quickly become one of my favorites out there so to see them attempt to set it up to do again here is amusing and scary at the same time.
For a forty-eight minute feature, the GT movie provides a feel-good kids movie about doing the right thing, learning to trust the right people and that even your enemy can turn into your best friend. It’s got its good points that the kids will enjoy to be sure and there’s some fun action sequences as well as some of the animals from the show getting into the act of fighting against the bad guys. For GT fans it’s probably something of a challenge to watch without the “real” Goku in the game and for those who hate GT, this is probably the most sugary sweet the franchise has ever gotten and deserves to be removed from existence. In the end, I think it’s just a marginal piece in a very large franchise that’s pretty harmless and mildly amusing and not to be taken seriously.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Character Profiles, Ten Craziest Fighting Techniques
Content Grade: C-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C+
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: November 16th, 2004
Running Time: 48 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.