Saturday, January 29, 2005

Dragon Ball Z Movie 12: The Rebirth of Fusion! Goku and Vegeta

Genre: Action / Fantasy
Parental Guidance Recommended
1995 Akira Toriyama, Daisuke Nishio, Toei Animation

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MarkPoa's Description:
Something is wrong in the Afterlife and its spilling out into the real world. The dead are reappearing on Earth! Goku and Paikoohan must battle the mysterious enemy, Janenba, to free Lord En-ma. How can they defeat Janenba when even Super Saiyan 3 fails? And what would it mean when Vegeta comes to the rescue? Who's Gogeta?

NOTE: Some of the reviews were written sometime in 2004 and was recorded in the classic Otaku Fridge as ??.??.2004. Unfortunately the database would not accept non-numerical values, so this review is now dated January 01, 2004 by default.

More laughs than action. >>> by MarkPoa (written ??.??.2004 posted 01.29.2005)
One thing about Dragonball Z movies is that there is usually a formula to them. In fact, you can sometimes predict how they'd go. Let's see how this one measured up:

Mysterious enemy/ies with supernatural powers kicks everyone's butts? Check. Mysterious enemy/ies appear to be defeated halfway through the movie? Check. Mysterious enemy/ies suddenly becomes more menacing and kicks everyone's butts again? Check. Son Goku pulls out a new move/technique that obliterates the enemy in one hit?, not exactly. Gogeta did.

Gogeta who, you ask? It's a bit complicated.

One of the movies that were released around the Majin Buu arc of Dragonball Z, this movie is a fan favorite as it sports the only appearance of Vegeta doing the Fusion dance before GT. For the uninitiated, Fusion (the one mentioned in the title) is a technique whereby two warriors perform this kooky dance and merge into one being with more than the power of both combined. Based on the title of this movie, I think you can guess what happens. (It's not even much of a spoiler. From the title and box arts, you can practically expect this thing to happen.)

But that's not this movie's strong point. For a 50-minute feature, the movie managed to come up with more entertaining action and fist/ki-fights than the entire Freeza saga in the Dragonball Z series (not a hard feat, but still). Two things add spice to the battles: nostalgia and humor.

Because of the "dead coming back" theme, old-time Dragonball Z watchers would enjoy the nostalgic appearance of a lot of familiar dead villains. Check out cameos by Freeza and even bald-headed Nappa. Of course, they are essentially cannon fodder here, but it was fun, nonetheless.

And most of the movie is fun. In fact, the powerful Janenba's first form is pretty silly. PaiKooHan's predicament is also weird. After that, watch out for the first Fusion attempt. Two words: Fat mistake.

The ending, though, is waaaaaay anti-climactic.

Since this is a short movie that was aimed mostly for Dragonball Z's already established fanbase, don't expect a lot of explanations on who the characters are. I doubt that people would know who PaiKooHan is, for instance, since he only appeared in one unremarkable story arc in Dragonball Z. The cameo villains are given a few minutes before they are disposed of by the other Saiyans. Heck, you won't even get an explanation on who Vegeta is.

Visually, this is very nicely animated. The depiction of Hell transformed by Janenba is a particular visual treat, with its giant jelly beans and floating cube of blood.

Music and sounds are a mixed bag. While the music properly sets the mood for the fights, a regular DBZ fan would immediately recognize the music as familiar. Sound effects are even more so.

Overall, this is a definite must-see for Dragonball Z fans. Like a good light action flick, the mix of hard action and humor would entertain you well. There's also the sense of nostalgia in seeing familiar faces getting their behinds kicked. For casual anime watchers, you might enjoy this if you take it for what it is: a silly fistfight. Don't expect deeper meanings behind the thunderous punches.

Art: 9; Story: 6; Characters: 8; Sounds: 7

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