Anime Reporter dives for cover during our review of Dragon Ball GT: Part 2, the final episodes of one of anime’s most famous and popular franchises.
When last we covered Dragon Ball GT (here), the earth was enslaved under the rule of Baby, the malevolent parasite who had taken over the minds of all of earth’s inhabitants, including many of the Z-fighters themselves and , worse still, Baby was fighting off Goku from inside Vegeta’s body. As we all remember from last time though, Goku himself was undergoing a brand new change, reaching a brand new level, Super Saiyan 4. This was a great and unexpected cliff-hanger for the first half of the series to finish on and the action continues from there.
While the fights are intense and much better paced than many of the conflicts of Dragon Ball Z, it should really be said that there are no breaks from the old formula. This formula can be neatly summed up in paraphrases from the villain’s point of view.
- “Hahaha, I’m winning!”
- “What? How are you still alive?”
- “I will transform into my ultimate form! Now I’m unbeatable!”
- “What’s this? That’s impossible! You have an ultimate form too?!?”
- “Despite your new powers I’m still winni… Wait? You weren’t really trying?!?”
- “Curse you Goku!”
It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. Dragon Ball Z had always delivered precisely this type of battle shamelessly and, although the first half of GT had largely moved away from it in favour of a lighter tone and space adventures, by the conclusion of the Baby Saga, they’re truly borrowing from their old material again. To illustrate this point further, the next story arc is essentially Goku and the Z fighters against everyone that Goku ever defeated in Dragon Ball Z. The gates of hell open and all of Goku’s old foes descend upon the earth, determined to destroy Goku and all he holds dear. By this point, the Dragon Ball universe has seen Goku and many of the other Z-fighters escalate their power levels exponentially time and time again to the point that, given Goku’s abilities at the start of Dragon Ball Z, by the middle of GT, it almost seems ludicrous that he can set foot on the earth without cracking it in half. The fact that he continues to come across new foes who can match his power level without having encountered foes that could previously come close to his current state lessens the impact of his transformations and his progress over the series.
This is followed by a longer arc in which the dragon balls have broken from overuse. Seven evil dragons have emerged from the balls, bent on destroying the earth and perhaps, the entire universe. This arc again features a series of escalating battles which drag over too many episodes. If Part 1 felt like a super-sized return to the format of Dragon Bally, then Part 2 feels like an oscillation between reminiscing fondly about the events of Dragon Ball Z and trying to replicate them.
Ultimately Dragon Ball GT matches the high points of anime violence and explosive action, but falls regrettably flat when it comes to originality, character development, or even plot. Fans of the series from the very beginning will find Dragon Ball GT’s conclusion to be like a fun weekend away with old friends but it’s probably not for everyone.
Also available on the DVD collection is A Hero’s Legacy, a 45 minute feature about one of Goku’s descendants 100 years in the future. Goku’s descendant, Goku Jr, is a timid boy, not unlike young Gohan once upon a time though in his voice and appearance he more resembles his great-great grandfather. Goku Jr’s adventures are a nice and original tale, reminiscent of the innocence of Goku’s earliest escapades. This episode is essentially a prologue to the events of the very last episode, but it’s best to watch it after the series itself.
Dragon Ball GT is available on DVD from Manga Entertainment now.
For more information, check out the official Twitter (Manga UK): https://twitter.com/MangaUK
And the official Dragon Ball GT website: http://www.dragonballgt.com/
Nostalgia Factor: 8
69% – One for the fans. Dragon Ball GT Part 2 is a nice way for fans of the series to take the adventure even further but it ultimately feels like less than it could have been.