Anime Reporter heads back to the high-flying, hard-hitting world of Dragon Ball Z to bring my take on the latest film of the franchise; Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. This film is notable for being the first Dragon Ball film to be released in seventeen years, but also as the first Dragon Ball film to be named as an official part of Dragon Ball canon, said to take place during the timeskip between issues 517 and 518 of the manga.
If you’re interested in watching this film, there’s an excellent chance that you’re already pretty familiar with the series but be warned, there are some spoilers for the original series within this film and this review.
So, our filmatic journey begins with Goku doing what he usually does during times of peace, training for what he would consider to be more interesting times. While going for a nice little jog, he notices King Kai in deep conversation, a conversation he’s eager to keep secret from Goku. Goku eventually manages to get the details from him and learns that Lord Beerus the Destroyer, god of destruction, has just woken from a nice little thirty nine year nap. Even Supreme Kai is terrified of this guy and Goku is assured that there is nobody more powerful or destructive than Beerus.
Naturally, Goku takes this as good news, eager to test himself against destruction personified. When we’re given a glimpse of Beerus, he turns out to be a rather scrawny deity, looking somewhat like a mutated cat, though his power is assuredly off the scale entirely.
Beerus has cut his usually longer nap quite short because of a prophecy assuring him that he would meet his match, a challenge he’s eager to find. Dreams of a ‘Super Saiyan God’ send Beerus out into the universe, directly towards an all too happy Goku. Goku tests his strength against this new foe in a friendly little tussle and gets his tailless Saiyan posterior handed to him, easily. Like, really easily. Beerus heads off to Earth, where he’s assured that other Saiyans live, in the hopes of finding a god among them.
In a pretty nice turn of events, it’s up to Vegeta to play diplomat, doing everything he can to keep Beerus happy on Earth at Bulma’s birthday party. Beerus tends to wipe out solar systems when he’s in a bad mood, so even Vegeta is forced to give up his pride in the face of his awesome power.
Everything that follows is pure Dragon Ball, hardly surprising given the heavy involvement of series creator Akira Toriyama. There are delightful little nods to characters across the show’s rich history and characters are well-placed in terms of their personalities and abilities within the timeline.
Pacing was one of the great problems which Dragon Ball Z often faced as a series, with battles being drawn across far too many episodes in an attempt to make the anime run longer than its manga counterpart. Battle of Gods features no such drawback, with quick, well-paced battles and plenty of humour to keep exposition and plot ticking along nicely. The main source of humour comes from Beerus, the chief protagonist, whose personality and penchant for killing billions of people on a whim is best likened to a spoiled child who occasionally throws tantrums. Beerus is perfectly pleasant company as long as he’s not annoyed or bored but you wouldn’t want to be the person to tell him “no.” Or to occupy the same galaxy as someone who tells him “no”, just to be safe.
The animation is bright and fluid, with plenty of computer generated environments creating three dimensional movement and characters have really never looked better.
If this film has one drawback, it’s that Beerus’ attitude towards destroying all life on a planet, let’s say Earth, for example, is so spectacularly casual, that viewers, and perhaps even characters, might have a hard time feeling the full weight of suspense usually given to the destruction of the world.
All in all, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods is a seriously fun package, with all the action, humour and loveable characters that fans could hope for.
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods is currently available on DVD, Blu-Ray and Collector’s Edition from Manga Entertainment UK.
80% – “Fighting at 80% Full Power!” – Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods is one hell of a fun journey back to Goku and friends, with enough charm and nostalgic nods and winks to keep any DBZ fan happy.