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ANIME REVIEW: “Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection of ‘F’”

ANIME REVIEW: "Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection of 'F'”

Dragon Ball Z:
Resurrection of “F,”
the new features that had its world premiere on April
11 at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, brings together old and new
friends—and an old enemy—in a slam-bang mix of over-the-top slugfests and slapstick
comedy that will delight fans of this long-running property.

 

Sorbet, a former lieutenant of Frieza’s, uses the magic
Dragon Balls to resurrect his long-dead master. The omnipotent dragon Shenron notes that Vegeta’s son, Trunks, hacked Frieza’s body into so many pieces, there’s not much
point in bringing his soul back, but he complies. Sorbet uses a new “regeneration
technology” to restore Frieza physically. But when the arch-villain learns that
Goku was able to defeat Maijin Buu (at end of the broadcast series), Frieza
trains for first time, raising his combat levels to unheard-of heights. He
lands on Earth, ready to exact revenge for his defeat and the subsequent
torments he suffered in Earth’s hell.

 

His disturbing presence summons Krillin, Piccolo, Gohan and
Tien Shinhan of the Z Fighters, plus the irrepressible Bulma and Jaco, the
Galactic Patrolman Dragon Ball creator
Akira Toriyama introduced in a recent manga. But Goku is nowhere to be seen. He
and Vegeta  are in another dimension,
training with Beerus, the feline God of Destruction and his servant Whis from
recent DBZ feature Battle of the Gods. Bulma manages to
call the Super Saiyans home where they’re needed, with Beerus and Whis
accompanying them for the spectacular dessert she promised.

The Z Fighters can take out the hundreds of alien soldiers
Frieza brought along; Beerus and Frieza both observe that Gohan could take them
out by himself if he chose to. But only Goku can tackle Frieza. (At the
premiere, when he ramped up to an unprecedented power level as Super Saiyan God,
loud cheers arose from the audience.) But he and Vegeta quarrel like fourth
graders over whose “turn” is it to slug the villain, while Beerus notes drily
that if they worked together, they could easily defeat him—even in his new
“gold” form.

 

Frieza takes advantage of Goku’s unwavering honesty and good
nature with potentially disastrous consequences. But it’s hardly a spoiler to
reveal that Goku comes through at the last possible moment to destroy his foe,
save the Earth and protect his friends. In a tailpiece at the end of the
credits, Frieza suffers the torments of a singularly ironic and comic hell.

 

Working from a script by Toriyama, director Tadayoshi
Yamamuro introduces some CG effects for Frieza’s space ship and the planet-wide
explosions. New technology enables him to incorporate elaborate camera moves
that weren’t possible in the original TV show. But the filmmakers wisely keep
the animation two-dimensional: the characters look and act just the way they
always have (and the way their fans expect them to).

 

But on the Japanese soundtrack, they sound different. In the
English dub, Christopher Ayres gave Frieza a nasal sneer that suggested Truman
Capote in a bad mood. Sean Schemmel’s Goku spoke in a warm baritone: Goku is a
big, muscular guy and Americans expect him to sound like one. But in Japan, actress
Masako Nozawa gives Goku a higher, more boyish voice that suggests his endearingly
immature personality. Ryusei Nakao’s Freeza is pitched at least an octave and
half lower.

 

For 17 years, Toriyama and Toie allowed to Dragon Ball to lie fallow: they released
restored sets of the three TV series and the Dragon Ball Kai versions, which were re-edited for the limited
attention spans of contemporary kids. But Dragon
Ball Z: The Battle of the Gods
scored a huge hit in 2013, selling over one
million tickets in Japan in less than a week. That year, Toriyama’s surprise
ending for his new manga “Jaco the Galactic Patrolman” linked the story to the Dragon Ball continuity. Resurrection of “F” looks like a sure-fire
hit that will have fans cheering—and win a new generation of viewers to
Toriyama’s beloved characters. More Dragon
Ball Z
is sure to follow.

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