by Chris Shepard

Dragon Ball Z

Movie 2: The World's Strongest

Dragon Ball Z Movie 2
Thanks to the Dragon Balls and his dedicated assistant Dr. Kochin, the evil Dr. Wheelo has been freed from his icy comb. Now these mad scientists plot to take over the world with their fearsome biotechnology… There's just one hitch. Dr. Wheelo's body died, and now his brain is living in a glass jar! Dr. Wheelo seeks the strongest, healthiest body in the world to be the new home for his magnificent brain, so Dr. Kochin and their android warriors kidnap Master Roshi as well as Bulma to find the world strongest fighter. It's Goku, Gohan, and Krillin to the rescue of their friends. But will our heroes save the day or lose their minds?!
While the second season of Dragon Ball Z was currently in syndication on TV, three Dragon Ball Z movies were released directly to home video, now looked upon in a sort of trilogy fashion. Unlike the TV series though, these movies were produced by Pioneer, are completely uncut and even retain the original soundtrack on the dub. It's amazing that such a thing could be done. Now let us take a closer look at the second Dragon Ball Z movie, released on DVD, entitled "The World's Strongest".

As with most Dragon Ball Z movies, plot is sacrificed for action. The first 25 minutes of the film, although still containing a few small fights to keep the viewers from falling asleep, sets up the story, essentially letting the viewer know who and what Goku and friends have to defeat this time around. From there on it's just one huge battle scene after another until the end of the movie. The plot is as basic as they come but if plot were the only reason why people enjoyed DBZ, they would have never made this second movie to begin with. It's all about the action and plain old having a good time.

Quoting just one of the many Cartoon Network catchphrases for the show, "get ready for a power trip!" Not letting the hardcore fans down, the action and animation remains magnificent throughout, containing some very stunning fight scenes. The choreographing was astonishing, especially when Goku had to fight three different bio-warriors at the same time with moving at an intense and supercharged rate. It's truly something fighting fans will enjoy.

Although the fighting was good, however towards the end of the movie began to become a little tiresome and repetitive. The first movie had a few breaks every now and then to lighten things up a bit and advance the story. However, as I mentioned above, this movie is just one battle scene after another with little to no breaks between. It started feeling like a "Goku versus" movie, with nothing much else. It never gets very dramatic and the movie leaves a sort of empty feeling, as if something could have and should have been done to make it just a little bit more ultimately rewarding.

It was good to see Master Roshi actually engaging in combat again. After the original Dragon Ball series ended, Master Roshi was relegated to a very insignificant role in the series, other than a few dirty old man jokes, he does practically nothing. It's a little treat that long time fans should enjoy.

Most of the dub acting worked and is respectable. Goku's voice improved a little bit since the last movie and isn't quite as annoying. Unfortunately though, Master Roshi now has a new voice, which I didn't like at all. He sounds like a bad imitation of an old man. However, everyone else sounds just fine.

Once again, this Dragon Ball Z DVD is housed in the infamous Pioneer cardboard piece of junk. As discussed in the last DBZ movie review, it's flimsy, looks bad, and is just begging to get walked on and destroyed. The cover art isn't quite up to par either. Goku's in the bottom right corner charging his kamahamaha attack while Dr. Wheelo is towards the top left with nothing but streaks of light and mecha legs in the middle. The characters themselves look good but the entire design is very off-balanced.

I found the DVD menu to be sluggish and slow to use. To make matters worse, you have to be highlighting the menu options to actually know what it is. Topped off with uninteresting background pictures, it's a pain to navigate.

Extras include advertisements for the VHS DBZ releases, extremely small character bios along with a clip from the movie that features them, and, while keeping in the tradition of going the supposed extra mile, the Battle Field. The Battle Field was relatively interesting, containing some pretty lengthy clips of some of the fights from the first Dragon Ball Z TV season as well as the other two movie releases. Unfortunately, except for the clips from the movies, they're all from the edited version, the only version that's available in America. However, all of them were fun to watch the first time through and they did contain some of the best action scenes from the series. These clips do their job as being entertaining advertisements for the rest of the Pioneer DBZ lineup.

As with all Dragon Ball Z movies, you're either into the crazy non-traditional crazy fighting or you're not. It's a good movie for the action fans to check out and a good movie for the thinkers to stay away from. And if you're a Dragon Ball Z fan, you're probably going to want to see this ASAP. However, if you already know you don't like Dragon Ball, this movie isn't likely to change your mind. As far as DBZ goes, it's pretty good. Not quite as good as the first one though.
Production Info:
Overall : C+

+ Great action and choreography, DBZ fans will definitely enjoy it.
Fighting becomes a little tiring. Very little plot.

Director: Daisuke Nishio
Screenplay: Takao Koyama
Music: Shunsuke Kikuchi
Original story: Akira Toriyama
Character Design: Minoru Maeda
Art Director: Yūji Ikeda
Hitoshi Nagasaki
Shigenori Takada
Animation Director: Minoru Maeda
Director of Photography: Motoaki Ikegami
Producer: Kozo Morishita

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Dragon Ball Z Movie 2: The World's Strongest (movie)

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