Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $24.98 US
Running Time: 105 minutes
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now
The walking undead and brothers-in-arms.
Dragon Ball Z fans can tell you that there are more hits than misses when it comes to the Dragon Ball Z movies … and that’s even if you count the horrible live-action Dragon Ball movie that tanked in theaters this year. This being a double feature that packs the twelfth and thirteenth Dragon Ball Z movies, the first might not be as great as the second movie but this one certainly doesn’t count as a miss.
In the twelfth Dragon Ball Z movie, Fusion Reborn takes places somewhere after the demise of Goku. Spending his time in the afterlife, that is known as Other World, participating in fighting tournaments, Goku is in the middle of a particularly spectacular fight against Pikkon when an accident in a soul processing plant causes a disruption with disastrous results. You see, the cause of the accident – a young man – is transformed into an entity known as Janemba. On top of that, every dead foe is unleashed on the world of the living.
Back on Earth, Gohan and Videl continue their crime fighting career aiding the police when a number of undead foes begins their assault on the city. Dead loved ones pop out of their graves, a Hitler-like dictator rises again with his soldiers and tank forces and very familiar enemies that include Frieza who is out looking for Super Saiyans. With Gohan and Videl taking on Frieza, Goten and Trunks look for Dragon Balls to summon Shenron but the mythical dragon isn’t able to help them so the two kids set off the stop the Hitler-like leader.
Meanwhile, Goku and Pikkon take on Janemba who starts off as a huge baby that doesn’t seem threatening but is powerful enough that he isn’t easy to defeat. In fact, the huge child-like entity manages to lock away Pikkon and put the hurt on Goku. Things get really bad when Janemba transforms again into its ultimate form that would have killed Goku if it wasn’t for a very pissed off Vegeta who teams up with Goku to combine in order to truly destroy the entity.
As I mentioned, it’s not a bad story but it isn’t particularly noteworthy either. It does a good job of capturing the feel of the series. In fact, it does feel like a typical Dragon Ball Z episode … perhaps a “lost episode” from one of the earlier seasons. This isn’t a bad thing, really, but the story doesn’t really give time to sink in the feeling that the world is in jeopardy like in past Dragon Ball Z movies. There are funny moments aplenty, like the scene where Goku and Vegeta are unsuccessful in their first attempt to combine into an ultimate fighter but they aren’t enough to make a great Dragon Ball Z movie.
WRATH OF THE DRAGON
On the other hand, the thirteenth movie is an excellent one with all the things we love about the Dragon Ball Z series plus a threat that does add more excitement to the mix. Wrath of the Dragon finds Goku alive and well and living with his family on Earth. His son, Gohan, and the always loyal Videl are fighting crime as their masked alter ego when they hear that an old man has climbed the tower threatening suicide. When they manage to rescue the old man, he tells them his plight.
You see, the old man has come to Earth from another planet looking for Super Saiyans to help him unlock a strange music box that would awaken a slumbering hero that could save his home world. Naturally, Gohan wants to help but isn’t able to open it. In fact, neither could Goku so they turn to Shenron to open it for him.
What happens next is that the hero does awake and is angry for having been brought out of his slumber. He is Tapion, a lone warrior with a sword and an ocarina who instantly impresses young Trunks. Despite his efforts in befriending Tapion, Trunks finds the young alien on the reserved side and considerably quiet. Then the city is attacked by a huge beast and Tapion disappears. Everyone suspects that Tapion is the beast since the arrival coincides with Tapion’s awakening. Trunks doesn’t believe it, though.
The truth is revealed when the old man that asked them to open the music box attacks Goku and his friends. He tells them that the ancient monster called Hirudegarn has destroyed Tapion’s planet before the hero sliced the creature in half. The only one who can stop the monster is Tapion but in order to do that the young warrior must be sacrificed or put back to sleep somehow. In the meantime, Tapion’s stops giving Trunks the cold shoulder and befriends the young boy that so badly wants to be like Tapion. Trunks reminds the warrior of his own little brother so he is inspired to finally put Hirudegarn down for good.
Wrath of the Dragon has a number of great fights but, more importantly, it’s a deep and emotional story as well. There’s a key scene that is actually impressively dramatic as Tapion asks Trunks to do something frightening in order to save the planet. While the other Super Saiyans step in to lend a hand, this story is more about Trunks and the warrior that really inspired him to be a true warrior.
As a Dragon Ball Z fan, I bought the movies individually a long while back and liked them but seeing this double feature in its newly digitally remastered format I could safe that this is the best way to watch these two movies on DVD. That said, as far as the movies are concerned, Wrath of the Dragon is a far better movie than Fusion Reborn since it’s a fun ride Dragon Ball Z fans will relish. Even if Wrath is the only movie you truly love, though, this double feature set should still be on your Wish List.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
In Fusion Reborn, the dead invade the world of the living as Goku and his family attempts to restore order while fighting a threat that is born from disaster that caused this mess in the first place. The best of this double feature happens to be Wrath of the Dragon, though, which follows a hero who is summoned one last time to fight an powerful enemy that could destroy the planet.
VIDEO QUALITY: B+
The two movies look wonderful in their new digitally remastered format and that goes double for Wrath of the Dragon that just stands out beautifully. This is definitely the way to experience these two Dragon Ball Z movies.
AUDIO QUALITY: B+
There are plenty of sound options so if you feel like watching the movies the way they were seen in Japan then you are in luck. There’s the English dub version as well and it’s actually good but I just have to say that the original Japanese track is the best.
There are few extras in the two discs except for a few trailers and the sound options. I still love the tin case and the fact that the movies are packed together instead of separate.
You just have to love the newly remastered Dragon Ball Z movies that have been packaged together in a double feature set Dragon Ball Z fans should definitely own. In this set, Wrath of the Dragon is the better movie but Fusion Reborn isn’t a bad movie so picking this double feature up is certainly in order.