Saturday, July 10, 2010

Anime review: Dragonball Z - Bojack Unbound

Picking up shortly after the defeat of Cell and Goku’s death, Mr. XS Cash is hosting a fighting tournament as a multi-billion dollar birthday present for his son and convinces Hercule to take part in the final fight. Cash accepts entrants the world over to take part in the first few free-for-all rounds, and invites a few alien warriors to compete in the final matches. Needless to say, the Z fighters make short work of the other entrants, though a few of them are pitted against one another and Yamcha, Tien, and Piccolo do not make it past the semi-finals.

In the Other World, Goku and King Kai are watching the tournament, cheering on the Z fighters. When King Kai becomes aware of Bojack’s presence on Earth, he explains to Goku that he and the other Kais sealed Bojack away ages ago. When Goku transported Cell to King Kai’s planet in order to avoid Earth’s destruction, the seal was broken and Bojack and his henchmen set free.

With Goku dead, the film manages to balance the involvement of the other characters very well. Obvious inclusions, such as Gohan, Krillin, Piccolo, and Trunks gain much of the spotlight, but Tien, Yamcha, Bulma, and Chi-Chi receive larger roles than I would have guessed. Even Oolong and Master Roshi appear to add some humor to the film.

Unlike some of the later Dragonball Z films, Bojack Unbound ties into the overarching story quite well, referencing previous events from the television series. It is easily one of the funniest works in the Dragonball Z series, borrowing some of its comedic style from the earliest episodes of Dragonball Z as well as the original Dragonball. From Krillin’s uneasiness in the tournament to Hercule’s overinflated ego, the film does a great job of not taking itself too seriously during the lighter moments.

The film’s pacing in rather fast, even for a Dragonball Z film. The first twenty minutes or so focus on the tournament and make everything seem as though it’s flowing along perfectly smoothly. Once Bojack’s minions appear, the action really picks up and keeps speeding along until the film’s conclusion. There isn’t much of a wrap-up at the finale, but such is the case with most Dragonball Z films.

The original voice actors of the television series have returned, for both the Japanese and English versions. The few new voice actors, being those portraying Bojack and his minions have a rather minimal number of lines. Bojack and Zangya are voiced well enough, though Kogu, Bido and Bujin could have used some extra attention in the English dub. This doesn’t detract the story much as their involvement is purely for combat purposes. The soundtrack basically follows the same formula as that in the television series or any other Dragonball Z film, so it’s nothing spectacular or overly complex, however fitting to each scene it might be. The animation is pretty much the same as any other work from the franchise - it might not be anything spectacular by today's standards, but for the time of its release, Bojack Unbound looks quite good.

Bojack Unbound is one of the more enjoyable and light-hearted Dragonball Z films released. It ties in very well with the main series, but viewers don’t really have to be familiar with the television series or other films to follow along. The Z fighters are very entertaining, though Bojack doesn’t exactly flesh out much as the lead villain. All in all it’s a fun film that’s a quick watch, but it doesn’t really present anything particularly new to the franchise.

My rating: 7.5 (out of 10)

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