the ocean dub is the better one here. By a factor of 10.
Here’s something i’ve wanted to do for a bit; watching and reviewing all of the original 13 Dragon Ball Z movies. It’s a long ride so lets just get started!
After 300 years earth faces an old and yet new threat to its peace, can Goku and his allies succeed in beating it?
One thing you’re going to hear me harp on about with these movies is how i feel the animation and art design was better back in the earlier seasons of Dragon Ball Z. The fights here in The Dead Zone have are examples of that, there is a lot of great choreography, smooth animation, and colourful/moody backgrounds in this movie. As later on the series the little touches in the animation in Goku’s varied bout with Ginger and Nikii or Krillin’s silhouetted entrance aren’t seen as often anymore as they needed the episodes to be cranked out one after another at a blistering pace.
Another thing is that the series was still very much a fantasy piece with its setting, and here in Dead Zone there is nothing of the science fiction elements that would come into play later on the series. With Garlic Jr. being the descendant of a previous contender to the spot of guardian of earth, and wanting to lead a host of demons to conquer the world etc etc. While it may not be an issue for some, i find it interesting to think of where the series might have went had the Saiyans, Nameks, and Freeza not have been introduced.
To wrap up the good are small things like how the original Japanese score is energetic and pretty decent despite it sounding like it was recorded on the cheap. Or how the power beams that the fighters shot out are treated as actual and credible threats to ones existence highlighting the over saturation of them later on in the series.
With the movie running barely over 40 minutes the story has to concoct a way to get Goku to somehow level his peaceful existence to fight Garlic Jr. in as little time as possible. It does so by having the the Spice Bros. kidnap Gohan for his Dragon Ball, instead of just taking the hat with it off his head and after the movies first 18 minutes are up (that include Gohan having an acid trip of some sort) the story is put completely on hold for 20 or so minutes of fighting. Needless to say the plot in The Dead Zone leaves a lot to be desired.
Dragon Ball Z: The Dead Zone honestly feels like a pilot episode, it sets up some continuing story elements (Gohan’s hidden power), and its emphasis on the villains transforming foreshadows the show’s obsession with various forms of baddie in the later seasons. While i say the movie has certain advantages over those later episodes (mostly its art direction and execution) the series’ best moments were still ahead of it.
Watch The Dead Zone if you’re curious but it’s by no means necessary.
OUT OF FIVE