Doragon bôru Z 1: Ora no Gohan wo kaese (1989)
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Star Rating: 3/4 Exciting first chapter of the world class TV series about a powerful warlord planning on destroying the world after the demise of his father. Goku and company plan on stopping him. Takes place before the show, this entry balances comic tones, intense battle staging, and chilling atmosphere quite well. Followed by WORLD'S STRONGEST.
Serving primarily as a segue between Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, Dead Zone can hardly even be considered as a legitimate film. At an astonishing 45 minutes in length, everything is underdeveloped. The fight sequences were solid, but that's about it. Of course, any die hard DBZ fan needs to see this movie, but it's definitely one of the worst the series has to offer.
The first film in the Dragonball Z movies is an early classic. Acting as a prelude to the TV series, the villain Garlic Jr. (who would later get his own saga in the show) is a nice mix between the comedic villains of Dragonball and the hulking baddies of Z. Providing a balanced mix of humor and hand-to-hand martial arts action, The Dead Zone runs at a brisk pace at 45 minutes with little filler. This film nicely highlights the Goku/Piccolo rivalry and the hidden powers of Gohan that will later be explored in the show. Should be entertaining to fans of the show and a seminal introduction to newcomers.
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