Hello, ladies, gentlemen, and everyone between and beyond, and welcome to week 54 of the first Dragon Ball rewatch of the decade.
We're doing five episodes a week, and we'll be watching every single episode of Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball GT. All 508 episodes. Plus the TV specials and the movies.
I encourage you all to watch in Japanese with subtitles, especially if you have never done so before, but watch along in whichever way brings you the most joy.
Well, the movie last week sucked, but now we're back to the good stuff.
The next movie (which also sucks) won't be until the Freeza saga has concluded, so it's going to be smooth sailing for a few weeks.
Previous thread: Week 53 (DBZ movie 4)
Next thread: Week 55 (DBZ 80-84)
Anyway, without further ado...
Episode 228 - Thou Who Hast Gathered the Seven Balls… Now Speak Forth the Password! (DBZ episode 75)
Dub title: Password is Porunga (Funimation)
Originally aired 23rd of January 1991
Kai equivalent: Episode 35 - A Great Turnabout for Goku?! Super Shenlong, Come Out Right Now! (Last third) and Episode 36 - An Enraged Freeza Draws Near! Porunga… Grant This Wish! (First third)
Written by: Katsuyuki Sumisawa
Episode director: Mitsuo Hashimoto
Animation supervisor: Yukio Ebisawa
After the battle with Ginyu, Goku is healed inside a medical machine. Kuririn heads to see the Eldest in order to ask for the password to summon Shenlong. Meanwhile, Freeza tries to get the password out of Nail. But Nail says that he was simply buying time for Dende to go tell the password to the others, and laughs fearlessly. At that time, Gohan and the others call forth Shenlong. It turns out that the password was simply that you had to speak in Namekian. There are three wishes that will be granted, but…
Anime-only/filler content: Gohan testing out his armour with various manoeuvres, Dende mistaking Butta's corpse for Kuririn's, the Ginyu frog attempting to steal a Dragon Ball.
Episode 229 - God Also Returns to Life! Piccolo is Resurrected by Super Shen Long (DBZ episode 76)
Dub title: Piccolo's Return (Funimation)
Originally aired 30th of January 1991
Kai equivalent: Episode 36 - An Enraged Freeza Draws Near! Porunga… Grant This Wish! (Middle third)
Written by: Katsuyuki Sumisawa
Episode director: Tatsuya Orime
Animation supervisor: Masahiro Shimanuki
Super Shen Long can grant three wishes, but can only restore people to life one at a time. As Gohan and the others are confused as to what they should do, Piccolo calls out to them. If they revive Piccolo, then God and the Earth’s Dragon Balls will also be revived. Then with the next wish, Piccolo is warped to Planet Namek. At that moment Vegeta appeared. The only way to win against Freeza is to make Vegeta immortal… However the Dragon Balls then become stone! The Eldest has passed away. What’s more, Freeza appears before Gohan and the others.
Anime-only/filler content: Ten and Chaozu arguing about who gets revived first.
Episode 230 - Birth of the Mightiest Warrior?! Nail and Piccolo Merge (DBZ episode 77)
Dub title: The Fusion (Funimation)
Originally aired 6th of February 1991
Kai equivalent: Episode 36 - An Enraged Freeza Draws Near! Porunga… Grant This Wish! (Last third) and Episode 37 - A Nightmarish Super Transformation! Freeza’s Battle Power Reaches One Million (First half)
Written by: Katsuyuki Sumisawa
Episode director: Minoru Okazaki
Animation supervisor: Minoru Maeda
Unable to have his own wish granted, Freeza goes wild with rage. His ki is so tremendously powerful that none of the enemies up until now can compare with it. As he hurries to the battlefield, Piccolo discovers Nail. On the verge of death, Nail proposes that they merge in order to defeat Freeza. Piccolo merges with Nail and obtains ultimate power. Meanwhile, Vegeta presses Freeza to transform, thinking that he can somehow win if he fights together with Gohan and Kuririn. Freeza commences his first transformation.
Anime-only/filler content: The sequence of Freeza lifting a chunk of rock, firing at Vegeta through the dust, and then Vegeta punching one of his shots away from Kuririn, Gohan and Dende.
Episode 231 - A Nightmare Super Transformation!! Freeza’s Battle Power Reaches One Million (DBZ episode 78)
Dub title: Fighting Power: One Million?? (Funimation)
Originally aired 13th of February 1991
Kai equivalent: Episode 37 - A Nightmarish Super Transformation! Freeza’s Battle Power Reaches One Million (Last half)
Written by: Katsuyuki Sumisawa
Episode director: Yoshihiro Ueda
Animation supervisor: Mitsuo Shindō
Freeza’s power swells up, breaking the battle jacket he was wearing to pieces. Vegeta laughs, asking if Freeza has merely gotten more agile by taking off his clothes, but the transformation is not yet finished. He talks about Vegeta’s father, King Vegeta, who couldn’t even defeat the un-transformed Freeza. Freeza’s transformation is complete. His entire body has become gigantic, and his ki is many times what it was before. Freeza charges at super speed and impales Kuririn in the stomach with his horn.
Anime-only/filler content: The King Vegeta flashback, Bulma being chased by dinosaurs, Freeza breaking rocks and changing the length of his tail after his transformation.
Episode 232 - Is This the End?! A Brutally Transcendent Power Attacks Gohan (DBZ episode 79)
Dub title: Gohan Attacks (Funimation)
Originally aired 20th of February 1991
Kai equivalent: Episode 38 - A Nightmarish Super Transformation! Freeza’s Battle Power Reaches One Million (First half)
Written by: Aya Matsui
Episode director: Tatsuya Orime
Animation supervisor: Masayuki Uchiyama
Freeza flings the impaled Kuririn away. Gohan goes to save him, but Freeza interrupts his rescue attempt. An angry Gohan launches a terrific kick at Freeza. Punching him repeatedly, he attacks with a full-power energy bullet. A giant explosion occurs, and Freeza is buried in the rubble. However, he is completely undamaged. Raising his battle power, Freeza counterattacks Gohan. Gohan’s life is a candle in the wind…
Anime-only/filler content: Significant extensions to the scene of Freeza skewering Kuririn, and then the gang on Kaio's planet asking to see what's happening and Bulma's scene are entirely filler.
- At this point in time in the manga, Goku begins his fight with Freeza, discovering he can't sense ki and fighting with telekinetic rocks, fights Freeza as he doesn't use his hands, then fights Freeza at 50% of his strength using a Kaio-Ken x20.
- The aftermath of the Ginyu fight is considered the official end of the Namek arc and the beginning of the "Freeza" arc, due to the notorious length of the battle. This will be the longest single battle in the franchise: it takes up three entire Tankōbon volumes, making it longer than the Daimao arc and as long as any of the Tournaments or the upcoming Android Arc (the time between Mecha Freeza and Cell's arrival).
- In the ViZ version of the gearing up scene, Vegeta mentions that there are some smaller battle jackets for Gohan and Kuririn that were made for the people of planet Liliput. This is a reference to Gulliver's Travels: Liliput is a location in the famous story where Gulliver finds a civilization of miniature people. In the manga and Japanese anime they're called Littians, while the Kai dub doesn't mention them at all.
- The battle jacket's property of being solid when hit but flexible to pull apart means it technically qualifies as a non-newtonian object, meaning it doesn't strictly adhere to being a solid, liquid or gas. It also handily excuses Toriyama and Toei's animators for bending the armor in order to hit desired poses!
- For a real-world example of this, you'll find things as innocuous as sand, water, or custard exhibit similar properties
- Nail deciding to tell Freeza that he's actually stalling him considerably alters the course of the story: Freeza would not have arrived when he did, giving Goku more time to heal and possibly allow him to enter the fight before Freeza killed Vegeta. However Nail would almost certainly have died, meaning Piccolo would not be able to absorb him to help keep Freeza busy long enough for Goku to arrive in time.
- Freeza doesn't use his hoverchair to return to his ship. This is because he left it at the Grand Elder's but it's also likely because he can fly there faster on his own.
- In the ViZ translation, Dende mentions that the Grand Elder told him that Kuririn and Gohan are in the Shell Region. Yep, that's another snail pun!
- In the wide shots around Freeza's ship in Chapter 292, you can see the craters where the Ginyu Force's pods originally landed. They'll be seen again when Goku flies to Freeza's ship to try and escape Namek; they will of course be how he escapes.
- Summoning Porunga has one other difference: the sky literally goes black, rather than a spread of black clouds achieving the same effect.
- Across both English and Japanese, the words Dende uses to summon Porunga are identical... except in the Funimation dub of the anime, where it's "Takarabusko", not "Takkaraputo".
- And no, the words have no real meaning, as far as we're aware.
- Kuririn and Gohan acting surprised when Porunga mentions that he can grant three wishes is a plothole: Nail had already told them this at the Grand Elder's as the Ginyu Force were arriving.
- On the second page of Chapter 293, Kaio is accidentally drawn with no antennae and a baulble on his hat, making him look like Chiaotzu. In the Full Color manga, it's even coloured in the same shade of red!
- While talking to Gohan in the ViZ translation, Piccolo says that he's in the Underworld; this is inaccurate because that would technically be Hell. However by the time this translation was made, Toriyama had already drawn a sketch of the Dragon World "macrocosm" for the Other World Tournament arc in 1993, which depicted Other World as being under the world of the living, making the term technically true from a navigational standpoint.
- Changes in the TV edit of the original dub:
- In Episode 75, some blood dripping from Nail was painted out, though the blood covering his face and legs are not edited. (Similarly, the scene of Dende discovering Ghurd and Butta's corpses was left uncut)
- Episode 76, which Chris Psaros refers to as "the single worst episode EVER of the dub" in his guide, had no cuts or paint edits in its initial airing, however UK airings muted Dende swearing in the line "Don't piss off the dragon god of love", later US airings allegedly cut the line, and the Canadian airings that were edited by Ocean used an alternate line that Funimation mistakenly didn't use in their TV edited version. Chris Psaros also makes a point of noting that the dialogue in this episode is very, very poor, and bears almost no relation to the Japanese dialogue in most cases, usually seemingly deliberately changed for the sake of adding jokes (for instance, Porunga has an added line to the tune of "How about you guys just wish for nothing three times so I can go away?", followed by Kuririn making a joke, Kaio and Piccolo exchanging some gag lines, and this all following on from Yamucha and Tenshinhan having a debate about Yamucha's hair).
- Episode 77 has no significant cuts or edits.
- Episode 78 has some cuts at the end, to trim down Kuririn being skewered on Freeza's horn...
- Episode 79 was drastically cut down, losing nearly ten minutes in total, due to the violence, primarily from Kuririn being skewered. For this reason, the minute and a half of footage from the first seven minutes of episode 79 that was kept in the TV edit was put into the preceding TV edited episode, meanwhile the rest of the episode (sans just under 2 minutes of cuts to Freeza brutally fighting Gohan) is incorporated into the next episode. This means there's almost a "Lost episode" of the original dub. It is present on the uncut home video version, as an unnumbered additional episode. More on that below.
- I'm unsure if this is still present on the modern "Remastered" DVDs, but it's worth noting that Funimation adding sound effects to DBZ didn't end with the Saban dub; Chris Psaros made particular note of the fact that episode 76 features the debut of a weird morse code/radio sound effect that plays whenever Kaio uses his telepathy in season 3. Interestingly, I've seen (that is, Robo has seen) many claim that altered SFX was strictly an Ocean thing. Yet another misconception borne of the lack of availability of the pre-Orange Brick version of Funimation's dubs.
- It's also worth pointing out that Psaros kind of hits the nail on the head in his entry on Episode 77, where he comes to the realisation that the majority of the Funimation season 3 cast is about three or four actors, one of whom is also the voice director.
- As noted in the censorship breakdown, the numbering of episodes becomes weird here for the final time. Edited episode 64, which should line up exactly with uncut episode 78, incorporated about a minute of footage from episode 79. Edited episode 65 is then made up of Japanese episodes 79 and 80. How this is reconciled with the uncut home video is that they have an extra, unnumbered episode. Except this is handled very weirdly in terms of episode titles; on TV, you had Episode 64: "Fighting Power: One Million??", Episode 65: "Gohan Attacks", and Episode 66: "Deja Vu". On home video, you had Episode 64: "Fighting Power: One Million??", Episode --: "Gohan Attacks", Episode 65: "Piccolo the Super Namek", and Episode 66: "Deja Vu". Therefore, Funimation's Episode 65 may be listed as one of two different titles.
- Piccolo wanting to fight Freeza to his people after they were slaughtered by him is very similar for Goku's reasonings at the start of his fight with Freeza.
- In the anime, Kaio protests to Piccolo's idea of going to Namek to fight Freeza. In the manga, this scene doesn't happen.
- Porunga is indeed a giant lizard.
- Vegeta's dialogue after waking up suggests that he had figured out Namek's multiple suns on his own at some point. Kuririn only realizes this in the anime when Dende pointed it out to him on the way to the Grand Elder's (in the manga, this detail is delivered by the narrator).
- As noted by some fans, Porunga is more easy-going and patient than Shen Long. He says "an easy one for a change" after being asked to warp Piccolo to Namek, and later on he gives Kuririn a body when restoring him, and blushes when Bulma compliments him. Shen Long meanwhile gets angry if you waste his time and don't wish quickly!
- As Freeza approaches Porunga, he notes "No!! They've called the dragon...!!". This is a plothole: when he first gathered the Dragon Balls he had no idea a dragon was involved, and he didn't learn this from Nail or the Grand Elder either.
- In the Saiyan Arc, Piccolo's body, along with Yamucha and Tenshinhan's, was loaded into a cryo-pod to preserve their bodies for resurrection, similar to in the Daimao Arc. However when Piccolo is restored back to life, he doesn't appear back in his body, instead his halo simply disappears. This discrepancy appears again at the end of the Namek Arc when Yamucha, Tenshinhan and Chaozu are wished back as well.
- A possible explaination is that all of them retained their bodies in Other World, rather than appearing as cloud-like spirits as we see in the Boo Arc.
- Possibly due to the tense situation and lack of time, it doesn't occur to Kuririn or Gohan that they could wish for Goku to be healed rather than wish for Vegeta's immortality.
- In the manga, Porunga dies just before Dende tries to make the final wish. In the anime, and Kai, Dende has a chance to say his wish before Porunga dies, introducing the interesting scenario later when Porunga is brought back to life and acts as if he never heard it in the first place.
- Nail mentions that Piccolo might be able to take on Freeza if he were merged with God, an idea not explored until the Android Arc. It also says a lot about Piccolo's stubborness that he doesn't consider this route until AFTER he's trounced by the Androids, who he knows are more powerful than Freeza!
- In a redrawn shot after Piccolo absorbs Nail, Piccolo's nails are coloured green, and then white in the next shot, rather than black.
- As has been noted by fans across the years, calling Freeza's forms "First/Second/Third/Final Form" is actually a bit of a misnomer: as revealed early in his fight, this is actually a form of self-restraint so that Freeza doesn't lose control. Therefore, what is typically called his "Final Form" is actually his Original Form, with the others being more Third, Second and First Regression forms.
- In Chapter 296, on the first page Kuririn's armor is incorrectly left uninked, making it appear white like Vegeta's. This is corrected in the Full Colors to a dark grey.
- In Chapter 296, Freeza mentions that he was only in his first form when he destroyed Planet Vegeta and killed the King with ease. In the anime, this scene is actually shown after Freeza mentions it; presumably, it takes place sometime before Freeza sends Dodoria away to kill Bardock's squad since Freeza destroys Planet Vegeta a few minutes after he returns. The scene is the first time King Vegeta is depicted since he didn't appear in the Bardock Special. Coincidentally, the Chapter where Freeza mentions killing him was issued the day before the Bardock Special aired!
- While there has been much debate over whether Freeza's power level of 1 million applies to him at 100% power or just his second form, in the manga, Z, and Kai in Japan the wording makes it clear that it applies specifically to his second form.
- Freeza blowing up the island will introduce a continuity error later: when God and Kaio pull off their gambit to restore the Grand Elder and Porunga, the island he was on is restored. The Dragon Balls, which are shown flying away when Freeza blows the island up, are also returned together on the island so Porunga can appear again.
- Gohan's rage to get Freeza out of the way so that he can rescue Kuririn is arguably the first time he's shown his enraged hidden strength since fighting Nappa.