Hello, ladies, gentlemen, and everyone between and beyond, and welcome to week 48 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.
KBABZ is busy this week, so the trivia is all me this time!... Which is why it's not as good as usual.
DBZ movie 3... To be honest, I think this one is pretty terrible. If it wasn't for my attachment to the two Ocean dubs of this movie, and my opinion that the Big Green dub of it is an utter masterpiece, then I would say the movie holds no value whatsoever beyond the expected nice animation and music.
On the plus side, the excellent Z TV special 1 is in two weeks, and if you ask me, these movies and specials do well to break up the poor pacing of the original anime Namek arc, which is part of why I placed them exactly where I did in the viewing.
On that note, while Z movie 4 will also be on its own, in week 53, I'm currently planning on putting Z movie 5 alongside three episodes of the series in week 60. It's only 50 minutes long, so it kinda makes sense that it's only really two episodes of runtime.
If anyone has any objections to this, do say so.
Previous thread: Week 47 (DBZ 53-57)
Next thread: Week 49 (DBZ 58-62)
Anyway, without further ado...
A Super Decisive Battle for Earth
Dub title: Tree of Might
Originally released 7th of July 1990
Edited dub equivalent: Episodes 46-48: The Tree of Might (original syndicated version only)
Director: Daisuke Nishio
Animation supervisor: Minoru Maeda
Written by: Takao Koyama
The Dragon Team are enjoying a period of peace, however this is interrupted by the arrival of the mysterious Tullece and his forces, who plant the Tree of Godly Might on planet earth, leading Kaio to summon the gang to fight off the threat of Tullece.
- This film first premiered as part of the 1990 "Toei Anime Fair" on the 7th of July 1990, entitled "Akira Toriyama: The World"
- At the time this movie debuted, the manga was up to Goku punching Jheese in the face, then kicking both his and Butta's asses, while Vegeta, Kuririn, and Gohan look on in awe of Goku's power.
- Tullece, continuing the tradition of Saiyans being named after vegetables, is a pun/rearrangement of lettuce (which was handily screwed up by Funimation to make "Turles"). One of his minions is named Raisin (except with an elongated first vowel), his counterpart, Rakasei, is a pun on the Japanese word for peanut (roughly "Rakkasei"), another of his minions is named Cacao, another is Daiizu, a pun on the Japanese word for soybean ("Daizu"), and one is named Amond after almond.
- Gohan's pet dragon is either named Higher Dragon, Hire Dragon, or Haiya Dragon, depending on who you ask. To my recollection, all three are equally valid. (There is also Funi's own invented name, Icarus, which is entirely invalid, and also really dumb)
- As with the last movie, this one is a full hour in length. Aside from Broly 1 at 75 minutes and the 10th anniversary movie at 80 minutes, all the subsequent movies would fall into the 45-52-minute range established prior to Z movie 2. (In a previous trivia entry, I incorrectly stated that these movies generally fit into the 50-60-minute range. Oops!)
- Also as with the last movie, this one is impossible to sensibly place into the timeline of the original anime and manga. Even Daizenshuu 6 gave up and simply said "this is a movie-only story."
- While the last two movies each had an insert song, this movie does not. The next one does, however it's the last one to have one. (Until 2013's Battle Of Gods, that is)
- This movie is the origin of the infamous "Let that child alone!" scene, from the Big Green dub. I had a French friend of mine look at this scene in the French dub, and it seems that if Big Green had properly adapted the French scripts to English, then Piccolo would have said "Let that child be!", Tullece would have said "I take orders from no one!", and Piccolo's response to that would be "Really!" If nothing else, this does confirm that, for this scene at least, Big Green adapted their scripts (very poorly) from the French dub.
- For unknown reasons, this movie was cut up into three 20-minute episodes and aired as a part of the syndication run of season 2 of the original edited dub in 1997. There was no particular signifier that it was a special presentation of any kind other than all three episodes using the same title card, so for anyone watching in syndication in 1997, it was quite the bizarre diversion from the Namek storyline.
- Fitting with the general pattern seen in season 2 as a whole, almost no edits or cuts were made; a very short scene during Goku and Tullece's battle was cut (where Tullece stands over Goku, his foot on his face, and they have a little talk), but the other changes were actually additions. Footage was edited and more dialogue was added to slightly pad out certain scenes; chiefly, the sequence of Gohan and Kuririn putting out the fire was slightly extended, shots from Dragon Ball were reused to extend Shen Long's summoning (some other edits were made to aid this, such as running footage backwards and forwards to make it look like Hire Dragon hesitates before flying up after Shen Long), and shots from the Z series were used to extend Kaio's shock before he telepathically talks to Goku; while in the original movie, he simply senses the tree has been planted and says "Oh no!", the edited dub has him have a little conversation with Bubbles and Gregory about how horrible this turn of events is, and how he'll have to call on "Earth's special forces." In addition to these edits, the OP and ED were replaced, the original syndicated version had recaps/previews created for the three episodes (most later reairings, such as on Toonami, would have the series and Tree Of Might separated, and thus these recaps/previews were not shown), and there were some paint edits (most infamously of these is the redrawn Gohan head), including stars painted over moments of attacks connecting, blood removal, etc., and of course the scripts were highly inaccurate... But for the most part, no content was really cut.
- The Ocean cast dubbed Z movie 3 a second time in 1997/1998, uncut for home video. This dub is excellent. It also features Peter Kelamis in the role of Goku, taking over from Ian Corlett, who played the role in the TV version. One interesting difference between the two versions is that the TV version, still under the influence of Barry Watson, had the Kaioken pronounced incorrectly (as "Kayoken"), whereas the home video version has it correctly prononuced. Similarly, Gohan's pet dragon is correctly named Hire Dragon. The TV dub, meanwhile, introduced the made-up name of "Icarus".
- On that note, the TV version of this movie is the last work Ian Corlett did as Son Goku.
- Speaking of the handover from Corlett to Kelamis, Ocean's third Goku, Kirby Morrow, unfortunately passed away this past week. The best way we can pay tribute to him and to his family is to enjoy the work he did, and to endeavour to be as nice a guy as he was. RIP, Kirby. You were always my Goku.
- The "Big Green" dub of Tree of Might, which aired on Toonami UK in 2005, has Tullece directly refer to Goku as his brother. This caused confusion for a long time with American fans where Tullece does not do this. Turns out "English Dub" is far too broad a term!
- When Funimation decided to redub the first three Z movies with their in-house cast, for some reason they completely ignored the uncut script used by the Ocean cast the second time around (unlike Z movies 1 and 2, where Funimation basically took the uncut scripts the Ocean cast used in 1997/1998 and did a typical Funimation round of "Punch up" changes; adding jokes, etc.). Their script has a lot of similarities to the TV version of Tree of Might, but most of the dialogue is quite heavily reworded -- and not for the better. The accuracy of their script is arguably worse than the TV version, as I recall.
- The only explanation given for Tullece and Goku being doppelgangers is that they're both low-class warriors. Ultimately, Toei really didn't do anything with the doppelganger aspect of this movie, so it's no surprise this is a well they would return to in Super. (Well, allegedly Toriyama wrote the Black arc, but it wouldn't surprise me to find out that Toei asked him to do a doppelganger story and that's what he came up with)
- This movie has a handful of animation errors visible if you watch the movie in its full 4:3 aspect ratio; early on in the movie, the ground is not fully drawn in one shot when Shen Long grants the wish to restore the forest, and a Masenko from Gohan is cut off before the top of the frame. In addition, in the scene when Piccolo floats down into frame to confront Tullece (the infamous "Let that child alone" scene), his cape doesn't start animating until he's just about within the widescreen framing area. These errors lead me to believe that this movie is the first one where the 4:3 version was considered to be significantly of lesser importance by Toei. Despite this, I still think the framing is generally better on all 17 original movies in 4:3 compared to widescreen.
- Additional trivia available here.