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|Premiered:||10 March 1990 (“Toei Anime Festival”)|
|Running Time:||Approx. 60 minutes|
|Box Office:||Total Gross: Unknown
Net Earnings: ¥1 billion (approx. US $6.5 million)
Attendance: 2.7 million
|Opening Animation:||“CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA” (Dragon Ball Z Movie 2 Animation)|
|Ending Animation:||“The Battle (I·KU·SA)”|
VHS and LaserDisc (14 September 1990 – Original Print / 21 November 1996 – Re-issue)
8mm Film (14 September 1990)
Dragon Box The Movies; Disc #02 (14 April 2006)
Dragon Ball The Movies Individual DVD Volume #02 (08 August 2008)
Dragon Ball The Movies Blu-ray Volume #01 (02 November 2018)
The movie premiered as part of the Spring 1990 “Toei Anime Festival” (東映アニメまつり; Tōei Anime Matsuri) on 10 March 1990, along with two other movies from the Akuma-kun and Sally the Witch series. The event’s name was changed for this season from its original name, the “Toei Cartoon Festival” (東映まんがまつり; Tōei Manga Matsuri), which was established by Toei in 1969 as a way to showcase their popular children’s series as theatrical films during seasonal breaks in the school year. In Japan, almost all schools below the university level run a three-term school year (trimester system) with a vacation period of several weeks to a month at the end of each trimester: spring vacation, summer vacation, and winter vacation. The movies were screened together back-to-back in various cities across Japan, with a typical total running time of roughly three hours. Most festivals would last roughly one month, or as long as the seasonal vacation allowed. Tickets could be purchased at the theater, or discount tickets could be purchased in advance which covered the cost of admission, as well as a bonus item such as a promotional pamphlet describing the featured movies, and various other special presents, such as posters, paper hats, cards, and toys. Additional items, including the official theatrical pamphlet and a variety of other commemorative goods, were available for purchase at cinemas or by mail during this period.
Up until the Dragon Box DVD sets began being released in the early 2000s, the only Dragon Ball properties released to home video in Japan were the original seventeen theatrical films, most of which were available on VHS, LaserDisc, and 8mm film reels. These home video releases were a luxury for most fans, as they came at a rather high price point for the time. They were later re-released in 1996 to replace the then out-of-print VHS tapes with a lower price point and slightly different covers.
After releasing the entirety of the three Dragon Ball TV series, Toei released their fifth and final “Dragon Box”, which was entitled “Dragon Box The Movies”. The Dragon Box contained all seventeen original Dragon Ball movies presented in their theatrical 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. As a special bonus for the movie’s first DVD release, Toei dug through their vaults and included some of the movie’s original promotional material.
|Theatrical Preview (劇場予告)
Running Time: 1 minute
Following the “Dragon Box”, Toei began releasing each movie individually on DVD. To help promote the sale of movie individual discs, Shueisha handed out a free promotional DVD highlighting the releases at Jump Festa 2009. The DVD contained promotional trailers for each movie which were narrated by veteran Dragon Ball cast member Shigeru Chiba, the voice of such notable characters as Pilaf, Garlic Jr. (TV series), and Raditz. More information about the promotional DVD is available in our “Home Video Guide”.
In July 2018, the original seventeen theatrical films were released on Japanese Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming services. The addition of the movies themselves was heavily promoted throughout social media, however it was not announced or promoted at the time that they were actually new, high-definition remasters of the films scanned, and subsequently remastered, from the original film negatives. Shortly thereafter on 09 August 2018, Toei Animation formally announced the release of these newly-remastered versions of the movies across eight Blu-ray volumes. All non-credit versions of the opening and endings included with the release are up-converts of those originally included on the original LaserDisc releases and all bonus promotional materials (trailers, digests, etc.) are presented in their original standard definition format as included in the Dragon Box release.
While looking at the Dragon Radar, Oolong notices that all of the Dragon Balls are starting to be gathered together. He and Gohan, who were also searching for the Dragon Balls, head out to investigate and end up at the Tsurumai-Tsuburi Mountains’ eternal wall of ice, where coincidentally, Piccolo is also training. Dr. Kochin summons Shenlong and wishes for Dr. Uiro’s lab to be released from the ice. The ice begins to break away and a building emerges. Gohan and Oolong look on in disbelief, when they are suddenly attacked by Dr. Kochin’s Biomen. Piccolo shows up to save Gohan, but is overcome by three mysterious fighters, while Gohan and Oolong escape.
Dr. Kochin and his Biomen soon appear at Kame House, and request that Kame-Sen’nin come with them. He refuses and easily defeats the Biomen, but Dr. Kochin kidnaps Bulma to force Kame-Sen’nin to go back with him to the lab. There, Kame-Sen’nin is forced to fight three bio-warriors, but it soon becomes apparent he’s no match. Bulma discovers that Dr. Uiro’s goal is to obtain the body of the strongest man so he can be revived. Bulma informs them that Son Goku is now the strongest man in the world.
Oolong informs Goku of the situation, and he heads out to find Bulma and Kame-Sen’nin. He arrives at Dr. Uiro’s lab and is greeted by Misokattsun, Kishime, and Ebifurya, Dr. Kochin’s three bio-warriors. Goku defeats Misokattsun by bursting through him with the Kaiō-Ken, but is then sealed up in ice by Ebifurya. Gohan and Kuririn arrive to back him up, but are at their wit’s end against Kishime. Using the Kaiō-Ken, Goku breaks free from ice and defeats the two remaining bio-warriors. Goku confronts Dr. Uiro, demanding he give Bulma back, but Dr. Uiro just wants Goku’s body.
Piccolo, who has been brainwashed by Dr. Uiro, appears and a battle between the two rivals commences. Gohan tries to stop Piccolo, but he simply swats Gohan away. Being unable to stop them from fighting, Gohan’s anger explodes, shattering Dr. Uiro’s brainwashing device on Piccolo. Dr. Uiro is stunned by Gohan’s power and decides he must fight Goku himself. He begins to break his robot body free from the wall, subsequently knocking Dr. Kochin down an energy shaft, killing him. Everyone watches on in horror, including Kuririn, who has freed Bulma.
The true battle begins, and Dr. Uiro seems to have the upper hand. Even the three-person Kamehameha of Goku, Kame-Sen’nin, and Kuririn has no effect on him. Soon, Goku and Piccolo are the only ones left able to fight. Goku resorts to using a Kaiō-Ken powered Kamehameha, which merely knocks Dr. Uiro into space. Goku begins to form a Genki-Dama, but Dr. Uiro interupts him before he can throw it by shooting ki blasts at him. The others fly up to distract him so Goku can successfully throw the Genki-Dama. Goku lets it fly and it’s a direct hit. Dr. Urio’s brain is destroyed and peace once again returns to Earth.
The following original character profiles were translated from Daizenshuu 6, with additional character design comments from the movie’s character designer, Minoru Maeda, as published in the “Design Lab” section of the “Dragon Box The Movies” Dragon Book.
Dr. Uiro is Toriyama-sensei’s design. I thought up the other original characters along lines following suit with Sensei’s design. From around this time, the number of [enemy] fighters increased, so I had them wear [chest/shoulder] protectors; this also makes characters that aren’t human-shaped easier to draw. (laughs) It wasn’t until after Vegeta & co. appeared that I brought in those protectors; prior to that, I came up with costumes from regular Western clothing, or things like martial-arts uniforms or armor. So if Ghastel & co. from the second [Dragon Ball] film had appeared in Dragon Ball Z, I bet I probably would have drawn them with protectors like the Saiyans’.
— Minoru Maeda
For the henchmen’s designs, I basically used the original manga as a reference, [while] keeping in mind to give them the kind of individuality that can only be found in a theatrical release.
— Minoru Maeda
From Goku’s dōgi having a “Kame” mark on the breast and a “Kaiō” mark on the back, it seems this is an event from between the battle with Vegeta and Goku’s arrival on Planet Namek. However, there are also inconsistencies such as Gohan being on Earth when he should be in the middle of fighting on Planet Namek.
— “Dragon Ball Daizenshuu 6: Movies & TV Specials” (p. 44)
Moving on, the names of the enemies who appeared in “The World’s Strongest Guy” all got their names from Nagoya specialties, such as uirō, Nagoya Cochin, kishimen, ebi-furai, and miso-katsu. These name puns were thought of by scenario writer Takao Koyama.
— “Dragon Ball Daizenshuu 6: Movies & TV Specials” (p. 68)
Koyama himself mentioned his role in naming the characters in a 1995 roundtable with other anime staff in the “Shenlong Times” pamphlet that came with Daizenshuu 6:
[Shunsuke] Kikuchi: The naming of the original characters from the theatrical films is a lot of fun, too.
Koyama: That’s right. That alone, I look forward to. (laughs) For the movies, the [characters] are mostly named on this end, so it’s fun. I like naming them. While pondering things I can’t quite get a handle on….
[Kōzō] Morishita: Although there are times when it’s a struggle. (laughs)
[Tadayoshi] Yamamuro: But the power of naming truly is amazing.
[Masako] Nozawa: It’s important.
[Shigeyasu] Yamauchi: That’s because naming has great power in bringing a character to life.
Koyama: That’s why, at the time of “The World’s Strongest Guy”, I went with foods from Nagoya. (laughs) Ebifurya, Kishime, Dr. Uiro, and so on…. Once the names are set, the characters come to life.
— “Shenlong Times” Issue #6 (p. 3)
Koyama: I was always looking forward to making names in the movie scenarios. For the film “The World’s Strongest Guy”, I even brought out a Nagoya theme, from “Uirō” all the way to “Cochin”. (laughs) I had a lot of fun playing around with that.
— “TV Anime Complete Guide: Dragon Ball Tenka’ichi Densetsu” (p. 83–84)
The orchestral score for this film, as with all Dragon Ball Z TV series background music, was composed by Shunsuke Kikuchi. It was recorded on 21 February 1990 at AVACO Studios in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture; pieces recorded for the film are designated by the numbering M9xx, where xx stands for the ordering of the track within the film itself.
The Dragon Ball Z TV series began making use of music from this movie with episode 47 (aired 09 May 1990), and continued to use it regularly. Dr. Uiro’s leitmotif, which runs through much of the score, is closely associated with the villainous characters of the Freeza arc: Zarbon, the Ginyu Special-squad, and (of course) Freeza himself. Perhaps the most notable of the pieces in the score, however, is the one that plays just before the end credits (M929); a mid-tempo, major-key piece, it effectively expresses the happiness and relief of the characters after Dr. Uiro’s defeat in the film. In the TV series, while not used often, it is closely associated with happy moments that conclude individual story arcs, such as at the end of the Bardock and Trunks specials, and in episodes 107 and 117.
[Uses in Kikuchi score of Dragon Ball Kai, if relevant]
[Ending theme description]
All credits listed below are as originally presented in the theatrical film. All original credit errors have been corrected to maintain accurate spellings throughout the site. For more information and a complete listing of the series staff, visit the Production Guide.
The cast credits are listed in order of character importance within the series. For more detailed information about the series cast, visit the Cast Guide.