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|Premiered:||09 March 1991 (“Toei Anime Fair”)|
|Running Time:||Approx. 52 minutes|
|Box Office:||Total Gross: ¥2.21 billion (approx. US $16.0 million)
Net Earnings: ¥1.30 billion (approx. US $9.4 million)
Attendance: 3.6 million
|Opening Animation:||“CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA” (Dragon Ball Z Movie 4 Animation)|
|Ending Animation:||“There’s a Genki-Dama in Bad Things!!”|
VHS and LaserDisc (08 November 1991 – Original Print / 21 May 1997 – Re-issue)
8mm Film (08 November 1991)
Dragon Box The Movies; Disc #03 (14 April 2006)
Dragon Ball The Movies Individual DVD Volume #04 (12 September 2008)
Dragon Ball The Movies Blu-ray Volume #02 (02 November 2018)
The movie premiered as part of the 1991 Spring “Toei Anime Fair” (東映アニメフェア; Tōei Anime Fea) on 09 March 1991, along with another movie from the Magical Taluluto series. The event originates from the “Toei Manga Festival” that 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 the late-1990s to replace the then out-of-print VHS tapes with a lower price point and slightly alternate 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: 50 seconds
Running Time: 1 minute, 58 seconds
|Non-credit Version – Opening & Ending (ノンテロップ版・オープニング＆エンディング)
Running Time: 3 minutes, 28 seconds
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.
Piccolo is peacefully meditating on his own when Gohan and Hire Dragon appear to show off their new whistling dance. Piccolo quickly yells at Gohan to stop, as the high-pitched whistling is hurting his sensitive Namekian ears. Meanwhile, a strange planet is quickly approaching the Earth. Goku and Kuririn attempt to redirect the oncoming planet with a Kamehameha, but it has no effect and the planet simply pushes our heroes aside. The planet suddenly explodes and a spaceship is found to have landed on the Earth. An invasion force under the direction of Slug, a Super Namekian with a heart of pure evil, quickly takes over the surrounding area.
Gohan soon arrives to fight off the invading forces, and is easily dispatching most of them. However, Slug has been observing the battle from inside the spaceship and notices the dragonball on Gohan’s hat. Bulma, Chi-Chi, and Oolong then arrive as Chi-Chi encourages Gohan to fight on, but Bulma insists on knowing Slug’s ultimate goal. After taking Gohan’s dragonball Slug says he plans to use the Earth as a new vehicle, as his has been destroyed. Gohan won’t let this happen, but is easily defeated by Dorodabo and Angira, Slug’s right-hand men. Slug then reads Bulma’s mind and learns of the dragonballs on Earth. He quickly dispatches his men to gather the dragonballs and eventually wishes to have his youth restored.
After some time passes, the Earth’s temperature has drastically dropped as Slug has covered the planet with dark clouds, blocking the sun’s rays. Gohan has recovered, and not giving up the fight to save his planet he returns to challenge Slug. Unfortunately he is still no match and is about to be defeated, but is saved by Piccolo, who easily defeats Dorodabo. However, Gohan has had his energy drained by Medamaccha and Piccolo is seriously injured by Angira while protecting Gohan. Goku suddenly arrives, pulverizing Angira and Medamaccha with his overwhelming strength.
Kuririn pays no attention to Goku’s warning and decides to take on Slug, but is no match for powerful Namekian. Goku and Slug begin a one-on-one duel, but it is soon evident that Slug’s strength surpasses even that of Goku’s. With his back against the wall, Goku summons all of his strength and is overtaken by a golden aura. His Super Saiyan powers have manifested! Goku quickly overwhelms Slug, but the evil Namekian has one last trick up his sleeve – the Super Giant Body Arts technique!
Slug once again turns the table on Goku, but at that moment Piccolo remembers the effects Gohan’s whistling had on him. He rips off his own ears and yells at the beaten Gohan to start whistling. Slug quickly falls to ground in utter pain, releasing Goku from his grasp. Piccolo takes the chance to transfer his remaining ki to Goku, who then flies up over the dark clouds and begins forming a Genki-Dama with the energy from the sun. Slug flies up to stop him, but is hit head-on by the Genki-Dama which sends him crashing into the nearby machine creating the dark clouds. As the clouds disappear, the sun’s rays bring peace back to the Earth once again.
The following original character profiles were translated from Daizenshuu 6, along 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.
Toriyama-sensei designed the basics, but with the flow of the story, in order to hide his being a Namekian, I added things like a helmet and [chest] protector as well. Since it would have been too Namekian-like if I had given him a cape. (laughs)
— Minoru Maeda
In the scene where it dances along with Gohan’s whistling, I designed a costume in order for it to make noise with little bells. There actually was a reason why Hire Dragon looked like that. (laughs)
— Minoru Maeda
In 1990, McLaren Racing became one of Weekly Shōnen Jump’s main sponsors and the magazine would frequently feature their advertisements, in addition to providing cover illustrations from current serializations, like Dragon Ball. Akira Toriyama is himself an avid fan of Formula One racing and often made mention of it in his weekly Jump commentary. The exact car model mentioned above was also featured in an advertisement in this movie’s respective pamphlet handed out at the Toei Anime Fair, promoting the 1st and 2nd rounds of the 1991 Formula One Grand Prix that would be broadcast on Fuji TV.
A state that Goku transformed into in the movie “Super Saiyan Son Goku”. It’s similar to Super Saiyan in that the entire body is wrapped in an aura, but the hair is not completely golden. Also, his eyes become white, as if he had lost consciousness. It looks as if Goku’s anger at being cornered by his enemy Slug overran and made him like a Super Saiyan.
— “Dragon Ball Daizenshuu 7: Dragon Ball Large Encyclopedia” (p. 134)
Coincidentally, the “Particulars Dictionary” section of Daizenshuu 7 notes that Toriyama came up with the idea of having Goku’s hair stand up in his “Pseudo Super Saiyan” form. Toriyama would later incorporate this idea into his finalized version of the transformation for the manga, however he opted to also change the hair color for more practical reasons:
I decided on the design for the Super Saiyan for, to be honest… a simple reason that will leave you saying “What?”. I always have only a single person, Assistant-kun, helping me with my work. That Assistant-kun’s time was always taken up doing the black fill of Goku’s hair, so the biggest reason was in order to save time. Because when he became a Super Saiyan, we wouldn’t have to do the black fill. It also had the effect of making it easy to tell from his appearance that Goku had gotten stronger, so it killed two birds with one stone.
— Akira Toriyama, “Dragon Ball Super Exciting Guide: Story Volume” (p. 88)
From the fact that Goku has not yet become a Super Saiyan, this story takes place before the final showdown with Freeza. However, at this time Goku should be in the midst of his battle on Planet Namek… This must also be a movie inconsistency.
— “Dragon Ball Daizenshuu 6: Movies & TV Specials” (p. 70)
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.