Animation Appreciation – Dragonball Z: Resurrection F

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Dragon Ball Z returns to U.S. theaters with a new feature film, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F. The film brings beloved characters face to face with an iconic villain, Lord Freiza (Voiced by Chris Ayres). Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F embraces the classic, light-hearted humor fans enjoy and features more action-packed fights!

Courtesy of FUNimation
Courtesy of FUNimation

Warning: This review contains spoilers.

The film opens to reveal our villain, Lord Freiza. The plot picks up ten years after Goku (Sean Schemmel) defeated Lord Frieza, scattering his remains throughout the world. However, Goku could not bring himself to fully destroy his nemesis. Instead, Lord Frieza’s soul has remained captive in his own personal hell of bright flowers and musical, dancing stuffed animals.

Meanwhile, deep in space, Sorbet (Jeremy Schwartz) leads the remnants of Frieza’s army, facing certain defeat. That is, until Sorbet hatches a plan – use Earth’s Dragon Balls to resurrect Lord Frieza. In most cases, when the enemy has a plan, accomplishing the goal becomes a comedy of errors. For a change, Sorbet is actually allowed to succeed. When Lord Frieza returns after a decade condemned to the sweet songs of teddy bears and faeries, he has one thing on his mind…revenge. Thus, setting up the plot for the rest of the film.

Hearing how Goku has become more powerful since their battle and realizing his own potential, Frieza resigns himself to training so he can attain new, more powerful, destructive power. This time, he will not underestimate Goku.

When Lord Frieza does return to Earth six months later with his army, Goku and Vegeta (Christopher R. Sabat) are, of course, off-world training. As the audience, we see through their training, Goku and Vegeta are as competitive as ever. Though their training has helped them gain better control of their abilities, the two have not been able to overcome their individual shortcomings.

On Earth, the absence of Goku and Vegeta allows beloved Z-fighters to get in on the action. Krillin (Sonny Strait), Gohan (Christopher R. Sabat), Piccolo (Christopher R. Sabat), Master Rhoshi (Mike McFarland) and Tien Shinhan (John Germeier) gather to take on Frieza’s invading army, hoping to buy enough time until Goku can return to face Frieza one-on-one. Despite being woefully outnumbered, the Z-fighters give it all they have to hold their own in an all out battle. The battle sequences are filled with fast-paced action, power moves and witty humor. Even Bulma (Monica Rial), with her usual short temper, makes an appearance, bribing Whis with food for assistance in getting a message to Goku and Vegeta, and standing up to Lord Frieza to tell him what a mistake he has made returning to Earth.

Goku and Vegeta do finally get the message and make their way back to find Frieza dead set on vengeance. Now the true battle begins. Not so fast! Vegeta did not come back to Earth simply to watch Goku fight. Here, we see the full scope of their faults and what may, ultimately, be their downfall. Though they share a common enemy, can Goku and Vegeta put aside their competitive nature and work together? Destruction ensues and lights are seen in the sky as new powers are revealed in a no holds barred, supreme showdown for the sake of the world…and bragging rights, naturally.

I will not reveal how this battle ends, nor how the film concludes. I will reveal there is a twist. One can make the argument a plot twist is needed to save Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F from being too formulaic, which is a frequent criticism of anime. In fact, it does. Then again, that is what audiences have come to expect.

While Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F does confine itself to a predictable plot through the course of the film, the twist is well done and an excellent way to ensure all the characters have a part to play. It also serves as an interesting wrap-up to this film’s story. The fully fleshed out story is also a highlight of the film. Instead of simply willing action to take place, characters are given motivation and the audience is given enough exposition to see those motivations drive the characters throughout the story. The characters we know retain the personalities which endear them to audiences and new abilities up the ante in what could have been a repeat of the previous battle between Goku and Frieza. Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F is clearly made with the fans in mind and it succeeds.