Monday, December 8, 2008
"YO! SON GOKU AND HIS FRIENDS RETURN" (Thank you Nadia Oxford)
Because I remain as if a small child inside, I present to you Toriyama's new DRAGONBALL OVA. Thanks to Nadia Oxford (AKA Mumbling Kitsune) for alerting me to it through her column on the unfortunately shitty new ANIMEONDVD site (sorry... Mania fucked it up. It used to be much better).
While this probably won't register on many peoples radars as being anything all that signifigant, as it's sort of a fluffy filler story, it's a nice bit of oldschool anime fun. Basically, there's a big party and everyone's invited in an almost Perez-esque character-wad, which is interupted by Vegeta's long lost loser brother, Tarble, who was exiled long ago for being an embarassing wuss. He crashes onto Earth with his ridiculous looking Pac-Wife and pleads for his big brother's help in beating up some Freeza-Level Space-Jerks. Goku and the gang, hungry for some action as they haven't put the boots to some kind of God-Like Cosmic Menace for almost two long years, argue about who will handle this new menace. After drawing radish straws, it's decided that these new alien threats will be deligated to the children, who need training anyways. Hilarity and property damage ensue.
As much as I love the episodes of DRAGONBALL where stuff gets blowed up, my favorite episodes were actually ones like this, were you get to see these characters completely out of their regular context. My absolute FAVORITE episode of DRAGONBALL is actually a filler episode, which was never in the manga, but could easily have fit in with Toriyama's brand of nonsensical pratfall humor, is the one where Chi-Chi forces Goku to go get his Drivers License, and Picollo decides to challenge him to a Drivers License-off, which almost destroys and entire city, and totals their respective cars. This episode is more up that alley, which is one of the strengths of DRAGONBALL that has made it an endearing fan favorite for the past 25+ years; the frictionless marriage of over-the-top martial arts action with ridiculous prat-fall comedy.
So while this episode doesn't really come off as being all that significant in terms of giving content starved DRAGONBALL fans any sort of closure post-series closing (DRAGONBALL has one of those typical shonen manga, "And they had adventures FOREVER" endings that's not actually an ending), it is a fun, nice looking, diversion that reminds one of why they liked this series in the first place, and why they still like it.