Now it’s starting to get to my favourite period of the show. The Android Saga is where I started watching Dragon Ball Z back when it was on YTV, so it has particular nostalgic appeal for me, plus most of my favourite characters. The number one priority of this season is to point out the awesomeness of Trunks, but that’s not until midway in the season. The story actually starts off in an odd place.
The season actually begins with the return of Garlic Jr., the main villain of the first ever DBZ movie Dead Zone (see Season 1 review). It’s unusual that the show would make reference to events in one of its movies, and truth be told this mini-saga serves as little more than a filler. It may well have served better as a movie itself. As it is the pace is quite slow. If you were unable to watch Dead Zone before now then Mr. Popo recaps the events. Also Icarus is in the show for the first time.
The premise for this mini-saga is interesting. In addition to the premise behind Dead Zone, this time around Garlic Jr. uses something called the Black Water Mist to turn all of the residents of earth evil, taking all of their hidden, evil desires they’ve been resisting and bringing them to the surface. The depictions of everyone giving in to their evil desires is pretty amusing though; one guy attacks a car with a battle axe, another guy eats a vegetable, most people get purple eyes and sprout fangs, and Roshi is pretty much the same.
I think in Garlic Jr.’s position I would hire minions who don’t go out of their way to explain to the heroes the precise details of where he gets his power and how to stop him. I know minions are prone to do that anyway, but the Spice Boys put extra effort into it. Yes, that’s their name. (SPOILER ALERT) In the end Garlic Jr.’s final strategy is to open up the Dead Zone like he did at the end of the movie. Maybe this guy isn’t as brilliant as his maniacal laugh implies.
While the spoiler alert is still on: During the battle, Piccolo and Krillin both get purple-eyed and mercilessly beat the tar out of Gohan as part of an elaborate scheme to look like they’re beating the tar out of Gohan so Garlic Jr. will trust them. When their plan is complete they turn to Gohan with a clevor grin like, “Oh, you thought we were trying to hurt you? Psyche! You got Punk’d big time! See that camera over there?” And bloody, bruised Gohan laughs like, “Aaah, ya got me!”
There is a sense of the show maturing a little with each season. Season 4 is an interesting one, because it’s like the show went from a child to prepubescent and suddenly discovered how hot women are. There are two particular new female characters who get a lot of attention, and this season sees female nudity for the first time in Z – a tooshie on one of Roshi’s girly mags. There is teasing of more, but it’s only teasing.
I suppose it’s nice that Krillin is finally gifted with a love interest, though it’s weird that she looks exactly like Bulma, and it’s even weirder that nobody notices the similarity. Maron’s inclusion in the Dragon Ball universe gets even weirder than that, but that bizarre twist is for a later season.
One issue I have with the introduction of Trunks is the dense cloud of Smug that permeates the awkward battle of smack-talk between him and the villain. The duel of getting the last word takes a lot longer than necessary.
Question: How come Trunks’s sword is so much bigger when carried by a larger person, to the extend that it couldn’t possibly fit in that little sheath he has on his back? Is it because it’s like Sauron’s ring and magically adjusts its size to accommodate new users? Or is it just because the animators missed something?
Goku’s explanation of the Instant Transmission technique makes no sense. Basically it allows him to travel at the speed of light. Raditz from Season 1 could travel faster than that, and so can interstellar spaceships. I don’t understand why they didn’t just call it teleportation.
(SPOILER ALERT): There are plot holes in why they don’t take steps to prevent the Androids from appearing. The writers tried to patch this up with moral or philosophical dilemmas, but still left big holes. The Z Fighters could have used the Dragon Balls to find out where Gero was hiding and at the very least imprison him for past crimes. That’s my thought. Someone more violently inclined, like Vegeta, could probably come up with an easier solution, but I’m thinking Goku wouldn’t have a moral objection to imprisoning Gero.
(END OF SPOILERS)
Fun Game: Once the Android Saga starts, try counting the number of times someone says “you guys”.
Violence: When Trunks shows up he goes Kill Bill on everyone.
Nudity: Goku’s butt. Baby Trunks’ butt & junk. Butt and sideboob in one of Roshi’s girly mags. Maron is often provocatively dressed, but her parts are never bared, even during the carefully angled shot up her blouse. There is also a close-up shot of her chest swinging side to side.
Sexuality: Roshi (who else?) grabs one of Maron’s boobs, and while wrestling Chi-Chi to stop her killing someone also rubs his face on her chest. In the English dialogue Roshi asks Maron for kisses; in the Japanese dialogue he asks for a bit more than that. Later he tries to grab her but misses and makes out with a house plant instead. There is a game of strip poker, but again, nothing is revealed.
Oppressive content is down for the most part. There is more than one dream/nightmare sequence in this season that gets nasty. Two of the times they try really hard to convince you that it’s real, even to the point of having multiple points of view, and then surprise you with it turning out to be a nightmare.
Quote of the Season
“If she can’t love you for who you really are, try giving her a giant pearl.”
The History of Trunks
No, this is not a documentary on underwear. This is a one-hour DBZ special giving the audience an exciting glimpse into the origins of Future Trunks. Like Bardock: The Father of Goku, this is labeled as a movie, but you won’t find it in the DBZ movie collections because of its alternate format. If you haven’t watched Season 4 up to at least Episode 122 “Mystery Revealed” then me explaining the premise here will be a major (SPOILER ALERT).
The story begins with the death of Goku, which, given the history of the show doesn’t seem like it should be a difficult problem to fix. Shortly after Goku’s passing the Androids show up and kill off most of the Z Fighters, leaving only a teenage Gohan, and a young Trunks who is still learning to fight. Like Bardock, this is a fairly gloomy tale because we know how it ends. I found the action sequences in this story to be much more enjoyable, however. The image of an alternate future Gohan kept my interest.
I consider Trunks to be the John Connor of Dragon Ball, which would make this story like Terminator: Salvation. Except this time the would-be hero actually becomes a hero instead of remaining a helpless wimp for the whole movie and still needing others to do all the work. (I didn’t like Terminator: Salvation.)
I would say the best time to watch this would be in between Episodes 136 and 137.