Dragon Ball Z – Season 8 – (a TV review)

Babidi and Dabura shrinkThis is better. Season 8 goes back to the action we’ve come to know and love from Dragon Ball. By now the new enemy has been identified as the wizard Babidi and his monster Buu. This is the beginning of a new flavour for Dragon Ball, with evil forces coming from all corners of the universe and beyond, the villains in this season are a bit more Doctor Whoish. The Buu monster is definitely a change of pace for this show, but the action is still good, and entertaining, even if it’s not quite what you’d expect.

(I assume it’s not a spoiler for me to say that the insanely powerful being the bad guys spend half the season ranting about will eventually show up. That’s generally how it goes on this show. If Goku were in Lord of the Rings he would hand the ring to Sauron just so he could fight him at full power.)

There is a sense at first that our heroes are just going through the motions, and that they are even a little bored. This is before the situation becomes more serious. There is some intriguing character development in this season, to say that it’s so late in the show’s life. The episodes focusing on Vegeta are my personal favourites.

One frustration to get over is the strategic logic of the Supreme Kai, which consistently amounts to “Don’t do anything, because something might happen if we do. Our best option is to wait until something happens anyway, and then die.” I don’t understand how this guy came to be in charge of the universe.

Babidi smile cropAlso, when the situation gets dire the heroes are pretty indifferent about letting everybody die because they can just be wished back with the Dragon Balls.

On a side note: Babidi has one of the happiest smiles I’ve ever seen.

Language: “Hell” mentioned as a location. Babidi gives someone the finger.

Gore: Hazardously excessive head inflation. – One of Babidi’s magic tricks.

Nudity: Close up of Yamcha’s butt. Kid/Baby Goku’s butt. Goten’s butt.

Sexuality: Roshi finds himself in close proximity to Eighteen’s chest and takes advantage of the situation. That’s as graphic as I wanna say. Then she retaliates. Also a giant dragon licks Bulma’s behind, though it’s not with sexual intent.

(SPOILERS)

I wanna talk specifically to Christian audiences for a minute (though anyone is welcome to listen in).

Christian viewers might be uncomfortable with the character of Majin Vegeta because of the similarities to demon possession, and take issue with the fact that Vegeta overcomes Babidi’s control through the sheer force of his pride, and I would agree with the concerns. I can get over it by looking at the differences. Babidi is not exactly a demon but some kind of alien-wizard-mole. The rules aren’t necessarily the same. But I would understand the discomfort because I felt the same way.

If you can get past those issues then there is a very deep and significant element to Majin Vegeta’s story, for us Christians in particular, because this is our story.

Vegeta had found himself in a peaceful life surrounded by family and friends – loved and safe – but he believed in his heart that he was missing out, that he wasn’t all he could be. So he made a bargain, tapping into a forbidden power to become what he felt he should be, turning his back on the life of love that he knew, convinced that his new power was the better deal. He got what he wanted, and for a time he reveled in it. But he realized, too late, that what he had given up to become this powerful was what he truly wanted more.

We’ve all done this, to some degree or another. This was Adam’s story, and it’s ours as well. We’ve all thrown aside something precious for what seemed like a good deal, for what we were convinced we really wanted, and realized too late that we’d lost what was better. It’s in our nature to assume we’re missing out, until we know better. And in most stories like this there is no second chance – not once you’ve turned your back.

But you and I have been given a second chance (and third and fourth and so on as the saying goes). Even after making a complete mess of our lives.

Vegeta ends up paying with his life, trying to correct his mistake and save his family from what he helped to unleash – with no hope of redemption. That is where our story differs. Our loving Father has already paid the cost to correct our mistakes, and our redemption is assured.

What I find admirable about Majin Vegeta – meaning, what sets him apart for me from other anti-heroes – is that he has the sense to realize his mistake, own the fact that he was wrong,  and try to do something about it, whereas most characters in his position would remain willfully oblivious to what they’re feeling inside.

On another note: as if the ending of the last season wasn’t bad enough, this season ends with a puppy getting shot. Although, if you’re okay reading the spoilers then I’ll also let you know that in the next season the puppy is fine. 🙂

Quote of the Season

“There’s no reason to demolish planets, regardless of personality defects.”

–          Piccolo

Trunks and Goten vs Broly crop

Bio-Broly

The second ill-conceived attempt at a Broly sequel – again, featuring Trunks and Goten as the main heroes, except this time neither Goku nor Gohan shows up to help.

The story this time is that Broly’s DNA was recovered from the crash site of his escape pod from the beginning of the last movie, and used by scientists to bio-engineer the perfect fighters. And also this weird bio-liquid that covers a Broly clone and mutates him.

The premise for this movie is actually not a bad premise, just poorly executed. A character like Broly lends well to accidents of engineered mutation. Broly identified himself in the first movie as “a freak”, referring mostly to the state of his inner self. So being horribly mutated into something that reflects on the outside the nature of his inside is an interesting place to go for this character. But again – it was poorly executed. The resulting creature is not even recognizable as Broly, in neither appearance nor personality nor behaviour. It just feels like a generic monster villain. The biggest threat for the heroes though is not even Broly but the mystery liquid that threatens to melt everyone.

I placed the chronology of this movie between Episodes 226 and 227. It almost fits perfectly if you assume that Trunks and Goten have severe A.D.D., which I consider plausible. The only glitch is a little clip at the end that places Goku back in Otherworld.

Language: The finger.

Nudity: Broly’s Butt. Trunks’ butt & junk. The enemies are gross, naked, veiny guys, but they don’t really have anything going on down there.

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

Season 6

Season 7

Season 9

About benjaminfrog

Yo. I'm a 30-something Christian guy and published author with a love for gaming, fantasy and sci-fi. I blog about pop culture, living as a young Christian guy, and living with A.S.
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4 Responses to Dragon Ball Z – Season 8 – (a TV review)

  1. 2cupsofjoe says:

    I used to watch “Dragon Ball Z,” and enjoyed “The Cell Games.” The most awesome scene was when Trunks laid out a good ol slice of sharpness to King Cold at the beginning. There was always something cool about the whole series. “Humans,” generating enough energy to fly and blast enough energy tastiness at the bad guys, pretty trippy stuff!

    • benjaminfrog says:

      The Android Saga is my favourite period of the series. It introduced a number of my favourite characters and had an interesting plotline. Finishing off with a tournament was just plain fun. 🙂

  2. Lynne says:

    I like your analogy of similarities between ‘us’ and the characters. We seek things we think will enhance our lives. We chase the wind, thinking we’ll please others more and satisfy our ‘calling’ greater. When all our Father wants is to see His children happy and cared for, in communion with each other and Him.The simplicity beyond the complexity.

    • benjaminfrog says:

      I see ‘us’ quite often in these characters, and draw spiritual parallels. I think it’s because this is a show where a person’s power is more directly linked to their character, decisions and convictions than in other action/adventure stories. The way struggles unfold in Dragon Ball is the closest to what spiritual warfare looks like to me.

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