Otaku USA Magazine
Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ [Review]

Warning: contains minor spoilers.

The Dragon Ball franchise has always been known for its high-octane fights, charming gags and its colorfully designed characters. I am happy to say that under the direction of Tadayoshi Yamamuro, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ takes these qualities of Akira Toriyama’s beloved series and amps them up tenfold in a highly entertaining cinematic offering.

Set after the events of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, the movie makes an excellent maneuver to recover Frieza from history. Cruel and ruthless as ever, the infamous villain makes his grand return in a comedic and nostalgic twist: in the same mechanical pieces of scrap Future Trunks sliced him into over a decade ago. Aided by two new characters, Sorbet and Tagoma, Frieza returns to full form with a vengeance.

Here, Resurrection ‘F’ begins to build the narrative’s tension. With Goku and Vegeta removed from the immediate events in order to train with Whis – a character introduced in the previous film – Frieza also initiates his own training. Having never formally trained before, Frieza’s decision to properly prepare himself for the inevitable invasion of Earth is accompanied with an aggressively dire mood. From the beginning, fans are given the countdown to the electric fights coming ahead.

The movie does well in juxtaposing the incoming threat with the idyllic lives of the supporting cast. In particular, the scene where Krillin’s work is interrupted by the summoning of Shenron intensifies the looming danger and the fervent anticipation for the inevitable fight.

Finally, when Frieza’s forces infiltrate Earth, the movie wastes no time in creating that familiar Dragon Ball Z air. Since Goku and Vegeta are temporarily away, it allows for Dragon Ball’s well-loved supporting characters to shine. Consisting of Krillin, Tien, Piccolo, Gohan, Master Roshi and one surprising but welcome addition, the Z Fighters are pit against Frieza’s 1,000 soldiers. Each character is given ample time to shine: Tien uses his signature Tri-Beam, and the impossibly muscular Master Roshi savages a party of soldiers with his MAX Power Kamehameha.

I am tempted to say that the Z Fighters’ fight is the most exciting segment of the movie. The audience cheered and looked on in awe as their favorite characters dominated the screen. Being out of Goku’s shadow, the Z Fighters were able to claim the spotlight with hair-raising aplomb.

Speaking of being out of Goku’s shadow, Gohan’s arrival on the battlefield is one of the most exhilarating moments in the film – if not the entire franchise. A topic of much criticism before the movie’s release, Gohan’s nerdy redesign was seen as another blow to a weak, anti-climactic character. However, don’t let the unflattering green track suit deceive you. Toriyama’s decision to create such an underwhelming design serves to grant a dynamic reversal as soon as Gohan participates in the action-packed defense.

Nevertheless, it is up to the series’ hallmark character to end the fight. Goku and Frieza’s showdown has a few surprises as well as an amusing end credits scene you must stay for, making for a worthy finale for such a dynamic installment.

Resurrection ‘F’ does have its small share of plot holes, but regardless, they become lost within the hilarious dialogue and thrilling action Toriyama worked so hard to achieve. This film embodies everything the Dragon Ball Z universe has given to the narrative landscape of animation and manga for the past thirty-one years.

Leaving the theatre, you could see the smiles and animated whispers of the audience, young and old, as they mused on about their favorite characters and scenes. Thankfully, like Goku’s infallible spirit, the Dragon Ball series shows no signs of stopping. With this release, it is quite clear that Toriyama can vigorously match the passion of his fans: no wish required.


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