DragonBall Z: The Tree of Might Review

DragonBall Z: The Tree of Might is a 1990 martial arts fantasy Japanese animated series directed by Daisuke Nishio, starring Ian James Corlett, Saffron Henderson, Scott McNeil, and Ward Perry.  It is the third installment in the DragonBall Z film series, follows a group of aliens who visit Earth to plant the Tree of Might, a plant that grants cosmic power by draining the Earth’s life force and it is up to the Z Fighters to save the world.


Positives:

  • Good score
  • Great action
  • Good animation style
  • Cool plot

Negatives:

  • Flat antagonists
  • Lacks exposition
  • Crappy script

Plot:  The plot is pretty interesting and adds something new to DragonBall Z.  Invaders come to earth seeking to drain the life from the planet using the mysterious Tree of Might.  One of the storylines revolves around the leader of the group being a saiyan.  Although it is a good concept there is no explanation nor exposition.  The fact that the story is straight forward with nothing else going just makes it bland.  It would’ve been better had there been a side story where the other Z Fighters or other supporting characters are in the tree trying to figure out a way to destroy it from the inside while Goku and/or the Z Fighters hold off the bad guys. (3 out of 5)

Characters: Great returning characters of the series.  The main protagonist is Goku, a saiyan warrior who is Earth’s champion against evil doers, as well as his son, Gohan, and friends Krillin, Piccolo, Chaozu, and Tien.  Turles is one of those villains that’s introduced in the films but definitely could’ve been added to the series to actually give it more depth.  The guy actually has a lot of personality. Would’ve liked to have seen more camaraderie with the henchmen Rasin, Lakasei, Daiz, Cacao, and Amond. They were cool but flat as hell with little to nothing interesting to them outside of their designs and abilities. (2 out of 5)

Animation Style:  The animation style has a low budget look to it but it isn’t like it actually takes away from the experience. It does have a stylized enough look to make it appealing.  The character designs look pretty cool, especially the variations of their armor.  The Tree of Might design makes it look daunting and massive as hell (it’s understandable why their ki blast had no effect). (3 out of 5)

Score:  The soundtrack is actually solid, more specifically the voice performances.  Thought Ward Perry gave a memorable performance as Turles. Great voice performances by returning performers Ian James Corlett (Goku), Saffron Henderson (Gohan), Terry Klassen (Krillin), Ted Cole (Yamcha), Matt Smith (Tien Shinhan), Chaozu (Cathy Weseluck), and Scott McNeil (Piccolo).  (3 out of 5)

Writing:  There are some parts of the script that should’ve been ironed out better.  The writing on some level should’ve gave some backstory as to why Turles looks like Goku aside fron the fact that he is a low class saiyan (which literally makes no sense and is a pathetic attempt to shroud the character in mystery). The story could’ve easily played out that Turles and his men were elite soldiers under Frieza but defected when they discovered that Frieza was responsible for Planet Vegeta’s destruction. And their reasoning for getting the Tree of Might seeds is to gain enough power to kill him, even at the cost of other planets.

And of course, Turles should be some kin to Goku. Don’t give a damn if it is his distant cousin or uncle. Should’ve done a better job of trying to recruit Goku.  But for fans of some of the original DragonBall Z cast (including Krillin, Piccolo, Gohan, Tien, Chiaotzu, and Yamcha) will be disappointed at how little screen time they actually get.  Everything seems geared towards Goku basically saving everyone because they can’t keep up. Aside from those issues the film handles the action well and pacing is pretty good. The action scenes are pretty sweet. They’re fast paced, intense; everything we love about DragonBall Z. (2 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, DragonBall Z: The Tree of Might is one of the better films in the series.  Despite the plot holes in the script as well as the series lack of exposition, the bad guys are actually pretty cool, the action good, and a cool story.  DragonBall Z: The Tree of Might gets 3 out of 5.

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