DragonBall Z: Bojack Unbound Review

DragonBall Z: Bojack Unbound is a 1993 martial arts action Japanese animated film directed by Yoshihiro Ueda, voice performances including Stephanie Nadolny, Sean Schemmel, Christopher Sabat, Colleen Clinkenbeard, and Ethan Rains.  Set as the ninth film in the DragonBall Z animated film series, the film follows Bojack, a demon who was freed from prison when King Kai’s planet was destroyed. Now, without his father Goku by his side, can Gohan save the Earth?


Positives:

  • Good animation style
  • Good action
  • Good voice performances

Negatives:

  • Lackluster story
  • Lackluster antagonists

Plot:  Following Cell’s defeat which left Goku dead, the story follows the Z fighters who are participating in another World Martial Arts Tournament.  As the finalist are chosen they are attacked by a band of space pirates led by the powerful Bojack. The story is bland as hell with no twists and no memorable moments. Not only does it not really have much depth but also the lack of a backstory for Bojack and is crew is appalling. Plus, where is the urgency? What other subplots does the story have? The answer is none. (2 out of 5)

Characters: Although Bojack is the main antagonist of the film he is literally one of the worst characters in the entire film series. He’s flat, has no personality, no likable qualities, no motivation other than to be an asshole.  Bojack lacks any kind of depth on nearly every level. His comrades (Zangya, Kogu, Bido, and Bujin) are far more interesting than him; they have unique quirks, qualities that make them standout.  The story would’ve benefited more had the group been known as Bojack, governed by those four.  It would’ve made each character a relevant villain and also given more chances for more Z fighters to shine. And for crying out loud, we all know Krillin is the comedic relief but he could’ve gotten some shine before getting his ass kicked.  (2 out of 5)

Cast:  Many of the voice performers of previous entries return, giving good performances to their characters.  New voice performers include Bojack (Bob Carter), Gokua (Ethan Rains), Zangya (Colleen Clinkenbeard), Bujin (Christopher Bevins), and Bido (Robert McCollum) and they’re pretty good although totally under utilized.  (3 out of 5)

Animation Style:  Like previous installments, the animation style is pretty good with the camera angles showcasing some great shots, particularly with the action scenes.  The character designs for Bojack and his crew are actually cool (though some aspects typical of the DBZ lore) despite how flat they are and actually makes me want to know what they’re culture is and what it was inspired from.  The locations for the fights are decent but hardly memorable. (3 out of 5)

Score:  The score is pretty decent and since I’m more familiar with the English version I have to take a look at composer Mark Menza.  Didn’t care for the “CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA” opening theme.  Compared to the “Rock the Dragon” opening theme from previous films this one sounds quite childish. (2 out of 5)

Writing: Really the problem with the film is the overall writing. We have a villain with a lot of potential but lacks any amount of substance. The story has no true depth. Many of the sequences feel watered down. The Z fighters take on the bad guys but the only ones that can hang are the Saiyan characters, making all of the other Z fighters irrelevant.  The whole idea of the tournament is completely wasted as well as the idea of the bad guys.  (1 out of 5)


The Verdict: In the end, DragonBall Z: Bojack Unbound is a terrible film that should’ve never seen the light of day.  Aside from nostalgia there’s no reason for anyone to watch this movie.  It provides nothing new to the series.  The movie suffers from plotholes, poor villains, and a lackluster story.  DragonBall Z: Bojack Unbound gets 3 out of 5.

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