A Novice Attends a Screening of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods

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Here’s where I admit that I know next to nothing Dragon Ball Z. I don’t think I’d ever seen an entire episode before I sat down in the theatre to watch Battle of Gods. Other than my brother hiring every single series from our local video rental store, my experience with Dragon Ball Z comes from the fact that the boy my best friend had a crush on in grade school was obsessed with it. Coincidentally that very same boy was at the screening I attended so I guess that association is destined to continue.

Point is, I went into this screening a total novice and I came out as slightly less of a novice, but not by much. This isn’t a slight against the series because I’m sure I could have gotten into it if I had the time or inclination. Let’s be real though, there are not enough female characters in this show to feed my needs and the ones they do have are treated pretty horrendously (from what I have seen, feel free to contradict me if I’m wrong).

Anyway if you’re looking for insightful commentary of anime you’ll have to ask one of my incredibly knowledgeably colleagues (who are probably judging me harshly right now). But in the spirit of trying new things, I thought I’d tell you all about my experience with Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods.

First things first, I saw the English dub of the film, which was released by Madmen Entertainment and played in limited Australian theaters over the weekend. I know that it’s the first Dragon Ball movie to have a theatrical release in 17 years. That’s a long time, and to say the crowd were pretty excited is an understatement. I felt like the odd one out because everyone seemed to know each other and there was a dress code that I was clearly not adhering to but that familiar atmosphere of fandom was still apparent. It was hard not to get caught up in the excitement to some extent.

As for the actual movie; it was entertaining, surprisingly funny, the animation was good, and it was easy enough to follow without any prior knowledge. Although the crowd around me was continually laughing at jokes that I did not understand at all, so obviously there was a large part of this film that was built around nostalgia and assumed knowledge of previous stories. And I really do find it hard to deal with the way they depict women – it’s not something I’m going to get past.

But like I said, the film was entertaining enough, even if I think it’s probably more enjoyable for people that are already fans. The experience of being in a theater with a group of people that clearly adore the thing we are watching was worth it in itself. The crowd cheered when the credits started rolling if that’s anything to go by.

Well there you have it, that was my foray into the anime world . I think I’ll probably leave it to our anime team from now on, but it was fun.

Author: Undie Girl

Undie Girl (aka Von) has a BA (Hons) Major in Cultural Studies. The title of her honours thesis was “It’s just gay and porn”: Power, Identity and the Fangirl’s Gaze. She’s currently pursuing a Masters of Media Practice at University of Sydney. Von’s a former contributor The Backlot’s column The Shipping News and a current co-host of The Geekiary’s monthly webcast FEELINGS… with The Geekiary.


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About the author

Undie Girl (aka Von) has a BA (Hons) Major in Cultural Studies. The title of her honours thesis was “It’s just gay and porn”: Power, Identity and the Fangirl’s Gaze. She’s currently pursuing a Masters of Media Practice at University of Sydney. Von’s a former contributor The Backlot’s column The Shipping News and a current co-host of The Geekiary’s monthly webcast FEELINGS… with The Geekiary.

Comments

  1. I’m a huge fan of Dragonball/Z, but I will say that the female characters are woefully underused. It’s not even that they’re always treated poorly (though they’ve been subjected to some pretty terrible fanservice before, especially in Dragonball) so much as they’re a bunch of really interesting characters who get pushed aside for the sake of the episodes long battles featuring the male characters.

    I mean, Bulma is the CEO of the biggest company on the planet, she’s so unafraid of the genocidal maniacs they battle that she married one of them, and she’s easily the smartest character on the show. Chichi is the strongest human woman in the world, Android 18 is so powerful it took the cast three years to prepare for her and her comrade’s attack, and Videl learned to fly with her chi despite being 100% human. But every female fighter retired from fighting after they marry, and their personal stories and daily lives almost never get featured. Bulma started out the series as a co-lead with Goku, and by the end she was a supporting character.

  2. I agree with you about the female characters in the series…I started to watch because of Vegeta but it became all about Goku…i can’t watch anime or even read comics that are all about one single character and the other’s become too weak…like if Goku loses, it’s the end and the rest can’t really do anything about it…at least with Naruto (even though i don’t like the character) i still have other’s i can enjoy and who do useful things during battles

    Coming to female characters…i used to like Bulma and Chichi but then as Goku kept becoming stronger…the females got weaker, even the male ones, but at least they try to fight the bad guys, the females don’t do anything, except Android 18…in Naruto, even if Sakura takes more of a passive/healing role, she can still fight God-like beings when needed….that’s what i wanted to see in Dragon Ball, that even if females took a passive role, at least we knew they were strong in battle but now they are on the side-lines and nothing else

    The same with Orihimie from Bleach…yes she heals characters and makes shields but she does go into battle and saved the protagonist countless times…that’s why i stopped with DragonBall series and moved on to anime/manga that had better female characters in it and a supporting cast that helped the lead hero in battle rather than packing up their bags and watch battles in front of them

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