Okay, I have to admit it feels just a tiny bit awkward for a woman my age to go see an anime film … but this is Dragon Ball! Ever since they announced that the first new Dragon Ball movie in 17 years was going to be released, I knew I would have to go see the movie. After all, when you’ve grown up reading or watching Dragon Ball, it’s hard not to be excited about seeing Goku and his brethren again after nearly two decades. So, I might as well do away with pretense and just go see the movie right? Well, go see the movie I did over the opening weekend, and so did more than 500,000 moviegoers across Japan as well.

The highly anticipated new Dragon Ball movie, “Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods” (Dragon Ball Z: Kami to Kami) opened in 312 theaters last Saturday, March 30, and over the weekend, the film drew in a crowd of 561,098 across the country, grossing an enormous 683,925,000 yen (approx. US$7.2 million) in the two-day period to top the weekend box office rankings. To put things into perspective, that’s roughly 4.2 times the opening weekend gross of “One Piece The Movie — Episode of Chopper Plus: Bloom in the Winter, Miracle Cherry Blossom” (what a title!), and 1.5 times the gross of “One Piece Film: Z” (the highest grossing film released from Toei Company since 2000), both feature-length anime films of the hugely popular manga (comic) series One Piece.

Yes, it seems that at least for the opening weekend, both boys and girls, young and old have flocked to theaters to see Battle of Gods. Toei, which also produces the Dragon Ball anime movies, expects the film to ultimately gross close to 3 billion yen (approx. $31.5 million). Incidentally, the movie is also the first Japanese film ever to be shown in digital IMAX.

You have to say the box office figures are impressive, especially considering that the actual Dragon Ball manga series in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine has been over for about 18 years. But then again, like I said before, it’s kind of hard to grow out of Dragon Ball if it was part of your childhood.


And how has the movie itself been received by the public? Comments from Japanese internet users are admittedly mixed, although that’s bound to happen with a series with as huge and devoted a following as Dragon Ball. And in any case, varying as the opinions may be, enough fans seem happy with the movie.

I won’t go into the storyline so as not to spoil it for those of you who may be seeing the movie in the future, but the consensus among viewers seems to be that the Battle of Gods is heavy on comedy and light on super-power fighting. Even the main antagonist, the God of Destruction, is a quirky, even goofy character. So, if you like the serious, the-fate-of the-world-hangs-in-the-balance battles like the ones fought against Frieza or Cell in the original series, you may find the movie a little lacking in tension and heavy-duty action. On the other hand, if you enjoyed the light-hearted comedic atmosphere that set the tone of the series in the beginning when Goku was a young boy, then the movie may be more to your liking.

Personally, I thought the movie was good fun. Not a deep moving story by any means, and simple enough for young kids to enjoy, but there are many genuine laugh-out-loud moments, and seeing all the familiar characters after so many years makes it feel like a reunion. It actually made me wish the 1 hour 25 minute-long movie was a little bit longer, just so we could see more of the characters. Oh, and if you like Vegeta (which many Japanese women seem to do, since he ranks high on the list of anime characters women want as lovers), you’ll probably have fun watching the movie, as he has some outrageously hilarious moments as well as cool ass-kicking scenes. And of course, the artwork and bright colors were visually stunning.

All in all, it was a satisfying viewing experience for me, and truth be told, I think for many fans, it’s simply too exciting to see Goku and his friends on the big screen again to feel anything but happy. Well, that’s the magic of Dragon Ball. Let’s just hope we won’t have to wait another 17 years for the next one!

Source: Cinema Today (Japanese)
Oricon Style (Japanese)

Photos: RocketNews24

▼Some of the Dragon Ball goods sold at the theaterIMG_1708



▼The Purikura (Photo Sticker Booth) at the theater where you can take your picture with Dragon Ball charactersIMG_1730


▼The panel on display here is actually a jigsaw puzzle, not a posterIMG_1735

▼The Dragon Ball pens that came with advance tickets and the Dragon Ball Radar case that was distributed at theatersIMG_1760

▼Dragon Balls, anyone?IMG_1766

▼The official movie programIMG_1770

▼Some sneaky peeks at the program — the artwork is beautifulIMG_1773


▼The Dragon Ball pens fit into the Radar caseIMG_1778


▼Each Dragon Ball opens into a ball-point pen — the pens are adorable!IMG_1789