Okay, folks! Remember what day this past April 18 was? Well, here in Japan, April 18 may be Invention Day, but this year, it was also the opening day of the movie Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’! Since we’d already reported a fair bit of information about the new Dragon Ball movie, we thought it was only appropriate that we go see it on opening day and give you our impressions.

This time, fortunately, we didn’t have to wait 17 years for a new Dragon Ball movie like we did for the previous film, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. What’s more, we managed to get a ticket to a screening with special appearances by voice actors and idol group Momoiro Clover Z! Join us for our take on the movie and a report on all the excitement on opening day.

Now, we were already definitely excited about a new Dragon Ball movie being released, and when we found out there was going to be a screening  on opening day that would be followed by a special event in which some Dragon Ball voice actors and Momoiro Clover Z, who were performing the main theme of the movie, would appear as guests, we knew we just had to be there!

▼ The ticket for the special screening

0 P1140967 kako

▼ The screening was held at the Wald 9 Cinema in Tokyo’s Shinjuku.

1 P1140962

▼ When we entered the cinema complex, we were greeted by a giant Shenron with glowing red eyes!

2 P1140975

▼ There were fans in cosplay too. We couldn’t resist taking a picture of this particular fan in an awesome Frieza costume. Frieza, who was going to be the main villain in this movie, has quite a following in Japan.

3 P1140983 kako

▼ The gift shop, which was incredibly crowded that day, was full of Dragon Ball merchandise, including postcards and pens…

4 P1150025

▼ …key chains…

5 P1150009

▼ …Japanese style tenugui towels…

6 P1150004

▼ …and even bottles of water, one featuring a picture of Goku and another with Master Roshi’s “turtle” logo.

8 P1140994

▼ We also saw a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle…

9 P1150008

▼ …a cute little flying Dragon Ball contraption…

10 P1140990

▼ …and a Frieza plate (although we weren’t quite sure if this plate would make food placed on it look appetizing).

11 P1150018

Once we’d taken a look at the giant Shenron and the movie tie-in goods, it was time to see the actual movie! Yes, it was an anime film, but we didn’t see too many kids in the audience, especially since this was a showing with the special event. We’re guessing many were fans who grew up watching Dragon Ball, as well as fans of Momoiro Clover Z.

And what did we think of the movie? It certainly was action-packed, much more than the previous Battle of Gods. The story gets into the thick of things right from the start, and with a huge portion of the movie involving battle scenes with Frieza, fans of the villain should certainly be delighted.

Now, because Resurrection ‘F’ is heavy on the battle scenes, it turns out we don’t see as many supporting characters as we did in Battle of Gods, which had a bit of a reunion-like feel, but we guess that was somewhat to be expected, with Battle of Gods having been the first movie in the series to come out in 17 years. This time, in Resurrection ‘F’, the focus is on the central characters fighting Frieza and his army, with not that many light moments of humor (although there are a few, with most of them involving Bulma), so it should be satisfying to fans who enjoyed all the epic battles in the latter half of the original Dragon Ball series. At the same time, it was also nice to see some relatively fresh faces, like Beerus, the God of Destruction, and Whis, his mentor, who both first appeared in Battle of Gods, plus Jaco, the Galactic Patrolman, who was the lead character in another Akira Toriyama manga serial that was published as a one-volume comic last year.    

Long-time followers of the series should also be happy to see that Frieza’s vicious yet polite-on-the-surface demeanor hasn’t changed, and he’s intent as ever on taking his revenge on Goku, whom he considers his archenemy, providing the backdrop for some seriously kick-ass fighting. And really, sometimes that’s all you need for an entertaining film, right? Plus, the song “F” by rock band Maximum the Hormone, which was specifically written as a tribute to Frieza, added some excellent hardcore beat to the battle action in the movie.

As for the artwork, from a strictly aesthetic viewpoint, we thought that maybe Battle of Gods was slightly prettier to look at, but the strength and speed of the electrifying fight scenes more than made Resurrection ‘F’ a visually satisfying experience. All in all, it was classic Dragon Ball that didn’t disappoint.

And after the movie itself, we had the special event to look forward to! Once the screening was finished, voice actors Masako Nozawa (Goku), Ryo Horikawa (Vegeta), Masaharu Sato (Master Roshi) and Hanae Natsuki (Jaco), along with director Tadayoshi Yamamuro, appeared on the stage to enthusiastic applause from the audience. Each of the guests gave comments on what it was like working on the movie, accompanied with some “in-character” lines from the voice actors, which of course delighted the crowd. We have to say it was particularly convincing to hear Nozawa say, “Hey, everyone, do get at least 10 of your friends to go see this movie!” in Goku’s voice.

Nozawa further spoke about how it was at times challenging to record the lines when the scenes were only available as fast-moving blurred lines, but that she was, as always, awed to see how cool the finished movie looked. She also spoke briefly about her experience attending the movie’s premiere in Los Angeles, saying that it felt absolutely great to drive up to the theater in a limo, walk on the red carpet, and see all the fans, many of them dressed in Dragon Ball costumes.

It was also announced during the event that Resurrection ‘F’ was scheduled to be released in 74 countries around the world, giving fans something they could genuinely be happy about.

Then, the excitement of the crowd went up another notch when members of idol group Momorio Clover Z appeared wearing Dragon Ball-themed costumes. Each was designed as something that may be worn by a disciple or follower of a particular Dragon Ball character, namely Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, Chiaotzu and a combination of Bulma and Trunks. Of course, the group looked adorable in these outfits, and we all had a laugh when Nozawa commented, “Oh, they really are so cute! Now, no one ever calls us (voice actors) cute,” to which some people from the audience shouted “You’re cute too, Masako-san!” The theme song performed by Momoiro Clover Z, which we had heard during the end credits of the movie, was a catchy, pop tune, written from the imaginary perspective of what younger students going to the same school as some of the Dragon Ball Z characters may have to say.

The event lasted for about 35 minutes, finishing with a group picture session including the entire audience, with everyone striking the Kamehameha pose.

And after all the excitement was over, we still had some items to take home from the theater.

 ▼ Here are the three limited edition gift items that were handed out to all of the audience (available at theaters across Japan while supplies last):

12 P1150035

▼ We received a special edition Momoiro Clover Z post card…

13 P1150038

▼ …a Dragon Ball Ultimate Card Set…

14 P1150040

▼ …which included a “Five Dragon Ball Games Super Warrior Certificate” (left) and a “Dragon Ball Heroes Battle Card” (right)…

15 P1150049

▼ …and a “Dragon Ball Volume F” booklet in a sealed package with a warning not to open and read it until you’ve seen the movie.

16 P1150043

▼ Here’s what the booklet looked like:

17 P1150054

▼ It included character descriptions as wells a complete script of the film. No wonder you’re not supposed to read it before seeing the movie!

18 P1150056

▼ The introduction to the book included a message from Akira Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball, who also wrote the script for Resurrection ‘F’. He writes that the script really was more like a series of memos than a proper script, and that he’s amazed that it was made into an actual movie.

19 P1150061

▼ The items above were freebies, but we also bought a special “Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection  ‘F’ Newspaper” (left) and the official movie program (right).

20 P1150066

▼ The newspaper included various interviews as well as numerous scenes from the movie:

21 P1150069

▼ Here’s the cover of the official program. The artwork here is stunning.

22 P1150064

▼ The program included a two-page foldout poster.

23 P1150070

▼ And here are a few shots from the program for a peek at some of the scenes from the movie.

25 P1150072

26 P1150084

So, that’s our round-up on Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ and the opening day event. We have to say, the movie grabbed our attention from the start and held onto it until the very end, and we had a ball seeing the voice actors, the director and Momoiro Clover Z up-close after the screening. Naturally, it was a particular treat to hear the voice actors speak in the voice of their characters.

We’re already looking forward to the next Dragon Ball movie, so we hope you give us one without too long a wait, Toriyama-sensei!

Photos © RocketNews24