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Many Japanese animation fans, after having their hopes dashed and their hearts broken one too many times, come to accept the truism that it’s just not possible to make a good live-action version of their favorite anime. Right now, it’s Attack on Titan’s turn in the hot seat, as its two recently released movies have been roundly roasted by fans of the original work and critics alike, and years ago Dragonball Evolution had far more people groaning than cheering as their left theaters.

But maybe it’s not so much that anime has to stay hand-drawn, but just that it can’t be replicated by human actors. We’ve seen Attack on Titan look cool in stop-motion and sheep sub for the cast of Dragon Ball. As a matter of fact, maybe you can even show part of a human actor, just not the whole person, like in this epic and funny battle between two of Dragon Ball’s mightiest martial artists…as played by a pair of finger puppets.

The brains (and fingers) behind DragHAND Ball Z are YouTube creators nigahiga. As the video opens, we see two housemates relaxing in their front room.

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Their mid-afternoon loafing is interrupted as they receive a text from a third housemate, asking for one of them to help him carry in the groceries. But neither man is in any mood to vacate their admittedly comfortable-looking sofas, so they decide to settle who should go help with their hands. But after heated disagreements over the rules of rock-paper-scissors and thumb wrestling, they realize there’s only one way to settle this: with super-powered hand vs. hand combat!

Transforming into the heroic Goku and villainous Frieza, the two show off some impressive moves, as they unleash flurries of lightning-fast kicks and punches, augmented with dynamic visual and sound effects.

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There’s even a bit of slow-motion parkour as their battle takes them around the first floor of the house. And, of course, what’s a Dragon Ball fight scene without some chi being blasted around?

▼ Extra points for the clever way nigahiga handled Frieza’s tail.

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▼ We’re always happy to see a dance battle between Goku and his cold-hearted adversary.

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But eventually Frieza grows tired of exchanging hand and finger-based puns with his rival. Looking to put an end to the contest, he transforms into a more powerful form!

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Of course, two can play at that.

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In proper Dragon Ball fashion, the fight’s climax comes down to the opponents hurling giant blasts of crackling energy at one another. Don’t think you already know how this fight is going to turn out, though, because the video still has a surprise or two up its sleeve, including a surprise cameo by another famous anime icon who we’re hoping gets the nigahiga treatment soon.

Related: nigahiga YouTube channel
Source: YouTube/nigahiga, H/T Kotaku Japan
images: YouTube/nigahiga