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Title:
  Dragon Ball GT Season 2

UK Distributor:  Manga Entertainment

BBFC Certificate:  PG

Suggested Retail Price (SRP): 34.99

Episodes:  35-64 (of 64)

Audio Options:  English, Japanese

Subtitles:  English

Release Date:  17th March 2014

Reviewer:  Rich (Webmaster)
 

Manga recently announced that the original Dragon Ball series is to be released on DVD in the UK, so we can finally see how Goku's journey began.  However, if you can't wait that long there's a fair few flashbacks to it in Dragon Ball GT Part 2, which hits the shelves first despite being the series that brings the saga to a close.

Goku's battle with the maniacal Baby has reached its climax with the heroic Saiyan reaching a level of power beyond anything he has previously achieved.  His latest transformation to Super Saiyan 4 has seen him turn the tide of the battle, but Baby still has a few more tricks up his sleeves and a trump card in the unlikely form of a brainwashed Bulma, who has designed a machine to boost his power.  With the battle going to the wire Goku will have to dig deeper than ever before if he is to emerge victorious.  However, Baby isn't the only thing threatening the Earth.  The late Doctors Gero and Myuu have conspired together to break out of Hell and release all of the villains Goku and his companions have previously defeated!  With everyone from the Red Ribbon Army to General Rilldo on the loose the Z Warriors would have their work cut out to contain them, especially with the Doctors creating a new and improved Android 17 and managing to trap Goku in Hell.  If this wasn't enough there's an even greater threat at hand from the thing that has saved them so many times - the Dragon Balls themselves!  Each wish on the Dragon Balls releases a huge amount of positive energy into the world, but as every action has an equal and opposite reaction an equivalent amount of negative energy is generated too.  This negative energy is stored within the balls themselves and should naturally dissipate over the century or so it should take someone to re-gather them, but due to Bulma's Dragon Radar the balls have been found and used far more often than intended, causing the negative energy to exceed their capacity.  One more use will rupture them, releasing seven dark dragons with unique elemental powers that will lay waste not only to the Earth but the entire galaxy!  Battered and bruised from all of the battles they have endured can our heroes rouse themselves one more time to defeat the most dangerous enemies of all?
 

So the Dragon Ball franchise comes to a close (well, barring the numerous films, the rebooted series and a couple of OVAs anyway), and the stakes are raised to their highest point with the fate of the galaxy in the balance.  An army of pretty much every enemy Goku and co have every faced, including a couple that have been powered up well beyond their original level, and a host of new enemies are arrayed before our heroes as the series looks to go out with a bang.  This volume starts well, with the conclusion of Goku's battle with Baby before Doctor Gero and Doctor Myuu unleash the hordes of hell onto the recovering planet.  The

scene is set for plenty of action, and this is pretty much what we get - Goku is pushed to the brink by Baby and all of the Z Warriors have to chip in to fight off the hordes of villains who descend on the planet, especially as this time they can't rely on Goku's help.  It's an promising setup, even if it is pretty lazy - it almost feels like the end of an old school beat-em-up, where you have to fight all of the previous bosses in a row before you face the final boss - but it's the final boss in this case that's the series' strongest hand.  The final storyline, focusing on the overuse of the Dragon Balls, is actually quite a good one and is the first original premise Dragon Ball GT has really had.  The Dragon Balls got massively overused as a plot device as the franchise went on, with their limitations being systematically removed to the point where they could pretty much do anything the story required.  To show that there was a consequence to this overuse was a great idea, and several of the dark dragons that arise make for interesting villains that bring a new challenge to the franchise.

It's a shame then that this volume suffers from many of the same issues that the first one did, in particular its over-reliance on old ideas which far outweigh any originality it has.  In many ways this one is even worse for it than season 1, resurrecting pretty much every enemy the Dragon Ball universe has ever spawned and re-using plot devices from earlier storylines such as the holy water from the Garlick Jr saga.  Bringing back all of the villains potentially sets up a series of good battles but in practice ends up as little more than a nostalgia-fest.  All of the main characters have powered up to a point where pretty much anyone prior to Cell provides little challenge, a fact that's painfully obvious when Pan defeats the Red Ribbon Army offscreen and Vegeta annihilates a resurrected Nappa in seconds.  Even Freiza and Cell, two of the most dangerous villains from Dragon Ball Z, are defeated with ease by Goku despite having trained constantly in Hell, an environment that effectively renders them immortal.  Their fight with Goku is nonetheless embarrassing, being played mainly for laughs with plenty of slapstick hijinks as Goku easily fends both of them off without even transforming into a Super Saiyan.
 

 

The overpowering of the characters remains a problem for the series as a whole.  In Dragon Ball Z the most powerful abilities had a drawback, often they took time to power up, were hard to control or couldn't be used at full power without risking destroying the planet.  Goku's Super Saiyan 3 transformation made him the most powerful fighter in the galaxy - even topping Kid Buu's strength - but could only be used for very short periods due to the amount of energy it used.  However, this time Super Saiyan 4 doesn't seem to have any drawbacks, and Goku uses it all the time through the rest of the series.  With nothing 

to mitigate its power the series instead just neuters it by introducing even more powerful enemies, thus rendering it - and the rest of the cast who can't come close to Goku's power - utterly redundant.  Once again everything falls to Goku, and that's something that got old a fair while ago.  To be honest though 'old' is this series' fall back option.  These final story arcs are a shameless nostalgia-fest, not only do all of the past enemies return but we get numerous flashbacks to both Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, something which does little but remind us of how inferior this new series is in comparison.

Dragon Ball GT continues in much the same manner as it started - stretching its original premise past breaking point and plundering its past in the hope of reliving former glories.  Is it bad in its own right?  No, there's plenty of action and the animation is decent (although there is a strangely childish style to all the characters that makes them look younger than they should be), and fans looking for more of the same will get that.  Unfortunately though the series fails on two counts - firstly it's for fans, it makes far too much reference to past events and characters for new viewers to really get what's going on, but secondly, the existing fans it's aimed at will find nothing in Dragon Ball GT that hasn't already been done better in the previous series.  It ends on a relatively strong note, with a decent idea that at least gives some consequences to the repeated use of the Dragon Balls, and even with a liberal sprinkling of flashbacks this is still an original note to end on.  It's a shame that the series couldn't find anything new until right at the end, and it's a shame that it has squandered some quite good ideas which could have been expanded on.  It's also a shame that it not only had to plunder the past so much, but do it selectively to avoid things that would get in the way of the story (King Kai's absence is explained in a half-assed manner by saying he has a cold, and senzu beans seem to be conspicuously absent).  However, whilst Dragon Ball GT is frustrating and often lazy, it's still an enjoyable enough action romp which provides an opportunity to see the Z Warriors in action one last time.  Well, until the films and Dragon Ball Z Kai get released anyway.

Extras

The final disc includes the short film 'A Hero's Legacy' set decades after the events of Dragon Ball GT.  This episode features Pan - now around 100 years old - as she looks after Goku's great-great-grandson and helps the timid young boy gain the confidence to stand up for himself.  It's a bit throwaway to be honest, but it's a nice side story that brings the story full circle.

Ratings

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