We?ve now seen the first poster of the live-action Dragonball movie, and it is not satisfactory. Let?s start with the good: they got the number of stars on Goku?s original Dragonball correct. And now the bad: Bulma looks like Claire from Resident Evil, Master Roshi looks like Chow Yun Fat wearing a Hawaiian shirt, Chichi looks like nothing, Goku looks like he?d be at home at a bro bar, and Mai?who gives a shit about Mai? At best, she was a minor comic foil to Pilaf?s antics. She doesn?t throw a punch in the whole comic series. Worst of all is how Goku holds his Dragonball like Yamcha?s weak-ass ?super move,? sokidan.
This does not look good. Next thing, we?ll be getting Krillin totally written out of the movie and replaced by some random asshat. Wait, this has already happened, you say? This movie is shaping up to be one giant ass-eating piece of suck. Before things get any worse, we?ve assembled a must-have list of elements for the movie to retain from the series in order to keep the spirit of the original Dragonball intact. That?s right, the original series (the arc this movie is being based on); no ?It?s over nine-thousaaaaaand!? Z bullshit here. Not including a single one of these things will result in something significantly worse than Dragonball GT.
8) No Gratuitous Shots of Bulma?s Boobies
By last count, Bulma bares her bust at least three times to various horny males, including the time Oolong changes into her to show her vanilla pudding bags to Master Roshi (she also does one emphatic flash of her bottom half, for good measure). Yes, before she became relegated to fixing broken Dragon Radars and sporting groovy new hairstyles of the day, Bulma was the series resident fan service who flashed us more than a drunken college chick in Girls Gone Wild (well, nearly as much). To be deprived of her rack for a sissy PG-13 rating would be a disservice to any red-blooded male and many rugged, rack-appreciating females (God bless you gals!). Emmy Rossum?s shirt should come down at least twice, with close-up of Yamcha’s nosebleeds when appropriate.
7) Starring More Svelte Femme Fatales than Testosterone-Induced Warriors
On that note, seriously, the entire Dragonball series has like, two legitimate female fighters, one of whom is an android. Even including the movies, the world of Dragonball is not a female-friendly place. It?s a Darwinian landscape where women are shoved to the margins, and in those margins make rice balls for the hungry warriors. We don?t care what women are thinking about, unless it?s about how their men are so difficult to deal with?as they should be, the world-saving bad-asses that they are. So why does the poster have more chicks than dudes on it? Where the hell are Krillin, Tienshinhan, and all of Piccolo?s instrument-named henchmen? Why is Mai suddenly his right-hand ?man?? This just smacks of marketing deception and equal opportunity employment. The fact is, in Dragonball, the women can?t do it too. Get Chichi back in the house making Gohan a geek; again, pull Bulma?s shirt down all the way to her ankles; and if we must include Mai, at least ?reinvent? the series with a little lesbian action with Lunch in both her incarnations (is she even in this movie? No? Blasphemy!). Please, ladies, let us guys have this one and just go and eat chocolate and sip chardonnay or whatever it is y?all do together on a Friday night.
6) Making Goku More Like Gohan than God
Speaking of Chichi, all indications of story synopses point to a sad, sad premise of the movie: Goku is a high school student. Goku is a simple, generous soul, and probably the strongest manga character who ever lived. He is not, however, a student. Goku hates school, or, at least, he can?t read. We?ve never seen him read anything other than a Dragon Radar, and we?re not about to start with any of that learning nonsense now. Save the school story arc until the mentally-weak Gohan (that’s him above) enters the story. Leave Goku, eternal savior and representative of the little guy (remember, he is the lowest level of Saiyan) as he is.
5) Replacing the Japanese Music with Generic ’80s Metal
Man, Dragonball had some great music didn?t it? Of course, I?m talking about the original Japanese mood music, not the bastardized American metal rock. Don?t believe me? Compare the intros. First, the Japanese original Dragonball theme song:
It gets you pumped for the action and journey, with inspirational lyrics like ?The world is itself a giant treasure chest,? and ?Let?s break through the sky on cloud machines? that testify to the adventure of the search for seven magical orbs from God. The American song, on the other hand:
A bunch of assholes screaming ?Rock the Dragon!? to wailing guitars like Ultimate Warrior?s intro music. It?s a little catchy in a mindless chant sort of way, but we?re taking the ?mystical? quotient down several notches with this kind of stuff.
4) Creating Original Characters for the Movie
Original characters created apart from the author?s intentions are never a good idea. That?s how creatively-challenged anime TV series always fuck up the original manga ? they include unnecessary, unmotivated characters who have no relevance in the grander story arc, but can fill up precious screen time by stalling us while the manga?s creator thinks of new ideas. Hence, bland and derivative characters like Pikkon (or Paikuhan, above), the robot on Kaio?s tiny planet, and every filler character in Naruto. The movie is already including lame ?schoolmates? of Goku?s named Weaver and Texas Battle. These characters should not have any role whatsoever in the movie other than to die swift, grotesque deaths, ala assassin Tao Pai Pai’s tongue-into-the-temple. That being said, we don?t need every single dead member of the Red Ribbon Army either (just General Blue?he?s hilarious!). Speaking of dead characters, making Master Mutaito into Sifu Norris, played by Ernie Hudson, just sounds plain retarded, as does this description according to DB the Movie: ?Male, late 50s?early 70s, noble and intelligent man, regardless of race or nationality.? Let me get this straight: you mean to say he?s intelligent despite his race and nationality? Wow, imagine that! Racist xenophobes.
3) Making Yamcha and Yajirobe Cool
Okay, so it appears that no animal characters are going to be included in the film, hence robbing us of an Oolong vs. Puar shape-shifting derby. (On a side note, we submit that Oolong and Puar make the best Dragonball slaves. You could make them change into every hot celebrity who ever lived and have sex with them ? in Oolong?s case, however, only in three-minute quickies. Or you could send one to work everyday while you lie at home and have sex with the other one?s celebrity likeness. The possibilities are endless.) But with Piccolo as the main adversary, Vegeta not yet in the story, and Krillin, Goku?s BEST FRIEND, inexplicably written out of the entire movie, we might be seeing a lot more of Yajirobe and Yamcha, two of the most laughably weak characters who?ve ever lived on the combustible Dragonball earth as Goku?s posse. We love them, but they must be used as comic relief, if at all.
Yajirobe is, to quote Urban Dictionary, ?a pussy-ass character in the Dragonball series who pretty much does nothing except eat and give the other fighters senzu beans.? Perfectly said; he?s a fucking coward. But Yamcha looks like he?s going to enjoy some underserved bad-ass status when in reality he?s probably the most pathetic character in the entire series. Did you know that if you do something sad but hilarious like fall on your ass in a Japanese gym class, the other kids will say you pulled a Yamcha? (Check out this Japanese ?tribute? to Yamcha?s efforts.) We?re talking about a character who, after his colleagues learned elaborate fireballs, sound-piercing energy blasts, and razor-like slicing beams, still thinks he can get by with the ?Wolf Fang Fist.? Can?t anyone do the ?Wolf Fang Fist?? It?s just a bunch of punches and kicks. Even when Yamcha does something more complex like a Kamehameha blast or spirit ball, he manages to fuck it up somehow and get killed or maimed right after. I could go on and on about Yamcha.
2) Kamehameha Abuse
For all the jokes about Dragonball being a one-dimensional anime and manga series where the characters only use Kamehameha blasts to kill each other, they?re simply unfounded. Only two battles in the entire manga series have been decided by a Kamehameha: the Cell saga, and one early on where Goku turns a giant octopus into takoyaki (it?s true; look it up). The anime series uses Kamehameha blasts considerably more, but again, TV series always screw with the original creator?s intent. That being said, Kamehamaha blasts, while they must be doled out incrementally and with caution, need not be the end-all either. Goku and co. have finished off opponents by slicing off their heads; flying jump kicks and head butts to the abdomen; razor-blade beams cutting bodies in half; spontaneous combustion; delayed combustion; energy collected from the planet; turning people into cookies; and by switching bodies with frogs. Let?s not forget any of that invention.
1) No Fighting Tournaments
Do you know the rumored story of how Akira Toriyama nearly ended Dragonball barely a couple dozen episodes into its initial run? Apparently, audiences weren?t digging the mix of martial arts and humor following Toriyama?s mega-gag manga Dr. Slump, so Toriyama was instructed by his editors at Shonen Jump to end the damn thing. Toriyama thought to himself that if he?s going to go out, he?s going out with a bang, and decided to pit all of his characters against each other in an elimination-style fighting tournament. The rest, as you know, is history, and the movie needs to incorporate this history by having at least one grand fighting tournament, and also having Wayne Knight or Dom DeLuise play that filthy fucker Bacterian. You know, there are not nearly as many good obese actors as there used to be.
Robert Bricken is one of the original co-founders of the site formerly known as Topless Robot, and its first editor-in-chief, serving from 2008-12. He brought the site to prominence with “nerd news, humor and self-loathing” as its motto, raising it from total internet obscurity to a readership in the millions, with help from his savage “FAQ” movie reviews and Fan Fiction Fridays. Under his tenure Topless Robot was covered by Gawker, Wired, Defamer, New York magazine, ABC News, and others, and his articles have been praised by Roger Ebert, Avengers actor Clark Gregg, comedian and The Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax, and others. He is currently the managing editor of io9.com. Despite decades as both an amateur and professional nerd, he continues to be completely unprepared for either the zombie apocalypse or the robot uprising.