Movie #2 Japanese Release: "Kono yo de Ichiban Tsuyoi Yatsu"
(The Strongest Guy in This World)
English Release: "The World's Strongest" 5-98

An aging scientist named Dr. Kochin uses the Dragon Balls to wish his colleague, Dr. Willow, free of the icy tomb that imprisons him. Willow's body has died, but his brain survives in a robotic shell. His ambition is to take over the world by combining his brain with the body of the world's strongest man.

Initially, they mistake Kame Sennin to be this man, and they kidnap him, Piccolo, and Buruma. Goku, Gohan, and Kuririn come to rescue their friends, and are confronted with the mad scientist's powerful robots. Kochin and Willow soon discover that it is Goku after all who is the strongest man alive, but their efforts to take over his body fail. The robots are destroyed, Kochin is killed, and Willow decides that Goku is too strong. He attempts to destroy the Earth, but Goku counters the massive blast with a Genkidama, which atomizes Willow and his dark ambitions.

Wow! I really enjoyed watching this movie, both versions. I hadn't seen it in a long time, and it was nice to watch it in English so that I could fill in the gaps as far as what I didn't understand before.

This one ties with the other two for my favorite of the early DBZ movies, which I guess means that I don't like any of them more than any other. They are all good for different reasons. This one has that "all around" thing going for it: cool story (well sort of), cool designs, cool robots, and a cool soundtrack. Nothing spectacular, but nothing sub-par either.

The Subtitled Version

Pioneer's third release (don't ask me why the second movie came out third) is just as good as the first two, but it also has the same problem that the third movie did: mistranslation of the villain's name. It is Tales, not Turles, and Doctor Willow, not Doctor Wheelo. Well, at least I think it's Willow. That would be more in keeping with the pun names tradition. Anyway, there's also the mono sound problem, which really sucks, but hey, what are you gonna do.

The Dubbed Version

As usual, all the interesting stuff to talk about is in the dub. To be honest, it turned out better than I was thinking it would, I was expecting something super annoying. I knew that there was a part wide open for an incredibly loud and screechy old man voice (Kochin) as well as Oolong and Kame Sennin, who have their biggest parts in all of Z in this movie. Both of the (most recent) voices for these characters make my skin crawl, and combine them with Peter Kelamis' Goku, and it's enough to make my skin walk right off my body.

But it really wasn't so bad! Paul Dobson turned in an adequate and tolerable performance as Kochin, without all the screeching and yelling that American voice actors seem to feel the need to do when they're playing an old man. Oolong's original NA voice actor was back, and while I'm not too thrilled with him, he's sure a hell of a lot better than whoever that guy was doing his voice in the third movie.

Kame Sennin, on the other hand, is a different story. In listening to this movie, I realized that I have been incorrectly blaming Peter Kelamis for this atrocity, it has been Dave Ward the whole time. Sorry Peter! All I know is that Dave must not be allowed to continue doing this character. I am kind of at a loss for words describing what exactly the problem is, you just have to hear it for yourself. He plays the character with this hideous yelping shriek that makes me want to tear my ears off. I have said it before, and I'll say it again: JUST GET A FRIGGING OLD MAN TO PLAY KAME SENNIN, NOT SOME OVERACTING TWENTY FOUR YEAR OLD!

As far as the rest of the voices, it was pretty much the standard. Peter Kelamis still plays Goku with that surfer accent that drives me insane, but I have to hand it to him, he says "KAIIIIOOOOOOKEN!!" at one point, and his pronunciation, delivery, and attitude is perfect. It sent chills down my spine. Even my brother, who refuses to watch English DBZ, happened to be in earshot and said "wow, that was actually pretty good." If he could just lose that accent, Peter would be fine with me. Oh and speaking of pronunciation, even though the subtitled version gives the evil doctor's name as "Wheelo" the dub actors clearly pronounce it "Willow." Can't explain that one.

Let's see, the rest...

Gohan's inserted song was undubbed, and it didn't even have subtitles this time like it did in the first movie. It sounded really awkward of course, for his voice to suddenly change like that. Don't get me wrong, I'm in no hurry to hear Saffron Henderson sing, but I'd rather they do that than simply leave the songs undubbed. It really creates an inconsistency, and it sounds kind of wierd.

The dubbed-version-only stereo sound was out in full force, and I have to admit, it sounds so damned good that I might just have to watch the dub on repeated viewings. There are some parts that are simply incredible with the stereo effects. Pioneer, please, PLEASE do a stereo mix for the subtitled fourth movie!

So, that's about it. I had a few other comments, but my computer crashed at one point, and I lost this review and had to redo it. Oh well, maybe I'll remember eventually. Anyway, see you for the fourth movie! (If it ever comes out, that is...)

The Cartoon Network Airing

This movie showed second (after movie 3) and it was the true test of Cartoon Network's mettle. The "Tree of Might" shown the week before was the syndicated version, it had already been butchered, but this was a world television premiere; it was up to CN to decided how it would be shown. I was worried that they'd change the background music and edit in the Shuki Levy garbage, I was almost positive that "Piccolo-san Daisuki" would be removed, and I had even prepared myself for the horrifying prospect of a Saban-like chop fest.

Boy was I relieved. "World's Strongest" fared the best by far of the three. America got to hear the original BGM for the first time, punches to the face were out in full force, the words "die" and "kill" were being thrown back and forth in all their glory, and NOZAWA-SAN SANG! Yep, Cartoon Network was cool enough to allow this weird little Japanese song to air!

And, as before, the promo deserves a special mention, particularly this time. It was Don LaFontaine doing the narrating again (yay!), and of course it was done in that awesome Cartoon Network style. But something else happened, something.... great. It was a short, 4 second blip of the original Japanese title flashing onscreen, intercut with some movie footage, to the sound of the ORIGINAL JAPANESE VOICES! I almost soiled myself when I saw it, I just stared at the TV in disbelief. It was really quick, but man, how cool! I love Cartoon Network.

So anyway, onto the snippety snipping.

  • The opening and ending themes were cut and replaced with "Rock the Dragon." Oh well. That was sad, but I figured they'd do something like that. It happened again the next week with "Dead Zone." Also, the Japanese title card "Kono yo de Ichiban Tsuyoi Yatsu!" (which pops up just after Kochin says: "The world will be ours!") was snipped out. That was really weird because, like I said, it was in the promo.

  • Oolong: "Gohan are you sure you didn't tell anyone where we were going today?" Gohan: "Of course not, I told you I didn't." (Begin cut) "But just between you and me, what are you going to ask the Eternal Dragon anyway?" (Oolong imagines a pair of panties floating down from the sky) Oolong: "Heh heh heh, you'll see..." (end cut)

    Oh come on! Please don't be that way CN! So he's a pervert, who cares? Can the sight of women's underwear REALLY be that harmful?

  • No subtitles on Gohan's song. I wasn't expecting them, since (for some reason) they weren't in the dubbed video version of "World's Strongest" (even though they were in "Dead Zone"), but I was hoping that CN would add some. It was the next week, though, that was really a surprise, when they actually REMOVED the subs from "Tenkaichi no Gohan" in "Dead Zone."

  • Kochin: "Damn... Get them!" was changed to "What?? Get them!" (The "what??" was said at another point in the movie, and they just superimposed it here.)

  • Kochin to Gohan: "What the hell do you think you're doing?" was changed to "What do you think you're doing?" by cutting out "the hell." I must say, this was done with surgical precision, it sounds flawless. But watch Kochin's mouth, you can see it skip just a bit.

  • Willow: "What the hell is he trying to do?" This was interesting. The actual footage wasn't cut, but the dialogue is silenced. You can still hear the BGM though, so they just nixed the vocal track, I guess.

  • Willow: "Damn you, Goku!" was changed to some "AAARGH!" type sound.

  • At the end of the credits, "Owari" (the end) comes onscreen in hiragana. Truly odd, since the dubbed video version just says "the end" in English. Why didn't they just use that??

So, there you have it. I don't have much more to say, except that I was very pleased with how well this movie survived. The Oolong panty fetish thing kind of worries me, though. If CN needs this "pervert" type stuff removed from all future DBZ, then that kind of sucks for obvious reasons. Still, even if they do need to snip that stuff and the swearing, we're WAY better off than how it was with Saban.


* by the way, those of you who are wondering why I translated the title as "The Strongest Guy" rather than "The Strongest Man," it is because "yatsu" is a less formal, more colloquial way of saying "man," so "guy" is a bit closer to the actual meaning.