Dragon Ball: The Return of Son Goku and Friends! (ドラゴンボール オッス！帰ってきた孫悟空と仲間たち！！ Doragon Bōru: Ossu! Kaette Kita Son Gokū to Nakama-tachi!!, lit. Dragon Ball: Heya! Son Goku and Friends Return!!) is the second Dragon Ball Z OVA and features the first Dragon Ball animation in nearly a decade, following a short story arc in the remade Dr. Slump anime series featuring Goku and the Red Ribbon Army in 1999. The film premiered in Japan on September 21, 2008, at the Jump Super Anime Tour in honor of Weekly Shonen Jump's fortieth anniversary.
It received a manga adaptation in 2009.
Two years have passed since Kid Buu was defeated by Goku's Super Spirit Bomb with the help of Mr. Satan, who has become a hero for seemingly defeating him. However, Videl remembers the truth of those events, and seems to be embarrassed about her father for being a fraud. A gigantic hotel is being built in Mr. Satan's honor. Upon completion, Mr. Satan decides to throw a party for Goku and the others who fought Buu. Meanwhile, Goku, Chi-Chi, Goten, and Gohan have been making their living growing radishes, even though Mr. Satan provides them with plenty of money. Videl soon calls Gohan and asks him to bring his family to the party. At first Goku declines, but he changes his mind once he hears there will be an "all you can eat" banquet there (and even rips open the "fourth wall" in the process).
Master Roshi, Android 18, Krillin, etc., take off for the hotel and give Goku's family a lift. Piccolo decides to not ride along, but rather flies after them on his own. The group from Capsule Corporation arrives at the hotel first, and when Vegeta and Goku see each other, they begin to argue about fighting, since they both wore their usual fighting clothes to the party. Goku realizes the party is starting, and heads off to the assembly hall. Apart from Mr. Satan's family (including Bee and Fat Buu), Goku's family, the Dragon Team (except Tien Shinhan and Chiaotzu, who were included in Naho Ooishi's manga adaptation), Vegeta's family, and Roshi's group, the crowd includes Dende, Mr. Popo, Korin, Yajirobe, Puar, Launch, Ox-King, King Kai, Bubbles, Gregory, Kibito Kai, and Old Kai.
Despite the fact that there is supposed to be no media coverage of the party, members of the press appear and ask Mr. Satan questions about Buu's defeat. While the Z Fighters are eating, two Attack Balls land on Earth. Piccolo and Gohan are the first to notice, then 18 and Krillin, and eventually everyone stops eating and the atmosphere becomes tense.
A sharp-eyed Saiyan and a small alien emerge from the two spaceships. Using his scouter to detect higher battle powers, the Saiyan soon arrives at the party. Upon seeing Vegeta, the Saiyan calls him "big brother." The Z Fighters are all shocked by this sudden truth. The Saiyan introduces himself as Tarble, along with his wife Gure. Vegeta says that Tarble had been sent off to a remote planet because he had no talent for battle. Tarble begs our heroes to defeat Abo and Kado, who have ravaged his planet and pursued him to Earth.
Goku says that if they are strong, he will fight them. Tarble measures Goku's battle power with his scouter, and says that he will be of no help due to the fact that his suppressed power level is far too low for Abo and Kado's strength. Vegeta taunts Tarble for relying on his scouter to check power levels, and as an example, Goku begins to gather ki. The battle power reading on the scouter steadily increases up to millions. It soon breaks as Goku goes Super Saiyan, and Tarble is absolutely stunned by this incredible increase of Goku's power. After Goku and Vegeta argue over who should get to fight them, Goten and Trunks say that they want to fight too, Krillin and Gohan say they further more enjoy to do so as well, and eventually even Roshi wants to fight to remember the old days. Goku thinks it will be unfair if everybody fights the enemies, and suggests they select a single representative to fight by drawing lots.
Goku teleports Vegeta, Gohan, Goten, Trunks, Piccolo, Yamcha, Puar, Krillin, Roshi, Oolong, Videl, Chi-Chi, Bulma, Tarble, and Gure to Mount Paozu. Goku suggests that they each draw a radish, and the person who draws the longest radish will be the representative. After numerous tries from others, Goten draws out a very long radish, and it seems he will be the one to fight. This makes Vegeta jealous, and he tells Trunks to pull out an even bigger radish. Pressured by Vegeta, Trunks pulls out what at first seems like a very short, thin radish, which then turns out to be the longest one (it goes way down the mountain the field is on). This means that Trunks wins and will fight the enemies. Proud that his son will fight, Vegeta tells Trunks to avenge "Uncle Tarble". He then asks Tarble who Gure is and Tarble introduces her as his wife, much to Vegeta's shock, and he actually bows in respect. Master Roshi says that Saiyans tend to pick strange wives, which makes Chi-Chi and Bulma mad and hit him for his insult.
Meanwhile, two other spaceships land on Earth, containing Abo and Kado. Pursuing Tarble, they arrive at the hotel, and a panic erupts. Goku and the others soon return, and calm things down. Goku says to Vegeta that if there are two of them, they should also be two, to which he replies that Trunks should be enough. Goku, going against Vegeta, then tells Goten that he could fight too. Vegeta gets mad at Goku for letting Goten join Trunks, but relents when Bulma convinces him to agree.
It turns out Abo and Kado are remnants of the Frieza Force. Vegeta also knows of them, and says that they were supposed to rival the Ginyu Force in strength. Tarble says that the two have become much stronger, and that not even Frieza could beat either of them now. Goku gains enthusiasm when he hears that they are “only” at Frieza's power level, and decides that it is alright for Trunks and Goten to fight them alone. At first Abo and Kado underestimate the children's strength; initially the two adversaries get bashed and battered. But soon enough the two decide to get serious, and they each split into three people.
Trunks and Goten are soon restricted to their tremendous techniques, as the six people fighters are defending and attacking at every possible opportunity. Vegeta advises them to sense their ki and locate the real Abo and Kado rather than use their eyes and ears, but they cannot. Vegeta is irritated that Trunks has forgotten the basics, but Bulma says that is because he never taught Trunks them. He then says that Trunks lacks motivation just like her, prompting an argument between them, and Goku says that it is not the time for a marital quarrel. Gohan offers to help, but the two ambitious children refuse. They settle on having Gohan merely tell them where the real Abo and Kado are. With Gohan's accurate advice, Goten and Trunks drive Abo and Kado to the wall.
Cornered, Abo and Kado merge to become even stronger, forming the deadly Aka. Aka then begins to relentlessly tear into Goten and Trunks with a slew of aerial attacks, including bouncing them into the sky with a barbaric thrust, and grabbing them by their heads while tearing through the skies. Aka spins in a cyclone of deadly precision, tossing Goten and Trunks aside as if they were mere rag-dolls. Put on the defensive by Aka's attacks, Goten and Trunks use their own secret weapon, the Fusion Dance. However, it has been so long since they have used it that they fail and become chubby Gotenks. They eventually succeed on their second try, and Gotenks overwhelms Aka, using Yamcha's Wolf Fang Fist, Tien's Volleyball Attack, and to finish him off they use the Dynamite Rolling Thunder Punch, going Super Saiyan the moment they punch Aka, propelling him into a lake.
Everyone (except for Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, and Gotenks) leaves the battle and decides to continue the banquet. Aka then rises out of the lake, apparently enraged. He fires his signature Wahaha no Ha technique, which hits Gotenks and causes the Satan Hotel to collapse. Aka then starts shooting his Super Wahaha no Ha, damaging each part of the hotel one after the other. In order to protect his friends, Piccolo deflects each Super Wahaha no Ha energy bullets with a Special Beam Cannon. Krillin uses a Destructo Disc to protect Android 18 and Marron. Yamcha protects Bulma, Oolong and Puar from the falling rubble by using the Spirit Ball, Yajirobe saves some people by slicing rubble in half with his sword, and Roshi also protects a group of maids from the rubble. When saving everyone, Yamcha and Krillin change into their traditional Turtle School uniforms.
Goku and Vegeta decide to finish off Aka. While flying towards him, Goku points and asks “What's that?!”, causing Vegeta to look away. With Vegeta distracted, Goku takes off towards Aka. Aka fires a Flaming Wahaha no Ha which Goku counters with a Kamehameha, and then he nails Aka with a single punch. Vegeta later states that was a dirty trick by Goku.
Aka is finally defeated, and the battle is over. Videl tells her father that having his hotel smashed was a punishment for being big-headed; Satan agrees and promises to change. Goku and Krillin say that he could make a wish to Shenron to rebuild it, to which he almost agrees (Videl then reminds him of his promise), and the party starts again amid the hotel rubble. As the party continues, the two villains are invited to the party by Goku, who enjoy the radishes that Goku and Chi-Chi had been growing. Goku eats Vegeta's sushi (which he states to have saved for last), who eats Goku's Char Siu (which was also the last remaining) in return. Angry, the two finally turn Super Saiyan and begin yelling at each other, as everyone else watches in amazement (excluding Chi-Chi and Bulma, who continue eating in embarrassment).
This special is stated to take place about two years after the defeat of Kid Buu. Therefore, it is set in Age 776.
The Return of Son Goku and Friends! premiered at the Jump Super Anime Tour from September 21, 2008 and continued to be shown until the festival concluded on November 23. The following day, November 24, the film was made available to stream on the website Jumpland, for both Japanese and English viewers (with subtitles); it remained available until January 31, 2009.
On November 22, it was announced in Weekly Shonen Jump that The Return of Son Goku and Friends! would be made available, along with the other Jump Super Anime Tour specials One Piece: Romance Dawn and Tegami Bachi: Light and Blue Night Fantasy, on a limited-edition DVD that could only be ordered through the Weekly Shonen Jump, V-Jump, and Jump SQ. This special DVD includes the non credits version of the ending "Orange Hero" by jealkb.
A two-part manga adaptation drawn by Naho Ooishi. The first part was released on March 21, 2009 in V-Jump issue #5, and the second part on 21 April 2009 in V-Jump issue #6. The issues were collected into a single manga volume released on September 10, 2010.
The special received a wider release when it was included as a bonus on the special edition home release of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, released on September 13, 2013.
- Tarble vs. Abo and Kado (unseen)
- Goten and Trunks vs. Abo and Kado
- Goten and Trunks vs. Aka
- Gotenks (Base/Super Saiyan) vs. Aka
- Goku (Super Saiyan) vs. Aka
- In the poster for the film, Vegeta is wearing his Majin Buu Saga outfit, despite the fact that he wears Battle Armor in the special. Old Kai has a halo above his head, despite the fact he does not have it in the special, as the wish Porunga granted to Dende revived everyone who had died since the day of the 25th World Martial Arts Tournament, including Old Kai.
- The intro sequence is a remake of the TV series' original intro, "Cha-La Head-Cha-La", and features a more modern look for the characters and situations.
- At the beginning, Goten pulls out from behind Goku's leg instead of Gohan.
- When Goku and Goten are riding the Nimbus, Vegeta is seen flying around them with Kid Trunks riding on his back.
- Instead of Kid Gohan running on Shenron's back, Goten and Trunks are running. Instead of Yajirobe running in the background alone, he is also seen with Korin, Kibito Kai, and Old Kai.
- When the other Z Fighters pass up the kids, Gohan is seen flying while holding Chi-Chi (in place of Tien and Chiaotzu flying). This scene only features Yamcha, Krillin (with hair), Gohan, and Chi-Chi.
- Scenes of the characters with their families are shown. At Kame House, Krillin builds a sand castle with Marron as Android 18 and Master Roshi watch. At their home, Gohan and Goten swiftly eat while the Ox-King happily watches. At Capsule Corporation, Trunks is sitting by a water fountain as Mrs. Brief brings some drinks and Dr. Brief rides a bike.
- Instead of Gohan being chased by a dinosaur, Goten and Trunks are the ones seen running away from the dinosaur. It later switches to a scene with Bulma, Videl, and Chi-Chi running from the same kind of dinosaur, mirroring the scene where other characters (Master Roshi with Turtle on his back, Bulma, Oolong, and Puar riding on Bulma's bike, and Kid Gohan) all run from the same dinosaur in the original.
- When Tien, Yamcha, and Krillin are firing energy blasts, Krillin can be seen with hair. Also, Yamcha fires a Kamehameha rather than "charging" a Spirit Ball.
- Instead of Gohan running along plains with Shenron in the background, he is replaced with Goten and Trunks.
- Gohan falling through the sky and being caught by Goku is replaced with Goten falling through the sky, with Gohan flying around.
- With the final shot of the heroes, it shows them as they are at this point in the series. Master Roshi is no longer in the final group shot.
- Aside from the Dragon Team group pose at the end of the opening sequence, both Chiaotzu and Tien do not make an appearance in the movie, despite them being shown on the movie poster. This is likely because Tien's seiyu (voice actor), Hirotaka Suzuoki, died, and to honor his memory, they did not replace him (though they would soon after for Dragon Ball Z Kai). Both characters make minor appearances in the manga adaptation.
- Goku is seen wearing the original version of his uniform from the beginning of Dragon Ball Z (the outfit with the Turtle School kanji on the front and back of his outer shirt, and his old knot-styled obi over the waist).
- Krillin appears in the orange and blue outfit with hair. He appears bald on the movie poster, but in the movie itself, he appears with hair.
- The Tori-Bot and Neko Majin's faces are seen when Gohan is on the computer with Videl as well as an icon of the One-Star Dragon Ball.
- Mr. Satan seems to help Goku's family now whenever they are in financial need.
- The OVA hints that Trunks and Goten are at least as strong as Frieza (in his First Form), and Goku acknowledges that Abo and Kado "should be perfect for the kids" if they are only as powerful as Frieza was in his day.
- When Goten and Trunks fuse and accidentally become Fat Gotenks, they seem to be able to defuse and refuse right away.
- The music played when Goku defeated Aka is a remix of the original Dragon Ball theme (this music is also played in the Japanese soundtrack of the movies Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone, when Piccolo and Goku attack Garlic Jr., and The World's Strongest, when Goku uses the Kaio-ken on Misokatsun).
- The special makes quite a big contradiction to the wish made of no one but the Z Fighters themselves remembering the threat of Majin Buu, both when it is shown that Mr. Satan names his hotel after "him defeating Buu" and when he is asked about the monster by the press.
- The Mother with sunglasses, seen rolling a stroller with three kids, is a recurring minor character in the Dragon Ball series.
- The ZTV journalist with the orange hair who comes to interview Mr. Satan also appears in Dragon Ball: Plan to Eradicate the Super Saiyans.
- Additionally, the journalist re-uses the character design of Akane Kimidori from the 1997 Doctor Slump anime.
- On the movie poster, Launch is shown in her bad form, but throughout the whole special, she remains in her good form.
- Android 18 appears in the movie poster in her first outfit in the Androids Saga, but wears her outfit in the World Tournament Saga in the special.
- New Dragon Ball, Tegami Bachi Anime Now Streaming. Anime News Network (November 11, 2008). Retrieved on February 23, 2009.
- New DB, Tegami Bachi, Romance Dawn Anime DVD Offered. Anime News Network (December 12, 2008). Retrieved on February 23, 2009.