- This article is about the movie. For the technique, see Dead Zone (technique). For the void itself, see Dead Zone (void).
Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone (ドラゴンボールＺ Doragon Bōru Zetto, lit. "Dragon Ball Z"), also known as Dragon Ball Z: The Movie, and later referred to as Dragon Ball Z: Return My Gohan!! (ドラゴンボールＺ オラの悟飯をかえせッ!! Doragon Bōru Zetto Ora no Gohan o Kaese!!) in Japan, is the fourth Dragon Ball movie and the first under the Dragon Ball Z banner.
It premiered on July 15 at the 1989 Toei Cartoon Festival (along with movies from the Akuma-kun, Himitsu no Akko-chan, and Mobile Cop Jiban series). It was originally titled simply Dragon Ball Z: The Movie during its theatrical release. It was then dubbed into English by the Canadian company Ocean Group in 1997 for the American company Funimation dub, the title being changed to Dead Zone. It was then re-dubbed by Funimation itself in 2005.
The movie begins with Piccolo continuing his training in the wastelands when he is suddenly ambushed and attacked by Garlic Jr. and his henchmen, Ginger, Nicky and Sansho. They defeat Piccolo and believe to have killed him, along with Kami in the process as the two are of the same body and mind. However unbeknownst to him, Kami is still alive though weakened. Kami notes that Piccolo has been beaten, but is uncertain as to whom defeated him, wondering briefly if it was Goku before dismissing it.
Sometime later, Gohan is doing his studies and when he is called for dinner by his mother he sees his grandfather the Ox-King arriving with presents. The Ox-King is then suddenly attacked from behind by Ginger and when Chi-Chi goes to protect her son she is easily defeated. Sensing that something is wrong Goku rushes back home to see what's wrong only to be too late. Chi-Chi tells him that the monsters have kidnapped Gohan to get his Dragon Ball.
Having delivered the Dragon Ball to Garlic Jr., he is now in possession of five of the balls and states that when his collection is complete he will wish for immortality and then plunge all living creatures under misery and despair. Sensing a mysterious power coming from Gohan he decides to make him one of his attendants thinking that one day he could become of great use to him.
Meanwhile, Goku has gone to Roshi's island where Bulma gives him the Dragon Radar which he uses to locate Gohan and Garlic Jr.'s fortress in the Crimson Sea to the south.
Having gathered the final two Dragon Balls, Garlic Jr. summons Shenron and makes his wish for immortality. He claims himself as ruler of the Earth and vows to kill all humans as revenge for his father.
Goku then arrives and demands that he wants his son back. Moments later, Kami also appears alongside him, surprising Garlic Jr. and the others who thought he had died. Kami explains that Garlic Jr.'s father once competed with him over the title of Guardian of Earth but the previous Kami did not choose him due to seeing through his evil schemes. Angry for not being chosen, he rebelled, however the previous Kami sealed him away.
Goku rushes into the fortress with Garlic Jr.'s henchmen following after him and then confronting him in battle. The three soon power up further, increasing their strength and speed in the process. Shortly afterward Krillin arrives to assist Goku, followed by Piccolo who decide to a spare fight for his earlier defeat.
Meanwhile, Kami battles Garlic Jr. outside with the latter quickly gaining the upper hand. Krillin heads to get Gohan as Piccolo fights and easily defeats Sansho while Goku fights Ginger and Nicky and kills them with a Kamehameha.
On the verge of defeat and having no other choice, Kami prepares a final suicidal attack in an attempt to take out Garlic Jr. with him but stops once Goku and Piccolo show up. Outnumbered two to one, Garlic Jr. transforms into a more powerful form, increasing his size, strength and speed drastically, allowing him to overwhelm them both at the same time.
Acknowledging Garlic Jr.'s strength, Goku and Piccolo both remove their weighted clothing. The resulting increase in power allows the two to seemingly defeat Garlic Jr.. Piccolo then demanded that he and Goku "settle the score" and fight to the death. However, before they could start their showdown, Garlic Jr. is revealed to have survived their earlier attack due to his newfound immortality. He then creates the Dead Zone, a void that begins to pull in everything within the vicinity along with Goku and the others. At this point, an enraged Gohan emerges before Garlic Jr. Realizing that Gohan's power surpasses his own, he increases the power of the Dead Zone but Gohan snaps and sends a huge wave of energy at Garlic Jr., knocking him into the Dead Zone with no chance of escape and the Dead Zone shatters entirely. With the world once again at peace, Goku and Gohan, who has no memory of his power, head back home.
Dead Zone was originally released on VHS and Laserdisc in Japan. In 2006, Toei Animation released Dead Zone as part of the final Dragon Box DVD set, which included all four Dragon Ball films and thirteen Dragon Ball Z films. These were presented in a new widescreen transfer from the original negatives with a 16:9 aspect ratio that was matted from the original 4:3 aspect ratio.
Dead Zone was released on December 17, 1997 to VHS, Laserdisc and DVD by Pioneer in conjunction with Funimation. The DVD included the original Japanese audio and the uncut version of the Ocean Group dubs and was presented in an unmatted 4:3 aspect ratio. The movie also aired several times on Toonami in a slightly edited format. Pioneer re-released Dead Zone in a box set alongside The World's Strongest and The Tree of Might on October 9, 2001. Funimation acquired the DVD rights for the first three movies from Pioneer in 2004 and released Dead Zone again on May 31, 2005, containing a brand-new in-house dub with an original score done by Mark Menza and the original Japanese audio. It was later re-released in November 14, 2006, along with The World's Strongest and The Tree of Might, in a DVD boxset titled "First Strike." Funimation re-released Dead Zone and The World's Strongest on DVD and Blu-ray on May 27, 2008 as part of their "Double Feature" line. This new set featured a brand-new widescreen transfer from Video Post & Transfer and a new audio mix for the English dub featuring the original Japanese score done by Shunsuke Kikuchi in addition to the replacement score done by Menza.
Funimation repackaged the Double Feature DVDs into three new thinpak sets, the first of which was released on November 1, 2011 and included Dead Zone, The World's Strongest, The Tree of Might, Lord Slug, and Cooler's Revenge. These three sets were also released together in the Canada-only Dragon Ball Z: Complete Movie Collection featuring reversioned artwork of Goten and Trunks from Bio-Broly on the cover.
Funimation released Dead Zone, along with The World's Strongest and The Tree of Might, in its edited format as it aired on Toonami, on August 13, 2013 as a part of the Dragon Ball Z: Rock the Dragon Edition box set.
- A fourth English dub released in Malaysia by Speedy Video features an unknown cast.
- Furukawa's voice from the original Japanese version is retained in the AB Groupe dub at the beginning of this film, when Piccolo screams and destroys a large rock formation.
- In the Funimation English dub's credits, Sabat is miscredited as playing Ox-King, a mistake that was carried over into the Funimation dub of The World's Strongest.
- Some characters in the AB Groupe dub had more than one voice actor as noted above.
- Opening Theme (OP)
- Insertion Song (IN)
- "Tenka-ichi Gohan"; 天下一ゴハン (Gohan the Number One Under the Heavens)
- Lyrics: Sakiko Iwamuro, Music: Takeshi Ike, Arrangement: Kenji Yamamoto, Vocals: Masako Nozawa (Son Gohan)
- "Tenka-ichi Gohan"; 天下一ゴハン (Gohan the Number One Under the Heavens)
- Ending Theme (ED)
- Additional orchestral music composed by Shunsuke Kikuchi
The original Ocean-voiced 1997 dub kept the original Japanese music, making it the first dub from FUNimation not to feature a replacement score. FUNimation's 2005 in-house redub featured a new musical score by Mark Menza, although most releases also include the Kikuchi score with the English voice track as an alternate audio option.
- Piccolo vs. Ginger, Nicky, and Sansho
- Chi-Chi vs. Ginger
- Goku vs. Ginger, Nicky, and Sansho
- Kami vs. Garlic Jr.
- Piccolo vs. Sansho
- Goku vs. Ginger and Nicky
- Goku and Piccolo vs. Garlic Jr. (Super Garlic Jr.)
- Goku vs. Piccolo
- Gohan vs. Garlic Jr. (Super Garlic Jr.)
Anime News Network grades the movie an overall C+ saying the movies action is choreographed very well but the plot is thrown together and is basically just an excuse for fighting.
- Flashbacks in the Dragon Ball Z episodes "The Heavens Tremble", "Black Fog of Terror" and "Fight with Piccolo" feature animated footage from Dead Zone.
- This is the only movie to feature the ending theme song from the TV series ("Detekoi Tobikiri Zenkai Power!"). All other movies feature original songs as the ending themes. However, the animated sequence at the end is slightly different from the one in the series: this is just Gohan running around on the planet and features none of the "cutaway" scenes from the series (Yajirobe with Kami, the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, etc.). Gohan dressed as the Monkey King at the end is still there, though.
- This is one of the only post Dragon Ball entries in the series where Goku uses the Power Pole in combat, along with The World's Strongest.
- Despite being released under the Ultimate Uncut Special Edition line, the Funimation version is actually more censored than the original Pioneer Entertainment release.
- While the movie itself was fully uncut, the Ultimate Uncut version used the wrong opening animation. This was corrected in the double feature release.
- In the Remastered edition of this movie, the insert song was replaced in the English audio while in earlier Funimation releases of this movie had kept it in. This also goes for The World's Strongest which also had its insert song replaced in the remastered uncut English dub. Though if using the audio for English with Japanese score, then the songs are there.
- Garlic Jr. and his cronies try to kill Piccolo and know that doing so will kill Kami as well, but they do not seem to know that killing them will cause the Dragon Balls (which Garlic Jr. needs to be immortal) to become inert.
- Ironically, it was through their failure to kill Piccolo and by extension Kami, that ultimately allowed Garlic Jr. to obtain immortality as had they been successful it is likely Garlic Jr. would have been killed by Goku when he tried to takeover the Earth and/or when he learned of Piccolo and Kami's deaths when Dragon Ball on the Four-Star Dragon Ball Hat turned to stone (as Goku would have known that only their deaths could cause the Dragon Balls to become inert in such a manner) and/or from Mr. Popo who would have likely sought Goku's assistance in dealing with the threat of Garlic Jr. if Kami died.
- There are a few discrepancies. For example, Krillin was introduced to Gohan in the movie, yet he did not know who he was at the beginning of Dragon Ball Z. Additionally, in "Unlikely Alliance" ("The World's Strongest Team" in the original dub), Goku comments on his discovery that Piccolo trains with weighted clothes; however, he makes the same comments in Dead Zone. Also, despite not meeting him in person, Bulma and Master Roshi already knew about Gohan, while in "Reunions", they were extremely shocked to hear that Goku had a son.
- The 10th Shunsuke Kikuchi music package for the franchise starts here. The cues were designated "M8XX" codes, and this package would make its series debut in "Counting Down".
- Technically, it would seem that Shenron should not be able to grant Garlic Jr.'s wish for immortality, as Kami is not immortal, and the Dragon can only grant wishes that do not exceed the power of its creator. However other villains have sought to use the Dragon Balls to obtain immortality and it should be noted Shenron is capable of granting wishes that do things neither Kami nor Dende are capable of such as restoring the dead to life (and if they were capable of doing so, then there would be no need for Goku and his friends gather or use the Dragon Balls for that purpose which would be wise due to the dangers from overusing them), except when it comes to restoring the Eternal Dragon itself.
- Garlic Jr. is the first villain to be defeated by Gohan and the first to obtain immortality using the Dragon Balls (the second being Future Zamasu in Dragon Ball Super when he used the Super Dragon Balls).
- It is never specified as to why Garlic Jr.'s henchmen kidnapped Gohan. Simply taking the Dragon Ball would have been far easier and faster. In fact, their act of kidnapping Gohan was a huge blunder on their part, as Goku came to Garlic Jr.'s castle mainly to get Gohan back which lead to Ginger and Nicky being killed by Goku, and ultimately Garlic Jr. being defeated by Gohan himself.
- However it should be noted that Garlic Jr. sensed Gohan's hidden potential and planned to mold Gohan into an underling, though the appearance of Kami, Goku, Piccolo, and Krillin derailed his plans.
- It is the only film which later results in an anime filler saga as Garlic Jr. would return in the Garlic Jr. Saga and the events of the film are referenced.
- Dragon Ball. toei-animation-usa.
- Dragon Ball Daizenshuu 6: Movies & TV Specials (p. 44). kanzenshuu.
- Dragon Ball Z: The Movie - Dead Zone. amazon.
- Dragon Ball Z - Movie Boxed Set (Dead Zone/The Tree of Might/The World's Strongest). amazon.
- Dragon Ball Z: The Movie - Dead Zone (Uncut). amazon.
- Dragon Ball Z: First Strike. amazon.
- Dragon Ball Z: Big Green Dub Cast - Behind The Voice Actors. behindthevoiceactors (April 10, 2016).
- Behind The Voice Actors - Voice Compare: Dragon Ball Z - Sansho. behindthevoiceactors (April 10, 2016).
- Behind The Voice Actors - Voice Compare: Dragon Ball Z - Ginger. behindthevoiceactors (April 10, 2016).
- Big Green Identity Crisis. youtube (May 9, 2016).
- Ginger's Voice Changes In The Middle Of A Scene. youtube (February 28, 2016).