Dragon Ball Z: The Return of Cooler (ドラゴンボールＺ 激突！！１００億パワーの戦士たち Doragon Bōru Zetto Gekitotsu!! Hyaku-Oku Pawā no Senshi-tachi, lit. Dragon Ball Z: Clash!! 10,000,000,000 Powerful Warriors), also known as Dragon Ball Z: Fight! 10 Billion Power Warriors, is the ninth Dragon Ball film and the sixth under the Dragon Ball Z banner, originally releasing in Japan on March 7, 1992.
It was released on VHS and DVD in the United States in August 2002, and also had a limited theatrical run (as part of a double-feature with the U.S. premiere of Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn) on March 17, 2006. These were the first Dragon Ball related movies to receive a theatrical release in the United States. This film is a direct sequel to the fifth movie, Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge, and the first appearance of Vegeta in a movie.
The movie begins with the Big Gete Star. The liquid metal exterior of the star molds itself around New Namek, absorbing its energy. Dende, who is now the Earth's guardian, senses the plight of his people and calls Goku to ask for help.
Goku, Gohan, Oolong, Krillin, Yajirobe, Master Roshi, and Piccolo arrive and encounter an army of robots deployed on the planet to enslave the Namekians, whom they plan to use as biological fuel for the Big Gete Star. Goku demands that the robots leave peacefully, but their leader emerges and states himself to be "Cooler". Cooler admits that he was indeed burned critically in the fires of the Sun, but survived and is now back for revenge. As the others engage the robots, Goku prepares to battle Meta-Cooler alone.
At first the Dragon Team have trouble penetrating the armor of Cooler's Cyclopian Guards, but Piccolo instructs them to concentrate their energy to one point, and doing so allows them to destroy a few of the robots. However, there are too many to handle and the warriors are captured along with the Namekians. However, Piccolo remains on the battlefield long enough to unleash a devastating attack which destroys the robots completely. He flies for the Big Gete Star to free his friends.
Goku battles the Meta-Cooler, but it is apparent that Goku, even in Super Saiyan form, is no match for Cooler's "new metallic form", which gives him the ability to regenerate himself. Meta-Cooler reveals that the Big Gete Star constantly monitors his body, and fixes any problems or glitches that may occur (like Cooler's arm getting torn off for example) while also strengthening him in such a way that it can't happen the same way twice. Goku goes in for a final attack, but Meta-Cooler grabs him and starts to strangle him. Vegeta suddenly appears and saves Goku, himself transforming into a Super Saiyan. However, they are both still no match for Meta-Cooler, and are only able to win by combining their power and unleashing a devastating attack, which destroys the Meta-Cooler.
However, a whole army of Meta-Coolers immediately shows up (FUNimation's dub has an explanation for this: to remedy the loss of one Meta-Cooler, the Big Gete Star has created a thousand). Outnumbered and drained of energy, Goku and Vegeta are captured and transported to create Metal Super Saiyans for Meta-Cooler Core's army (in FUNimation's dub, their energy is intended to power the machine planet). It is here that Goku and Vegeta finally learn the truth about Cooler's survival: following his defeat at Goku's hands, he was not destroyed completely, but his remains floated through space for a while, including pieces of his brain. Cooler's remains were assimilated into the Big Gete Star, allowing him to take control to the mechanical planet, fusing with it's main computer to become Meta-Cooler Core. Meta-Cooler Core begins draining Goku and Vegeta of their energy, but they flood the circuitry with too much power and overload it, causing it to collapse. All the Meta-Coolers are destroyed and the prisoners are freed.
As the others evacuate, Goku and Vegeta face Meta-Cooler Core alone. Meta-Cooler Core takes on hos battle form and grabs Goku, squeezing him, until Vegeta slices Meta-Cooler Core's arm off. Goku fires a Ki Burst Sphere into Meta-Cooler Core and destroys his body. The Big Gete Star exits New Namek's atmosphere and explodes.
Goku and Vegeta fall from the sky near the rest of the Z Fighters, and everyone rejoices. They then realize that Vegeta is nowhere to be found, and Goku looks up at the sky, noting that without Vegeta, they wouldn't have won. Indeed, Vegeta is flying in space in his Space Pod (which he used to follow Goku to New Namek) with the computer chip from the Big Gete Star in his hands. He crushes it and heads back to Earth.
From Goku's mark-less gi, Dende being Earth's Guardian, and Vegeta transforming into a Super Saiyan, we can infer that this is an event from between when the Cell Games were announced and their opening.
The Return of Cooler was originally released on VHS and Laserdisc in Japan. In 2006, Toei Animation released The Return of Cooler 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.
FUNimation released The Return of Cooler for VHS and DVD on August 13, 2002 in both edited and uncut forms. As was the case with all previous releases, the movie was released in an unmatted 4:3 aspect ratio. The DVD featured an English dub with an original score done by Mark Menza. In 2002, FUNimation bundled Lord Slug with Cooler's Revenge and The Return of Cooler in a new DVD box set. It was released on October 15, 2002, available in both edited and uncut forms. The Return of Cooler was released theatrically with Fusion Reborn in 2006 as a double feature.
FUNimation re-released Cooler's Revenge and The Return of Cooler on DVD and Blu-ray on November 11, 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 old mix featuring the Menza score.
FUNimation repackaged the Double Feature DVDs into three new thinpak sets, the second of which was released on December 6, 2011 and included The Return of Cooler, Super Android 13!, Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan, and Bojack Unbound. These three sets were also released together in the Canada-only Dragon Ball Z: Complete Movie Collection featuring revisioned artwork of Goten and Trunks from Bio-Broly on the cover.
A fourth English version released exclusively in Malaysia by Speedy Video features an unknown voice cast.
- Piccolo, Krillin, and Gohan vs. Cyclopian Guards
- Goku (Base/Super Saiyan) vs. Meta-Cooler
- Goku (Super Saiyan) and Vegeta (Base/Super Saiyan) vs. Meta-Cooler
- Piccolo vs. Meta-Cooler
- Goku (Super Saiyan) and Vegeta (Super Saiyan) vs. Meta-Cooler Core (Fourth Form/Battle Form)
The movie was released in theatres in Japan on March 7, 1992 as part of a double feature. It grossed a total of ¥2.72 billion (US $21 million).
- This movie's premise is overall similar to the Trunks and Androids Sagas in the anime:
- Cooler returns in a mechanical form, like Frieza's Mecha form.
- Cooler claims to have been drifting in space until his remains were merged with the Big Gete Star's main computer, which revived him, similar to Frieza drifting in space until being found by King Cold.
- Goku battles Meta-Cooler as a Super Saiyan and seems evenly matched with him until Meta-Cooler begins to strangle him before Vegeta turns up and kicks Meta-Cooler aside, demonstrating his Super Saiyan form, similar to Goku's battle with Android 19.
- Goku and Vegeta defeat the first Meta-Cooler by smashing him to pieces and then blasting him, like Future Trunks chopping Mecha Frieza up with his sword and then blasting him away.
- The core of the Big Gete Star-forming the Meta-Coolers is similar to Dr. Gero's Supercomputer creating Cell.
- Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Piccolo and Krillin wear the same clothes from the Android conflict.
- This is the first theatrical film in which Vegeta appears.
- This is one of the few films to not feature Earth as the main setting. This is also the only film that takes place on New Namek and the first movie where the Z Fighters fight a villain on a planet that is not Earth.
- Both Goku and Piccolo's outfits are altered slightly in coloration for this movie compared to the anime; Goku's outer shirt and pants look more yellow-orange than red-orange, and Piccolo's sash is colored red instead of sky blue (which resembles both of their appearances in full-color chapters of the manga). They continue to wear these altered colors in the movies until after Bojack Unbound.
- The scene which Piccolo enters the Big Gete Star resembles the stargate sequence from the film .
- This is the first Dragon Ball Z material to hint that Dende would become the Guardian of the Earth, as the manga chapter revealing this, Cell vs. the Army, was not released until seven months after the film's release.
- The robot trying to cut up the captured Namekians and Z Fighters inside the Big Gete Star slightly resembles the medical droid from the Star Wars films.
- It is one of the first Dragon Ball-related movies to receive a theatrical release in the United States.
- One discrepancy is that Dende is Guardian of Earth at the beginning of the movie, by which time Gohan could turn Super Saiyan, which he appears incapable of doing in this film. Gohan is clearly younger than he was in the Cell Games because his hair is still long and he is still shorter than Krillin. Also, Goku and Gohan did not power down from Super Saiyan form from when they left the Hyperbolic Time Chamber in the anime/manga until after Cell was destroyed, but they are seen in their base forms in this movie.
- In the original Funimation dub, Meta-Cooler has a slight mechanical sound to his voice, but in the Remastered edition, the sound effect has been removed, making Meta-Cooler's voice sound exactly like the original Cooler's.
- This is the last movie where Goku is seen using the Kaio-ken technique (excluding the flashback sequence from the extended version of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods).
- A poster for the film depicts Cooler in his fifth form, despite this form not appearing in the film (sans the flashback sequence).
- In Cooler's Revenge, Goku used a blue ki blast to push Cooler into the sun at the end of the movie. The subbed version of this movie changes that ki blast to a Kamehameha, thus changing the overall scene from the previous movie.
- The 15th Shunsuke Kikuchi music package for the franchise starts here. The cues were designated "M13XX" codes, and this package would make its series debut in The Reunion.
- In the AB Groupe dub and the Speedy dub, the Big Gete Star is called "the Great Gedester".
- In the Creative Products Corporation dub, the Big Gete Star is referred to "The Metal Galactic Starship".
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