19th Jun2024

Rewind: ‘Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug’ Review

by James Rodrigues

The fourth film released under the Dragon Ball Z title (and the franchise’s eighth theatrically released film), Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug was originally released in 1991 during the show’s Freiza saga. As such, this feature reflects the timeline by not containing vital inclusions such as Super Saiyan forms, and fan-favourite character Vegeta. The plot sees Goku and the Z Warriors trying to stop the titular Super Namekian, whose plans involve invading Earth and destroying it through the atmosphere.

In the UK, this film was released in the early 2000s on a DVD that was titled Dragonball Z: The Movie – Super Saiya Son Goku. While the DVD contained charmingly retro features such as animated trading cards and weblinks, it was otherwise limited with no option for subtitles and the only version of the film being dubbed into English. As such, this review will focus on the version of the film which was presented on my DVD copy.

Let us address the main question lingering after that paragraph; how was the dub? The unfortunate answer is “really poor.” The English-speaking voices sadly feel ill-fitting, although a large part of that could be due to the rushed manner that lines were delivered in. Perhaps this was down to a disinterest in anime, or maybe the recording booth was only booked for a short amount of time. These are theories which arise when the impression left is that the voice cast were in a rush to get this over and done with. There are also nonsensical moments courtesy of the dub, with the most glaring one being Piccolo responding to somebody immediately after tearing off his ears to not hear a deafening sound.

A large part of why people were taken with the series were the fights, and thankfully this film replicates that excitement within the effective animated style without needlessly elongated fights. However, that does not prevent the 52-minute runtime from dragging courtesy of Lord Slug being a boring villain. It also does not help that the film falls into a notable bad habit for the franchise, where all of the characters feel useless until Goku arrives to end things. If anybody is interested in revisiting the series, particularly in memory of Akira Toriyama, do yourselves a favour and watch Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug in a subbed version. It may not solve all of the film’s issues, but it won’t make you want to gather the Dragonballs and wish to Shenron that you were watching a better movie.

** 2/5

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