Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!! is the second Dragon Ball Z OVA and the latest Dragon Ball related animation in a decade (This OVA was released on September 21, 2008, a year before the release of Dragon Ball Kai).
Written by Akira Toriyama and screenplay by Takao Koyama, it talks about the events between Dragon Ball Z and GT anime series, a little battle happened two years after the Kid Buu Saga.
Goku’s family is living a quite life with Mr. Satan (or Hercule or what your dub likes to call him) supporting Goku’s family financially and them planting radishes (He, he). Videl invites Goku and co. to the grand opening of Mr. Satan’s Hotel, which was created to commemorate the defeat of Majin Buu in the hands of Mr. Satan. Because of food, Goku decides to go to the opening and on that day, a new enemy appears.
Vegeta’s younger brother, Tarble (probably a pun for table, you know, vegetable) and her cute wife Gure came to earth to ask Vegeta’s help to defeat Abo and Kado (another pun!) who followed them. These two are remnants of Frieza’s army and accordingly, as strong as Frieza. Will the Z Fighters defeat this new threat? That is for you to find out.
On to the Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!! review, this my friends, is what you call a good Dragon Ball OVA, a good Dragon Ball OVA. Why is it good? Because all the existing Z Fighters were given ample screen time, to highlight it, Trunks and Goten had most fights compared to the veteran Z Fighters. Plus, Yamcha’s Fist of the Wolf Fang is used by Gotenks along with Tienshinhan’s Volleyball Play! Even with the strong points, Goku as always, likes to hog the last scene. Oh well, this is Goku we are talking about!
One of the things that I loved about this film is the cameo appearance of most characters coming from the franchise starting from the not well-known characters such as Lunch (poor Lunch) and the well-known ones, like Goku and his family. My only disappointed is that even if Tienshinhan’s move appeared, he never actually made an appearance. At least the reason why he is MIA is reasonable.
In terms of plot, the plot is worth watching for hardcore DB fans. If you are just a regular anime viewer, you will find this plot as an average DB filler episode with or without Toriyama’s involvement. As for the new characters, Tarble, Gure, Abo and Kado, they feel too generic. Tarble is the generic younger brother who looks up to his older brother, Vegeta. To put is simply, he is Vegeta’s Mokuba. Gure doesn’t do a lot in this film while Abo and Kado… they are generic villains that were created for the sake of a certain video game to have a lot of fighters for its roster.
As for the older characters, most of them are the same less Vegeta. It seems that in this OVA, he “lightened up” a bit. How light? He likes having friendly matches with Goku (Whether sparring or in eating contest), he doesn’t act like a dick to much and most especially, he respect people! Seriously, he bowed when her sister-in-law bowed when she introduced herself!
Even if the new characters felt generic, the animation is something worth praising. Asides from the trademarked moves, the characters looked much cleaner in this OVA and the fights looked crisp in widescreen. Also, one of the things that is worth praising in terms of the animation is how they gave the Super Saiyan hair more glow! They gave the form a strong impact… that is also disappointing in some points because they retained the glow for long periods, making it a distraction in terms of viewing. Also, another thing that disappoints me with the animation is some inconsistencies with some character designs. In one scene, Yamcha has the turtle logo in his dogi and in another, he doesn’t have it! In addition, there are points in the film that the background went a little “cartoony.”
Aka, the fusion between Abo and Kado
As for the fights, considering that it was mentioned that the power level of Abo and Kado are at the same level with Frieza, it means and that Trunks and Goten are fighting them not in Super Saiyan form, it means that the two had a chance to defeat Frieza if they time travelled to the past! Put that aside, the fight is like an average DBZ fight, except that the animation for the fight is crispier. Unlike most fights we saw in DBZ which last for more than 2 episodes (add 1 or 2 more episodes if it involves a lot of talking), the fight lasted for only a few minutes.
Heck, the entire crew was just relaxed when they are seeing the fight! Seriously, they are just watching the fight like the two are just sparring some random guy! In addition, while watching it, they are eating sandwiches and drinking tea… with Oolong and Puar, both in maid outfits serving!
Overall, the OVA is fun to watch. If you are a long time Dragon Ball and you missed the show this much without watching DB Kai, this OVA is worth taking a good look. Asides from the revamped opening sequence (In which you can safely conclude that Cha La Head Cha La is the official Dragon Ball theme song) which will make you go nostalgic along with the show’s trademark fights, you will really love this OVA. The animation and the crisp artwork is just a bonus along with the cameos.
If you were a regular anime viewer, like I said earlier, you would find it as a filler DB episode that has more Trunks and Goten, less Goku and Vegeta and Abo and Kado are just forgettable villains, same goes with the roster of villains found in Dragon Ball GT. But hey, it is worth a look.
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