Dragon Ball: the best films and special episodes

It was a tough election, but MeriStation's editors chose the best Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Super movies that have been released to date.

If there is something that remains in style despite the years, that is Dragon Ball. Akira Toriyama's original work began in the eighties, but in 2022 it is still more relevant than ever. That is why this year we are already waiting for the arrival of a new installment of the saga in the form of a movie with Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, which will be released this week in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, among other countries. This, added to the fact that the manga with Toyotaro at the helm continues its course month by month and that we also have new chapters of Super Dragon Ball Heroes every so often. Almost nothing, right?

But within the Dragon Ball universe, there is a very interesting type of product: the movies or OVAs. Generally outside the canon, but which have allowed us to meet impressive characters such as Broly (now canonized), Cooler, Janemba, new androids and other Saiyans, such as Turles. Usually set in parallel spaces to what we saw in the anime, they allowed us to enjoy a little more of that context. Others, directly, advance the main plot, such as Broly.

So while we are only days away from the arrival of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero and we cross our fingers for the anime to come back to life four years later (watching the Moro saga animated as the final stretch of Super can be a spectacle) we are going to review the best Dragon Ball movies/episodes. Starting, of course, by highlighting the two best special episodes that have been made of the saga.

The two best Dragon Ball special episodes

Dragon Ball Z: Bardock - The Father of Goku

  • Release year: 1990

Planet Vegeta. The Saiyan warriors are considered a superior race of fighters, but they pay allegiance to the most powerful being in the universe, the evil Freezer. All of them fulfill missions, plunder planets and murder their inhabitants without remorse. Among all these warriors is Bardock, the father of baby Kakarot. After massacring another village, the man begins to have visions in which he sees his son Goku fighting against his enemies. He also contemplates the destruction of his world at the hands of Freezer.

Convinced that it is really going to happen, he tries to convince his fellow humans, but the rest of the race scoffs and goes on with their lives. Unfortunately for them, the visions come true and Freezer creates a huge ball of energy that heads towards the unstoppable planet. In his last moments, Bardock is able to see the future. A sweet death.

Dragon Ball Z: The History of Trunks

  • Release year: 1993

In Trunks' alternate future, the events that take place are different from those that Goku and his friends will experience in another time, in a different past. The future is marked by two of Dr. Gero's creations, Android 17 and Android 18. Both have the power to destroy the world as we know it. After Goku's death from a heart attack, the strongest warriors fall one by one. Krillin, Yamcha, Tien Shinhan, Chiaotzu, Piccolo, Vegeta... they have all succumbed. Only two warriors can stand against these formidable rivals, Gohan and Trunks.

The last hope lies in Bulma's invention, which will allow Trunks to travel back in time to warn his friends of the danger. Only then will they be able to change the past so that the future will be different from the one they have lived in their reality.

These are the best Dragon Ball movies

8. Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13!

  • Release year: 1992

Dr. Gero hated Son Goku with all his might, to the point that after his death (or rather, his own creations eliminated him), the computer he had designed was still looking for a way to create the ultimate android that would destroy him once and for all. The advanced science of this eccentric genius did its job to perfection, with new and lethal creations. Sometime later, Gohan, Chi-Chi, Krillin, Master Roshi, Oolong, and Future Trunks are at peace, enjoying a shopping mall. That's when Androids 13, 14 and 15 appear.

The fight begins and our heroes stand up to them with all their might. In the end, after a succession of fights, Super Android 13 is born and the battle intensifies. A rival of entity and size that will end up at the hands of the Z-warriors.

7. Dragon Ball: The Path to Power

  • Release year: 1996

The release of Dragon Ball GT, one of the most controversial anime series, had already taken place. Toei Animation decided to use the same visual techniques to capture the beginnings of Son Goku. The film alternatively reviews the entire first part of the original manga and anime, that is, from the time Bulma builds the Dragon Radar until young Goku faces the terrible Red Ribbon army.

Legend has it that whoever manages to collect the seven dragon balls will be able to summon Shenron and make any wish he wants. The boy Goku travels with Bulma on his way to this goal, all while trying to become the strongest warrior in the world.

6. Dragon Ball Z: The Strongest Rivals

  • Release year: 1991

The fearsome Freezer betrayed the Saiyans and destroyed their birthplace, the planet Vegeta. With the disappearance of this world, most men and women of the species ended up annihilated. Cooler, Freezer's brother, witnessed the last explosion of the planet, but also the escape of a capsule: it was Goku heading to Earth. At that moment, he thought that the responsibility fell on his brother, so he decided to let him escape. Big mistake. Years later, Freezer fell in battle at the hands of Kakarot. Cooler claimed revenge and vowed to destroy his brother's murderer.

Sometime later, he arrives on Earth with his squadron. At that moment, Goku, Gohan and his friends are in the forest and are surprised by the overwhelming power of the enemy. Goku is badly injured while trying to save his son, so everything depends on him getting the Senzu beans. When Goku wakes up, the fight becomes even more complicated.

5. Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound

  • Release year: 1993

Goku is dead because he sacrificed himself trying to destroy Cell. Meanwhile, in the world of the living, an intergalactic tournament is about to take place. Naturally, Earth's strongest warriors are not missing the event: Piccolo, Trunks from the future, Gohan, Krillin, Tien Shinhan, and Yamcha sign up to prove their worth. What they don't know is that in the end, they will have to fight against a group of aliens with murderous intentions.

Bojack, the strongest of them all, puts the group on the ropes. Meanwhile, in the world of the dead, Goku contemplates the scene with concern and decides to act for an instant, knowing that Gohan needs the necessary impulse to bring out the great power that sleeps inside him. Transformed into Super Saiyan 2, the fate of his enemies is sealed.

4. Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan

  • Release year: 1993

A Super Saiyan threatens to destroy the galaxy. That is what Kaiosama has sensed with his power, so he contacts Goku to investigate the identity of this warrior. At the same time, on Earth, a group of aliens land and hail Vegeta as the king of a new planet Vegeta. Paragus, Broly's father, informs them of the existence of a Legendary Super Saiyan, a man of such power that he will sow chaos and destruction. When they arrive on the planet, they find signs that civilization has been exterminated.

Soon after, Goku meets Broly and something changes inside him, an anger that not even the control bracelet his father has placed on him is able to appease. The Saiyan attacks Kakarot and the latter begins to suspect that perhaps the offspring of Paragus is actually the super warrior he is looking for. From then on, the duel breaks out, the battle for the survival of humanity.

3. Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon

  • Release year: 1995

A music box contains inside it the hero who will save the world from the coming calamity. At least, that's what the legend says. Everything seems to indicate that conventional methods to open it don't work, so the dragon balls and Shenron do their part and free Tapion. What Goku and the others do not know is that inside his being slumbers a terrible monster, Hildegarn.

As expected, the aberration manages to escape and puts our heroes on the ropes. Not even Gotenks, the powerful fusion of Goten and Trunks, is able to defeat the monster. Hopes are almost gone, but the joint work between the fighters reveals a vulnerable point, which Goku Super Saiyan 3 will have to take advantage of if he wants to put an end to the beast once and for all.

2. Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn

  • Release year: 1995

A great threat looms over the Other World. Goku and Pikkon are fighting in a martial arts tournament, but soon they must abandon the confrontation to investigate something strange. King Yemma is imprisoned and locked behind a mysterious barrier, which eventually reveals a powerful monster known as Jamemba. Despite his best efforts, Goku is unable to subdue him, even in Super Saiyan 3 status.

At the same time, from Earth, his friends are looking for a way to help him, because the balance between the world of living has been broken. Freezer and other monsters are sowing destruction. In the end, they manage to reunite Goku and Vegeta in the Other World, but their combined strength is insufficient against Jamemba's final transformation. To Vegeta's horror, there is nothing left but to perform the ridiculous dance passes to merge and become Gogeta.

1. Dragon Ball Super: Broly

  • Release year: 2018

The most recent Dragon Ball movie to date is also the one that has been crowned the highest rated on MeriStation's top. This tape takes the best of the saga's action and takes it to another level with a story that rewrites what had been told up to that point in the previous Broly tapes. Once again, the legend about a Legendary Super Saiyan resonates again. That is why King Vegeta decides to exile Paragus and his son Broly to the planet Vampa. There they will be held prisoner for decades until they are rescued by a couple of Freezer's soldiers. The rescue is not free by any means.

The mission entrusted by Freezer is to finish off two of his archenemies, Goku and Vegeta. A series of battles ensue until the devious villain kills Paragus, which awakens the latent power that existed inside Broly. Turned into a mindless and overwhelming monster, the beast forces Goku and Vegeta to resort to their ultimate card, fusion. As Gogeta in his Blue form, the tables are turned and the battle approaches its final outcome.

As in Battle of Gods, Toei Animation combines classic two-dimensional animation with CG effects. The result is a wonderful choreography full of action, humor and fun.