Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
Dragon Ball: Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle is the second film released for the Dragon Ball franchise. The film was directed by Daisuke Nishio, and was released to Japanese theaters on July 18, 1987. The film has had a few North American home video releases. As of this writing, the film is currently only available on DVD as part of four disc Dragon Ball movie release.
Just like Curse of the Blood Rubies, Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle needs to be seen as an "alternate timeline" story for the Dragon Ball universe. It starts out when Kuririn arrives at the Kame House, wanting to train under Master Roshi. Both Goku and Kuririn are sent to find a "pichi pichi girl" for Master Roshi; however, instead of sending them out willy-nilly, Roshi gives them a specific girl to find. The girl in question is a sleeping princess rumored to be held captive in the castle of a devil. Roshi tells them that whoever brings the sleeping princess back will become his student. Meanwhile, we see that Launch, in her blond-hair "bad" persona, is also interested in locating the sleeping princess.
After Goku and Kuririn leave, Bulma, Yamucha, Oolong, and Pur-eh arrive at the Kame House, wanting to catch up with Goku. Roshi tells the group that he just headed out on a quest that is taking him far to the west, where "five mountains stand, called the Devil's Hand." Goku's friends get into Bulma's Capsule jet to locate Goku; as they travel, they are attacked by demons, and Bulma is taken to the castle. When Bulma awakes, the owner of the castle, who is named Lucifer, treats her as a guest. But what are Lucifer's true intentions? And do Goku and Kuririn find the sleeping princess? And how does Launch get mixed up in the action?
When it comes to the film itself, it didn't feel nearly as choppy as Curse of the Blood Rubies did. However, if you already have familiarity with the Dragon Ball anime series, then the story of this film just feels rather awkward; for me, this awkwardness made it a little hard to watch the film and enjoy it. When watching the Dragon Ball films, you have to look at it in such a way that the Dragon Ball anime series follows one continuity, while the Dragon Ball films follow a completely different continuity.
I saw this film on the DVD that is included as part of the Dragon Ball 4-Movie DVD box set. When this disc was included in the set, FUNimation didn't bother to put on any extras at all; they didn't even bother putting any trailers on the disc, either. In addition, this set was supposed to be remastered; however, I thought the video looked rather grainy. I can't comment much on the audio, since I saw it with mono Japanese audio.
Personally, I can only recommend this film for the die-hard Dragon Ball fans that must own everything on DVD, especially since this film is only available as part of a box set.
I wrote this review after giving a copy of the Dragon Ball 4-Movie DVD box set as a gift to my husband.