Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
Dragon Ball Z: The Return of Cooler is the sixth film released for Dragon Ball Z. The film was directed by Daisuke Nishio, and it was released to Japanese theaters on March 7, 1992. FUNimation has released the film on home video in North America several times; as of this writing, the most recent DVD release of the film is as part of the Dragon Ball Z Collection Two movie box set.
The film is set on the new Planet Namek, which the Namekians had to relocate to after Frieza and Goku's epic battle destroyed their original home planet. The Namekians lived on the planet in peace for three years, until a strange metal planet suddenly appeared and began to absorb the new Planet Namek. Dende, the Namekian who has become the new Kami and guardian of the Earth, enlists the help of Goku and his friends for his home planet.
Along for the ride are Goku, Gohan, Piccolo, Oolong, Yajirobe and Master Roshi. I can understand why Goku, Gohan, and Piccolo are there. It's explained that Yajirobe has been sent along with some Senzu Beans, in case anyone needs their healing power. But I just can't understand why Oolong and Master Roshi are there. While they do provide some comic relief during the movie, I honestly believe that Yajirobe could have handled the "comic relief" duties himself. Oolong and Roshi just felt like unnecessary characters in the story.
When they arrive at the new Planet Namek, the group encounters an army of strange, large and silent robots. They discover that Cooler, who was thought to have been killed at the end of Cooler's Revenge, is leading the attack on the planet. The film focuses on Goku and the Z-Fighters trying to defeat Cooler and his army in order to help the Namekians.
Overall, I didn't think this film was quite as strong as Cooler's Revenge. The main failing it has is the fact that Cooler really isn't a well-defined villain. All that the audience knows about him is the fact that he's Frieza's brother. Outside of that, there was little to no character development for him, so it was hard for me to take him too seriously as a villain.
When it comes to the animation in this film, I was a little disappointed in it. Cooler's new design looks sloppy and unfinished, and the backgrounds looked like they were drawn in a hurry. The lesser quality in animation only helped to underscore the fact that the writing wasn't as strong as it could have been.
I saw this film on the DVD that is included as part of the Dragon Ball Z Collection Two movie box set. It's claimed on the box that the film was digitally remastered. The video quality was decent; however, the Japanese audio I listened to while I watched this disc didn't sound remastered. Since the Japanese audio is in mono, this would probably explain why the audio quality didn't sound as good as it could have been.
I would recommend acquiring this film to add your DVD collection if you're a die-hard Dragon Ball Z fan.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of the Dragon Ball Z Collection Two movie box set that my husband and I purchased.