Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn is the 12th film released for Dragon Ball Z. The film was directed by Shigeyasu Yamauchi, and it was released to Japanese theaters on March 4, 1995. 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 part of the Dragon Ball Z Collection Three movie box set.
The film begins with Goku fighting against Pikkon in an Other World Tournament. As this is going on, the teenage "psyche ogre" who is supposed to be watching over the evil-purification machine in Other World is distracted by his music. Because he's inattentive, one of the tanks gets full and explodes, releasing all of the collected evil energy. The energy is observed by the teenage ogre, and he turns into a big, goofy yellow creature that has a lot of power.
The accident also destroys the barrier that keep the dead confined to Other World, and many dead souls are now wreaking havoc on Earth. Among these souls are previous villains from the Dragon Ball Z anime series, as well as real villains like Hitler. Bulma, Gohan, Videl, Goten, and Trunks gather the Dragon Balls and summon Shen Long. They ask for him to send the dead back to Other World; unfortunately, because of the problems in Other World, only King Yama can call them back.
The Grand Kai sends Goku and Pikkon to find out what is going on and to take care of the situation. The rest of the film follows Goku and Pikkon battling at King Yama's location, while Goten and Trunks go up against Hitler and his army.
As I watched this movie, my husband and I were trying to figure out where it would fall in the timeline for the Dragon Ball Z anime series. We narrowed it down to a small time frame, but quickly realized that details in this film did not match details in the anime during that window. We ultimately came to the determination that Fusion Reborn is an "alternate timeline" story. I was a little disappointed by this, because it had seemed that the Dragon Ball Z films had become stand-alone stories that could fit into the timeline of the anime series.
When it comes to the animation, it definitely was not up to par with the previous Dragon Ball Z films. Some of the worst animation was utilized in the scenes where Goten and Trunks are fighting with Hitler. There's little to no detail in the drawings, there are very noticeable thick black outlines around the characters, and the overall look of these scenes is much more "cartoony" when compared to the animation in other Dragon Ball Z films. Perhaps the director was going for some kind of effect, but these scenes just stood out from the rest of the film in a very bad way.
I saw this film on the DVD that is included as part of the Dragon Ball Z Collection Three 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 only 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 Three movie box set that my husband and I purchased.