TV Review: Dragonball Z - Season Eight.

This season picks up right where the last left off. Shin explains what's going on. Many a year ago, there had been a super powerful wizard named Bibidi. He'd had a creation, the ultimate unstoppable killing machine, Majin Buu. And Bibidi was the only one capable of bringing Buu out of stasis. But Shin defeated Bibidi, while Buu was kept in stasis, hidden on Earth. But now, Bibidi's son... you guessed it... Babidi has shown up to awaken Buu. I'm seriously not making these names up.

But all isn't as easy as it seems. Babidi has some helpers, including the King of the Demons, Dabura, who he has under his spell. Dabura has dangerous spit (again, not making this up) that turns anything it touches to stone. And the first two to fall prey to this attack are Krillin and Piccolo. And the only way to turn them back to normal? Defeat Dabura, of course. So Goku, Gohan, and Vegeta, against the better judgment given by Shin, go in after them and face a series of rather pathetic enemies until they get to Dabura. And if any of them get hurt (which doesn't happen up to this point), their energy gets absorbed into the space ship to help revive Buu.

But the season, at least at this point, doesn't purely focus on this. It also remembers that it has to finish up that little fighting tournament it had been showing before, you know, almost everybody left. All that's left are Mr. Satan, Android 18, a couple of random people named Killa and Jewel, and then Goten and Trunks dressed up as another contestant--Mighty Mask--to be able to fight in the adult tournament. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what happens here.

But back to the main plot, Gohan goes up against Dabura, though he shows how he's gotten a bit weaker over years without training. And during the scuffle, Vegeta loses his patience, which tips off Dabura to a dastardly idea. Babidi has the ability to take anybody with an impure heart and use that trace of evil to make them his slave. You see it coming a mile away, so I don't feel bad spoiling this, but he gives Vegeta a power boost and (somewhat) takes him over (Vegeta is a little too powerful, giving him the ability to ignore most of Babidi's commands).

But the point of all this? To give us the fight we've wanted to see since the end of season 1: the rematch of Goku versus Vegeta. And boy is it effing epic. I must say, their fight just goes on and on (multiple episodes), and not a second of it is boring. It's an amazing fight. Though I find it a little funny that the reasoning behind a decision of Vegeta's is essentially a mid-life crisis. Though I have to say, this season and the last seem to have a tendency to overuse the mushroom cloud to show a huge explosion. 

But that's not all. During all of this, not only are Gohan and Shin continuing after Dabura and Babidi, but Goten and Trunks find out what's going on from Videl (who started to go with Gohan initially at the end of last season, but ended up turning around) and head in their direction. But of course, the inevitable happens. While I would have thought it might have made a more poetic ending to have Goku/Vegeta be the final big fight, there's a lot more story to go, and they're not just going on and on about the most powerful being ever to exist for nothing. So of course Buu is going to be released.

It leads up to the "Final Atonement" of Vegeta. Now, throughout the series, Vegeta has had some good character building episodes. You think he'll turn better, though he usually reverts back to his arrogant, prideful self (with a smidge more humanity and caring than before). And that continued to build until the end of the Cell Saga, where he has a great ending to his character arch. But here, it continues. Of course, he reverts back to his prideful self, but this is the ultimate arch end (hence the title of the episode, "The Final Atonement"). And I have to say, while I didn't cry, I had the emotions going when he starts talking to Trunks, knowing what's about to happen. It's a touching moment.

Otherwise, the season is shaping up oddly. Buu himself is a good example of what the season is as a whole: darkness wrapped in childish stupidity. Buu really is an incredibly annoying villain, and is at times hard to take seriously. But while that's true, the action has been amped up tenfold; it hits harder and is much more hardcore than previous seasons. So there's this strange tonal mix of silly and awesome. But, for instance, Buu's biggest attack is that he points his single pink antennae (uh huh) at you and turns you into junk food--cookies, chocolate, candy, etc.--and eats you. While disturbing if you think about it, it's just plain silly looking.

Anyway, after the Vegeta bit, the story shifts completely. Everybody runs for their lives. The ones left behind at the tournament start hunting the dragonballs. Krillin and Piccolo take the kids to the lookout tower. Shin hunts for Gohan. And Goku finally rejoins the picture, coming in with his usual deus ex machina by telling everyone about a technique he learned in Otherworld called Fusion, where two people of equal size and power and fuse together into one for a short amount of time. And if they can learn this ("they" being Goten and Trunks), they might have a chance at defeated Buu. Meanwhile, Shin takes Gohan back to the world of the Kai's to release the "Z Sword" (which may or may not actually make the "Z" in "DBZ" make sense, as "Z Fighters" never did). So now we have different plots going on for different people who think they might be able to defeat Buu in different ways.

Of course, during this time, Buu is eating and destroying people, while Hercule Satan gets called on to help "save the world" again, seeing he took the credit for defeating Cell. So this keeps Hercule in the story (well, Videl's involvement would have done that anyway, most likely). Though that's not the only inclusion of comedy at the moment. The show has actually sunk as low as to use toilet humor. Yes, there are actually pee and fart jokes in the show now. For instance, Master Roshi--once an acclaimed and respected martial arts master--defeats a monster by farting in its face. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

There's a cool moment where Goku actually goes beyond Ascended Saiyan and becomes a Super Saiyan 3, though it drains a lot of his energy, bringing the time he has to train the boys to fusion to even less before he has to go back to Otherworld. Of course, this comes about from a total plot hole. Buu and Babidi are going after West City to destroy it, as they found out that's where Trunks lives, but that's also where the Dragon Radar is. So if the Dragon Radar is destroyed, they pretty much can't find the dragonballs to wish back everybody that died and whatever. So Goku sends Trunks after the radar, while he goes to distract Buu. Of course, to get to them, Goku uses instant transmission... which begs the question, why not use instant transmission to get to Capsule Corp in West City to get the radar to begin with, and not risk Trunks' life, as well as save some time?

Anywho, the story goes on, and the boys continue learning the fusion dance (which is one of those things where even the show recognizes how stupid it looks), while Gohan continues learning how to use the Z Sword on the World of the Kai's. Of course, neither turn out the way anyone expected. For instance, the newly formed Gotenks has an arrogance that could rival Vegeta's, and he won't listen to anybody. Meanwhile, the Z Sword breaks, releasing an elder Kai from within, who is just like a Kai version of Master Roshi. He decides to help Gohan release his inner power (didn't Guru back on Namek do this already?). Though it'll take about 25 hours and a lot of annoyances from this new, silly Kai.

Of course, this leaves Buu to do whatever he wants. Only a fifth of Earth is still alive, and they'd do anything for a hero. So, obviously, it's time for Hercule Satan to step back into the picture. Mr. Satan travel's to Buu's house and... I kid you not... actually forms a friendship with Buu and gets him to stop killing and destroying. Yes, Mr. Satan is actually responsible for stopping Buu... at least this version (because we know there are more to come). And that brings me to one of the biggest logistical issues of the season. How does he get Buu to stop? The same way Goku usually tries: tells him it's bad, tells him he has a choice, and asks him to please stop. But my problem is... Goku didn't even try that. Why? He's known for doing that with EVERY villain. That's his thing. His willingness to see good in everybody is both his biggest strength and biggest weakness. But instead, Goku asks very un-Goku like this season, and just attempts to attack Buu straight on, without question or provocation. And he, for whatever reason, decides to not even bother asking him to please stop the evilness. Maybe they just wanted Mr. Satan to be heroic for once, who knows?

Anyway, the season ends on a sad and awfully dark cliffhanger (seriously, the last episode of the season was crazy dark, even for this show). There's only one season left, though it might be a while before I can review it, as it's been on "Very Long Wait" on Netflix for months now, with no signs of letting up anytime soon. But as for this season, it was a decent one. It was a bit all over the place at times with its ideas. As you can see in this review, the ideas are kind of all over the place with what happens. It's not exactly as straight forward or simplistic as previous seasons. This one is a lot more mystical, I guess you could say. But it wasn't a bad one. It was entertaining, even if Buu is an incredibly annoying villain.

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