TV Review: Dragonball Z - Season Nine.

So the final season is finally coming in, and it starts off hardcore. It picks up where the last season left off: Hercule Satan has made friends with Buu and their new puppy, B. But a couple murderous a-holes shoot B and nearly kill him, though Buu brings him back from the brink of death. Then Mr. Satan gets fatally wounded (and, surprisingly, I was upset by this. I guess as annoying as he can be at times, you still care for the guy). This drives Buu over the edge, fighting his internal rage and sadness. After reviving Mr. Satan, Buu splits into two: Good Buu and Evil Buu. And, eventually, Evil Buu defeats Good Buu and becomes one ultimate Evil Buu.

And Evil Buu is one scary mofo. Seriously, out of all the villains of the show, none have ever creeped me out as much as Evil Buu (the ultimate pink one, not the weird brown one that is around for about half an episode). From how he stands or twists his neck, to how he talks or screams, it's just terrifyingly creepy. He eventually finds his way to the Watchtower and kills everybody on the planet (save Mr. Satan, Chaotzu, Tien, and all the guys on the tower), demanding to fight the super warrior Goku had promised him a while back (this being Gotenks). But Goten and Trunks aren't ready, and need to do a bit more training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, so Piccolo does some distracting, which is difficult with a highly impatient Evil Buu.

Of course, once the fight starts, Gotenks tries to show off as usual, wastes valuable time, and basically destroys all hope for Earth. But then he shows a new trick up his sleeve, which I won't spoil. But I do want to bring up one note that bugs me: The Hyperbolic Time Chamber. It's stated earlier in the series that only 2 people can be in the Chamber at a time. Yet, these rules are clearly broken when not only Goten and Trunks are in there, but Evil Buu and Piccolo join them later on. And even after Goten and Trunks fuse into Gotenks, that still leaves 3 people.

Things are also a bit predictable by this point. If I didn't already know a few things about how it ended, I still would have been able to figure it out. Every season does specific things: main characters die, at least one character reaches a stronger level of power, the bad guy goes through 3 stages and gets stronger each time (I count Radditz, Nappa, and Vegeta as the 3 stages of the first season), and one of the bad guys becomes a good guy (going back to the original Dragonball series and going through now, Piccolo, Tien/Chaotzu, Vegeta, and Android 18 were all bad guys turned good... and even Yamcha started out as a jerk thief, and Krillin was Goku's rival).

By this time, it's Gohan's turn to return and save the day. But he's too powerful to return this early in the season, so you know what that means! Yes, that's right, another transformation. Evil Buu absorbs Piccolo and Gotenks and becomes Super Buu, so that after being whooped by Gohan for a while, it's Gohan's turn to get beaten down. So we need another hero. Just in time for a couple plot twists and the return of two former heroes (well, three, but I don't really count one because he's one of the weaker fighters and lasts all of 10 seconds). Not to mention there's a new, easier (though more permanent) way for fusion introduced. And right when you think it won't be needed, as the Gotenks fusion wears off within Super Buu, the new and improved Gohan gets absorbed and a new and improved Super Buu returns.

It's kind of interesting that after all the talk of "the old heroes must stand back and make way for Earth's new heroes," the only hope is two old heroes using non-Earthling capabilities (in more ways than one). Yes, Goku and Vegeta come back to Earth (Goku given new life, and Vegeta just given a momentary reprieve). And they must fuse together if they have any chance of defeating Buu. Granted, it goes back to the previous theme later, but still...

And then, once Vegeto is born, Super Buu gets his butt handed to him. But right now, I want to discuss something else besides yet another fusion character. Instead, I want to bring up what has to be a few of the strangest episodes of DBZ ever (and that's probably saying a lot). So at one point, Super Buu comes up with a plan to destroy Vegeto once and for all by turning him into candy--a coffee-flavored jawbreaker, to be exact. But it doesn't end there. Once Vegeto is candy... he still maintains his powers and ability to speak. So for the next bit of the episode, we have Buu versus a piece of talking candy. And then, in the next episode, Buu absorbs Vegeto, which leads us into DBZ: The Educational Episode. Vegeta and Goku, for whatever reason, unfuse. And then they travel throughout Buu's body, mainly his digestive system. And during this time, we get such wonderful lines from Vegeta like "Great galaxies! If I know my anatomy, that hole leads to the southern exit!" and "Son of a Namek!" Seriously. Not to mention that, minutes later, the two are attacked by what a first looks like a giant turd, but is actually a carnivorous worm that (for some reason) lives in Buu's body.

I'm really not making any of this up.

The following episode doesn't get any less weird. The giant worm turns out to be a child worm with a brother, and the father worm comes in and yells at the two boys for being idiots and apologizes to Goku and Vegeta before pointing the way to where the others are located. Then, eventually, Buu goes inside himself to fight the two guys.

This eventually brings us to the big turning point of the season. After finding good/fat Buu hooked up in Buu's head with the others, and after Vegeta dislocates him from the pod thing he's in, Buu starts transforming. Around this time, we get a bunch of specific backstory and flashbacks of how Buu originated. Apparently, his fat form wasn't his original, but a transformed version from a fusion with a former Supreme Kai that was quite innocent and benevolent (which is why the fat Buu was so childlike and potentially good). But here's my question: if fat Buu separated from himself earlier in the season to become Good Buu and Evil Buu, why didn't this "original form" appear instead? I mean, the "Good Buu" was no longer a part of Buu's form, like what happened here, so why change into "Kid Buu," the original form, now? It almost feels like they're making it up as they go along.

Anyway, Kid Buu is like the ultimate chaos and evil, even more crazy evil than Evil Buu. In fact, within minutes of returning to this form, he actually destroys the Earth. I mean, of course, it's the final season and all bad guys have been wanting to do that. So why not actually let one of them? However, instead of saving the newly released Gohan, Goten, Trunks, and Piccolo from an exploding planet, Goku grabbed Dende and Hercule Satan (and by extension, B), and saves them instead. They go to the Planet of the Kais, where the eventual final battle for the universe will be held.

You know by Mr. Satan being the last human left and constantly being saved and brought back in and all that stuff that he's going to do something important. At the very least, it was worth doing it simply for this bit of dialogue when the others evacuate the Kai planet, accidentally leaving Hercule and B behind in the middle of the danger and fighting between Goku, Vegeta, and Kid Buu (paraphrasing here): "Oh no, we left that man and his dog behind!" "Poor dog."

But seriously, Mr. Satan does garner major importance in a couple different ways. At one point, Goku is trying to gather energy, Vegeta (after another one of his "redeeming moments" that he likes to have ever so often) attempts to stall Kid Buu for a minute to give him that time. Of course, Vegeta is too weak, and he knows it, and Kid Buu is about to finish him off. That's when Mr. Satan steps in to buy more time. That inevitably brings back out the Good Buu (the fat one) to fight Kid Buu and buy even more time. That's when Vegeta comes up with the ultimate plan to finish off Buu once and for all... and it's a classic. I won't spoil it, but let's just say Mr. Satan has a major part (which you see coming a mile away) in helping out.

Around this time, the show gains some incredibly obvious religious undertones. Granted, the show has always had religious undertones, but there's some hugely obvious ones here (voices talking from the sky, the people doubting it, others deciding to go out and spread 'the word' as truth, etc.). Though at the same time, I'm agreeing with Vegeta in that the human race is shown as so idiotic that I wondered if it deserved saving. But I digress.

I also wanted to quickly note that, during the Kid Buu battles, there are fun bits where they go down to "Hell" and show all the previous villains of the show watching the battle. It's fun to see/hear their reactions, especially Frieza, who at one point was supposed to be the strongest being in the universe that anyone had ever heard of (great way to think ahead, writers! (that was sarcasm, in case you didn't catch it). Oh, and before I get any flamers, I know it was a manga, I know only one person wrote it, and I know the series was originally planned to end after the Frieza Saga. It's just a joke. Calm down).

Anyway, the last 5 episodes are the "how everybody has moved on" episodes, mostly to wrap up the entire show, seeing this is the last season. The first few kinda drag, but then they jump ahead in time a bit, and it gets a bit more interesting. Gohan and Videl get married and have a daughter named Pan who, coincidentally, becomes a strong fighter. Bulma and Vegeta apparently have another kid, a girl, but her name is never spoken (though by other methods, I discovered it's "Bra."). Goten and Trunks become ladies' men, while Gohan is a professor and has given up fighting. Good Buu lives with Mr. Satan and helps him keep his champ title by beating everybody else and then purposefully losing to him in the championship match. As a side note, I have to say that while Hercule Satan was annoying at first, he really grows on you. In fact, towards the end, I wanted to see more scenes with him to see how he would fare.

But then the final episodes come. There's another martial arts tournament, and Goku joins up only to fight a powerful human he can sense. Turns out the human is a reincarnated Buu named, imaginatively, Uub. The final episode is so rushed it's ridiculous. Goku and Uub's fight is good, I suppose, but then they stop fighting and Goku's all like "So, Uub, I'm gonna go live with you in your village and train you to fight so you can take my place as Earth's protector." So then, without even any proper goodbyes (besides, you know, telling them "see ya later"), he just takes Uub and leaves all his friends and family behind, possibly for years, to go train this kid. They don't have a goodbye party. Outside of Pan, he doesn't even hug anyone goodbye. They don't even finish the match. They just leave... and after a couple more minutes, that's it. I mean, seriously. That's ridiculous. I know they wanted to leave on a "the world will get a new hero and Goku goes on another journey" note, but they didn't have to rush it at that extreme, especially when it makes Goku look like an ass.

Anyway, I was kinda sad to reach the end of the series. I've been going through this for a long time now, and I've finally finished it. This final season, while weird at times (and despite the horribly rushed ending), was good. Strangely, I guess I found the best seasons to be 3, 6, and 9... all multiples of 3. And all 3 of those seasons were ones where the "final battles" took place for each bad guy arch (with the exception of the first season with Vegeta, but I don't count that). So yeah, I really don't have any major words of wisdom to wrap this up. I suppose it was a good end to the series. I know there's a Dragonball GT that follows, which doesn't follow any of the manga and apparently has a pretty bad rep, but I dunno. I might watch it eventually, but if I come back to the DB universe, I'm gonna check out the original series first. So until then, this is it for the Dragonball Universe! Sad to see it go, but it's time to move on, right? Right.

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