[From January Issue 2011]
Dragon Ball: The Path to Power (Directed by YAMAUCHI Shigeyasu)
Originally created by TORIYAMA Akira, Dragon Ball is an adventure-story manga that ran in a weekly manga magazine for nearly a decade, starting in 1984. In 1986, Dragon Ball was adapted as an animated TV series, as well as into film. This work was the 17th and final film in the series and released in 1996. In 2009, a Hollywood live-action version was also made.
Son Goku is a boy with a monkey tail who lives deep in the mountains. His grandfather, Son Gohan, taught him kung fu, giving Goku superhuman skills with matching powers. The story opens with Goku living alone after his grandfather has passed away. He continues to lovingly treasure the orange ball his grandfather left him. Then one day, he is visited by a girl calling herself Bulma.
Bulma is seeking the seven orange balls, called “Dragon Balls,” of which she already has two. Goku’s ball is one of them and she explains to him that “when you collect all seven of the Dragon Balls and chant a spell, Shen Long (the Eternal Dragon) appears to grant you a wish, but only one.” Goku refuses to give up his Dragon Ball, but agrees to accompany Bulma on her quest as a part of his training.
Using Bulma’s “Dragon Radar” the two search for the remaining Dragon Balls. Soon after, Oolong, a pig with the power to transform into other animals and objects but only for five minutes, joins their troupe. The threesome fight various enemies including Yamcha the kung-fu bandit and his accomplice Puar, and the notorious Red Ribbon Army. Goku uses his “Nyoi Bou” red fighting stick and his kung fu skills to defeat the barrage of enemies.
When Goku and his team help a tortoise that was lost in the mountains, find its way back to the seashore, the turtle hermit Master Roshi, an elderly man who lives with the tortoise, appears in front of them. They learn that this hermit is Gohan’s kung fu master. And, to show his appreciation for them helping his turtle, he gives them the flying cloud “Kin-Ton-Un (Flying Nimbus).” Everyone tries, but only Goku succeeds in riding the flying cloud, something only the pure-hearted can do. Goku then also quickly masters the “Kamehameha” (the Turtle Devastation Wave), which took Master Roshi over 50 years to develop.
By now, Bulma has collected four of the seven Dragon Balls. But, during a battle, when Goku is knocked unconscious, the enemy seizes them all. Bulma and her friends are then taken hostage. After regaining consciousness, Goku tries to fight an army-controlled robot. But he is no match for it and is knocked unconscious again.
Soon after, Android #8, nicknamed “Eighter,” whose life Goku has saved before, comes flying to his side. Eighter sacrifices himself to save Goku. Regaining consciousness once again, Goku defeats the robot using the “Kamehameha.” They finally retrieve all the seven Dragon Balls and then Shen Long appears. Goku’s wish is to “bring Eighter back to life.” So Shen Long replies, “It shall be so,” as the movie comes to an end.