The saga of young Goku comes to a close in the final season of Dragonball. After successfully defeating King Piccolo, Goku is taken to recover at Korin’s tower. Once there, he is desperate to revive his friends who fell at the hands of the terrible alien, but when he discovers that King Piccolo killed the Eternal Dragon, all hope seems to be lost. Korin, the feline guardian who trained Goku, tells him to seek out Kami’s Lookout, the high flying home of the Guardian of the Earth. After a difficult journey, Goku appeals to Kami to restore the Dragonballs so that his friends may live again. Sensitive to his request, the great guardian calls forth the Eternal Dragon and is sent to meet with Bulma, Yamcha and Tien – who have collected all seven Dragonballs – and grants their wish to bring back everyone who died from King Piccolo’s reign of terror (resulting in an amusing montage of the former dead rising from their graves). In exchange for this great gift, Kami requests that Goku stay at the Lookout for three years.
Back on Earth, a newly revived Krillin and Chiaotzu join Yamcha and Tien during an intense training regiment in order to prepare for the next Tenkaichi Bodukai Tournment, which occurs once every three years. While Goku studies under Mr. Popo’s unique set of mental and physical workouts, the rest of the warriors experience their own little adventures, such as saving a village from a raging volcano. None of them are aware, however, that King Piccolo’s last surviving offspring has hatched from his egg and is now walking the Earth, preparing for vengeance against Goku.
The biggest problem with season five is how dull it gets, especially when compared to the dramatic, action packed season that came before it. The fight between Goku and Piccolo Junior is of interest, but you’ll have to sit through three discs of training sequences to get there and even then, the fight wanes quickly. Once the tournament is over, the Dragonball train begins pulling into the station by setting the characters on one last adventure: the marriage between Goku and Chi Chi. Although it is a nice lead in to the next show, it is difficult to maintain interest in a series that has clearly run out of steam. Even the dialog between the characters during the tournament bouts come off as tired and cheesy, which is saying a lot.
The show changes things mid-season by re-introducing the characters after having aged considerably, some more nonsensically than others. We are led to believe that three years have passed since Goku (who was still a young boy) defeated King Piccolo. However, when he arrives to meet his friends at the tournament, he looks as if he is seventeen years old, having grown very tall. Even for a show that involves a wish giving mystical dragon and animals that live among humans, it is a really jarring transition.
If anything, the finale of series does a good job with setting the stage for the next series, Dragonball Z.
Dragonball, Season 5
directed by Minoru Okazaki, Akira Toriyama
775 minutes, Number of Discs: 5
Company Age Rating: 14+
Related to: Dragonball manga series by Akira Toriyama