The second of two Dragon Ball Z specials offers an alternate universe view of life without Goku.
What They Say
Goku is dead, victim of a deadly virus. Last of the Z Warriors to pass, the Super Saiyan's death has left the Earth far more vulnerable than ever before. With no one left to protect the planet, Androids 17 and 18 arrive to terrorize the great cities, plunging all into darkness where the inhabitants cower in fear. Is there no hope left in this apocalyptic horror? Is this the end?
Goku's son, Gohan, is now a man, and with an extraordinary young teenager named Trunks by his side, the two determine to face off against the threat. But as tragedy follows upon tragedy, the world around Trunks is fast collapsing and there seems no check to the evil of the Androids.
This is the story of the future that never was.
For this viewing, I listened to the English Dub with original Japanese music, which is offered in 5.1 surround. There are also options for the English Dub with US music, also in 5.1, and the original Japanese track, which is only offered in mono. This mix is pretty nice, and I liked that Funimation gave us the option between the Japanese and US music. The dialogue is clear with no dropout, the sound effects are nice, and there is some pretty nice directionality during the fight scenes. And since this is Dragon Ball Z, there are plenty of those.
This is shown in its original 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio and has been digitally remastered in high definition. This transfer is pretty clean, with no real technical problems, but it is a title that shows its age (1993). Flaws in the originals have been cleaned up and the colors redone, but it is still not as clean as newer titles. That said, it looks about as good as any DBZ title, so fans of the series should not notice any difference.
The packaging here is fine, but nothing special. The front features a picture of Trunks set against a yellow monochrome picture of the Androids (17 and 18). The back has the same picture of Freiza in full color with some screen shots and summary. What is nice is that the case is clear, so the interior has an image of Shenron in the same monochromatic yellow from the front cover.
The menus for this release are pretty basic. It has a still image of Trunks (the same from the cover) set against a black background. The DVD options are underneath in yellow, making them easy to see and follow. Options for Play, Scene Selection, and Setup are available. Pretty basic, but functional.
Aside from some trailers, there were no extras on this disc.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The History of Trunks is the second of two Dragon Ball Z specials (along with Bardock: The Father of Goku) that aired as a side story during the TV series. In the case of The History of Trunks, it aired early in the Android story arc that acted as a precursor to the Cell Games, and it helps explain some of the back story that led to Trunks’s introduction into the series.
In the main story line, Trunks is introduced when he arrives in a time machine with medicine for Goku, claiming that Goku would be killed by a virus thus leaving the Earth defenseless when Dr. Gero’s Androids, 17 and 18, are activated. Trunks claims that he comes from that Goku-less future, sixteen years forward to be exact, where much of the Earth has been left in ruin by 17 and 18. The History of Trunks tells the story of this future.
Six months after Goku’s death from the mysterious virus, Androids 17 and 18 come to life. The remaining members of the Z Fighters confront them, but are all killed by the Androids far superior power. All that are left with any possibility to fight back are Goku’s young son, Gohan, and Vegeta’s infant son, Trunks. Gohan disappears to train while Trunks is raised by Bulma with little knowledge of his birth right.
Thirteen years later, a now adult Gohan has returned to battle the Androids. Unfortunately, without Goku’s guidance his whole life, he has never managed to reach the potential he does when Goku survives, and he cannot take on the Androids by himself. He takes Trunks on as an apprentice to try and train him up, but for all of his potential, Trunks can never seem to fully tap into his power source. Because of this, Gohan is ultimately forced to sacrifice himself to save Trunks’s life, which leaves Trunks as the sole person left on Earth who can do anything to stop 17 and 18.
The History of Trunks is one of the better, non-mainline story arcs for Dragon Ball Z. The movies have a bit of a spotty history in terms of quality, but this one is fairly well done. There is plenty of action, but it is interesting to see a grown up Gohan and Trunks fighting fairly ineffectually. In general, it is nice to actually get to see what we are otherwise only ever told during the TV series. It is one thing for us to hear Trunks relay to Goku the horrible state of the Earth from his time, but it is another to actually witness it.
But what sells me on this special is the increased time we get to spend with 17 and 18. In the TV series, the appearance of 17 and 18 signals the start of the Cell storyline, and they really do not get a great amount of face time before the more powerful 16 arrives on the scene, and then are ultimately crushed when Cell arrives. In The History of Trunks, however, they make a nice pair of antagonists in the way that they cockily go about destroying cities. I loved the part where 17 promises to spare the life of a shop owner because he gave her a pile of nice clothing and complimented her on her figure. 18 then destroys the shop and owner only to have 17 berate him for making her look like a liar. It is an amusing exchange in a special full of them.
The History of Trunks is a nice companion piece to the Dragon Ball Z TV series. There is some good background information explored here to help fill in the background during the Android/Cell story arc, and it is wrapped in a fairly decent story. As a companion piece, it is not a title that should be taken in independently of the TV series; but if you already have some knowledge of Dragon Ball Z, then you should find this entertaining. Recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Memorex MVD2042 Progressive Scan w/ DD/DTS (Component Connection), Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System