The story is that Emperor Chiaotzu of the country of Mifan is looking for his doll wife "Ran-Ran" and sets up a tournament at the advice of his advisor Shen to locate the Dragon Balls. Goku and Krillin are invited to said tournament and the gang are roped up in a grand journey of martial arts, treachery, and adventure.
The movie is a condensation of the Red Ribbon and 22nd Tenkaichi Budokai, but in an entirely different setting and with several twists to the stories of both.
This film provides examples of the following:
- Adaptational Heroism: Blue is depicted as a loyal servant to the emperor who has his best interests at heart.
- Advertised Extra: Arale only gets one action scene before she promptly disappears from the plot. Granted, it's an important action scene, but still.
- Alternate Universe: The events of this movie are entirely secluded to this film alone.
- Ascended Extra:
- Chiaotzu went from a part of the ensemble to the freakin' emperor!
- Bora gets significantly more screentime than he did in the Red Ribbon Arc.
- Bad Dreams: Chiaotzu has one the day before the tournament, and in one of the movie's more touching moments, Tien comforts him.
- A Child Shall Lead Them: Chiaotzu is the very young emperor of Mifan.
- Compressed Adaptation: While the setting is unique, the movie takes several elements from the Red Ribbon Arc and 22nd Tenkaichi Budokai Arc, stitching them together to create a unique, yet similar story.
- Death by Adaptation: Shen actually has Pilaf, Shou, and Mai killed in this continuity!
- The Ditherer: Tien is in a position where he struggles to choose a side between Shen or Chiaotzu.
- The Dragon: Mercenary Tao to Master Shen.
- HeelFace Turn: Tien rebels against Shen to protect Chiaotzu.
- I Have Your Wife: Unbeknownst to Chiaotzu, Shen is holding Ran-Ran hostage.
- Killed Off for Real: Even in this continuity Bora dies.
- Death Is Cheap: And just like the main continuity it doesn't stick.
- Tournament Arc: Er, tournament movie. It does later stray from this aspect however.
- Treacherous Advisor: Master Shen.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Shen betrays Chiaotzu and throws a coup after the tournament turns south.
- He also did this to the Pilaf Gang at the start of the movie.