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Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone (known in Japan as, Doragon Bōru Zetto: Ora no Gohan o Kaese!!; lit. "Dragon Ball Z: Return my Gohan!!") is the fourth Dragon Ball movie and the first under the Dragon Ball Z banner. It was released between episodes 11 and 12, with it premiering at the 1989 Toei Cartoon Festival (along with three other movies from the Akuma-kun, Himitsu no Akko-chan, and Kidou Keiji Jiban series). It was released in 1989 by Toei Animation, originally titled simply Dragon Ball Z: The Movie during its theatrical release. It was then dubbed into English by the Canadian company The Ocean Group in 1997 for the American company Funimation Entertainment, the title being changed to Dead Zone. It was then re-dubbed by FUNimation itself in 2005.
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The story sees a alien being named Garlic Jr. take over the Lookout Point as revenge against Kami for being chosen over his father for the position of God of Earth, who in turn tried to take it by force, was defeated and cast into the Dead Zone as punishment. Goku gets in on the action when Garlic's lackey kidnap Gohan for the four star dragon ball on his hat, joined shortly by Krillin and Piccolo as they try to stop Garlic from making his wish and taking over the world.

Curiously it proved popular enough that Toei revisited it in a anime only sequel arc in the Dragon Ball Z anime, the Garlic Jr Arc, set between the Namek arc and Android arc.

For the Dragon Ball Z Abridged version, see here.


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This film provides examples of the following:

  • And I Must Scream: After becoming immortal, Garlic Jr. gets sealed away inside the Dead Zone for all eternity.
  • Badass Cape: Garlic Jr. wears one with a hood.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Nicky was in charge of watching Gohan while the young Saiyan was being kept prisoner. It... didn't end up well for him.
  • Bald of Evil: Garlic Jr. has no hair and is an evil bastard.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The film would actually avert this, since most of the details point to it taking place near the end of the gap between the original Dragon Ball and Znote ...were it not for the fact that 1), Krillin meets Gohan before the Raditz Arc, but doesn't recognize him in the TV series (while this could be explained away on Krillin's part by him hitting his head or something and wiping the memories of the movie away, Gohan doesn't recognize Krillin when they meet in the TV series), and 2), Goku and Piccolo have their talk about weighted clothes in this movie. It's worth noting that the original Z seems to imply that this movie does happen (or at the very least, the movie is Broad Strokes), due to the Garlic Jr Arc having the villain of this movie come back for revenge. In Kai, on the other hand, the movie's continuity is very ambiguous - at best, it's Broad Strokes, at worse, it's this trope played straight due to the lack of the Garlic Jr arc.
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  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Zigzagged. Nicki, Ginger, and Sansho are shown to be strong enough that they could beat Goku or Piccolo if all three of them ganged one of them at once, and are much less of a threat when faced individually. Played straight with Garlic Jr., who is much more of a threat than the three of them.
  • Combined Energy Attack: Nicky, Ginger and Sansho can fire Energy Waves at the opponent. Used against Piccolo, which hit him, and later against Goku, (Minus Sansho, he was knocked out by Goku) but it was deflected by Krillin.
  • Complete Immortality: Garlic Jr. is the only one to have this wish successfully given to him by Shenron (until Super, anyway), as well as the only one to actually have absolute immortality (although some characters were implied to be immortal, such as Master Roshi and the Androids, it seems to be limited to natural causes).
  • Dead-Hand Shot: After he and Nicky are killed by Goku's Kamehameha, we see Ginger's twitching hand sticking up from the rubble before falling limp.
  • Dual Wielding: Nicky and Ginger can summon two katanas for each of them by pulling them. Out of their skin.
  • Drunken Glow: Gohan gets drunk from eating an apple. Aside from the half-opened dizzy eyes and hyperactive behavior, he gets a red streak over his face.
  • Edible Theme Naming: Garlic Jr. and his minions are all named after spices/condiments.
  • Elite Mooks: Nicky, Ginger and Sansho.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Or "Papas" in Garlic's case. Garlic Jr.'s main reason for attacking Kami in the movie was to avenge his fallen father. In the series he solemnly vows to use the Dragon Balls to bring him back, and when he thought Piccolo died and the Dragon Balls lost, he lamented the loss but remained steadfast in finding another way.
  • Expy: Garlic Jr. looks like a more serious and threatening version of original Dragon Ball Big Bad Emperor Pilaf, to the point that they share the same voice actor. Both are voiced by Chuck Huber in the Funimation Dub, Don Brown in the Ocean Group Dub, as well as Shigeru Chiba in the Japanese version (Shigeru only voiced Garlic Jr. in the anime, not the movie).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Unlike his enemies, Garlic Jr. literally cannot die. The first half of the movie was him basically moving to make that the case. Yet somehow he gets the brilliant idea of opening a void to eternal darkness — this can backfire, and thus become worse torture for him than for anyone else ever because, again, he literally cannot die.
  • Kick the Dog: When Garlic Jr. mercilessly beats Kami while he's defenseless.
  • Large and in Charge: Garlic Jr. is an inversion, he's downright tiny and all of his minions are much bigger than him. Played straight with his One-Winged Angel.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Thanks to Garlic Jr.'s minions kidnapping Gohan, he intervenes in the climax when Garlic Jr. opens up a portal to the Dead Zone and sends him into it. If they had just left him, their boss would have won.
  • Oh, Crap!: Nikki's horrified reaction before being blown away by Goku's Kamehameha along with Ginger.
  • One-Winged Angel: Nicky, Ginger and Sansho all bulk up and increase their powers by shouting weird things related to their names.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Garlic Jr. and his father are functionally evil counterparts to Kami (and eviler counterparts to Piccolo Jr. and Emperor Pilaf), much like Demon King Piccolo before them. They even have minions too.
  • Sinister Scimitar: Played straight by Nicky and Ginger; the swords they pull out of their limbs are curved enough to be considered scimitars, and they're evil.
  • Person of Holding: Goku battles two minions who rip swords out of their bodies.
  • Plot Hole: Garlic Jr. seeks the Dragon Balls to become immortal before he attempts to kill Kami, yet he had his minions track down and attempt to kill Piccolo, even though he should know this would deactivate the balls.
  • Power of the Void: The Dead Zone.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Nicky, Ginger, and Sansho.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: After Garlic Jr.'s Motive Rant:
    Goku: I didn't come here to listen to your life story! Where's Gohan?!
  • The Sociopath: Garlic Jr. is known for being totally ruthless and insane.
  • Stupid Evil: Garlic Jr.'s minions are sent out to steal Dragon Balls, and they also kidnap Gohan for no good reason. Granted Goku would have likely come to stop them anyways, but still...
  • Super Mode: Garlic Jr. and his minions, Nicky, Ginger and Sansho, all have this.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: Garlic Jr. grows from a being about Gohan's size to taller than Goku and Piccolo as well as gaining the mass to be on par with Ox King during his Super Mode.
  • Terrible Trio: Nicky, Ginger and Sansho.
  • Villain Ball: Again, as stated above, Garlic Jr. tries to kill Piccolo before he is ready to make his wish for immortality.
  • You Killed My Father: Garlic Jr. has this attitude towards Kami.
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