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Anime / Dragon Ball Z: The Return of Cooler

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Dragon Ball Z: The Return of Cooler (ドラゴンボールゼット 激突!!100億パワーの戦士たち Doragon Bōru Zetto: Gekitotsu!! Hyaku-Oku Pawā no Senshi-tachi, lit. "Dragon Ball Z: Clash!! 10,000,000,000 Powerful Warriors") is the sixth Dragon Ball Z movie, originally releasing on Japan on March 7, 1992. It was released on VHS and DVD in the United States in August 2002 by Funimation. This film is a direct sequel to the fifth movie, Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge, and the first appearance of Vegeta in a movie.

The story revolves around a gigantic parasitic cyber-planet known as the Big Gete Star, which attachs itself to the recently recreated Namek. The native Namekians are enslaved by the forces of the Big Gete Star, which attracts Dende's attention back on Earth, thus he implores Goku and his friends to save his home once more. Once the gang arrive on New Namek, they encounter a familiar face spearheading the enslavement, none other than Cooler from the previous film, now in a metallic body.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • Given this film's attempted place in continuity (sometime after Dende became Earth's guardian), Gohan should be a Super Saiyan and the strongest fighter in the main cast when fully motivated. He's considered weaker then Piccolo and just a rung above Krillin, likely because the creators predicted Dende's return but not Gohan's increased strength and relevance in the final battle of the arc.
    • If taken at the time the manga and anime were when the movie came out, in the middle of Piccolo's battle with the Androids, Piccolo should be the strongest fighter. Here, he is considered at the strength when he fused with Nail and easily defeated by a Meta-Cooler.
    • Goku and Vegeta also seem to suffer from this, because their powers seem to be based before training in the room of time.
  • Badass Army: Cooler has an army of metallic clones, each one as strong as a Super-Saiyan. His regular drones are no slouch either, giving Piccolo, Gohan and Krillin a hard time in their fight and even capturing the latter two thanks to sheer numbers.
  • Beam Spam: How Goku and Vegeta manage to destroy one Meta-Cooler.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Midway through Goku and Cooler's fight, Vegeta drops in to save his rival from a deadly chokehold, joining the fight from then on.
  • Came Back Strong: Despite being based off of his fourth form, Meta-Cooler is even stronger than he was in his fifth form. And that's not even getting into his fusion with the Big Gete Star.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: After the Phlebotinum Overload, Cooler in a fit of rage takes whatever he has left and assembles a giant mechanical body to try and kill Goku and Vegeta. Said body far more fragile than the Meta-Coolers and is ultimately destroyed fairly quickly.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Averted. Each individual Meta-Cooler is just as strong as the one that gave Goku and Vegeta such a hard time on its lonesome and the resulting fight with the entire army is so one-sided the movie doesn't even bother depicting it.
  • Continuity Snarl: Although its direct predecessor could loosely fit in the timeline, the same can't be said for this movie. All signs point towards it taking place during the early-Android Saga, which couldn't have happened since Future Trunks is completely absent, Goku isn't suffering from his heart virus, and in general, the Android Saga wasn't heavy on free time. And the complete absence of Future Trunks means it can't take place in the waiting period before the start of the Cell Games. It would actually fit very well if it took place in the three year gap between Trunks' arrival and the arrival of the androids, Goku being the only one who saw Vegeta as a Super Saiyan when the rest of the cast didn't, and maybe just a few weeks shy of the latter—but that's out the door because Dende is Earth's god, which didn't happen until after the Cell Games were announced, as well as the plot of the film revolving around the protagonists going to New Namek when Goku had no idea where it was, and had to use King Kai's planet to pinpoint its location. It seems like the writers wanted to put it after the Android Saga, and assumed correctly that Dende would have been made Earth's guardian, and then just shrugged at speculating whether any of the cast would have made any real strides from the middle of the Saga onward.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: After having a fairly even match against Cooler, Goku and Vegeta then have to fight an entire army of Coolers just as powerful as the one they just destroyed. It ends in a flash of light and cuts away to the inside of the Big Gete Star, Goku and Vegeta obviously utterly defeated.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Dende is shown to be the Guardian of Earth months before it actually happened in the manga.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Big Gete Star. It is also a rare example of a mechanical one. Basically, it's a planet-sized tumor that drains the resources of the planet it infects.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Cooler is just as equally brutal and civil as he was last movie, only now he's at an even greater extreme than last movie, enslaving Namek with an iron grip, yet also constantly complimenting the Saiyans for their combat abilities.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The Big Gete Star was originally just a small computer chip floating in the wastes of space, before it started assimilating everything in sight, including the remains of Cooler.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Goku and Vegeta would never double team an opponent under normal circumstances due to a mixture of pride and a sense of fighting fair. Cooler is so dangerous that they both eschew this limitation. It barely works.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Cooler bites off more than he can chew when he attempts to finish off the Saiyans by sapping their power. See Phlebotinum Overload.
  • It Only Works Once: According to the Funimation dub, the Big Gete Star enhances Meta-Cooler's Healing Factor by making it so that whatever caused the injury will not work again.
  • It's Personal: Downplayed but Cooler definitely wants to get back at Goku for his previous defeat.
  • Mythology Gag: At the beginning, the characters wear the same space suits from Akira Toriyama's illustration for the cover of the 1989 Weekly Shonen Jump #47.
  • Never Trust a Title: The original Japanese title of the movie indicates that the heroes will have to fight ten billion enemies. Goku and Vegeta only fight what looks like a few hundred Meta-Coolers and it's a Curb-Stomp Battle that's less than a minute long.
  • Non-Serial Movie: Probably one of the hardest movies to slot into continuity for a number of reasons, ranging from Gohan's age, Dende's status as Guardian of the Earth, etc. Supposedly it takes place between the ten days before the Cell Games, but even then that's a tough pill to swallow (Gohan should be older and a Super Saiyan; Trunks should likely be present). Bizarrely, the movie came out when Piccolo was fighting Android 17 in the manga, long before Dende became Guardian. It seems to have been an attempt to get the jump on the manga, but it just results in oddities, since not much about the film would have changed if they'd just learned about New Namek's plight from some other source.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: How Cooler and the Big Gete Star die. Cooler attempts to absorb Goku and Vegeta's Super Saiyan power, only for them to forcibly overload the Star, causing the Star's system's to go haywire.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Master Roshi, Yajirobe, and Oolong are only in the movie just to add levity. Roshi is unable to damage any of the robots, and Yajirobe and Oolong just act cowardly and don't fight at all. And while Yajirobe at least has an excuse for going to New Namek (Bulma forced him to), none is given for Roshi and Oolong.
  • Send in the Clones: Just after Goku and Vegeta defeated Cooler and sat back in victory, they notice yet another Cooler on top of the cliffs above them. They then learn why the Japanese title of this movie is 10,000,000,000 Powerful Warriors, as an entire army of Coolers start sliding down the cliffs.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Played With. Goku and Vegeta initially have to fight a Meta-Cooler and they barely win, when an army appears, they are easily defeated avoiding this trope, but then it is played straight when they manage to overload the Big Gete Star despite it having enough energy to create hundreds of clones.
  • Teleport Spam: The favored technique of Meta-Cooler. This results in various scenes where both Goku and Cooler seem to do battle in this state of high speed movement.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: One Meta-Cooler goes down? The Big Gete Star sends an entire legion of Meta-Coolers at Goku and Vegeta.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Goku (and to a lesser extent) Vegeta's very understandable reaction to being faced with an entire army of Meta-Cooler's right after exhausting themselves just barely taking down one.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Cooler, back in his previous appearance, was no match for Super Saiyan Goku. Now as Meta-Cooler, he puts up a much better fight and nearly puts Goku on the ropes, requiring the combined efforts of Super Saiyan Goku and Vegeta to defeat him.
  • Villain Ball: Cooler probably would have won if he just killed the Saiyans on the spot instead of bringing them into the heart of his hideout, giving them a slim chance to defeat him. For that matter, Cooler could have also won if he'd just started with the gigantic army of Meta-Coolers, instead of employing significantly weaker robots.
  • Widely-Spaced Jail Bars: Gohan, Krillin, Yajirobe, Master Roshi, Oolong, and the Namekians get put in a jail cell fenced with these, which are wide enough for Gohan to slip through.