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Anime / Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might

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Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might (known in Japan as Doragon Bōru Zetto: Chikyū Marugoto Chōkessen; lit. "Dragon Ball Z: Super Showdown for the Whole Earth") is the third Dragon Ball Z movie. It was originally released in Japan on July 7, 1990, between episodes 54 and 55 of Dragon Ball Z, with it premiering at the 1990 Toei Anime Fair which was additionally dubbed Akira Toriyama: The World (as the other two movies premiering at the fair were based on works by Akira Toriyama). It was first translated into English by Funimation Entertainment in 1997, as a three-part episode of the television series.

A group of aliens visit Earth to plant the Tree of Life, a plant that grants cosmic power by draining the Earth's life force.

This film provides examples of the following:

  • All There in the Manual: The backstories of Turles and his crew, which were all revealed in the Akira Toriyama - The World artbooks released between 1990 and 1995.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Gohan transforms into a rampaging Great Ape after Turles notices his regrown tail, creates a power ball and forces Gohan to look at it.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Four of the five members of Turles's crew have abnormal skin colors.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Tree of Might is one of these, as it requires an enormous sum of energy to grow its Power-Up Food fruit and drains most planets, including Earth, dry in the process.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Turles is the only one of his men strong enough to go head to head with Goku, who is in turn the only one of the Z Fighters who is strong enough to go head to head with the Crusher Corps and win (against all of them at once, no less).
  • Ass-Kicking Pose: Rezun and Rakasei dabble in this, predating the more famous Ginyu posers.
  • Asteroids Monster: Rezun and Rakasei split from their combined form after being hit with a dual-energy attack from Tien and Chaiotzu.
  • Back from the Dead: While not shown in the movie itself, All There in the Manual establishes the Tree of Might's extract as being capable of this. Turles uses it to revive the Beenz twins Rezun and Rakasei from ancient fossilized remains.
  • Badass Arm-Fold: Turles favors this pose.
  • Badass Cape: Turles wears a white one that's more than a little reminiscent of Piccolo's.
  • Badass Crew: Turles' minions, whom by and large prove stronger than the heroes.
  • Bash Brothers: Rezun and Rakasei tend to work together in fights, as do Daiz and Cacao.
  • Big Bad: Turles is the main antagonist of the film.
  • Blood Knight: Turles is this, in proud Saiyan tradition.
  • Bowdlerise
    • The 1997 FUNimation/Ocean/Saban dub uses Batman (1966)-like "Kapow" stars and a white fog effect to cover hits to the face.
    • The same dub tried to replace Turles forcing Gohan's eyes open so he can look at the fake moon with Turles simply holding Gohan by the arms. The result is a crappy mock-up job with Gohan sporting a constipated look the entire time.
  • Butt-Monkey: Yamcha as usual. He buys a flying cruiser early in the film, only for it to get blown up by Turles's crew as they plant the Tree of Might. They don't even notice him, and when he challenges them alongside the heroes, none of them know or care what he's talking about. Then it gets down to the fight, and despite getting to show off his Spirit Ball, the attack proves completely ineffective and he goes down quickly to Cacao. The bit about the busted cruiser becomes something of a Running Gag in the games, usually being referenced in dialogue between Turles and Yamcha:
    Yamcha: You'll pay for trashing my ride, punk!
    Turles: ... I'm sorry, what are you rambling on about?
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Turles more or less revels in his villainy.
    Turles: Hmph. I know the difference [between good and evil]; I just don't care.
  • Continuity Snarl: Much like with most of the other films, is not part of the main continuity and in turn suffers from inconsistencies. The other human members of the Z Fighters are still alive, and Yamcha has King Kai's emblem. However, the absence of Vegeta or Goku being able to go Super Saiyan prevents this from taking place after Frieza's defeat, which is when the other humans would be alive. According to Daizenshuu 6, the movie would take place after Goku's arrival on Namek, but before his fight with Frieza, suggesting that it takes place in an Alternate Timeline.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Turles is a pretty clever fighter. He forces Gohan to go into his great ape form, and he also destroys the fake moon to avoid looking at it by mistake, causing the heroes to have to fight an uncontrollable Gohan while he's rampaging. When Gohan's pet dragon calms him down, Turles just blasts him away, angering him - this backfires as Gohan turns his attention to Turles, who just decides to kill him.
  • Cool Starship: Turles and his crew travel to Earth in one of these. From what we see of it, it's essentially a Saiyan Attack Ball on steroids.
  • Covers Always Lie: The poster shows Goku holding the Power Pole, which he never uses in the movie.
  • Creepy Twins: Rezun and Rakasei, the purple midget followers of Turles.
  • Cultural Rebel: Turles is the Saiyan equivalent of one, as he defiantly rejects his role in the Saiyan Fantastic Caste System as a low-class and disposable warrior.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Turles' battle with Goku after activating his Super Mode. His interactions with the rest of the gang before this also qualifies.
    • Goku himself delivers one to Turles' minions as well, easily defeating all of them simultaneously.
    • And Turles's crew in turn delivered a collectively one of these to their Z Fighter opponents right before being trounced by Goku.
  • Darker and Edgier: The film as a whole is this to the material at the time. Not only was Turles one of the more successful movie villains, the way the tree sucks everything up as well as the overall concept is quite grim.
  • Dark Is Evil: Turles. Not only does he wear all-black battle armor, but he has darker skin than Goku.
  • The Dragon: Amond seems to be the second-in-command of the Crusher Corps, despite not being the strongest member of the team (which is either Daiz or Cacao, depending on your source).
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Or rather servitude, which is how Turles acquired Daiz
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Goku repeatedly tells Turles that his name is not Kakarot whenever the latter calls him such.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Goku wears his "Go" gi and uses Kaio-ken x10, which didn't appear in the anime until several months after the movie premiered. In fact, they only made their debut in the manga a few days before the movie's premiere.
    • Yamcha's gi has the King Kai symbol on the back, even though this movie came out a year before he was wished back with the Dragon Balls in the manga.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: While the Tree of Might and its fruit is not explored in detail, it is stated by King Kai that the Fruit is meant only for the gods and Eternal Dragons to eat. Future Dragon Ball media would later state that the Shinjin, the godly race where gods as the Supreme Kai and King Kai belong to, come from fruits themselves, meaning that Turles was possibly eating unborn Kais. Luckily, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 rejected this last part.
  • Edible Theme Naming: Turles' name in Japanese is an anagram of lettuce. Lost in the adaptation name of Turles.
  • Evil Counterpart: Word of God confirms Turles is supposed to represent what Goku would have been like without his childhood head injury. Before increasing his power level, Goku lampshades this to Turles.
    Goku (1998 uncut Ocean dub): You know, I'm glad I was hit on the head as a baby, or else I would have turned out just like you!
  • Evil Gloating: Turles did this at first. He gets angrier as the movie progresses and more or less drops this by the final showdown.
  • Evil Mentor: Turles tries to become this to Gohan, though the young Saiyan isn't having any of it.
  • Evil Prince: Turles's minion Daiz is established as one of these via All There in the Manual, being revealed to be the crown prince of his home planet who joined Turles via a particularly dark case of Defeat Means Friendship.
  • Expy: Turles is one of Vegeta, taking here Vegeta's role to act as the Saiyan counterpart to the "humanized" Goku in the main manga/anime. Made even better in that Turles is also an Identical Stranger to Goku.
  • Forbidden Fruit: The Tree of Might produces literal forbidden fruit that was intended for only the gods themselves to consume.
  • Fossil Revival: Turles's minions Rezun and Rakasei (the two purple midget guys) are established as this via All There in the Manual, being revealed to be members of an extinct race Turles revived with extract from the fruit of the Tree of Might because their race was known for their genius and Turles wanted them to be his mechanics.
  • Freudian Excuse: All There in the Manual establishes that Turles's ambitions of interstellar conquest were more than a little influenced by Frieza's like-minded reign, to the point that in the Dragon Ball Xenoverse games Turles explicitly states he intends to seize Frieza's home planet and wipe out his species entirely. Frieza, for his part, considers Turles "a pale imitation of my greatness."
  • Fusion Dance: Rezun and Rakasei can fuse into a singular being, predating the much more well known Saiyan fusions by a good few years.
  • The Hedonist: Turles attempts to convince Gohan to join him by going on about all the perks the Space Pirate lifestyle has to offer him.
  • Hidden Depths: All There in the Manual, sure, but as detailed on the character page, there is significantly more backstory to each member of Turles's Crusher Corps than the movie lets on (much more than is typical for DBZ henchmen), to the point where some of them honestly border on Hero of Another Story.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Goku uses the energy from the very same Power-Up Food-producing Tree Turles planted to create a Spirit Bomb powerful enough to destroy Turles and the Tree.
  • Human Aliens: Daiz is the most human-looking member of the Crusher Corps, despite being an alien from the planet Kabocha.
  • I'm Your Worst Nightmare: Piccolo gives this threat to Turles. He's not particularly fazed, but considering Piccolo's mere presences leaves all but two people on Earth pissing themselves, he gets points for effort.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Turles looks exactly like Goku. Some supplemental material suggests Saiyans whose parents are of lower rank share a common ancestry as a result of Planet Vegeta's Fantastic Caste System. Some dubs either say Turles is Goku's brother or clone. In the film, Gohan acknowledges the resemblance, then Turles gives some explanation:
    Turles (1998 uncut Ocean dub): You think I resemble Kakarot? Of course - we are both lower-class Saiyan warriors, and there's only a few types like us.
    Turles (2006 Funimation dub): You recognize that I resemble your father - we are both Saiyan warriors struck from the same mold. Built for destruction.
  • Irony: Turles is played off as a Foil to Goku and in one translation they are even passed off as brothers, when in truth Turles is old enough to be Goku's father.
  • Kick the Dog: Turles forcibly turns Gohan into a Great Ape and sets him loose on his own father, forcing Goku to figure out how remove his rampaging son's tail without otherwise hurting him.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Perhaps due to their shared ancestry, Turles would rather Goku "kneel before him and beg forgiveness" than kill him, even after Goku has killed his crew. When Goku refuses, however, that small glimpse of mercy is taken off the table in very short order.
  • Lack of Empathy: Turles shows no sign of anger or sadness at the defeat of his crew, instead seeming more annoyed that they were defeated so easily. Then there's this exchange between him and Goku in the 2006 Funimation dub:
    Turles: Disturbing. The strongest of all Saiyan blood and he has a soft spot for a purple dinosaur. Kakarot, you raised this Saiyan too much like an Earthling!
    Goku: I raised him to know the difference between good and evil! Unlike some people.
    Turles: Hmph. I know the difference. I just don't care.
  • Light Is Not Good: Earlier in the movie, Turles is decked in a long white cape before joining the fray.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Icarus a.k.a. the Haiya Dragon makes his debut in this film as one of these to Gohan. Despite the dubious canonicity of the film itself, Icarus would later appear in the anime proper. He also appears in the next two DBZ films.
  • Might Makes Right: Turles and all his crew subscribe to this, to the point of referring to their leader as "mighty Turles" and calling the Tree itself "the lone pillar of strength on this planet."
  • Mr. Exposition:
    • A particularly egregious line by Krillin, which he delivers while lying on the ground, seeing how Goku failed to defeat Turles with the Spirit Bomb he created.
      Krillin: No! Earth's energy was sucked up by the Tree of Might and Goku couldn't find enough power to form a Spirit Bomb to defeat Turles! Now we're dead for sure...
    • And then he comments on the situation again when Goku absorbed the energy of the tree to form another, more powerful Spirit Bomb, and defeat Turles for good.
    • King Kai also "helpfully" takes up this role at the end, explaining to his pet cricket and monkey (and any viewers who might have missed it) exactly how Goku was able to defeat Turles and save the world.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Foreign-language dubs try to give a reason for why Turles looks like Goku, and none of them agree with each other. He's either a clone of Goku, his Evil Twin (in the biological sense, one even renaming him Raditz, after Goku's actual canon brother that looks nothing like Turles), or just a Saiyan who happens to look like him (the last being the official explanation).
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Goku gets a rather brutal one courtesy of Turles, even after going Kaio-Ken x10.
  • Non-Serial Movie: This movie has no spot in canon, but is basically what would have happened if Goku made it back to earth on time when Vegeta attacked Earth.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Despite the Tree of Might draining so much of Earth's energy that it appears as a lifeless brown world from space, its destruction at the end causes all life/water/etc on Earth to be returned to the exact state it was before the Tree was planted. With a worldwide shower of magic pixie dust (or something), no less.
  • No-Sell: The first thing the Z Fighters try, quite sensibly, is to just destroy the Tree of Might outright. Unfortunately for them the Tree is much tougher than the average plant, tanking all of their combined energy blasts none the worse for wear.
  • Oh, Crap!: Turles has this expression as he's fighting Goku, while trying to play off all his attacks as lucky shots. He gets this expression again when Goku's second Spirit Bomb, powered by the fruit, overtakes his attack.
  • Older Than They Look: While he doesn't show it due to Saiyan aging, All There in the Manual establishes that Turles was a veteran fighter before Planet Vegeta was destroyed, putting him in the same generation as Bardock and making him one of the oldest Saiyan survivors.
  • Planet Eater: A variation. While Turles cannot eat the literal planet, he instead plants the Tree of Might and when the tree drains the world of its energy to make the fruit, he can gain that energy by consuming said fruit.
  • Power Armor: Cacao's silver battle armor is a special type of this, making him impervious to energy-based attacks. Yamcha finds this out the hard way.
  • Power-Up Food: The Tree's fruit, said to be for the Kais alone to eat. They're so powerful that Goku is able to kill Turles by using their energy to create an insanely powerful Spirit Bomb. Justified as they are the result of the tree absorbing the entire life energy of the world, and thus contains that power.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Turles is refreshingly so, at least by the standards of DBZ villains. He keeps the Evil Gloating to a minimum, is a Combat Pragmatist (a rarity among heroes and villains in the DBZ world) and comes the closest to winning of practically all the movie villains.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Turles, to the point of berating Goku and Gohan for not being Saiyan enough.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Turles' squad of Amond, Cacao, Daiz, Rezun and Lakasei.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: All There in the Manual establishes Turles as having recruited his henchman Amond this way, as the latter was a particularly infamous space criminal who had been locked up by the Galactic Patrol before being busted out of the clink by Turles.
  • Riddle for the Ages: How Turles discovered the Tree of Might (a sacred plant that is implied to be from the higher realms) to begin with, let alone how he obtained its seeds and learned how to cultivate and harvest its fruit, is all anyone's guess.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Icarus was designed to be one of these, and much of the early part of the film focuses on him and Gohan, to the arguable detriment of the rest of the cast.
  • The Rival: Each of the members of Turles's crew is paired off against a Z Fighter:
    • Amond is this to Krillin.
    • Cacao is this to Yamcha.
    • Daiz is this to Goku, fighting him alongside Cacao as Yamcha doesn't put up much of a fight.
    • Rezun and Rakasei are this to Tien and Chiaotzu.
  • Robot Soldier: Turles's minion Cacao is established as this via All There in the Manual, being revealed as a Cyborg created to be a soldier in an interstellar war. He was left directionless after the war ended, until Turles picked him up.
  • Sadist: In addition to having the ultimate goal of draining the life on Earth for power, Turles quite enjoys the pain he inflicts in the process. A good examples is him grinding Goku's head into the dirt while preparing to finish him off.
  • Self-Made Man: In keeping with his Shadow Archetype theme, supplemental material suggests Turles was once been a low-ranking Saiyan warrior of no real note. Planet Vegeta's Fantastic Caste System proposes one of low rank will never live up to his superiors. Considering Turles is at least on par if not stronger than Saiyan Saga Vegeta, the strongest of the elite Saiyan class at the time, he went From Nobody to Nightmare.
  • Showdown at High Noon: Goku and Turles engage in one in a final bout to determine who will win the day, with Turles unleashing a final blast and Goku unleashing his Spirit Bomb in a split second.
  • Sibling Fusion: Among Turles's minions are the twins Lakasei and Rasin, who can merge into a single being and separate at will.
  • Sixth Ranger: Piccolo is one of these to the Z Fighters, as he was their ally by this time but hadn't fully integrated into the team yet.
  • Smug Super: Turles is convinced that he is one of the most powerful fighters in the universe, and that no one is his equal. Unfortunately for Goku and the gang, Tulres got the power to back it up, at least up to a point.
  • Space Pirates: Turles became one of these after abandoning the Frieza Force, and has been operating as this, going on for three decades at the time the movie takes place.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Despite "Tullece" fitting with the food naming motif, the character tends to be mostly referred to as "Turles". He has also been referred to as "Tales", "Tarles", "Tares", and "Taurus", depending on the dub. In an Aversion, he's also called Raditz in one dub.
  • Super Mode: Although he never became an actual Super Saiyan, Turles may have, at one point, been the strongest character in the franchise. Once he eats the Tree of Might's fruit, he powers up to the point that his muscles bulge even more noticeably than before. He becomes so powerful that the only way Goku can beat him is to make a Spirit Bomb. His first attempt doesn't work at all. He only succeeds in killing him by making the second one out of the remaining uneaten fruit.
  • Tagalong Kid: Gohan falls into this role, as he doesn't accompany the Z Fighters at first but later joins the fray after some prompting from Icarus.
  • Take Over the World: Turles' main goal is to become the strongest fighter in the universe so that he may one day rule over everything and everyone.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Turles is tall, has a noticeable tan in comparison with Goku, and his Evil Gloating seems to be more of a low-key snark.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Goku is already peeved at the villains for planting the Tree on Earth, but what really makes him mad is when Turles manhandles Gohan.
  • Those Two Guys: Tien and Chiaotzu are this on the hero side, while Rezun and Rakasei are this for the villains.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Because they are able to defeat the rest of the Z Fighters so quickly once they actually get serious, the Crusher Corps assume that Goku will also be a pushover. Big mistake.
  • Villainous Valour: Despite being one of the bad guys, Daiz is apparently so courageous a warrior that Turles offered him a place in his Crusher Corps. And while he doesn't get much of a chance to demonstrate his valor in the movie itself, he acquits himself well from what little we do see of him.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Turles shares his voice actress with the Son males. While Goku and Gohan having the same VA is a matter of taste, the battle-hardened space pirate sharing a voice with the five-year-old is quite dissonant. Subverted in the American dub, however, which gives Turles a more fitting voice, and the rest of the dubs, who tend to give him the same voice actor as Adult Goku, who generally is male and sounds accordingly.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Rezun and Rakasei are unsurprisingly the weakest members of the Crusher Corps, even in their combined form, but their mechanical genius makes them uniquely valuable to their team.
  • We Can Rule Together: Turles tries to recruit Gohan.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Turles can be considered one of these post-movie, as he is one of the few villains who was never shown in Hell and never came back in any way (which was particularly jarring in Fusion Reborn where his minions came back temporarily but Turles himself was nowhere to be found).
    • In this movie itself, Chi-Chi is never heard from again after forbidding Gohan to join the other Z-Warriors in battle...only for Gohan to sneak out anyway. She doesn't even appear on the camping trip to close out the film, whereas everyone else, bar Piccolo, is present. Nor is she ever seen amending her opinion on letting Hire Dragon stick around, though we hear later in Movie 5, plus a throwaway line at the start of the Cell arc, that she still doesn't like the creature.
  • When Trees Attack: The Tree of Might is not sentient nor does it attack on command per se, but due to its sudden and extreme growth its manifestation is effectively a form of this. It lays much of a city to waste, and throughout the film shots are interspersed of its destructive effects on other parts of the world.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Lampshaded via All There in the Manual, which explicitly states that the Cool Starship and various other devices used by Turles and his crew were both created and are maintained by the Beenz twins, who were revived by Turles specifically for that purpose.
  • Wicked Cultured: Turles manages to make a career of plundering and fighting sound somewhat sophisticated by throwing in a line about enjoying fine wines along with everything else the universe has to offer.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Before Jiren, it was the only time a Spirit Bomb in the series or movies was outright beaten back by the target. Vegeta and Frieza survived it and Buu was able to hold it from exploding on him, but Turles, empowered by the fruit of the tree, simply counters it. It's explained that Goku harnessed the energy of the Earth in making it, but the Tree had drained it of anything useful. In the second attempt, Goku tapped directly into the tree and that worked far better.
    • Turles also more or less owns Piccolo for free, which counts as this seeing as how Piccolo at the time was the second strongest person on Earth.
    • The Crusher Corps fall prey to this in proud DBZ tradition. They defeat all the other Z Fighters easily once they get serious, yet they cannot match Goku even attacking him all at once and each goes down with a single blow.
  • World Tree: Inverted with the planet-draining Tree of Might, though the Tree is not itself malevolent as the material can sometimes suggest in translation. All There in the Manual establishes it as a sort of holy plant that was only ever meant to be eaten by the gods (how Turles got ahold of the seeds of such a plant is never explained, though).
  • Would Hurt a Child: Turles had absolutely no problem with viciously beating and tormenting Gohan during their encounter. It should be noted that this is practically tradition among Saiyans, though.
  • You Are the New Trend: Interestingly, the movie itself can be said to be a meta example of this trope, as many of its elements (silly posing minions, two characters fusing, a Space Pirate Big Bad, etc.) would go on to be reused both in the series proper and in later movies, with at least one of these elements becoming a major part of the final arc of the series itself. In many ways, Tree of Might can be said to be the most trendsetting of all the DBZ films (which is probably why it is by far the most dubbed of them, with an unprecedented five different English dubs in addition to the numerous other languages the movie has been dubbed in).

Alternative Title(s): The Tree Of Might