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Anime / Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon

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Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon (known in Japan as Doragon Bōru Zetto: Ryū-Ken Bakuhatsu!! Gokū ga Yaraneba Dare ga Yaru; lit. "Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Fist Explosion!! If Gokū Can't Do It, Who Will?") is the 13th Dragon Ball Z movie and 16th movie in the Dragon Ball franchise. It was originally released in Japan on July 15, 1995 between episodes 270 and 271, with it premiering at the 1995 the Toei Anime Fair. It was dubbed in English by Funimation Entertainment and was released in the United States on September 12, 2006.

Set after the events of the final battle with Majin Buu, the film focuses on the efforts of an evil magician, Hoi, to release the deadly monster Hirudegarn onto the Earth, forcing Goku and the Z Fighters to enlist the aid of a warrior named Tapion, who may be the only one capable of defeating the monster.

This work contains examples of:

  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Vegeta does not appear until very late into the film, when Hirudegarn fully awakens.
  • Achilles' Heel: It's stated that Hirudegarn becomes solid for an instant after it attacks, so countering its attacks was a tactic used by both Gohan and Goku.
    • Cutting off its tail (only possible with the blessed sword Tapion carries) causes it to lose some of its Intangible Man ability.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Hoi is a huge bastard.
  • Alien Blood: Hirudegarn has yellow blood.
  • Ambiguous Situation: How Hoi opened the box with Minotia in it is never explained, as Hoi needed to have Shenron open the box for Tapion, and this is not mentioned later.
  • Asshole Victim: After being freed from Tapion three times, Hirudegarn proceeds to crush its "master" Hoi. No one cares since the guy killed Tapion's brother, tricked the Z-Fighters into helping him, and his actions killed a majority of people in West City.
  • Badass Boast: Two of them, both directed towards Hirudegarn.
    Vegeta: You're gonna regret this, freak. All the way to the grave!
    SSJ3 Goku: Fight me, if you're ready to die.
  • Badass Pacifist: Tapion drops the pacifist part when he starts appearing in the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi games. (He doesn't seem to be able to even fly on his own in the movie.)
  • Bash Brothers: With his little brother Minosha. It's less 'bash' and more 'Guile Hero', though.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Hoi. While he claims to be the "master" of Hirudegarn, he ultimately has no control over the beast, as shown when Hirudegarn crushes him underfoot.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Until Goku is able to figure out a more permanent solution, Tapion's the only means of keeping Hirudegarn under control, and the first few fights last only until he's able to do something about it.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: Vegeta rather selflessly uses the last of his energy to protect an office full of innocent civilians, demonstrating his Character Development as a result of the Buu Arc.
  • But Now I Must Go: Bulma gives Tapion the Time Machine to go back to his time at the end of the movie.
  • Captain Ersatz: Tapion is probably is this to the likes of Link and Crono. However, Wrath of the Dragon predates Ocarina of Time by three years.
  • Character Development: Tapion is justifiably cold and bitter after he's reluctantly freed from his music box prison, as he knows the consequences of his freedom and implicitly blames the Z-Fighters. However, Trunks and Bulma showing him kindness steadily reveal the softer side to him.
    • Although he does not have much screentime in this movie, Vegeta's character development carries over from the manga and anime. He selflessly defends an office full of civilians from Hirudegarn's blast with a large ki barrier that drains him completely, something that he would have never gone out of his way to do prior to the Majin Buu arc.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: When it seems as though Hirudegarn has been destroyed by SSJ3 Gotenks, it reveals that Hirudegarn is not only not dead but actually transforms into an incredibly stronger and quicker form.
  • Continuity Snarl: Almost entirely Averted. The events of the film fit neatly in-between the Buu Saga and Battle of the Gods with nothing in particular contradicting the source material besides the below mentioned Voodoo Shark. Granted, the fact that Trunks never uses or even mentions Tapion's sword in GT or Super could be considered a retroactive discrepancy, but that's hardly a fault of the film itself.
  • Cool Big Bro: Trunks would very much like him to be this, and Tapion seems to warm up to it towards the end of the movie.
  • Cool Sword: Tapion's, which is given to (main timeline) Trunks at the end of the movie, and he'd go on to use it in the opening for GT. May or may not be the sword that future Trunks used, depending on if Tapion came to Earth or not in that timeline. For however much it's worth, Dragon Ball Xenoverse labels Future Trunks's sword as Tapion's.
  • Darker and Edgier: This is one of the grittier Z movies, which is reflected in the darker colour palette. It introduces a brooding alien hero with a tragic past, a literal Kaiju with legitimately terrifying designs, and deals with explicit themes of suicide and racially-driven genocide.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Judging from how the movie is advertised, you'd be forgiven if you thought Goku would be a central character, but in reality, it's Trunks and Tapion that get the most screen time, with Gohan and Videl getting the second-most.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Tapion opens up more once Trunks befriends him.
  • Deus ex Machina: Hirudegan is defeated when Goku whips out a new mega-powerful technique that was never mentioned before.
  • Demoted to Extra: Goku and Vegeta have very little screentime, especially compared to the previous film.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Goku vs Hirudegarn, full stop. The other characters also count but Goku stands out since he quite literally used a specialized ki-charged punch to kill the Eldritch Abomination.
  • Doomed by Canon: Tapion's home planet, Konats is in the South Galaxy. Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan says that Broly destroyed most of the planet's in this galaxy so Konats is probably gone. Though given each Dragon Ball Z film is set in a separate alternate continuity, and this film isn't one of the Broly sequels, it's possible his planet is still there.
  • Driven to Suicide: At the beginning of the movie, Hoi feigns a Wounded Gazelle Gambit to attract Great Saiyaman's attention by threatening to jump from a tall building. Although that was a ploy, Tapion later begs Trunks to kill him in order to end the threat of Hirudegarn, bringing everything full circle. He even says that he welcomes death.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Hoi is unceremoniously crushed under Hirudegarn's foot like a bug.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: A minor one. When Vegeta makes his entrance in the English dub, his Pre-Asskicking One-Liner mentions that he was enjoying his first day off in a month. Anyone slightly familiar with his character knows he lives off his wife and hasn't had a 'job' since he served Freeza. Vegeta spends all of his time training, which he wouldn't think of as work. In the original Japanese version, he's just angry that Hirudegarn destroyed his house.
  • Dub Personality Change: In the dub, Hirudegarn's weakness is said to be intense emotions, and taunting it is said to weaken it. However, in the Japanese version, no such weakness exists. Goku taunts Hirudegarn to provoke him into attacking him, so he can counterattack during the brief period of time Hirudegarn is tangible.
  • Edible Theme Naming: Tapion's name is a play on the word tapioca, which fits with the food-naming theme. He comes from the planet Konats (coconuts).
  • Eldritch Abomination: Hirudegarn is less a character than a force of nature.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: Averted. This was the last Dragon Ball Z film (The Path to Power was a Dragon Ball film) for eighteen years until Battle of Gods, but the creators likely didn't know that. Despite being alive, Goku's role is mostly limited to the climax, while Trunks is the character that takes center stage.
  • Enemy Within: Hirudegarn seems to give Tapion nightmares.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Hoi is a wicked mage who wants to resurrect a monster and conquer the universe.
  • Expy:
    • Tapion seems to look a lot like Crono from Chrono Trigger which makes sense considering that Akira Toriyama designed the characters in that game also. In-universe, he plays the role of both Future Trunks and the time machine that brought Cell to the past - Bulma's softer moments with him cement this.
    • Hoi is one of Babidi. In the American version, Bulma even lampshades this by saying how his whiskers are a dead giveaway that he's up to no good.
    • Hirudegarn is essentially a Dragon Quest Big Bad.
  • Fish out of Water: Tapion is unwillingly awoken on a strange, alien planet (Earth), knowing that it's only a matter of time before he causes the apocalypse. It takes quite a while for him to warm up to the Dragon Team. From a meta standpoint, he's definitely not the kind of character that would fit in Toriyama's original manga (mainly in terms of his morose characterisation, not just his Genre Refugee design).
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Hirudegarn. He's basically an evil kaiju in Dragon Ball Z, with all the characterization one would expect of a rampaging monster, which is to say, none.
  • God of Evil: Hirudegarn is a deity of apocalyptic destruction given life through his animated idol.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Tapion is legitimately a hero and the savior of his race, but there's a very good reason his first action on being released is to chew everyone out for it, then get as far away from the city as possible while brushing off all attempts to befriend him.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Hirudegarn is a weird case of this. The two halves are either separate, or on opposite sides of a mobile portal. It's like a really weird form of Detachment Combat, though we only see either the lower half or the combined form.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Tapion suffers from this due to Hirudegarn inside him, which is also the main reason he would want to self-terminate.
  • The Insomniac: Hirudegarn will escape if Tapion sleeps outside of suspended animation. Though he's shown to have terrible nightmares when he does actually sleep, it seems to be linked to Hirudegarn.
  • Intangible Man: Unless you cut off its tail, Hirudegarn can turn into mist to avoid attacks. Worse, he doesn't seem to give off any Ki, so it's difficult to get a lead on him.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Tapion and Trunks is this in a nutshell.
  • The Juggernaut: Hirudegarn's second form. The entire cast fights him, and even Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks and Ultimate Gohan, whom are stronger than Goku (though the film doesn't acknowledge it) can't stop him. Aside from exploiting his Achilles' Heel, he's unstoppable.
  • Kaiju: Wrath of the Dragon is basically what happens when the animators get drunk and agree to "wouldn't it be cool if Goku gets to fight Godzilla?" (There's even a couple of shots of the military attempting to stop him, to no avail.)
  • Karmic Death: Hoi is killed by the monster he unleashed.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: The first and only of the original films not to play the series' current theme song at the start of the film.
  • Leitmotif: Tapion's theme song is actually important to the plot, no less.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Hirudegarn's Intangible Man trick means he can strike from unexpected angles, a bit like Janemba did in the previous movie. Unlike Janemba, he strikes from completely unexpected angles and hits like a meteorite - the effect is that he's extremely good at knocking out the post-Buu Z Warriors with a couple of hits, even knocking Gotenks apart at one point.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Hoi.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Hoi's race harnessed Hirudegarn in an attempt to exterminate all sapient life except themselves out of pure racism.
  • Non-Serial Movie: Unusually for the franchise, because it's set some unspecified time after the Buu Arc it doesn't conflict with the (pre-Super) timeline at all.
  • Older Than They Look: Of the suspended animation variety - Tapion was born 1000 years and change ago.
  • One-Winged Angel: Hirudegarn shedding its outer layer like a monstrous cicada to reveal an even more powerful, nightmarishly insectoid form beneath.
  • Outside-Context Problem: In a franchise that frequently relies on this trope, Hirudegarn stands out for his sheer power and size as well as the fact that he has actual, exploitable weaknesses that aren't weaksauce.
  • Perpetual Frowner: As Tapion has nothing to look forward to except the likelihood of Hirudegarn fully emerging, and everything he ever knew 1000 years back in the past. He's a bit happier at the end of the movie.
  • Pointy Ears: Tapion's race, the Konatsians, all share this trait.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Vegeta spends what little screentime he gets on one of these. Subverted when it's followed by a Curb-Stomp Battle in Hirudegarn's favor.
    Vegeta: HEY! You, over here! I was enjoying my first day off in over a month... until some flat-footed mutated behemoth stepped on my house! You're gonna regret this, you freak... ALL THE WAY TO THE GRAVE!!!
  • The Quiet One: Tapion at first.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Exaggerated. Hirudegarn, the evil monster, is cut in half and sealed inside of two separate people-shaped cans, Tapion and Minotia, who are themselves sealed inside impenetrable music boxes and banished to the opposite sides of the universe. It still isn't enough, proving these tropes are doomed from the start.
  • Shout-Out: Hirudegarn can transform from this to this.
  • Snark Knight: Videl as the Great Saiyaman 2, especially in contrast to Gohan's genuine but over-the-top enthusiasm. Her total indifference and constant snark when dealing with Hoi's Wounded Gazelle Gambit makes the scene increasingly hilarious, with her mocking him when he's pretending he'll jump from a skyscraper, flying while in annoyed poses and "attempting" to fix the music box (read: glancing at it for two seconds) before simply tossing it away like garbage.
  • Spell My Name With An S:
    • Spelling doesn't change, but the Japanese version pronounces Tapion's name with a short "a" sound while the Funimation dub pronounces it with a long "a" sound.
    • Hirudegarn or Hildegarn?
    • Minotia, Minosha, Minoshia, Minosza…
  • Squashed Flat: Minotia gets crushed by Hirudegarn's lower half at the beginning of the film. Hoi suffers the same fate toward the end as the very monster he sought to complete and control obliviously steps on him.
  • Super Mode: Hirudegarn second, winged mode doesn't make him any stronger, though it lets him fly.
  • There's No Kill like Overkill: Any attack that is used on Hirudegarn is simply shrugged and makes the monster even angrier. The only thing that puts him down is being impaled with an attack that is meant to kill stronger opponents by disintegrating them down to absolutely nothing.
  • Tragic Hero: Tapion. His race were driven to the brink of extinction by Hirudegarn and the Kashvar, he's spent 1000 years trapped in an unbreakable music box, and he carries the burden of having part of Hirudegarn's soul imprisoned inside him. He can never sleep for fear of unleashing the monster, and even when Bulma constructs a special chamber that he can safely rest in, he's haunted by horrible nightmares. To top it all off, Hoi murdered his younger brother Minotia.
  • Voodoo Shark: The end credits imply that Future Trunks got his sword from his timeline's version of Tapion... except Tapion's sword is magic, and Future Trunks's sword isn't, and there's no possible way Future Trunks could have survived against Hirudegarn.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Hoi is not strong enough to take on any of the main characters, but he does have ninja skills which give him a slight edge.
  • Wizards from Outer Space: Hoi. More of a 'priest', though, in the classic D&D sense.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Downplayed. After his arrival on Earth, Hoi tries to jump out of a building while knowing that Gohan and Videl (as the two Great Saiyamen) would come to his rescue, enabling him to trick the Z-Fighters into helping him release Tapion. Prior to this, he apparently went on TV to request help more conventionally.

Alternative Title(s): Wrath Of The Dragon