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Web Video / Dragon Ball Z: Light of Hope

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Dragon Ball Z: Light of Hope is a non-profit fan-made web series, which serves as a Live-Action Adaptation for the Dragon Ball TV special Dragon Ball Z: The History of Trunks. Released in 2015, the series has since undergone Development Hell, such that the second episode finally aired on November 14, 2017.

The series prides itself on staying true to the original text, to the point of adapting lines and modeling fight choreography directly from the special.

  1. Pilot Episode
  2. Episode 2

Dragon Ball Z: Light of Hope provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: In the original, Trunks had trouble entering Super Saiyan form because, as he put it, he'd never lost anything important to him; everyone the androids killed was either a stranger or dead before he got to know them. This version has Trunks breaking out in tears and angrily screaming at Gohan that he's already lost too much. Then immediately subverting it when Gohan points out that Trunks didn't know any of those people personally, and has never known deep personal loss. Then Played Straight again (so Zigzagged Trope overall) since Trunks has personally watched more people die than his anime counterpart, just not enough to trigger his transformation.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Apart from a short scene of Goku's death and the Androids' initial rampage, the entire beginning of the special is cut. The first episode starts with Gohan and Trunks going to fight the androids together, after Gohan has been training Trunks for some time.
    • The series ends with Trunks’ first transformation into a Super Saiyan.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Though few changes have been made, the first episode and the trailers show that some new scenes have been added.
    • Where the original has a Empathy Doll Shot, the series has Trunks finding the little girl who owns that doll and carrying her on his back away from the battle.
    • The first episode has a short scene showing Gohan patching himself up after a battle using medicine, for lack of senzu beans.
    • A short scene shows a refugee trying to shoot Android 17. It doesn't go well.
    • In the original, Bulma and Trunks seem to live alone in the desert. Here, their facility is populated by survivors, some of which are helping Bulma with her research.
  • Adapted Out: Thanks to Adaptation Distillation, most of the main characters from Dragon Ball aren't included. Goku's hand is seen for a few seconds as he dies, but apart from that, none of the Z-Warriors' deaths are shown.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Gohan loses his arm in his final battle.
  • And Then What?: Android 18 asks 17 what they will do when all the humans are dead. He shrugs and says he's sure they'll figure something out.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Downplayed, but still there. When Gohan and Trunks fight the Androids, their intention isn't to defeat them, but to buy time for the survivors to escape. In this, they succeed, but only barely.
  • Bittersweet Ending: More bitter than sweet, since the story ends with Gohan dead and Trunks having unlocked a Super Saiyan form seemingly even stronger than Gohan’s, but Bulma’s time-travel machine is only a theory at this point.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Played straight when the androids incinerate people with Ki, averted in all other cases.
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: Trunks gets appropriately roughed up in battle, and is at one point covered in blood and dirt.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When one man is begging for his life, Android 17 casually says, "I love this part."
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Gohan making his own medicine is a call back to early episodes in Dragon Ball Z where he used salves and poultices for healing.
    • In the anime, Future Trunks briefly mentioned that Goku's heart virus killed regular humans in his timeline as well as Goku. Here, Bulma develops the cure for the virus by treating infected humans.
    • The Zenkai boost is never named, but Android 18 figures out that Gohan is somehow getting stronger after losing fights.
  • Costume Porn:
    • Mostly CGI-porn, makeup, color contacts and hair dye porn, but Gohan's Super-Saiyan form is truly amazing to behold.
    • A geeky variant shows up, in that the characters costumes match their original outfits almost to the letter. Even Baby Trunks in the trailer has his little blue hat and Burma is wearing an exact replica of one of the outfits she wore in the show.
  • Darker and Edgier: Instead of humanity surviving in a handful of hidden yet colorful, cheery cities, the world is largely reduced to rubble. The raid on Pepper town shows a burning hand-made sign that says "Safe Haven" to make it clear humanity is really struggling to survive. According to the narration, the human population has been reduced to ten thousand, whereas originally, a full third of humanity was still alive.
  • Foreshadowing: When Trunks walks in on Bulma, you can see the schematics for the time machine behind her.
  • The Ghost: Goku may be dead, but his presence is felt everywhere throughout the series.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Averted for the most part, such as when Trunks is covered in blood and when Gohan is dying. Played straight with the face of Gohan's corpse.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Averted for practical purposes. Androids 17 and 18 look similar enough to be siblings, but they're clearly not identical.
  • Healing Vat: Trunks gets put in one after he sustains serious burns from fighting the Androids. He’s still in it when Gohan dies.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Done by a villain when 17 decides he'd rather shoot a would-be Heroic Bystander with his own gun than vaporize him.
  • Hope Spot: In his final battle, Gohan seems able to fight the Androids evenly and starts to get the better of them... until they decide to stop screwing around and effortlessly out-speed and overpower him, making it clear he never stood a chance.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: 17 and 18 believe so, and use it to justify their rampage.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: The actors for the androids wear color contacts so that their eyes are literally inhumanely blue.
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted. One survivor tries to punch Android 17 in the face and gruesomely breaks his hand. When Gohan is patching himself up, his knuckles are bruised and bloody from repeatedly punching the Androids.
  • Mercy Lead: To amuse themselves, the Androids tell a group of survivors to run away. After about ten seconds, they start blasting them.
  • Money Is Not Power: One man begs for his life and even tries to offer the Androids money. Android 17 says he has no want or need of money before killing him.
  • Mundane Utility: Gohan uses his ki to make medicine and his strength to lift heavy equipment.
  • No Body Left Behind: Only when people are disintegrated.
  • Parents as People: Running a large facility of refugees and researching time travel means that Bulma doesn't have much time to pay attention to her son.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • See Half-Identical Twins. Bulma and Trunks have brown eyes to avoid giving a child actor color contacts.
    • Gohan doesn’t lose an arm until shortly before he dies, presumably because it would be too difficult to film realistically.
  • Race Lift: Averted. Gohan's actor is Asian, and Trunks' actor is also of Asian descent. (Bulma is white, as many fans interpret the original character to be.)
  • Required Secondary Powers: Gohan looks over the schematics for Bulma's time machine and learns its time travel method subjects the user to extreme G-forces that a human could never survive. Bulma confirms this and says only someone with Super Toughness like Gohan or Trunks could survive a journey in it.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Gohan explains that Saiyan powers develop in response to how much they need them, and theorizes that growing up After the End will make Trunks stronger than him one day.
  • Talking to the Dead: Gohan occasionally looks to the sky and talks to his lost loved ones, like his father and Piccolo.
  • Talk to the Fist: Gohan attempts a Kamehameha Wave, but Android 17 super speeds up and punches him mid-chant.
  • Telepathic Spacemen: Saiyans were/are apparently this, since Gohan and Trunks are able to see what the other one is seeing when one is in mortal danger.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Like in the source, Trunks achieves his Super Saiyan form when he discovers Gohan's dead body.
  • The Unreveal: The camera cuts out while Trunks is mid-transformation, so the audience doesn't get to see his Super Saiyan form.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Gohan manages to punch Android 17 into a heap of trash before escaping with an unconscious Trunks. As 18 teases him, he loses his temper and punches the ground hard enough to blow away his surroundings.