PLEASE NOTE: “As an Amazon Associate, [Need Coffee] earns from qualifying purchases." You know we make money from Amazon links,
and I know you know this, but they make us say it anyway. More info, click here.

Dragonball Z: The Return of Cooler (Edited, 1992) – DVD Review



  • Character profiles
  • Actor Interviews
  • Trailers
  • Assorted ads

Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:

  • Robot slander
  • Gohan nearly naked
  • Weird biomechanical happenings

Released by FUNimation
Rating: 13+
Region: 1
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.

My Advice: Buy the uncut version.

The Return of Cooler showcases Goku, Piccolo, Vegeta, and the rest in battle against one of the best villains in DBZ history: Cooler. Though defeated many episodes ago, he’s back and nastier than ever. This feature opens with a giant, space-faring robotic sphere attacking New Namek, reaching its tentacles of evil around the planet and causing world-wide destruction. This is the Big Gete Star, and it’s worse than you think. Meanwhile, Goku and friends are on their way to New Namek for a visit and arrive just in time to see the Namekians enslaved to this mysterious power as their world dies around them. An army of metallic Cyclopean Guards awaits Our Heroes, as does their leader, our heroes’ evil nemesis: Cooler.

People who may have become a Dragonball Z fan late, during the Cell cycle, for instance, will appreciate the chance to learn more about Gohan’s history and the culture of the popular Piccolo, himself Namekian. We also get to see more about Vegeta and his character, as he shows up a bit after Gohan and has to decide who he’d rather fight–Gohan or Cooler.

The features list is rather nice. There are character profiles of most of your favorites, as well as actor interviews–a wonderful addition that I hope to see much more often in anime. There’s also a kind of ad for IF Labs’ DBZ figures, which would be annoying and commercial if they weren’t so cool. The obligatory trailers actually seem chosen with the feature in mind, suggesting things fans might actually like…and it’s also good to see the full disc credits. All too often, that information is buried and nearly impossible to find, but the staff and crew deserve some attention.

The video and audio are both solid for this feature. The colors are bright and vibrant, and the sound, even with music added in, is clear and problem-free. The art is the same beloved look as always–fun and detailed where necessary, but spare enough to focus on the interesting, manic characters.

If only, ah, if only, this had been the full, uncut Japanese version…but you can’t have everything. What we do have is a great movie that any science fiction, martial arts, or action fan will enjoy, even if they aren’t already an anime or DBZ fan. If you are, however, an anime lover, then you’ll eat this up with a spoon. It has it all: action, adventure, mystery, fun, a touch of comedy, good art, and great, well-developed characters. If you’ve never seen any Dragonball before, this is a good place to enter; you’ll miss out on a bit of the backstory, but nothing very important that would interfere with your appreciation of the story. Yes, okay, the show is inherently sexist, but it’s just so enjoyable. Swallow your feminist outrage or save it for where it might do some good. Besides, would Gohan be who he is today if Chi-Chi didn’t keep him fed and keep that orange jumpsuit clean? I don’t think so.

Buy it from Amazon.

Also: DVD Reviews for Fusion: Ambush, Majin-Buu: Tactics, and Imperfect Cell: Race Against Time.

Originally published on Version 3 of the site, ported to WordPress (Ver. 4) on 10/22/2005.