Dragon Ball: Red Ribbon Army Arc (Episodes 29 – 34) Review

Dragon Ball Red Ribbon Army Arc Pt1

The Red Ribbon Army arc is certainly the longest in the original series, though it can be easily split into narrative chunks that make up the whole, as I have done here! (and as FUNimation did, using their weird individually titled “saga” method) That being said, to keep the Muscle Tower part of the story self-contained I’ve had to separate these six episodes on their own, which is a bit… odd. Oh well, let’s take a look at a mostly filler-filled prologue!

Synopsis:

After his appearances at the World Tournament, Goku is now off to find his Grandpa’s Four-Star Dragon Ball. Goku’s ready for the adventure, but is he ready to take on an entire army?

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Dragon Ball Red Ribbon Army Arc Pt1 1

“So… which colour are you?”  “EXCUSE ME?!”  “No, I meant, like I’m Col. Silver, and… Oh God, never mind.”

Well, I did always like the design of Col. Silver, the first proper Red Ribbon Army ranked member Goku faces off with. I mean, in the Manga it was barely a chapter and here it’s extended to five episodes, but in this case I liked getting to spend more time with the admittedly generic “cool” bad guy character. He’s just a regular human who works out a lot, so once he drops the rocket launcher and tries to fight Goku hand to hand he’s easily dispatched.. but still! A good laugh, and he was rocking the trench coat with not shirt look long before Liquid Snake!

If they had to expand this part of the story so much, then at least they had a good idea about how to do it. I enjoyed adding Pilaf back into the story and making it a three way race for the first Dragon Ball between him, Goku and the RRA. Plus his flying fortress is so over-the-top that I can’t help but like it, and seeing it get taken down by a bunch of Red Ribbon Army planes was fun.

The Bad:

Dragon Ball Red Ribbon Army Arc Pt1 3

To the untrained eye this would look NOTHING like a Dragon Ball screenshot…

As much as I did enjoy bits of the extended filler, it was way too over-blown. I mean, they not only threw in Pilaf and his gang but brought back Chi Chi and Ox King as well, plus an expanded story of how the Dragon Balls were created (which is obviously now complete nonsense, though at least it was framed as Master Roshi saying an old legend so can be excused as just that, a legend he heard) It’s like a big reunion even though we’re only at Episode 30! While this isn’t the last time Pilaf appears in extra scenes, this is the last filler appearance for Chi Chi and Ox King, which is good because that story gets paid off at the end of the series and needs to have Goku not meet them again, as it turned out.

The first episode is a single story involving Goku helping Nam get water for his village via a literal wandering lake and also sees Giran from the same just-ended Tournament. First as an antagonist, and then as a helpful ally as we see an internal power struggle within his weird flying dinosaur race. It’s … fine, I guess. I’m not sure how Nam and Giran got resettled in their villages so quickly after the tournament ended, but hey-ho…

Overall Thoughts:

Dragon Ball Red Ribbon Army Arc Pt1 2

Oh dear. It’s not looking good for our … well, villain actually, so I guess that’s good! Hooray!

It’s hard to be too harsh on six episodes of a larger story, but frankly taking such a short part of the manga and cramming it full of returning elements was never going to work out, even though I found parts I liked. Somewhere in the middle I guess, but it’s just a small taster of what’s to come…

3 Star Watch

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