Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, the eighteenth (yes, 18th) film in the unbelievably popular Dragon Ball manga and anime franchise is coming to U.S. and Canadian theaters theaters for a limited run on August 5th-7th and 9th. Initially, the animated film was set to screen at 350 theaters, but that’s now been increased to 800.
Dragon Ball began as a Japanese comic book (manga) series written and drawn by Akira Toriyama in 1984. It was adapted into an animated (anime) series 1986 and a sequel series, Dragon Ball Z was produced in 1989. Theatrical, television, and direct-to-video were made during and after the show’s run. A third series, Dragon Ball GT aired from 1996 to 1997, but it wasn’t adapted from the manga, drew heavy criticism from most of the fanbase, and is considered out of continuity by the creator, Toriyama.
The series has dubbed into several languages and broadcast in countries all over the world. Though the original cartoon ended its American run in 2005, interest in the franchise has been kept alive through rebroadcasts, DVD releases, and consistent video game adaptations (the most recent one came out this January, and another one is already in production). The manga was also adapted into a live-action American film in 2009 titled Dragon Ball Evolution, but like GT it was thoroughly rejected by the fans.
Battle of Gods is being distributed North America by Funimation Entertainment – the same studio responsible for the show’s English-language run. Most of Funimation’s original English voice actors are reprising their roles, including Sean Schemmel and Christopher Sabat. The plot involves series protagonist Goku facing off with a God of Destruction. Expect massive amounts of shouting and glowing hair to follow.