|Dragon Ball: The Path to Ultimate Strength|
|Rōmaji||Doragon Bōru Saikyō he no Michi|
|FUNimation||Dragon Ball: The Path to Power|
|Japanese||March 2, 1996|
|English||April 29, 2003|
Dragon Ball: The Path to Ultimate Strength (ドラゴンボール 最強への道, Doragon Bōru Saikyō he no Michi), known as Dragon Ball: The Path to Power in the English release, is the seventeenth overall Dragon Ball movie, as well as the fourth and last movie under the brand name Dragon Ball. Originally released in Japan on March 2, 1996 at the Toei Anime Fair, the movie is a re-telling of the original Dragon Ball anime series to commemorate its tenth anniversary.
Son Gokū is a monkey-tailed boy with superhuman strength and skilled in martial arts, living all alone on Mount Paozu. One day, after he catches a fish to eat, a girl in a car (Bulma) almost hits him. He mistakes the car for a monster and throws it onto its side, but gets shot by Bulma in return. He thinks she's some kind of demon, but she ends up convincing him she's human, even though she doesn't have a tail. He invites her into his house since his dead grandpa always told him to be nice to girls, and there she goes straight for his only keepsake. When they go in the house Gokū shows Bulma an orange glowing ball that he thinks is his grandfather. All of a sudden Bulma comes to life and asks if she can have the ball. When Gokū protests, she brings out two more "grandpas", and explains to him the legend of the Dragon Balls and the Eternal Dragon. She offers to let him feel her up to get him to come along, but when that doesn't work, she tells him it'll help him get stronger. He agrees, and off they go.
Later, in the forest, they are forced to stop because of a bull/ox in the road, who demands the girl. Gokū ends up fighting the creature, which turns into a robot, and then a bat. Unfortunately, by then, his five minutes are up, and he turns back into Oolong, the pig. There's no time for apologies though, because Yamcha attacks. He demands all the capsules and money they have, but not before Pu'ar recognizes Oolong and yells at him for his perverted antics at Shapeshifting School. Yamcha fights Gokū, and appears to have the upper hand, until Bulma wakes up. This puts him into a state of shock and he is forced to retreat with the help of Puar.
Bulma, Oolong, and Gokū are driving northward towards the next Dragon Ball, only to discover a huge metal tower in the distance (Yamcha and Puar, who have been following them, stay in a cave nearby to keep warm). Soldiers come out and "welcome" them to Muscle Tower, and Gokū takes them all head on. He manages to enter the tower, only to face Major Metallitron. He finishes him off quickly though, and discovers (to his shock) that Metallitron was a robot. General White of the Red Ribbon Army orders the remaining forces toward Gokū, but he plows through them all, up into White's room. White then activates the tower's deadliest creation—Number 8. The android nearly strangles Gokū, but refuses to kill him when ordered. As a result, White threatens to detonate the android, but Gokū intervenes and saves him. The two make quick friends, with Android 8 explaining that he doesn't believe in fighting or killing. Gokū complains that his name is weird, so he nicknames him "Eighter" for short. This ends in a snowball fight between the two while the tied-up forces (including White) look on.
Some time later, while driving in Oolong's house-wagon, they almost run over (and then almost fall off a cliff because of) Turtle. He explains that he is quite lost, and needs help getting back to the sea. After they bring him there, he says he has a reward which he will bring back with him the next day. So, Oolong, Gokū, and Bulma spend the night on the beach. Gokū wakes up early in the morning and tries to sleep in Bulma's lap, but freaks out when he removes her panties and discovers her lack of the male genitalia. That morning, Turtle comes back bearing his "reward"— Muten Rōshi, the Turtle Hermit. He first tries to summon the Immortal Phoenix for them, but when that fails (it apparently died), he calls forth the Kintoun. Gokū is the only one of the bunch who can ride it, so it becomes his.
While Gokū's off on the Kintoun, Bulma discovers that the old man has a Dragon Ball. He offers to let go of it only if she shows him her underwear. She agrees, not knowing she doesn't have any on, and both Muten Rōshi and Oolong are pleasantly surprised. She is horrified after she goes in to change and finds her underwear still inside. There is no time for an explanation though, because General Blue of the Red Ribbon Army attacks with a fleet of battleships. When the situation seems just about hopeless, Rōshi decides to use his legendary Kamehameha. He decimates the entire fleet with it, but Blue then orders his army of submarines to attack. Gokū however, manages to learn the Kamehameha himself and destroys a good deal of the subs with it. But just as their situation is looking up, Gokū is knocked out by a missile, and Bulma, Yamcha, Oolong, Puar, and Rōshi are all captured by Blue's soldiers. The five are carted off to prison near Red Ribbon Headquarters. The next morning, Gokū awakens to the beeping of the Dragon Radar. Finding himself alone, he sets out in search of the other six Dragon Balls (Blue, having missed the one on Gokū's person, is executed for his failure). Gokū fights through legions upon legions of Red Ribbon soldiers, while in the meantime, the others try to make their escape from the prison.
Eventually, they make it out, to discover Gokū (carrying a pile of tanks) there to greet them. As Gokū fights his way into Red Ribbon Headquarters, Commander Red and Lieutenant Black retreat with their six Dragon Balls to their last refuge. But when Black hears about Red's true wish—to become taller, Black shoots him and swears to make the Black Ribbon Army ruler of the world. He brings out the Army's greatest weapon, a giant robot. The robot's beam weapon destroys a huge swath of territory in its path, and nearly kills Gokū, until he manages to knock it on its stomach and detonate the cannon. Black and his robot aren't out yet though, and Gokū is eventually knocked out. Luckily, Android 8 shows up. He puts everything he has into keeping the robot from killing the boy, but it's pretty clear that he's no match. Parts start to fly off of him, and he lands in a crumpled heap, next to Gokū.
Gokū comes to, only to see the android die. Saddened and enraged by Android 8's sacrifice, a new world of power suddenly awakens within Gokū, as the ground shakes with his tortured screams. Black makes the mistake of egging him on, and Gokū finishes him off with a gigantic Kamehameha. After the dust settles, the Eternal Dragon Shenron is summoned forth, but Bulma and Yamcha realize they don't need their wishes anymore. Gokū then offers his own wish instead: to revive Android 8 and remove the bomb inside of him.
See also: Music
The film holds a 7.5 on IMDb, based on 824 votes. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 100% based on 135 votes, with an average rating of 3.9/5. Anime News Network considered the movie to be composed of stories already done and done better in the television series.
- The movie is a compressed adaptation of both Hunt for the Dragon Balls Arc and the Red Ribbon Army Arc.
- ↑ Doragon bôru: Saikyô e no michi (1996) on IMDb
- ↑ DRAGON BALL - THE PATH TO POWER (2003) at Rotten Tomatoes
- ↑ Dragon Ball Movies DVD Box Set (Movies 2-4)