A little while back, I told you all about a little fan project called Dragon Ball Z: Light of Hope. This 13-minute video by Robot Underdog is a live-action recreation of The History of Trunks. For a fan project, it is truly incredible. That video premiered in February of 2015. Thanks in part to that video’s success and a huge fan campaign, they were able to start production on sequels. And earlier this month, we finally received parts II and III.
But really, if you’re a Dragon Ball fan and haven’t seen The History of Trunks yet, what are you doing with your life? Go watch it, already!
Parts II and III start with Gohan training Trunks to become a Super Saiyan. Kenny Leu and Jack Wald are great as Gohan and Trunks. Their back-and-forths, showcasing their growing frustration at the realizations of their situation are delightfully true to their characters. I can’t wait to see Jack’s transformation as Trunks in these next parts.
Just like in Part I, the Androids shine in this movie. Tyler Tacket (Android 17) and Amy Johnston (Android 18) are perfect in these roles. They brilliantly convey the coldness and the constant boredom the Androids have. I love the way they interact and even the introspective moments between they share. It’s like they fell out of the anime and into life.
But my favorite part of these installments is Gohan’s death. It’s leagues better than in the anime, and that’s saying something. That scene really recaptured what I loved about Part I so much—the gritty hopelessness of everything. Gohan’s death isn’t quick, it’s drawn out. For a brief moment, you think Gohan can do it. But then the music swells. And the tide turns. And Gohan dies. But unlike the anime, Gohan dies fighting. It’s ugly and sad, but it’s heroic.
My one gripe about these parts is Bulma.
It’s impossible not to love Bulma in the anime. You know she worries about Trunks as his mom, but she’s nowhere near as smothering as Chi-Chi. Even in The History of Trunks, where she’s lost almost everyone she loves, she isn’t overbearing or harshly restrictive. She has every right to be, but isn’t. She loves Trunks but is focused on saving Goku, and consequently, the world. And that’s where Bulma in Light of Hope fails. When Trunks gets hurt, she loses it on Gohan. It’s radically out of character, and I don’t love it.
Like many sequels, the first part is better. Don’t get me wrong. Part I is a 9.5/10. Parts II and III are 7.5s. More parts are coming. Hopefully sooner than 2-3 years, but I’ll be updating you all as news comes out!