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The Best Dragon Ball Movies, All 20 Ranked From Worst to First

Dragon Ball Movies
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The Best Dragon Ball Movies, All 20 Ranked From Worst to First

Every Dragon Ball Movie Ranked Worst to Best

The Dragon Ball series has seen a number of tie-in films over the years. Some have been excellent new additions to the series, while others have been imaginative retellings of the series’ canon. Here, we’re taking a look at the best Dragon Ball movies, ranked from worst to first.

Of course, some have been better than others, and that’s why we’re here today to rank every Dragon Ball film from fine to phenomenal.

Note that this list only includes entries considered full feature length films. As such, T.V. specials like “Bardock – The Father of Goku” and “The History of Trunks” will not be included.

Likewise, festival featurettes like “Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!” and the OVA “Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans” won’t be counted as they never saw a wider theatrical release.

20. Broly – Second Coming

There’s not a whole lot that can be said about Broly – Second Coming.

On its surface, there are certainly elements of a good Dragon Ball film. Gotten, Trunks and Videl’s excursion to find the Dragon Balls is fun enough on its own and allows for some new locals and arenas to be introduced.

Likewise, the unexpected return of the iconic Broly while Goku isn’t around presents a good change of pace and an opportunity to show off Gohan as a potential successor to the mantle of Protector of Earth.

In execution though, none of this potential is realized. The hunt for the Dragon Balls ends up feeling pointless, and despite offering a great chance to expand on how strong Broly is compared to new characters, the fights feel brief and unsatisfying.

The best moment comes from the Family Kamehameha, but even then it feels like a high point among a series of much lower ones.

Couple in some so-so animation quality and the film feels like a bland cash-in on Broly’s character when it could have been so much greater.

19. Sleeping Princess in Devil’s Castle

While it may be the weakest of the original Dragon Ball series’ films, Sleeping Princess in Devil’s Castle does have an interesting premise that makes it somewhat compelling.

The premise of saving Bulma from the castle of an evil vampire intent on blowing up the sun stands out as goofy, vintage Dragon Ball storytelling, and many of the confrontations Goku and friends encounter nail a nice balance of comical and serious.

In execution though, the film leaves a lot to be desired. Its plot loses focus too often for its premise to feel like anything than an excuse to put the characters on screen.

Meanwhile, the inconsistent animation quality leaves the fights hard to watch and uninteresting even when Goku or one of his allies has a worthy opponent with interesting moves.

It’s still worth checking out for posterity’s sake, but overall it’s a far cry from the film it could have been.

18. Super Android 13

Remembered more for its villain’s aesthetic and his choice of area to strike in fights, Super Android 13 is an aggressively fine Dragon Ball movie.

Pitting the Z Fighters against three androids awoken from their slumber in Dr. Gero’s lab, the film’s antagonists are well designed but completely bland otherwise.

The English Dub does help to alleviate some of this with added interactions between the androids and their opponents, but there’s still next to nothing to them until they combine into the titular villain.

Likewise, the animation can be up and down with the fights leading up to the final confrontation offering slightly higher quality than the film’s climax.

There’s still fun to be had from it, but its inconsistencies and lack of memorable antagonists makes it a forgettable entry in the series’ filmography.

17. The Return of Cooler

The second coming of Cooler wasn’t a terrible movie by any means, but it offered very little to build on the antagonist or the Z Fighters in general.

The plot is a pretty blatant rip-off of the Namek Saga in a number of ways with Cooler invading New Namek alongside a force of disposal minions.

Likewise, most of the fights’ tension boils down to hitting the enemy harder than they first thought they should and the animation can be highly inconsistent with character models varying from highly detailed to wonky and misshapen.

On the plus side though, the film’s design aesthetic is ripe with homages to Sci Fi classics and the film marks the first instance of Goku and Vegeta teaming up to take on a bigger threat.

It’s a stylish stepping stone to bigger and better films, and even if it may not be the best film, it’s far from the worst the Dragon Ball films have to offer.

16. Bio Broly

To Bio Broly’s credit, the film offers a lot more originality than many other entries on this list.

The new, Swamp Thing-esque design stands out as one of the more interesting takes on a Dragon Ball movie villain, turning it into a more horror focused experience than most would expect.

The cast of Z-Fighters that make up the main fighting force are a refreshing change of pace as well, allowing characters like Hercule and Android 18 to enjoy the spotlight more often than usual.

That said, it still doesn’t do much more to characterize its villain than to have him shout and snarl over and over again. Its animation is also less than ideal in spots, and its short runtime leaves much to be desired from the interesting premise.

Overall though, it was a welcome return of one of the series’ more iconic villains and a nice change of pace for anyone who wanted something different from their Dragon Ball movie experiences.

15. Tree of Might -Best Dragon Ball Movies

The first few Dragon Ball Z films had some legitimately impressive offerings, but Tree of Might stands as the admittedly weak link of the bunch.

Pitting the Z Fighters against a group of Saiyans out to harness the Earth’s energy, the film meanders on points far more than it needed to.

The film seems to take forever to get to the meat of its story, the early fights are come off as disappointingly quick, and the main villain’s design takes far too much from Goku’s.

At the same time though, the film does use elements like the Oozaru transformation in a decent way, and the fight animation is generally high quality for the time.

It all factors out to a generally entertaining film, but also one that is easy to forget when held up alongside other, faster paced releases from the same period.

14. Broly, The Legendary Super Saiyan

Broly’s introduction to fans was an acceptable, if flawed, entry in the series’ filmography.

Providing an iconic, hulk-esque addition to Dragon Ball’s stable of extended villains, it does plenty right in making sure fans see Broly as a decisive threat.

His fights with all of the Z Fighters are one-sided blitzes, the characters fans had come to root for ground into dust in a matter of minutes. The dilapidated cityscape is torn asunder in admittedly high quality animation, and each hit resonates to the utmost.

Past that though, the plot is weak to say the least. Broly’s motivation for wanting to crush Goku and his friends is downright ridiculous, and his brief appearance feels like a waste of the potential his build-up seemed to promise.

Regardless, it’s easy to see how the movie became a fan favorite over the years and is worth a look for even the most casual fan.

13. Curse of the Blood Rubies

Retelling a series’ arks through a feature film can be hard to do correctly, but for the most part Curse of the Blood Rubies succeeds in providing something better.

Recounting the first arc of Dragon Ball with a new, original villain in place of Emperor Pilaf and some key parts of the Red Ribbon arc mixed in, The film manages to glean some of the series’ best elements into a more condensed format.

All of the adventure, wonder and excitement of exploring a new world is there, made fresh with a new villain for Goku to take down.

And yet, there are still elements that bring it down. A large portion is spent on character introductions and building up the plot, and aside from the new villain there isn’t much to give long time fans a reason to check it out.

As a result, it sits firmly in the middle of the Dragon Ball Movies’ ranking. New fans will find plenty to love, but older fans will probably be more satisfied sticking to the original series.

12. Mystical Adventure – Best Dragon Ball Movies

Running counter to Curse of the Blood Rubies, Mystical Adventure presents viewers with a complete reimagining of the original Dragon Ball’s story.

Several key characters, from Tien and Chiaotzu to Tao Pai Pai have completely different roles than before, altering the overall story in some truly fun and interesting ways.

The film’s tournament battles are likewise a ton of fun to watch, and the light-hearted and goofy nature of the series is on full display.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t keep up the momentum presented in its earlier portion. Silly and unexpected cameos or character swaps still occur as the story progresses, but they begin to feel less and less necessary.

The end result is an interesting experiment in Dragon Ball films that, while not perfect, does offer enough for fans to be entertained by.

11. Lord Slug

Lord Slug is a fairly divisive Dragon Ball movie and it’s not hard to see why.

A frankenstein of different repurposed Dragon Ball plot points, Lord Slug reuses several bits of the series and past films to try and make something new.

Onto of reusing the idea of alien space invaders arriving to use Earth’s resources for their own purposes, Lord Slug can feel like a straight rip-off of King Piccolo down to his wish for youth.

On the other hand, it uses these past elements well and presents fights that harkin back to some of the original Dragon Ball’s strongest fights.

Goku and Piccolo taking on a giant, super-powered Namekian together blends their original fight and their team-up against Radditz wonderfully, and the high grade animation makes it a feast to behold as well.

It may still irk some fans with its rehashing, but those who can look past it will be treated to an acceptable and entertaining Dragon Ball movie.

10. Bojack Unbound – Best Dragon Ball Movies

Bojack Unbound has its flaws, but it manages to make up for them with some original tweaks it makes to the usual Dragon Ball film framework.

Presenting the Z Fighters with a threat they have to vanquish sans Goku, the movie manages to take what the series has done and build on it instead of rehashing past ideas.

Gohan’s struggle to overcome Bojack all on his own, and the struggles of Trunks, Tien and the like to hold their own brings back the same sense of urgency the Saiyan saga did so well.

On the other hand, Bojack and his henchmen are generic as far as enemies go. Prior to his transformation, it can be hard to differentiate Bojack from his minions due to their similar aesthetic, and the lack of character development for any of them doesn’t help.

It also doesn’t help that Goku makes a last minute appearance, breaking the universe’s rules to give Gohan a deus ex machina solution to his seemingly lost battle.

The result is a film that, while certainly not perfect, has enough new material to make it worth watching for most any Dragon Ball fan.

9. Cooler’s Revenge

Expanding on the lore of the series post-Planet Namek, Cooler’s Revenge provides one of the series’ most iconic movie villains with an acceptable enough story.

Out for revenge for the death of his younger brother, Cooler and his forces stage an attack on Earth with Goku firmly within his cross hairs. He boasts just as many forms as Frieza with a final, stronger form that fits perfectly with Z’s more alien tones.

This provides dire enough stakes to make him feel imposing while also giving a good excuse to bring out the then fresh and new transformation that was Super Saiyan, complete with some decently animated fight scenes between the two power houses.

It’s hard not to see the film’s new characters as a quick rehash of Frieza and his forces though, and as a result only Cooler really stands out as a lasting character by the end.

There’s enough there to make the film and its titular antagonist fun though, so viewers will have plenty of fun with this shot but sweet film.

8. The Path to Power – Best Dragon Ball Movies

Even if it is a little redundant to remake the original Dragon Ball arcs a third time, Path to Power takes the iconic story to a new level with some truly jaw dropping animation and minor but interesting story alterations.

Covering the Pilaf and Red Ribbon arcs while also building upon them with some new character moments, the film present fans new and old with a newly face-lifted animation style.

Everything from general character animations to fights and power-ups are gorgeous, and small alterations to the introductions and relationships of certain characters cause meaningful changes to the plot.

It’s a shame it didn’t come earlier though. Because of the way the film incorporates some of the changes brought to the series since it first aired, it loses some of the elements that make it feel like Dragon Ball.

The music, humor and pacing lose some of their charm, and while it’s still worth watching, it’s definitely a different flavor of Dragon Ball not every fan will enjoy.

7. Fusion Reborn

Similarities between Janemba and Majin Buu aside, there’s a lot about Fusion Reborn that has proven iconic over time.

The movie drips with Toriyama’s art style from the variety in the character designs put on display thanks to hell literally breaking loose.

Everything from Goku and Vegeta’s iconic fusion into Gogeta to the looming figure of the main villain’s final form feels right at home with the aesthetic of the core series, and as a result would later become welcome additions to the series’ canon.

It’s also a nice touch that several of Dragon Ball Z’s most iconic villains make a brief return, duking it out with characters that they haven’t seen in years and interacting with them as such.

Te only real downside is that the main villain isn’t developed more. At only 55 minutes, there just isn’t room for Janemba to come into his own as a villain, making his presence feel too brief.

Still though, the film is presented in a strikingly fluid animation style that keeps you enthralled with the action from start to finish, and so long as you don’t mind that its a fairly brief experience, it’s sure to scratch most any Dragon Ball itch you’ve got.

6. Wrath of the Dragon

Once considered the last Dragon Ball Z film fans might have ever gotten, Wrath of the Dragon serves as a fun culmination of the series.

Opting for a series that leaned more toward the series’ fantastical elements, the film presents players with a new spin on Babidi with his own evil being to resurrect.

It likewise adds some fun bits of lore to the series with the introduction of Tapion, a space faring swordsman who forms a friendship with Trunks and even gives him his iconic sword (series continuity be damned).

It all culminates in a cataclysmic final confrontation where most every character has to go up against the Kaiju-esque Hirudegarn, –a minimally developed but original offering to Dragon Ball’s list of movie villains – and the now iconic Dragon Fist Attack by Goku.

It was a fine send-off film for the Z Fighters, and even with the series now continuing once again it remains an interesting addition to the series.

5. Resurrection F – Best Dragon Ball Movies

The follow-up to the series’ triumphant return that was Battle of Gods, Resurrection F strikes a nice balance between expanding on the series’ existing elements while also presenting promising new ideas.

Bringing back Frieza to reprise his role as a regular villain, the film offers up a new spin on a fan favorite that still manages to elicit the same emotional highs and lows as when he first appeared so many years ago.

His ambitions still run counter to the Z Fighters, and once they encounter each other, all hell breaks loose in a crisply animated, multi-combatant battle on par with the best the series can offer.

It likewise expands on the series’ lore as well, giving Goku, Vegeta and Frieza new forms to aspire toward with Super Saiyan Blue and Golden Frieza respectively.

Admittedly, there isn’t much tension to the film after it’s revealed Whis and Beers can handily take out Frieza should he cause too much trouble, but the film’s quality still makes it a fun recent addition to the stable of Dragon Ball movies.

4. Dead Zone

The first film set in-between the show’s transition from Dragon Ball to Dragon Ball Z, Dead Zone manages to juggle the elements that made both series great while still celebrating both in equal measure.

Garlic Junior’s kidnapping of Gohan and whisking him away to a demonic realm takes the premise of the Raditz fight and puts a supernatural, original Dragon Ball-esque twist on the early Z arc.

The characters are zany yet scary, and while he may not be the most aesthetically memorable villain around, Garlic Junior still stands as a threat worthy of the rivals Goku and Piccolo teaming up.

That’s to say nothing of the animation, which still stands out as an impressive feat even compared to some of today’s offerings.

It’s a must watch for any fan of Dragon Ball, whether they want to see how the series changed over the years or just want to witness some of the series’ stronger film outings.

3. The World’s Strongest – Best Dragon Ball Movies

The high point of Dragon Ball Z’s first arc of films, The World’s Strongest presents viewers with the series at its most pure and unadulterated.

Pitting Goku and his friends against a mad scientist out to take the body of the world’s strongest man, the story and its villains are almost entirely original from past arcs of the main series.

Each member of the present Z Fighters has a chance to show their stuff too, taking on creative bio-warriors that each present their own fun twist to the usual brawls.

All of this is presented in some truly breath-taking, high quality animation that brings the action to life. The blows are brutal, the pain visceral and the climactic final showdown well and truly satisfying.

It stands as the standard most every proceeding film had to live up to, and in some regard still exemplifies what some older fans saw the series as.

2. Broly

The latest addition to the long list of Dragon Ball movies, Dragon Ball Super: Broly does almost everything right.

It’s animation is on par with some of the best ever seen in the industry. The exceptional fight scenes flow like water, each blow or planet rending beam attack coming off as art in motion.

Likewise, its story is some of the most solidly written in all of Dragon Ball’s filmography and presents a slow but worthwhile expansion of Dragon Ball’s lore both for the history and fate of Planet Vegeta and the Saiyans.

More importantly, it reboots Broly’s origin story to make him not only a canon character in the series, but a character that isn’t inherently evil, showing a respect for not only Broly as a character but also for Dragon Ball’s deeper themes.

It’s a near perfect film and easily one of the best Dragon Ball movies ever made. Fans won’t want to pass up on seeing this film, either during its theatrical run or inevitable home release.

1. Battle of Gods – Best Dragon Ball Movies

While it’s a close tie between this and Broly for the top of the list, few films so perfectly nail the heart and soul of the series the way Battle of Gods does.

Bringing back the series’ beloved characters in crisp, fluid animation, the film is flush with character moments, comedy and battles that are vintage Dragon Ball brought into the modern age of anime.

Goku’s desire to face down a new threat, Majin Buu’s integration into the group and so many other elements feel nostalgic and fresh at the same time, while the introduction of the Super Saiyan God transformation feels like a natural continuation to the series.

Likewise, Beerus and Whis feel right at home alongside the rest of the cast, their personalities instantly lovable and endearing with plenty more that remains to be uncovered in future appearances.

It well and truly is the return fans had been waiting for years to see, and considering the fact that the series is now enjoying a second coming thanks in no small part to it, Battle of Gods understandably claims the top slot.

That does it for our list of the best Dragon Ball movies, ranked from worst to first.

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