Dragonball Evolution is the worst anime adaptation ever made. You don’t even have to be a hardcore Dragon Ball fan to know that. While my brother is a big fan of manga and anime, I’ve just never had the time. Even though I’m certain I’d become a fan if I watched it. So just a fare warning that this review is based on my very basic knowledge of the source material. I do know that Dragon Ball/Dragon Ball Z was a very big deal growing up. And that it’s the second most popular anime series in America. Since the hatred for Dragonball Evolution was over 9000, I knew I needed to see it regardless.
Dragonball Evolution is every bit the insulting Americanized adaptation you’d think it would be. For starters, the clearly Japanese Goku is played by random white kid Justin Chatwin. With nothing more than spiked hair, who can’t act to save his life. Instead of a Saiyan kid with a tail, Goku is a generic high school teenager with no friends (so Krillin is out) who just wants a girlfriend. Oh yeah, and he practises martial arts too. None of which looks convincing with its awful CGI hand farting. That they seriously refer to as air bending! His love interest Chi-Chi may be played by the Asian Jamie Chung, but she’s clearly generalized.
Same with the search for the titular Dragon Balls. Which are being pursued by the generically evil Lord Piccolo. Poor James Marsters was dragged into this. Along with Chow Yun-fat who’s clearly nothing like the elderly perverted Master Roshi. Goku’s long time traveling companion Bulma is played by the also white Emmy Rossum. With a lazy blue streak instead of blue hair. The humor is all over the place, the anime’s famous fighting sequences are poorly choreographed, and Chatwin is not equipped to wear Goku’s iconic orange blue outfit. Dragonball Evolution took a complex anime saga and turned it into a generic waste of good source material.