Dragon Ball Z Movie 5: Cooler’s Revenge (known in Japan as “The Incredible Strongest vs. Strongest”, which… well, yeah, I can see why FUNimation went in a different direction…) was first shown in July 1991, the same month the climax of the Goku vs. Frieza fight was airing on TV. This means that the cast have all their new powers from the Frieza arc, including Goku having the classic gold Super Saiyan, though it’s presented in the film as if Goku can’t control it at will, much like the actual canon manga/TV arc at the time. This was also the first movie that Toriyama himself was directly involved with, designing all the new characters, colour palettes and all, and even providing a height chart and brief bios (complete with what planet they came from).
The set-up is simple: Cooler, Frieza’s older brother, lets Goku’s pod escape from Planet Vegeta as his younger brother destroys it, saying that “Frieza has a lot to learn”, an act that would come back and bite them on the backside when we flash forward to the present and Cooler finds out about his brother’s death at the hands of a Saiyan from Earth. Cooler and his armoured squadron (a smaller, slightly less eccentric version of the Ginyu Force) travel to Earth, where they encounter Goku and his friends camping. Goku is taken down, and soon Piccolo takes on the armoured squad while Gohan retrieves a Senzu bean and revives his father with it, leading to Goku facing off with Cooler. Cooler is bested, until he unveils a new, Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-esque form and bests Goku… who then, as mentioned (and seen on the front cover) turns Super Saiyan. Basically, it’s a shortened, slightly different version of the iconic Goku vs. Frieza fight. That’s what Movie 5 is all about. It works, I love the final fight and always loved Cooler’s final form, so as a fun distraction for 45 minutes this film is high on the list.
Dragon Ball Z Movie 6: Revenge of Cooler (known in Japan as “Clash!! 10,000,000,000 Powerful Warriors”, which… well, I can understand why FUNimation went in a different direction…Again) arrived in Japanese theatres in March 1992, where the Androids had already appeared on TV long before, and the now classic duo of Androids 17 and 18 were just a week or two away from appearing. That means we finally get some differences in terms of character move-sets. Goku can turn Super Saiyan at will and has his “Instant Transmission” ability, Gohan has his slightly older, longer hair look and, most importantly, this is the Dragon Ball Z movie debut of Vegeta, who not only appears as a reluctant ally, but also can turn Super Saiyan at will.
The set-up is a lot less simple than the last film. Cooler, who well, without spoiling too much about the ending of Movie 5, let’s just say he was defeated by Goku, and what was left of his body drifted in space until it found the “Big Gete Star”, a machine planet, soon took Cooler’s mind and what little of his body remained and made it the core of itself (same old story, eh?). Cooler takes this planet and begins to use it to suck the new Planet Namek dry of all resources, so Dende, now God of Earth, sends Goku, Gohan, Piccolo and bunch of side characters (for some reason) to New Namek to stop him. Cooler soon produces powerful new metal copies of himself and sends them into battle with Goku and eventually Vegeta (ten billion of them, if you go by the Japanese title…) This all eventually leads to a big final showdown in the Big Gete Star’s core. It’s an odd movie, but one of the nicer looking ones. The art effect on the Metal Coolers to make them look shiny and reflective is extremely impressive in the pre-CGI days when this was made. It’s also funny how it deals with machine people and Android-like foes, matching with then-current TV DBZ, but also has a Frieza copy on Namek, still not able to get away from the popularity of the previous arc’s climax.
As with the previous double feature release, the only extra on the disc is some trailers. I will praise the front cover though, as I’ve always liked the poster for Movie 5, and generally like our Blu-ray film covers far more than ‘the black background with a single fighter on the front’ look that the US ones have (which were released, like, a decade ago, so I guess the US win overall…)
So, do I recommend Dragon Ball Z Movie Collection 3? Yes. I mean, if you’re not into the series or action heavy shonen, then no, but then you knew that already. If you like the series but gave the previous releases a miss due to varying quality, then I can say both these films look good, have fun 45 minute plots and great fight scenes. That’s all you can ask from these collections, in the end!