Season Nine is, in a word, a mess. A meandering mixture of interesting, inexplicable, cool and downright ridiculous twists and turns. It feels aimless at times because it simply doesn’t have the overarching structure that most of the other seasons had to keep it focused. We get to a conclusion but there’s a bit of a “throw everything including the kitchen sink” at it to see what sticks vibe to this season. It’s truly a shame that the series didn’t end strongly with a final season that befits how incredible the series has been as a whole. It isn’t all bad though, there’s some good stuff, some fan favourite moments that live long in the memory, to come in the season. In the end it comes together quite well for a journey that has taken 9 seasons and 291 episodes.
This season is such a convoluted mess that I’m not really sure which parts to tackle or how to break it down. In fact, I’m not even going to summarise it, there’s just too much that happens. There’s some cool stuff like Mystic Gohan and Vegito. Then there’s some less cool stuff like Gotenks being a little obnoxious brat basically anytime he appears on screen. The trouble is that the show doesn’t really settle on anything for any length of time until we reach the finale. There’s a constantly shifting expectation of who is going to be the one to win the fight for the good guys and a seemingly endless array of Buu variants. Majin Buu splits and gets absorbed by Evil Buu, becoming Super Buu. Super Buu absorbs different characters and his appearance and personality shift in response until eventually we reach the final version. The smallest, most powerful and most evil version, Kid Buu. Or distilled essence of Buu, if you like, where the word Buu means mindlessly destructive.
Each version of Buu prior to Kid Buu had something to latch onto. Majin Buu had that childlike almost innocent demeanour that I hoped would be explored more fully. Super Buu was prideful and demanding but was able to express his thinking in words, even as his myriad absorptions shift his personality. Super Buu, for the most part, was almost a bit like Vegeta during the Saiyan Saga way back at the start of the series in Season One. He enjoyed tormenting those weaker than him and hated being confronted by someone even approaching being on his level or above it. Kid Buu has none of that. Gone are the nuances, the personality traits and the ability to talk. All that is left is a supremely powerful, entirely evil creature who does nothing but laugh and thump his chest like a brainless ape. Kid Buu is the worst Buu and perfectly encapsulates why Buu is the weakest of the three main villains of the series. Where Frieza and Cell became more interesting, more well defined and more compelling to watch as information about them was revealed, as their stories progressed right up until their respective demises. Majin Buu becomes less and less so. He becomes more evil, more unreasonable, more powerful but without a compelling reason to act evil as a character beyond “the narrative needs it to be so”.
The final showdown takes place on the sacred world of the Supreme Kais, where Goku, Vegeta & Mr Satan – of all people – try to take down Kid Buu. There are some good character moments here. Particularly for Vegeta and Mr Satan. When Goku needs time to regain his energy in order to keep fighting Kid Buu in his Super Saiyan 3 form, Vegeta steps up to buy him the time he needs. Despite being outclassed completely with no hope of surviving and (this time) the very real possibility of being erased from existence altogether if he “dies” again whilst already being dead. Vegeta takes a beating then gets up for more. He does it again and again. Even managing to get in some more trademark speeches about pride that send chills down my spine, as he does it. Eventually, Vegeta hits absolute zero on his powers, he’s pushed past the limits of his limits’ limits to buy time but Goku needs more and so, Mr Satan takes to the field. Mr Satan is the World’s Martial Arts Champion of the World but he’s a regular human with no understanding of ki let alone having the power to match up to a creature capable of destroying entire solar systems or even galaxies as the case may be. His real source of power – and importance in events – is his friendship with the first Majin Buu. Majin Buu is able to return and help save Mr Satan, and the entire universe, from Kid Buu. Majin Buu is also no match for Kid Buu but his arrival gives Vegeta the time he needs to formulate a new plan to save the universe.
Using the Namekian Dragon Balls they would wish back the earth and all the people killed since the morning of the martial arts tournament – thus undoing all the damage Vegeta had caused while “evil” as well as bringing back everyone Buu had killed in his various incarnations. With everyone back Goku would be able to create a Spirit Bomb powerful enough to obliterate Buu once and for all. All they needed was for everyone to band together and lend them the energy they would need to do it… This proved to be more challenging than Vegeta had realised. Even though he was able to telepathically speak to everyone to plead for their help, most ignored him. This, understandably, enraged Vegeta and his anger only made things worse until an unlikely hero stepped in once again. Mr Satan. When he was the one to ask for help, someone known to all as a hero, regardless of the veracity of that reputation prior to this moment, people finally listened. When it was ready, Goku unleashed the Spirit Bomb and that was the end of Kid Buu, at long last. It was no final atonement but it was pretty cool all the same.
The series doesn’t quite end there as we get a few more episodes to wrap things up, a welcome thing when we’ve so many characters to see off at the end of a journey that lasted a long time. There’s nothing I hate more than when a series I’ve loved ends without giving me a moment to say goodbye to the characters I’ve shared that journey with so it’s good that we get a few here to wind down and say goodbye; even if it is a little cheesy at times. Of course with Dragon Ball Super out now, this ending isn’t really the end, there’s plenty more amazing stuff to watch but it is the end of Dragon Ball Z.
What a journey it has been. Check back next week for my final article in this series about Dragon Ball Z. And don’t forget that you can purchase the beautifully remastered Blu-Ray’s as individual seasons from Manga UK.