Legend: A Dragon Ball Tale Prince Vegeta

Brilliant ‘Dragon Ball’ Fan Film 4 Years in the Making Is Exactly Why I Love Fan Projects So Much

"For my family."

Spoilers for Legend: A Dragon Ball Tale fan film

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Dragon Ball is an anime franchise that holds a special place in my heart. While it technically wasn’t my first anime (that was Vampire Hunter D) it was the first time I realized anime wasn’t just random movies that aired on late-night television. It’s also the anime my nephew and I bond over the most. After all these years we can still speak our own language when geeking out about new Dragon Ball content, and there’s no better thing to geek out about right now than animator and storyboard artist Naseer Pasha along with his team over at Studio Stray Dog.

Pasha and the studio recently released a fan film called Legend: A Dragon Ball Tale. This was originally teased back in 2018 and showed us a what-if scenario where Vegeta showed up during the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament.

Vegeta, now the King of Saiyans, has come to Earth. The teaser makes it look like he’s there to begin one of anime’s greatest rivalries, but the movie reveals a completely different take. Vegeta isn’t on Earth to destroy it, he’s there to take on its greatest threat and prepare “Kakarot” for what lies ahead.

A Saiyan Prince we can all be proud of

At the time of writing this, the film has over 3 million hits on YouTube – and it’s easy to see why. The animation is breathtaking to watch, each fight more intense than the last. I’m also really into this alternate take on Dragon Ball where Goku and Vegeta meet without the influence of the likes of Frieza. What if Vegeta actually got to be the King of Saiyans? What if he got to be raised without his people being subjugated by Frieza? What if he were able to approach Goku in a nonthreatening way? What if he acknowledged his family right from the start because, well, that Saiyan family was actually able to raise him? As much as I enjoy Vegeta’s development in the Dragon Ball franchise, the thought of him coming out the gate as an ally is an intriguing premise.

So Vegeta’s on Earth to take on Broly, the Legendary Super Saiyan. But Vegeta’s also a Super Saiyan, having already achieved that level of power. While every Dragon Ball fan knows that there’s no beating Broly alone, it’s still fantastic to watch Vegeta hold his own in battle, especially since he’s fighting for the sake of others and not just his pride.

Goku’s intense transformation

One of the major highlights of the film is Goku becoming the “Savior from Heaven,” which is one of the coolest-looking Super Saiyan forms I’ve ever seen. Along with it being extremely badass, Vegeta’s actually PROUD to see Goku reach this state, grinning when it comes to fruition. I’m sorry, I just can’t get over seeing a Vegeta who isn’t angry about Goku achieving something before he does. It’s just so good, y’all! Even the use of “Kakarot” truly feels like a badge of honor since Vegeta isn’t spitting it out in a condescending tone, and with Vegeta not coming off as a huge threat you get the sense that Goku will have an easier time accepting his heritage.

The new form isn’t quite enough to beat Broly, which is why Goku and Vegeta SHARE the power, doing a Kamehameha together to take Broly out. That’s not the end, though, as Vegeta informs Goku that he should hurry up and marry Chi-Chi while he can because they have to prepare for war. Imagine, Vegeta actually training Goku to use his abilities. What a time to be a Dragon Ball fan.

What’s going on behind the scenes

First, let me just say that you really need to go through Pasha’s Twitter feed to see all the fun behind-the-scenes art he’s got going on where the characters are actors in the film. It’s probably one of the cutest things I’ve seen for Dragon Ball in a while. Pasha’s been using the art to build hype for the premiere and it’s a lot of fun imagining Vegeta practicing how to say Kakarot – and coming to terms with the fact that this isn’t just a movie about him anymore.

The film ends on a cliffhanger with Pasha fondly joking that maybe the next one won’t take four years. That said, he does point out how animation takes a whole lot of work and reveals that the team put this together with no budget! They did this because they love Dragon Ball! “My entire team did this out of the sheer enthusiasm for Dragon Ball Z and the project itself.” With that, he asks that every check out the folks who put this together, so we got the team info below.

STUDIO STRAY DOG FULL TEAM CREDITS:

  • Animation, Storyboards, Direction: NASEER PASHA.
  • Colour Direction: MICHAEL CHUNG.
  • Creative Audio Direction & Sound Design: DAVID VITAS.
  • Cel Colour: NASEER PASHA, SANDIE GRUNBERG, CHRIS MORIN, MICHAEL CHUNG, MATTHEW BAKERDJIAN, MARK CONMIGO, DALE WATSON.
  • Japanese Translation & Kanji Consultation: KANAKO PASHA.
  • Calligraphy, Character Design, Composite: NASEER PASHA.
  • BG Layout: KANAKO PASHA, NASEER PASHA, INES MARSAL, DALE WATSON, GIUSEPPE ARABIA, MICHAEL CHUNG, TENZIN CHIME.
  • BG Paint: MICHAEL CHUNG, NASEER PASHA.
  • Frame Check: CHRIS MORIN, MARK CONMIGO, JOHN CHAN, NASEER PASHA, MICHAEL CHUNG.
  • Final QC Check: KANAKO PASHA.
  • Final Mix & Engineering: DAVID VITAS.
  • Music Covers: COOPER MADEN (“DBZ Prologue theme,” “Tournament Drums”), CHARLIE PARRA Del RIEGO (“Limit Break X Survivor”), FRIEDRICH HABETLER (“Super Saiyan 3 Goku Main Theme,” “Vegeta Royal Blue Theme”).
  • STARRING: ELSIE LOVE LOCK, JORDAN WOOLLEN, and JASON ALEXANDER SUKHRAM

WHERE TO FIND EVERYONE:

And last, but certainly not least, you can check out Naseer Pasha over on Patreon, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Truly, thank you for releasing such a fantastic piece of Dragon Ball content.

(Feature image: Naseer Pasha and Studio Stray Dog)

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Author
Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)