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Fan films are tricksy. Especially those based upon anime properties, which themselves come with a style and a vibe that seems near impossible to replicate without sacrificing something that makes the original great. And yet, those of us who love these titles, who have the passion to express that adoration creatively, keep persisting. With this in mind, we dive into Dragon Ball Z: Light of Hope, the new fan film release that dropped this week to a crowd of eager viewers.

Based upon the wildly popular Dragonball franchise, its genesis in the manga series from famed creator Akira Toriyama, which then went on to become one of the most widely-known Japanese animated titles in the medium’s history, with several sequels and countless films and specials. Light of Hope takes is cues from The History of Trunks, a television event leaping us forward in the storied DBZ timeline, showing us a glimpse of a world that might have been. One that its inhabitants are desperate to change while they still can, as the merciless superpowered Androids 17 and 18 ravage the Earth like their personal playground, threatening billions of lives. All that stands in their way are the children of those the world once called heroes.

What follows is a spectacle of martial arts and visual effects that doubtlessly brings fans closer to that unique Dragonball feel than anything offered before it in live-action, and this includes 2009’s big-budget Hollywood mistake, Dragonball Evolution from 20th Century Fox. It may not have international action star Chow Yun-fat, but it maintains the spirit of the original piece and keeps it fun, which is surely enough to please many among this franchise’s legion of devotees. And for the rest of us, it’s an exciting showcase of talent and creativity. A testament to what can be achieved through determined effort toward a singular goal, with some fairly kickass results.

Producing fan-generated and original content with a geek focus for years, Robot Underdog presents one of its biggest projects to date in Dragon Ball Z: Light of Hope, but their mission isn’t complete. As a group who has worked to deliver action and fantasy of a certain caliber, they’re continuing to move forward with the help of loyal supporters.

Their efforts represent the growing excitement for homegrown content, straight from fellow fans and creatives who may have waited on the fringes of the larger mechanisms that bring us titles such as Dragonball and other geek-centric fare, eagerly standing by to make their contribution. We can’t wait to see what our expanding group of wonderers comes up with next.

 

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