The Dragon Ball Z Movie Made To Sell A Video Game Got A Complete Remake

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Following the tragic passing of Dragon Ball Z creator Akira Toriyama, fans have been doing very deep dives into all of the media associated with Goku, Vegeta, and the rest of these colorful characters who keep managing to save the world in between workouts. However, there’s one film that most fans haven’t been rewatching simply because they didn’t know it existed. Dragon Ball Z Side Story: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans is a 1993 video game that received an animated adaptation, and that strange adaptation later got a complete remake.

The Forgotten 8-Bit Video Game

To understand the truly bizarre story behind this extremely niche film, you need to know more about the original Dragon Ball Z Side Story: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans game. This was a card battle roleplaying game originally released for the Famicom (or Family Computer, better known to Westerners as “the NES in Japan”). The game never received an official release outside of Japan, but the popularity of game ROMs and translation patches made by fans eventually made this obscure title more accessible to everyone.

The Tie-In OVA

Speaking of obscure, Dragon Ball Z Side Story: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans received an OVA (Original Video Animation) adaptation, but it didn’t get a proper release (at least, at first) like other DBZ media. Instead, it was distributed via two VHS tapes that were included as special bonuses in strategy guides for the game. That OVA wouldn’t see a more official release until 2003, when it was included as part of a Dragon Ball Z DVD box set.

Dr. Raichi’s Plan For Revenge

We all know this franchise is all about vibes, fights, and flights, but what is Dragon Ball Z Side Story: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans actually about? It features bad guy Dr. Raichi, a survivor of a planet the Saiyans once completely destroyed; once he finds Goku and Vegeta on Earth, he decides to get his revenge by ridding the universe of the Saiyans altogether. He does this by covering the planet with devices emitting a fatal gas, leaving the Z warriors to destroy the devices and ultimately defeat the deadly doctor and his ghost warriors on the Dark Planet, his new home.

The Unlikeliest Of All Remakes

Eventually, Dragon Ball Z Side Story: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans got a remake, and its release was almost as strange as that of the original film. The remake of this hidden OVA gem was included alongside the 2010 video game Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2. Later, it was included on DVD along with Dragon Ball: Episode of Bardock for subscribers of the magazine Saikyō Jump.

The remake includes most of the original voice cast, though the original character, Dr. Lychee, now has a new voice actor. Additionally, some characters are left out of the remake altogether, including the fan-favorite character Mr. Popo. Finally, new animation was added for the remake, and certain changes are evident, including Goku being Super Saiyan in some original scenes and depowered in the remake of those scenes.

The Original Is A Fun Watch

If we’re being completely honest, Dragon Ball Z Side Story: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans is a pretty middle-of-the-road story, but it gives you a perfect excuse to watch the vintage animation (we prefer the original over the remake). Honestly, is there any better tribute to Akira Toriyama than watching his most beloved characters in their most obscure story? Now, all we can do is hope for a remake of the greatest Dragon Ball story ever told: Goku and Picco learning how to drive.