Behold, the unauthorized Korean version of Dragon Ball! (드래곤볼 싸워라 손오공 이겨라 손오공)

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Seems lower-budgeted, dontcha think?
Seems lower-budgeted, dontcha think?

Since World War II ended, the government of South Korea had started the criminalization of Japanese media, and this obviously includes manga and anime cartoons, but anyways, this led to South Korean animators and filmmakers making their own animes with concepts that were accused of being plagiarized from the original Japanese version. When Japan had Mazinger Z, South Korea had Robot Taekwon V; Macross gave rise to Space Gundam V (which was not related to Mobile Suit Gundam despite its name); Video Warrior Laserion spawned Video Ranger 007; and finally, Diaclone led to Micro Commando Diatron 5, and so on.

In 1990, an even more notorious and lower-budgeted live-action film was made, spitting in the eye of international copyright law even more. It was a film called, when roughly translated into English, Dragon Ball: Win and Fight, Son Goku (Korean: Dragon Ball: Ssawora Son Goku, Igyeora Son Goku). It was an unofficial, unauthorized, and unlicensed film adaptation of Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball manga/anime, as well as the first part of the later Dragon Ball Z. The film was distributed in the South Korean market by Dong Ir Movie (as the studio was called), and was directed by Wang Ryong, and because he made this movie, I'm calling him the Korean Bruno Mattei; Bruno was a pretty notorious Italian filmmaker who just loved to rip off movies like Terminator and Jaws, the more notorious being Cruel Jaws, which stole footage from the official Jaws movies (also featuring a very badly processed version of the Star Wars theme!).

In the movie, the cute-looking characters Puar and Oolong were shown as really bad-looking puppets, sorta like that of the alien from the infamous 1988 E.T. mockbuster Mac and Me. Even Goku's hair looks awful, as if someone took a bunch of grease and literally scraped it onto the actor's hair!

The movie was never made available on DVD or Blu-Ray, although South Korean VHS copies (could be in either NTSC Region 1 or PAL formats) are more easy to find in South Korea. A VHS copy itself was sold on eBay for $215 US dollars alone. For those who despise copyright laws or don't want to pay a lot of cash for this movie, it is more available on the Swedish-based website known as the Pirate Bay.

What's interesting, however, is that in 1996, South Korean filmmaker Yi Yong-Um directed Super Kid, an animated mockbuster of Dragon Ball/Dragon Ball Z, that looks like it had rather higher-budgeted animation.

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What's your opinion on Dragon Ball: Ssawora Son Goku, Igyeora Son Goku? (Super Kid used for comparison)
  • 1
    A really horrible knock-off! I would prefer Super Kid over this!
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  • 0
    Left me speechless!
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  • 0
    Worse than Turkish Star Wars!
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  • 0
    This makes Bruno Mattei more like Captain Beefheart by comparison!
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