A retelling of Dragon Ball's origins, this is a different version of the meeting of Goku, Bulma, Oolong, and Yamucha. They are all looking for the dragon balls for different reasons when they cross paths with an evil king named Gourmeth, who is also looking for the dragon balls.
If you are like me you don't mind non-canonical movies. Especially within the Dragon Ball realm. You understand they cannot logically happen, but still enjoy them. This movie is a retelling of the first arc of Dragon Ball. It's not just a shortened down version of the television series. It takes tons of liberties with characters and progression points.
With non-canonical movies you can enjoy them because they are their own thing. This isn't it's own thing though. It's just a worse version of the television series. The story moves to fast and no one really develops. The villain barely gets enough air time. The finale
is mediocre. The voice acting (dub) is not as good (although it's not entirely terrible).
I can't see any reason to watch this over the actual Dragon Ball series.
The Dragon Ball anime has been the source of two different movies, which are two different retellings of Dragon Ball's beginning, the other being 1996's the Path To Power. Shen Long no Densetsu. or Curse of the Blood Rubies is the first one, and it is fast and furious. The movie is only 51 minutes, and the next two are shorter.
First, the characters are normal, unchanging rocks. Goku shows almost no emotions other than happiness and confusion. The other characters are pale and stiff.
The story is that there's an evil king that rules over a land searching for Blood Gems or whatever they are. Their
military steals Goku's Dragon Ball, and from there, the story begins to converge from the official Dragon Ball timeline. According to the DB encyclopedia, it is an alternate timeline. The ending is nice, but the rest of the story is simply brushed over. The pacing is incredibly fast, and it was over before I expected it.
The art's great; Especially Kame-sennin's Kamehameha, which causes all the ships to blow up. A younger me would say, "Whoah!" and I would definitely agree.
If you are trying to watch every second of DB, then watch after finishing the anime, as it is interesting to see another version of the story. However, I wouldn't recommend this for anyone else.
Having seen this movie, I now understand why the Dragon Ball movie "The Path to Power" (which I watched before this one) is labelled as an "alternative version" to the beginning of Dragon Ball - it essentially does the same thing as this movie, but went about it in a different way. Both of them bring some of the core characters of the franchise: Goku, Bulma, the turtle guy and the pig etc (these guys don't even need names to be honest). The production seems to be higher for this movie, as the animation looks clearer, but this could be because I watched a lower
quality version of the other movie. The cast isn't too bad overall, I've definitely seen a lot worse. On the positive side of the fence, Goku is a likeable character with all his innocence. On the negative side there's Bulma, who is quite annoying with her stereotypical "annoying highschool girl" voice and attitude.
My comments for "Curse of the Blood Rubies" is mostly the same as the ones for "The Path to Power". They share the same dodgy voice acting (along with the rest of the Dragon Ball franchise), and the same mediocre animation and character designs (again, along with the rest of the franchise). What's more, just like "The Path to Power", this movie is also a cut above the average Dragon Ball movie because it puts commendable effort into the story so is not completely centered around the fighting. The result is a vaguely interesting adventure story with battles that doesn't drag on and on and on. Compared to "The Path of Power", the story is actually not quite as good. However, overall, I rate this movie slightly higher because the other one gets dragged down by the inappropriate fan service, whilst this movie is more friendly to the targeted audience due to lack of fan service, so just about manage to keep its head above the 6/10 threshold (which is equivalent to like a 9 or 10 relative to other Dragon Ball movies).