Dragon Ball is arguably the most popular anime in Mexico ever. When I asked Jorge Grajales, Asian cinema expert and film programmer, about the popularity of Dragon Ball in this country he kindly replied with these words:
"From criminals' nicknames that you can see in the press, drawings in ice-cream shops, carousel figures, picture cards and toys in street markets, Dragon Ball has remained present within Mexican contemporary pop culture. At the time, it was Heidi, Girl of the Alps (the most popular anime in Mexico), with comic books, a music record and other similar productions; the strawberry-flavored Duvalin (a famous Mexican candy) came out originally with Heidi. But the furor that Dragon Ball had, for a generation that grew up at the same time as the phenomenon of anime and manga conventions, overcomes it. Even the Taiwanese live-action movie (Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins) had its moment of glory here thanks to the Dragon Ball euphoria."
So you can imagine the fervor in Mexico for Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, the first theatrical release based on Toriyama Akira's beloved creation in 17 years. Ever since Cinemex (one of Mexico's biggest movie theater chains) posted on Facebook a Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods photo, asking if people would like to watch the movie on their screens, fans went just mad. This photo was posted on April 1, two days after the movie premiered in Japan, and it currently has 281,884 likes and 113,437 shares.
It was just a matter of time for a distribution company to secure the rights and eventually Diamond Films took the cake. Not an easy task though, as fans began pressuring them to get the original Mexican voice actors from the anime. As of today, Diamond Films has managed to get the most important actors (Mario Castañeda as Goku, René García as Vegeta and Eduardo Garza as Krillin, for example), but fans are still pushing for each and every member of the original cast who aren't yet under contract (especially for Laura Torres, voice of Son Goten and other characters). It's definitely a unique, crazy and nostalgic film event!
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods opens in Mexico on Friday, September 27. Tickets are already being sold in such chains as Cinemex and Cinemark, with midnight shows available. Personally, I can't wait to watch it on the big screen and try to forget that piece of movie disgrace filmed in Mexico and called Dragonball: Evolution.