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“Dragon Ball Z - Dragon Box Sets” - {Blu-ray}
Taylor Carlson
Studio: FUNimation
Release Date:
Special Features:

Textless Songs, Trailers, Booklets


The Dragon Ball franchise has been around for nearly 30 years now. Akira Toriyama, also known for his work on numerous video games and other series, created a classic for the ages when he put the first volume of the Dragon Ball manga into Shonen Jump magazine in 1984. Like many manga series, it inspired an anime adaptation. ***

Dragon Ball Z is an anime adaptation of the second half of Toriyama's manga series, and it serves as the sequel series to the original Dragon Ball. It was followed by an anime-exclusive series called Dragon Ball GT, which met with a mixed reaction from fans. ***

Essentially, Dragon Ball Z picks up 5 years after the original Dragon Ball left off. Son Goku, the martial artist the original series revolved around, has married and now has a child of his own. Of course, periods of peace don't last long in the Dragon Ball world. It isn't long before an extraterrestrial villain lands on Earth and tells Goku of his less-than-favorable origin. As the series progresses, newer and stranger villains enter the picture - far more deadly and dangerous than anything our hero has ever faced before, but his friends are still around to lend a helping hand. ***

The Z series is generally revered as the best of the Dragon Ball Trilogy of Series. And it isn't any surprise why. The battles are at their most intense, the characters continue to develop, and Toriyama throws in just enough interesting twists and turns to keep things interesting. Yes, it gets bogged down in clichés and redundancies at times, but that doesn't keep fans from loving the series less - myself included. ***

Prior to 2007, the release history of the Dragon Ball Franchise in America had been a hit-and-miss one. The first VHS tapes and DVDs were edited versions. Eventually, FUNimation began releasing uncut DVDs (including a Japanese audio track), but these were released in no particular order, and were insanely overpriced - not to mention they didn't include every episode, including the first 2 seasons worth. Eventually, they started releasing those episodes too - but aborted their plans as quickly as they had started. Does your head hurt yet? It ought to. ***

In early 2007, FUNimation finally started releasing affordable Season Sets of the Z series. And those met with a mixed reception due to the overzealous use of cropping and noise reduction. Fans stateside were pissed to see Japanese audiences had gotten a faithful frame-by-frame remastered version of the series, while those American fans got an inferior product. ***

Apparently, FUNimation has heard the fan outcry and gotten the Japanese source, using it to re-re-re-release (is that enough re's?) the series. Is this the package fans should have, though? ---

Image And Sound:

After the atrocity of the Z season sets, we finally have it - the way the series was meant to be enjoyed. The image features the original colors, no annoying enhancements or cropping. The image looks a bit grainy and faded, but these ARE the original, unmodified colors. All things considered, this is how the show looked when it took to the airwaves 20 years ago. No butchery on FUNimation's part this time around. We finally get the show as Toriyama and Toei Animation intended. ***

The Japanese music track is the only one on the disc, but a (sadly, unrefined) dub track still appears. Sadly, the Japanese audio is still showing its age, but it definitely sounds better here than it does on the Season Sets.

Special Features:

There aren't any features on the discs, however each Dragon Box contains an informative booklet with an episode list, tidbits/summaries of the episodes/characters/etc., and even some rough artwork and the like. It's a massive improvement over those little paperback books the Season Sets got. Plus, if you lay all the Dragon Boxes (inner packaging ends) side-by-side, you get a nice mural of Goku and Gohan.

Final Words:

Should you trade in your Season Sets for these Dragon Boxes? If you're the die-hard fan I am, I say go for it - these sets represent the show the way it was meant to be enjoyed. But if you're just a casual fan and nothing else, who loves the English voices and score, keep your Season Sets.


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