Once again FUNimation is releasing the Dragon Ball Z series,
and this time it looks like they've gotten everything right. The Dragon Box contains the first 42 episodes
of the series, uncut, with the restored video that their last releases
boasted. The big difference this time is
that the show is presented in its original aspect ratio, not the faux
widescreen that the earlier season sets were marred with.
In addition this set come with a nice 48-page
hardcover book that includes episode synopsizes, character designs and
trivia. If you've been holding off on
buying Dragon Ball Z, this is the set to get.
If you're reading this, chances are good that you already
know the story, but in case you don't, here's a brief recap: It has
years since the end of Dragon Ball
where Son Goku defeated King Piccolo and the Earth has been at peace in
time. Son Goku has gotten married and
had a child, Son Gohan. Unfortunately
things are not going to stay peaceful forever.
As this series begins, a mysterious meteor crashes to the
Earth, and an alien gets out. He starts
searching for the strongest person on the planet. First
he encounters Piccolo, but that's not
who he's looking for. Pretty soon he
discovers Goku and his son relaxing with their friends.
This mysterious alien is Raditz, a
Saiyan. He belongs to a race of
warriors, as does Goku. It turns out that
Goku was sent to Earth as a baby with orders to kill everyone on the
planet. An accident soon after he
arrived in which he bumped his head made him forget his mission though. Now Raditz needs the grown Goku to help him
conquer worlds. Of course Goku refuses to go with him, so Raditz takes
and promises to kill the boy if Goku doesn't agree to be his partner.
Goku comes up with an idea that will defeat the alien, but
he has to team up with his greatest enemy, Piccolo, to pull it off. The two warriors are able to defeat Raditz,
but it costs Goku his life. Not only
that, but Raditz was able to radio for help before he died, and a trio
more powerful aliens are coming to Earth.
Though it will take a year for them to arrive, There's little
the planet after they land.
To combat this new menace, all of the strongest fighters on
Earth band together. Dubbed the Z
fighters, they train and hone their techniques, while other in the
for the Dragon Balls so they can wish Goku back to life.
Of course Goku isn't sitting in the afterlife
just biding his time, he's training with the great Kaio.
Even with everyone's training, the battle with Veggeta,
another Saiyan, will be long and costly.
This is a classic series that is popular all around the
world. It's easy to see why:
there's a lot of action, the characters are
enjoyable, and the show has a good dose of humor. It's
also slightly addicting. The reason for
that are the characters,
especially Son Goku. He's strong and
powerful, but also a genuinely nice guy.
He doesn't seem to have a cruel bone in his body, and while he
enjoys fighting, he is never the aggressor.
Goku has a child-like innocence that's infectious and his
outlook on life is fun to experience.
The other Z-fighters are also enjoyable. From
Krillian, Goku's childhood friend and
sparring companion to the once-evil Piccolo and the boy-crazy but
Bulma the show is populated with slightly odd but fun characters. Watching them bond as a team and come
together to battle evil (and even to die sometimes) makes the show
enjoyable after all these years.
These 42 episodes arrive on six DVDs that are held in a pair
of 'books', three discs each. Two of the
discs are overlapping (boo!) on one side while the third has a side all
itself. There is also a hardcover book
included with the set (more on this in the extras section.) The three books are stored in a thick slipcase
and the books themselves have a spanning spine.
Altogether it's a very nice looking set.
This is the definitive collection too. All
of the episodes are restored, uncut,
presented with their original aspect ratio, with the original Japanese
openings, original music, and even the original episode previews. What more could you want??
This time the options
are the original Japanese mono audio or a 5.1 English dub (with the
music... the English music is not to be found in this set, which is fine
by me.) I viewed it with the Japanese
though the English dub is good and a much more immersive experience
during the frequent fight scenes) I enjoyed the original track just a
more. Both tracks were clean and free of
hiss and distortion and the show sounded great, even in mono.
The image is in its original full screen aspect ratio this
time, and I couldn't be happier. The
picture has been cleaned up, frame by frame, from the original 16mm
film. I have the original Pioneer releases
is an improvement. There is less grain
and some spots have been removed. The
colors are a bit more even, though not as bright as the original
which I found a little odd. Though this
version does look a little more realistic, I don't think that's what
going for originally. The colors aren't
oversaturated though, as has been reported with the FUNimation season
sets. They also didn't go overboard with
the digital smoothing as happened with the earlier brick collections.
In any case the lines are tight and the colors are even and
solid. The blacks are generally deep. On the digital side of things the shows look
good too. There is some minor aliasing and
light posterization in a few places but neither is ever a distraction
compression artifacts such as blocking are absent.
Overall this is the best looking version of
Dragon Ball I have seen, and the set I'd recommend to fans.
There aren't any extras on the discs themselves, which is
fine by me. I'd much rather have the
show presented with the way it was meant to be seen.
I can live without the English dub cast 'party'
There is a 48 page hardcover book that comes with the set and
it is a real asset. Not only does it
contain a synopsis of every episode in the set, but there's also a
synopsis of the events in Dragon Ball, a very cool character relation
that explains who was trained by whom as
well as romantic relationships. There
are tidbits of trivia scattered through the book as well as character
a time line that explains when the show was originally broadcast as
important events that occurred in the real world, and a profile of
family. It's very nice and a wonderful
addition to the set.
I was on cloud nine while I was watching this
collection. It's nearly perfect. (My
only real complaint is the overlapping discs, which is nit-picking I'll
This set is really devoted to the hardcore fan who wants to
show the way it was first broadcast, and it does everything it sets out
do. With the restored image, faithful
of the original Japanese shows, original aspect ratio, and nice
is the definitive Dragon Ball Z collection.