The third Dragon Box presents an impressive 42 episodes of
one of the most influential anime shows of all time, Dragon Ball Z.
This time around we finish up the Freiza Saga
and dive straight into the next big story arc, the Android Saga. This is probably my favorite Dragon Box so
far. It has some great action and a
couple of my all time favorite anime episodes.
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: After
Vegeta and the other Saiyans in the first season of the show, several
of the Z
Fighters are dead. With the Dragon Balls
gone, the only way to wish their friends back is to travel to the
where the Dragon Balls were originally created.
Gohan, Krillin, and Bulma (with Son Goku trailing a little ways
them) go to the alien planet but discover that Frieza and his Ginyu
arrived first and started gathering the magical orbs.
Vegeta also turns up and rebels against his
old master, Frieza, after he discovers some secrets about the evil
leader. Eventually the Ginyu Force is
dealt with, but
that still leaves the impressively powerful Frieza.
As this collection starts Vegeta is getting his ass handed
to him by his old boss. Vegeta's
powerful, but he's not the legendary Super Saiyan that he thought he
was. Luckily Son Goku has finished
his earlier injuries thanks to the isolation chamber and arrives at the
just as Vegeta dies from the torture that Frieza inflicted upon him. Calm, cool, and collected, Son Goku walks
past his companions and lets them know he'll take on Frieza all by
himself. He's been training and he
doesn't need any help. This begins one
of the greatest epic battles of the series (in a show that's filled
In the aftermath, the Z-fighters get back to Earth though it
takes Son Goku a route that is a bit more time consuming.
Things don't stay peaceful for long however
as an old nemesis, Garlic Jr., manages to escape from the dimension
was trapped. He's brought some thugs
with him, the Spice Boys, and a potion that turns people into demons. With Son Goku still not back on Earth, it's
up to Krillian, Piccolo, and Gohan to keep the planet from turning into
The collection wraps up with the introduction of a new
character, Trunks, and a new set of villains, androids created by the
villainous Dr. Gero.
What can I say? The
Namek Saga, especially the end of it, is one of my favorite Dragon Ball
stories. It was great watching it again,
uncut with the original music. There are
so many funny, exciting, and simply iconic scenes that it's hard not to
My heart still starts pumping faster when Son Goku arrives
at the fight with Frieza. Vegeta is
lying near death and the other Z-Fighters are terrified.
When Goku walks up Piccolo tries to plan a
strategy for a group attack, but is brushed off. He's
going to take on Frieza by himself, and
he doesn't need anyone's help. It's a
great episode, one of my all time favorites.
Then there's the first time Goku turns into a Super-Saiyan, and
Dragon Balls are all gathered and Frieza makes a wish, and the shock of
dying, and... and... it's just a great, great story.
The Garlic Jr. follow up story is short and sweet.
I've never been a big fan of the diminutive
villain, but turning the world into evil demons was a cool idea. After those few episodes however, we get the
start of another great story arc: the Android Saga and the introduction
of Trunks. I've also always enjoyed those
five or so
episodes where Trunks enters the series.
It's mysterious and pretty thrilling, especially with the return
Frieza and his even more powerful father.
(And let's not forget when Goku and Trunks face off against each
with Son Goku only using one finger!)
Face it... this is just an excellent collection.
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 Japanese music... the English music is not
found in this set, which is fine by me.)
I viewed it with the Japanese track, and though the English dub
and a much more immersive experience (especially during the frequent
scenes) I enjoyed the original track just a bit 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 and other 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' commentary tracks.
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 a profile
family and a relationship tree that lets you know who is working with
whom. There are tidbits of trivia
scattered through the book as well as character sketches.
It's very nice and a wonderful addition to
I have a lot of favorite anime shows. Neon Genesis is amazing. Ghost in the
Shell is fantastic. If I had to
pick one series to be stranded on
a desert island with, it would be Dragon
Ball Z, and the Dragon Boxes are the
version I'd take with me. With the
restored image, faithful reproduction of the original Japanese shows,
aspect ratio, and nice packaging, this is the definitive Dragon Ball Z
collection. Highly Recommended.