It's here at last:
The definitive edition of the most exciting saga in the world's
famous anime series. The Dragon Ball Z
Dragon Box Volume 4 presents 42 more episodes in the classic
the wrap up of the Android Saga which segues nicely into the appearance
arguably the series greatest villain, Cell.
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
Frezia (barely) on the planet Namek, the Z-Fighters return to Earth,
who is taking the long way home. Things
seem quite for a bit, until Frieza, recovered from the smackdown Son
him, arrives on Earth with an even more powerful ally:
There's no way the Z-Fighters could defeat this pair without
strongest member, but a mysterious teen shows up and kills both of the
with barely breaking a sweat. This kid,
Trunks, has come from the future to warn everyone about a deadly event
about to happen: two androids created by
Dr. Gero are going to appear in three years and nearly wipe out the
race. What's worse is that Goku won't be
around, as the Saiyan will be killed by a virus that attacks his heart
the androids show up.
Luckily Trunks has brought back medicine that should will
Son Goku once the disease strikes and has given the warriors some
notice. They all go off to train and
wait for the appearance of the artificial humans while Trunks returns
As this collection opens three years have passed and the
androids, referred to by their numbers, No. 19 and 20, have appears and
trashing a city. Yamucha confronts them
and discovers they have a special ability:
both robots can drain the energy of anyone they touch. They nearly kill Yamucha and manage to
destroy most of the city before Goku lures them out into the desert for
The fight seems to be going well, Goku turns into a Super
Saiyan and Artificial Human No. 19 can't lay a glove on him. He's dodging all of the robot's blows with
ease and obviously overpowering his opponent with little trouble. Or so it would seem. In
reality Goku's losing energy at a rapid
rate and is trying to finish the fight quickly.
The deadly disease, which had not affected him up to this point,
his heart in the middle of the battle causing him to nearly pass out.
While some of the other take Goku home to administer the
medicine, Vegetta steps up and totally obliterates No. 19 with easy. He's become a Super Saiyan also and is really
enjoying his new powers. No. 20 flees to
the laboratory where he was created in order to avoid being killed by
with the Saiyan Prince crowing at his victory.
That's when Trunks shows up totally perplexed.
The Artificial Humans that the Z-Fighters
have been battling are not the ones that destroyed the Earth in his
line. They deduce that No. 20 has gone
to activate other, more powerful, androids and start their search for
lab. Unfortunately they arrive too late,
and Artificial Humans Nos. 16, 17, and 18 are revived.
Vegetta battles No 18, still confident from
his easy win over the other android and gets his ass handed to him. She doesn't even need to use her full power
to beat Vegetta into unconsciousness.
The rest of the Z-Fighters are no match even when they fight all
Things look very grim for the Earth, with Goku still out
battling the virus. Things only get
worse when Trunks and Bulma find an old time capsule, the same one that
used except very old and decrepit, that was used to take a small egg
past. An egg that caries the Dr. Gero's
greatest evil creation: the insect-like
Cell. This is a monster that was crafted
from cells of Goku, Piccolo and Frieza, and he also has the ability to
stinger on his tail to absorb other people, draining them of their life. He's a very tough character, and that's
before he evolves.
Every time I watch this section of the show, I'm amazed at
how well DBZ creator Akira Toriyama put this story together. This is the show's high point, and it occurred well into
series run. At a time when most writers
are pulling out their hair trying to come up with the next storyline,
knocks one out of the park. One of the
impressive things about this story arc is that there are a lot of
events that really surprise viewers, even more so than the earlier
stories. It's great the way the
Artificial Human story line gets hijacked by the Cell Saga. Just when everyone is wondering how the
Z-Fighters will destroy the seemingly unbeatable androids, that's no
problem. This unpredictable change of events adds a lot of excitement
show. It's even more impressive when you
realize that Toriyama didn't have to risk alienating readers with such
device, the series was incredibly popular when this originally took
he could have easily rested on his laurels.
There are several shocking surprises in this set too, like
when Trunks announces that the androids everyone has been fighting are
ones he originally traveled in time to warm humanity about. I still recall the way that revelation got my
attention the first time I saw this saga.
The fights are great too, naturally, but the character
development is one of my favorite things about the show.
No, this is never going to be confused with
great literature, but seeing Krillian being too afraid to battle
and 18 when the rest of his friends were being pummeled was a nice
touch. The struggle between self
coming to the aide of friends in need is a strong conflict and it's
well, especially for a kids cartoon.
There's a reason this show is popular the world over, and this
collection illustrates why.
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
The stories presented in this collection are arguably the
best parts of Dragon Ball Z, a show that is filled with high points. The Imperfect and Perfect Cell Sagas, along
with Cell Games are my favorite arcs in the long running show. It's wonderful to have this in a definitive
edition at last. This is a classic show
that belongs any complete collection of anime.
A DVD Talk Collector's Series title.