It took nearly two years, but FUNimation has finally
completed the Dragon Box series - the definitive version of the most
anime series in the world: Dragon Ball
Z. With the seventh box they finally
reach the end of the saga, and what a wild ride it has been. This last collection includes 40 episodes and
encompasses two story lines: The Fusion
Saga and The Kid Buu Saga. If you've
been following the adventures of Son Goku, Gohan, and the rest for this
you won't want to stop now.
When we last left the Z-Fighters they were having trouble
with the latest threat to Earth: Majin
Buu. A child-like and comical character,
Majin Buu is easily distracted and more amusing than menacing but he
also had a
bad side, Evil Buu. When Evil Buu is
released and absorbs the Good Buu, he turns against the Earth and seems
to be unstoppable. The main problem is
that Buu can regenerate
incredibly quickly. Almost any wound can
be cured in the blink of a eye.
The only way that the Z-Fighters can counter such an immense
force is to use a difficult technique:
Fusion. This power allows two
people to merge into one, adding their strengths, speed, and agility
and creating a new, incredibly powerful warrior. The
risks are high though. If the technique
isn't performed correctly
the fuse will produce an incredibly weak creature, and both fighters
locked in that form for 30 minutes, terribly vulnerable.
Goku and Piccolo teach this Fusion Dance to
Trunks and Goku's second son, Goten, who create the incredibly powerful
Gotenks. But will even this massively
be able to defeat someone who can instantly renew himself?
The battle is fierce, and eventually Buu transforms into his
ultimate form: Kid Buu.
Though looking like a young teen, this
version of the villain is immensely powerful.
One of the first things he does after transforming is to destroy
and everyone on it with a single blast.
A few of the Z-Fighters were lucky enough to escape and they
travel to the Grand Kai's world for their last stand.
After destroying a couple of other worlds,
Kid Buu finds them and it's time for the ultimate, final battle of
This is a great series and deserves all of the praise that
has been heaped on it. From the first
mention of Saiyans to the final episode, it's a wild (and very long!)
that's immense fun. For those of you
wondering, the final episode is good, and wraps things up very nicely.
That's not to say that the whole story is flawless.
There are some problems, and the main one is
pretty evident in this collection:
people get too powerful. Creator
Toriyama naturally felt the need to top himself with each successive
while that makes for an exciting tale, it does get a bit repetitive
eventually. At first Saiyans are the
fighters, then he introduced the concept of a 'Super Saiyan' one member
race that could transform and obtain overwhelming power.
Originally the idea is only a legend since
one had not been seen in 1000 years and it's limited to one person. Then Son Goku becomes a Super Saiyan, then
Vegetta, pretty soon there are young kids that are training by
themselves and transforming into this
When kids are able to pop into Super Saiyan form at will,
you need something more powerful. So
Super Saiyan II was introduced, and Super Saiyan III.
They people can merge their powers via the
Fusion technique, and while fused transform into Super Saiyans too. Yeesh.
I'll admit, I'm being a bit hard on the show. When
you watch it a couple of episodes a day
you loose track of the big picture a bit, and the increase in power
accompany each story line seem natural and are exciting and impressive. It's only when you look at the series as a
whole that it gets a bit ridiculous.
Even having said that, the episodes in this final collection
are a lot of fun. It's great seeing Goku
and Vegeta deciding who gets to fight Kid Buu first after the Earth is
destroyed (they play a game of Rock-Paper-Scissor) and it's hilarious
Mister Satan trying to take on Buu early on in the set.
Of course there's some great fighting
too. More epic battles all wrapped up
with a final look at the World's Martial Arts Tournament.
What more could you want.
These 40 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'm a little sad that it's all over. Dragon
Ball Z is a fun series, especially if you're willing to devote some
it, and I'm a little sorry that there's not more. Yeah,
there are the movies and specials, but
they don't really hold a candle to the original show.
And there is Dragon Ball GT, but I never
really got into that show. The
definitive version of a great show, Dragon
Box Volume 7 is a must-have for fans of the show.