Anybody who calls themselves an anime fan has watched or at the VERY least heard about Dragon Ball Z, which is undoubtedly one of the most popular anime of all time....I personally grew up on DBZ, everybody I knew would rush home & tune into Toonami to watch our weekly dose of nothing but power ups.
I'm a massive Dragon Ball junkie, I've collected everything over the years, I own the series on 3 different versions, I still have books & books of the trading cards...Suffice it to say, I was pretty excited when this release was announced. I was finally able to throw on my nostalgia goggles & get to hear the dub I grew up on!
Plot: In case you been living under a rock for the past 15 years, the story of Dragon Ball Z is a simple one. It follows Goku, & his friends protecting the earth against super villains who come to find the Dragon Balls, 7 mystical orbs when collected, will grant you any wish.
Included in this box set are the 1st 53 edited episodes of the series & the 1st 3 movie specials that were originally dubbed by the Ocean group before the current FUNi dub took over.
The 53 episodes cover The Saiyan Saga(1-26), which features some of the best episodes & fights of the series. The Saiyan saga introduces fan favorite villain Vegeta, along with his 2 comrades Nappa & Raditz, coming to earth to find not only the Dragon Balls, but to find Goku himself.
The Namek saga(27-47), where Gohan & Krillin travel to a distant planet to locate the dragon balls to bring their dead friends back to life, only to find out Vegeta is hot on their trails & a ruthless tyrant named Frieza has already beaten them there. The saga is quite dull until the introduction of Frieza(around episode 35.)
The episodes concludes with the first few episodes of the Ginyu saga(48-53) where after being bested by Vegeta, Frieza calls upon a special team of fighters to deal with him, Gohan & Krillin.
We also have the 3 movies: Dead Zone, which features Garlic Jr trying to take over the position of Guardian of Earth, & Goku/Piccolo/Kami teaming up to stop him. The World's Strongest, where an evil Dr. Dr. Kochin gathers the Dragon Balls to wish back his mentor, Dr. Wheelo in an effort to take over the world & the Tree of Might, where a group of aliens, led by a surviving Saiyan come to Earth to plant the Tree Of Might, which will sap the life force from the Earth. All 3 are a good watch, i personally enjoyed Tree Of Might the most of the 3, due to solid action scenes & a great villain.
The Dub cast: Ok, this is my problem with the release. Yes it was fun to relive my youth, watching the episodes/dub that got me into Dragon Ball Z, but WOW, it is atrocious. There were only a few cast members I felt did a good job, Scott McNeil gets special mention here, in a completely forgettable dub cast, he stood out from the pack with an awesome performance as Piccolo, that actually makes me wish he could have kept the role, he was terrific. While I'm used to hearing Sabat in the role of Vegeta, Brian Drummond grew on me as time rolled on. Saffron Henderson did a good job as Gohan & Ian Cortlett (episodes 1-37) & Peter Kelamis(38 +) were both OK as Goku. Pauline Newstone also did a good job with what i heard of her Frieza. Of the main cast, a truly bad performance comes from Terry Klassen who plays Krillin. His voice was completely over the top, hamming it up with every line of dialogue & combined that with poor acting. I didn't bother to look up the names for the others, but the voice actors for Tien, Yamcha, & Chiaotzu were all very poor. Regardless of the my opinion, the dub may not be perfect, but it will always have a place in my heart as the dub i grew up with. It was really fun to hear them again.
The Positives: If you were a fan of Dragon Ball Z back in the mid 90's like me, you will go nuts for this set, the great limited edition packaging & nostalgia factors alone will hook you into buying this release. On top of that, you get a lot of bang for your buck. Oh & the Rock The Dragon theme song! Haven't heard it in a decade & it brought a smile to my face!
The Negatives: For me personally, The Dub cast, not much more I can say about it that I haven't said above. The kid friendly edits were kind of a bummer as well, but it's always fun hearing "I'm going to kill you" turn into "I'm gonna send you to the next dimension!"
The video quality is not that impressive. There is alot of grain, & it's noticeable but it didn't really bother me, it's to be expected with something this old. Its a 1:33:1 aspect ratio release.
You only get one option here for the language track, & that is the Ocean dub in Dolby Digital Stereo. No Japanese track to be seen.
The 9 disc set comes housed in a 48 page gorgeous hard cover book featuring nice action shots of Goku on the front & Vegeta on the back, the book includes character information, a DBZ timeline from 1996-2013, a little bit of info about the meme's that have spread worldwide(It's over 9000)& the censorship of the dub(like HFIL instead of HELL.) It also includes the lyrics to the Rock The Dragon theme song. Standard trailers are also included. It's a very nice presentation.
If you were a fan of DBZ back in the 90's you will absolutely love this set, it's also a set that will satisfy the Ocean dub purists. With 53 episodes, 3 movies, & the gorgeous book. This one is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.