FUNimation continues releasing the definitive version of the most popular anime series in the world with the Dragon Box Volume 6. This set finished off the Tenkaichi Tournament, encompasses the entire Babidi Saga (its only 12 episodes long) and jumps into the Majin Boo (that's the way it is spelled in the guide that comes with this set. Previously I've always seen it as "Majin Buu.") Saga that will finish up in the next and final box. Overall it's an exciting set of episodes, though it's a small step down from what has come before.
When we last left the Z-Fighters they were just about to start the 25th World Martial Arts Tournament. Before the junior division can start however a special event is held... a movie of Doctor Satan battling and defeating Cell. The badly constructed video is horrendously (and hilariously) bad, but it gets the Z-Fighters pretty irked none the less.
Needless to say, young Trunks and Goten both advance through the fight brackets without much trouble until they meet each other in the final round.
In the adult division, things get a bit more interesting. There are some very powerful fighters entered into the tournament, including Spopovitch a large guy who continues to battle even after his neck in broken. When it's turn for Gohan to fight however, Spopovitch and his partner Yamu use a mysterious weapon to steal all of the Saiyan's energy and then run off. It turns out they're working for the warlock Badidi who needs the energy to revive the evil creature Majin Boo.
The Z-Fighters pinpoint Badibi's base and when they arrive they have to fight a series of battles in order to get to Badidi himself. The fighters do a good job besting Badidi's champions, but before Goku can defeat the last one, Dabura, Badidi transforms Vegeta into Majin Vegeta with his magic powers. This transformation makes the Saiyan prince even more powerful, but evil and he attacks the World Martial Arts Tournament and it's up to Goku to stop him.
While they're fighting however, enough time has passed that the egg containing Majin Boo, the destroyer of worlds, has hatched unleashing a devastatingly powerful creature who has a rather unique personality. Can the Z-Fighters defeat this latest challenge to the Earth?
While I really enjoyed the 25th Martial Arts Tournament, the Badidi Saga and the followup, the Majin Boo saga, have a bit of a 'been-there, done-that' feel to them. Don't get me wrong, these aren't bad episodes and the show doesn't jump the shark, but after all the other insurmountable challenges to the Earth (and Namek) that the Z-Fighters conquered, these last stories seem a bit repetitive.
Having said that, there's still a lot of excitement, action, and humor to be found in these later Dragon Ball Z episodes. It's always great to see Goku and Vegeta battle it out, and Majin Boo's personality, once he enters the series, is oddly comical in way that makes the show interesting once more.
When all is said and done, these episodes are still worth owning, even if they aren't the absolute pinnacle of the series.
These 41 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 to 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 to be found in this set, which is fine by me.) I viewed it with the Japanese track, and though the English dub is good and a much more immersive experience (especially during the frequent fight 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 and this 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 releases, which I found a little odd. Though this version does look a little more realistic, I don't think that's what they were 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 of Goku's 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 set.
The definitive version of a great show, Dragon Box Volume 6 is a must-have for fans of the show. Yeah, the Majin Boo saga isn't the best part of DBZ, but it only pales when compared to what has gone before. Still filled with fun and action, this set is sure to please otaku everywhere. Highly Recommended.