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Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13/ Bojack Unbound

FUNimation // Unrated // February 10, 2009
List Price: $34.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by John Sinnott | posted May 7, 2009 | E-mail the Author
The Movies:
Funimation continues their release of the Dragon Ball Z theatrical movies on Blu-ray with another double feature:  Super Android 13 and Bojack Unbound.  The DBZ films aren't as exciting as fun as the series itself, though they make nice diversions, and these two are good examples of that.  Since they're really short they don't have any time to catch viewers up on what's going on, so if you're not familiar with the characters, stories, and background of the show you'll be totally lost.  For fans of the show however, these are worth watching.
Super Android 13:
This movie involves more of Dr. Gero's androids, powerful human-like machines that nearly took over the world.  In this film, which lies outside regular DBZ continuity, after Gero died the supercomputer in his lab thought that it was Gero and continued to design androids with only one purpose:  to kill Son Goku. 
Eventually the androids are ready to attack.  Androids 14 and 15 track Goku down to a shopping mall and attack.  After saving the people in danger, Goku, Krillian, Future Trunks, and Gohan fly up to the arctic to battle, where there are no bystanders.  While this is a good idea, it doesn't stop the androids from kicking some serious good-guy butt.  Then, without warning, Piccolo and Vegetta arrive and turn the tide of the battle.  But then Android 13 shows up and the good guys take a beating again.  Of course the Z-Fighters (well, some of them) have one trick up their sleeve:  to turn into Super Saiyans.  This they then do.  But when Android 13 absorbs parts of #'s 14 and 15, he becomes an unbeatable killing machine.  With no hope of stopping him, Goku has to remember how he defeated a villain in an earlier movie to save the day.
While this film was mildly entertaining, there's no rhyme or reason to anything that happens after the battle begins.  Is Gohan about to be killed?  Have Piccolo show up from out of no where to save him.  Are all the fighters near death?  Have them remember that they can transform.  (Why didn't they do that in the first place once they realized how tough these guys were?)  While they do manage to get all of the main characters into the movie, it's a bit too contrived to be considered really good.
Bojack Unbound:
Sometime after the Cell Games another World Martial Arts Tournament rolls around, this time sponsored by the mega-rich Mr. X. S. Cash for his son.  The younger cash wants to see aliens, so the toughest fighters from around the galaxy have been invited to compete in this event.  Before they can meet the extraterrestrials however, Earth's best martial artists have to make it through the preliminary rounds.  If they do that, they'll get to battle the alien fighters, and the last one standing from that round gets to the final match against the Earth's Greatest Champion:  Mr. Satan!
While Krillian, Piccolo, Gohan, Future Trunks, and Tien make it through the opening round with easy, when it comes to fighting the aliens something goes horribly wrong.  The outsiders aren't the ones invited to the tournament, but a group of ruthless killers led by Bojack.   This murderer had once tried to rule the galaxy and only the combined might of the four Kai's were able to seal him in a star.  The seal was accidently broken by Son Goku during the Cell Games, and now Bojack and his gang have set their sights on Earth.  Taking out most of the Z-Fighters without much problem, the only one left standing is young Gohan.  Could he possibly defeat a creature that it took all four Kia's to best previously?
This is one of the better Dragon Ball Z movies, especially the beginning.  It has Mr. Satan, who I've always enjoyed watching.  He's a comic relief, sure, but his antics are hilarious.  The reactions he gives as he watches the Z-Fighters win the early rounds are priceless.  He gets caught by crowds of cheering fans every time he tries to escape, and when he's finally put into a capsule and sent to Battle Island to help the Z-Fighters with Bojack's gang its terribly funny.  This lighter tone for half of the film breaks up the, let's admit it, monotony of the longer fight sequences and is a lot of fun to watch. 
The big battle at the end is a lot like most of the DBZ movie fights.  As a matter of fact they use a very similar ending in the following movie, Broly: Second Coming.  Still, it was enjoyable for what it is, and the climax is just as exciting as always.
The Blu-ray Disc:

Like the earlier Dragon Ball Z movies released on Blu-ray, both of these films were presented with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, and come with about the same picture quality.  Which means that the AVC encoded image looks about average.  The lines are soft though the colors look nice, but the prints to both films are in less than pristine shape.   There are a myriad of spots, dirt and micro-scratches (including a reel change mark) that harm the presentation.  Large patches of color also seem to shimmer slightly, and there was a lot of mosquito noise in the picture.  While it wasn't a horrible transfer, this isn't an exciting Blu-ray release.
This disc has three sound options: the original stereo Japanese track, and two English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 dubs; one with the Japanese music and the other with the more familiar (to region one viewers) US music.  I switched between the Japanese and True HD 5.1 tracks as I watched, and though I preferred the original track the dub was more exciting to listen to.  The English 5.1 track was very enveloping, with music and sound effects coming from the rear channels that made the movies just more fun, though that was tempered by Android 13's voice in the first movie.  His fake southern accent was almost unbearable.  It was nice to hear the original music, which works much better than the US music.  All three of the tracks were clean and clear though they did sound a bit flat with both the high and low end clipped a little.  There was no hiss, distortion or other audio defects.


Nothing, just a series of trailers.
Final Thoughts:
Both of these are good Dragon Ball Z movies, though I enjoyed the second one a bit more because of its lighter tone and more logical progression.  If you've never seen DBZ before, this probably isn't the place to begin though.  There's no background given and it will just confuse novices.  For fans of the series however, these are worth checking out.  The Blu-ray disc looks okay though not outstanding and the TrueHD soundtrack is good.  This disc comes Recommended.
Note: The images in this review are not from the Blu-ray disc and do not necessarily represent the image quality on the disc.
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