Dragon Ball Z Movies 12/13: Fusion Reborn/Wrath of the Dragon (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Mark Thomas
Review Date: Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Release Date: Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What They Say
Fusion Reborn: The universe is ripped apart at the seams after an industrial disaster in Other World unleashes the monstrous Janemba – and the beast grows stronger with every moment. The turmoil reaches across dimensions, and the battle rages on two fronts. Goku and Vegeta unite in the fight for Other World’s survival, while Goten and Trunks confront a ghoulish army of the undead on Earth. With strength and fury, the warriors reach incredible heights of power – but it isn’t enough. A dangerous plan of attack is devised, and only an unprecedented level of teamwork will deliver victory. This is the story of the sum of all evil.

Wrath of the Dragon:Two strangers have appeared on Earth. One of them invites devastation. The other has the power to prevent it. Harsh sacrifices must be made to untangle the web of deception that threatens to blind the forces of good to an approaching evil. Dark magic has released an ancient monster – Hirudegarn – that consumes both flesh and soul. As it rampages on Earth, its power threatens to multiply to unthinkable levels. Such wickedness can only be defeated by Tapion, a man who has already given so much – and must now offer his very life to save the universe. This is the story of true brotherhood

The Review!
This set sees the last two DBZ movies released in the Funimation’s Double Feature series. As is usually the case, only Dragon Ball fans need apply.

Audio:

For this viewing, I listened to the English Dub with original Japanese music, which is offered in 5.1 surround. There are also options for the English Dub with US music, also in 5.1, and the original Japanese track, which is only offered in mono. This mix is pretty nice, and I liked that Funimation gave us the option between the Japanese and US music. The dialogue is clear with no dropout, the sound effects are nice, and there is some pretty nice directionality during the fight scenes. And since this is Dragon Ball Z, there are plenty of those.

Video:
Both titles are shown in their original 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio and have been digitally remastered in high definition. This transfer is pretty clean, with no real technical problems, but with them both being from 1995, they are still both titles that show their age. Flaws in the originals have been cleaned up and the colors redone, but they still are not as clean as newer titles. That said, they look about as good as any DBZ title, so fans of the series should not notice any difference.

Packaging:
This is a really nice set. The main case is a full color, sturdy DVD Tin with a clear plastic insert to hold the discs. Both discs are held on the right side, with room for a non-existent booklet or insert on the left. The front has a picture of Super Saiyan Goku set against the Golden Dragon. The back has another image of Goku, with screen shots, summaries, and technical details listed. On the interior, able to be seen through the plastic, is an image of Janemba laughing. Overall, it looks really nice and is well put together.

Menu:
The menus for this release are pretty basic. Each have a still image of Broly set against a black background. The DVD options are underneath in yellow, making them easy to see and follow. Options for Play, Scene Selection, and Setup are available. Pretty basic, but functional.

Extras:

Aside from some trailers, there were no extras on this set.

Content:  (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This collection brings together the final two Dragon Ball Z movies: “Fusion: Reborn” and “Wrath of the Dragon.” Like the other movies, these are side stories to the main Dragon Ball Z arc, and they actually come after the TV series ends. As with all of the movies, they do not make good introductions to the series, as they expect you to know who everybody is, but fans will probably enjoy these.

Fusion: Reborn sees Goku fighting in a tournament in the Other World when an accident occurs at the palace of King Enma. The machine that processes spirits explodes, catching a lazy spirit and destroying the barrier between reality and hell in the process. The explosion turns him into a giant monster known as Janempa. Janempa is a brainless being that has a childlike delight in destruction. Goku is sent to investigate, and he brings Janempa down, but in the process of doing so, Janempa goes through a transformation becoming the much more dangerous Janemba. With the barrier to hell destroyed, Vegeta is able to return and help Goku, but only through the power of Fusion can they hope to defeat Janemba.

In Wrath of the Dragon, Gohan and Videl rescue an old man from killing himself, and find that he has a magical music box that he has never been able to open. According to legend, a great hero named Tapion is trapped within the music box, and only the power of Shenron can open it. The problem is that when they release the hero, a great monster named Hirudegarn is released at the same time. But Hirudegarn seems impervious to regular attacks. Goku has to find a way to defeat him before he destroys the Earth as he did Tapion’s world.

This set was hit and miss with me. After reviewing all of the movies, I have discovered that I tend to like the movies that have more plot advancement and leave the action to little more than mop-up. That was the case here, too. In Fusion: Reborn, Goku is fighting for the world within ten minutes of the movie starting, and it becomes just one long fight scene. Wrath of the Dragon has plenty of action mixed in, but a substantial portion details the story behind Tapion, Hirudegarn, and the old man. This adds more importance to the story for me, and allows me to enjoy it a bit more.

Like with all the movies, though, these are more enjoyable if you know the Dragon Ball Z storyline. There is no setup pertaining to characters; it is assumed that the watcher knows all of the characters and the story that has put them in the position they are currently in. For example, after hell’s barrier is destroyed in Fusion: Reborn, Frieza makes a brief appearance, but the significance is lost if you do not know Frieza’s back story.

In Summary:
Wrath of the Dragon was one of the better Dragon Ball Z movies for me. Unfortunately, Fusion: Reborn fit in with most of the others as ultimately forgettable. Still, as with any of the movies, fans of the series will find the same sort of action and plot points that make the TV series so popular, so they will probably enjoy these too. Mildly recommended.

Features
Japanese 1.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment

Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Memorex MVD2042 Progressive Scan w/ DD/DTS (Component Connection), Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System



Mania Grade: C+
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Dragon Ball Z