Dragonball Z TV #29: Frieza: Namek's End (Mania.com)

Review Date: Wednesday, December 24, 2003
Release Date: Monday, November 26, 2001



What They Say
Continuing the Frieza Saga. UNEDITED and ORIGINAL JAPANESE VERSION (Eps 86-89)

Contains:
The Last Wish
Guru and the people of Namek have been brought back to life, and the dragon Puranga has reappeared to grant the last of three wishes. While a newly enraged Goku resumes his onslaught against the evil Frieza, Dende races to make the final wish of King Kai's plan. But Frieza has his own wish in mind, and he too speeds toward the dragon!

Duel on a Vanishing Planet
With all of his friends evacuated to the safety of Earth, Goku has chosen to remain on the doomed planet of Namek to finish Frieza once and for all. But Frieza refuses to go down quietly, and it looks as though the mighty Saiyan still has the fight of his life on his hands. And with Namek about to explode, there seems no way for Goku to defeat Frieza and escape from the planet in time! Has Goku made the greatest - and final - mistake of his life?

Pathos of Frieza
Time is growing short for Goku, as each passing second brings Namek closer to its ultimate destruction. But the Super Saiyan's powers seem to know no limits, and it looks as though the once unstoppable Frieza has finally been outmatched! As Goku's strength continues to increase with every blow, it appears that the battle has at last reached its conclusion! ...or has it?

Frieza Defeated!!
As his desperation grows, Frieza's attempts to destroy Goku become more and more reckless. Goku's power proves to be far superior, and he easily counters the evil tyrant's attacks. It seems that Frieza's greatest fear has been realized - defeat at the hands of a Super Saiyan! But the clock is ticking! Can Goku escape from Namek before it explodes?

The Review!
Audio:

Audio is identical to the other DBZ TV discs, English stereo, Japanese mono. The Japanese track was solid as usual. Since I avoid torture, I did not listen to the English dub.

Video:

I detected a few scattered rainbows, but the video was up to par with the previous volumes, have no problems except some minor print damage.

Packaging:

On the last volume of the Frieza Arc, we have a big of some happy looking people… and apparently one confused/scared Namekian. It’s looks OK, I guess, but it doesn’t stand up to me as being very attractive, and I hate seeing Gohan in overalls. I can’t give it a very high mark because it’s a screen capture … with dubbed episodes descriptions on back. YOU CALL THIS ARTKWORK!? It’s too bad FUNi is too cheap to get some real artwork. No insert for you! That "INCLUDED 2 VERSIONS…" text is REALLY starting to annoy me now. FUNi, you have established that the DVDs are bilingual, congratulations. Now stop it! All the logos on the front cover take up fifty percent of the space on the cover, and they just look unsightly. I would appreciate a picture from a DBZ art book over this cover. The spider-case packaging has unfortunately returned, and most of the legs were broken when I got the disc, which helps explain the low grade I gave. Grr…

Menus:

The menus haven’t changed much from the previous ones, and it’s actually an improvement that it now plays all episodes without returning to the main menu after each episode finishes. This volume has corrected the last volume's problem with the last ending theme. Now, if you watch the Japanese track, you get the 3 endings in the proper places and then the DVD credits, all without being subjected to the English dub preview, yahoo!

Extras:
I don't care how many times FUNimation lists previews for edited, dubbed VHS tapes as "extras;" it will not make them so, although noteworthy here is a preview for Blue Gender, (although it is full of crappy heavy metal music) a series I would be interested in if it had a bimonthly release instead of a one-every-four-months release. There is also a commerical for DBZ toys which is truly awful.

Content:

Well, this disc finishes up the Frieza saga in three episodes. In the last volume, Goku had defeated Frieza, but after begging for his life, Goku decided to give a little bit of energy so he could survive. Now, Frieza, being a total idiot, has a long flashback which serves as a recap of the fight between himself and Goku. And of course, he decides rather than to escape, to fire the remaining energy he as at Super Saiyan Goku. Goku was not impressed, and sends Frieza to hell with his golden light. Goku now has the more immediate problem of escaping Namek before it blows up (which should have happened hours ago if this was like reality at all). He finds Freiza’s spaceship, but the damn thing is broken and won’t launch. Things look hopeless as Namek explodes and it appears Goku’s still trapped on the planet. Of course, I say “appears” because DBZ would never go for such a lame cop-out, at least at this point in the series, and as it turns out, Goku isn’t dead after all. The last !
episode is basically filler, which follows the characters on Earth willing back everyone with the dragon balls. Unfortunately, at this point, it’s pretty easy to spot the plot holes here. Goku fights Frieza at supersonic speeds, but then he’s seen running at a normal pace through Frieza’s spaceship seconds before the planet explodes. Gohan and Vegeta have a disagreement that erupts in violence, and at the end, vegeta goes flying off and Gohan is bleeding. However, in the next scene, Vegeta is back under a tree and Gohan doesn’t have a scratch on his body. And in the worse internal flaw, the Dragon cannot transport Goku (still alive) back to Earth because Goku doesn’t want to return yet. Wishes are obviously not contingent upon the target’s desires, so this is just silly. Maybe it just illustrates that Toriyama was writing Dragon Ball Z without preplanning the general direction of the story, but then again, until this week I never had realized that although Goku and Chichi spea!
k in a very backwater Japanese dialect, Gohan speaks perfect Tok

But don’t get me wrong, I still liked these final episodes, and they proved that Dragon Ball Z don’t have to be non-stop fighting to be interesting. I feel extremely satisfied watching these DVDs, despite the FUNimation-attributed problems. Watching these episodes in Japanese for the third or fourth time, (honestly, I’ve forgotten how many times by now) reconfirms to me that DragonBall Z is the best anime of all time, an unparalleled martial arts soap-opera fighting whose dramatic technique is still, to this day, unsurpassed. The Freiza Arc is also important because this is where Dragon Ball Z distinctively became its own stylized series, rather than a transitional period between the adventure-based early days and the fighting tournament sagas of the original Dragon Ball. I look forward with contentment to rewatching these DVDs for as long as I live.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Daewoo DVG-5000N DVD player with 25" Panasonic Stereo TV



Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: C-
Menus Rating: D
Extras Rating: F
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
MSRP: 24.95
Running time: 62
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Dragon Ball Z