Dragon Ball GT Vol. #11: Evolution (of 15) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Wednesday, February 04, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, February 03, 2004



What They Say
The Shadow Dragons
When an evil Dragon emerges from the cracked Dragon Balls it seems like the world has become cracked as well. After stealing the Dragon Balls, he spawns seven more evil Dragons that disappear across the horizon like wild jackals in the night! What horrors are in store for Mother Earth and her people?

The Two-Star Dragon
Haze Shenron, the dragon of pollution has begun to contaminate everything in his path by emanating a toxic mist that poisons everyone and everything who breathes it. Goku and Pan soon find themselves overcome by the noxious fumes. With the Saiyans choking on the foul air, help must come from an unexpected source.

The Five-Star Dragon
During Goku and Pan's continuing quest for the dragon balls, they stumble upon an abandoned city. They are warned away by a couple that blames the mass exodus on a slime that absorbs electricity. After resolving to stay and complete their task, they find Rage Shenron, the 5-star dragon! And they quickly realize that this electric slime has a bigger and much deadlier purpose!

The Six-Star Dragon
What was once a peaceful seaside village becomes a battleground as Goku and Pan square off against Oceanus Shenron, the 6-star dragon. Goku is soon caught in the fury of the dragon's assault and unable to break through Oceanus Shenron?s powerful defense. The situation becomes more dire with every passing moment?until Pan is forced to take action!

The Review!
With the broken Dragon Balls now unleashing their evil energy, Goku decides he can handle everything and be done before dinner.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Though listed as stereo, the series has a heavy mono feel with the bulk of all the sounds coming through the center channel. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout it but there’s little dynamic to it or even the music.

Video:
Originally airing in 1996 and 1997, the transfer here comes across well but suffers from seemingly poor source materials considering the recent age of the series. The bulk of the problem comes in the form of the sheer amount of grain, with some episodes heavier on it than others. This causes a number of areas to look less than stable, from anything showing blue skies to the fiery sequences that look like they’re macroblocking more than they should. Other issues are pretty minimal to non-existent however, such as cross coloration and aliasing.

Packaging:
Continuing with the same design as earlier in the series, the top third of the cover is made up of a solid backdrop for just the large logo with the volume title below it. The artwork for this volume gives a clean look at one of the Dragon energy creatures in the foreground while the color-shaded background lets Goku have the action grunt shot. Volume numbering, now that we know where and what it is, continues to be atrocious here and illegible. The back cover provides a few shots from these episodes as well as an English-dub based summary of the show. The insert has the same piece of artwork from the front cover and opens to a two-panel spread that has numerous shots from the episodes on this volume but with individual dub-centric episode summaries included.

Menu:
Using the same elements as the cover but rearranged with the menu selections in the middle, the static menu has some of the US music playing along to it. With little on the disc and no transitional animations, submenus are quick to load and the layout works well, though I dislike the way episodes are broken down without an actual eye-catch chapter mark.

Extras:
The extras for this volume are similar to past volumes. The character profiles covers various ones such as Trunks, Pan and one or two others as well as the dragons that they face in these episodes. The textless song included in this release is the English dub version of the opening sequence. We made it through about 3 seconds of that…

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the defeat of Android 17 in the last volume, the big threat had been eliminated but the amount of damage created by him and the two doctors who orchestrated the event have caused the entire planet to be put into peril. With a number of their friends dead as well, it became time for the remaining friends to go in search of the Dragon Balls so that they can make their wishes and right everything back to the way it should be.

The problem though is that all of the balls have cracks in them, and when they performed the ceremony, a huge black smog like dragon came out of the dragon balls. What we learn through him and others talking during this is that Shen Long won’t be coming out to play this time. This dragon, with attitude (and a lit cigar), is the result of overuse during the past thirty years. Originally, the dragon balls have time to “cool off” shall we say between uses. But once Bulma created her radar device to seek them out, it became far too easy to find and use the balls. Add in the extension of wishes from one to three, and they’ve been heavily overworked. While normally there is at least a hundred years between uses, the past thirty have created so much “minus energy” as its been termed, that when they’re used when cracked, the dragon that comes out sets its goal to destroy the planet, allowing the balls to float through space in peace for many centuries to come.

Separating the seven balls once more, they shoot across the earth in different directions, each one with a dragon of minus energy tied to it. With the world in even more peril now, everyone gets ready to find the balls and defeat the minus energy dragon that’s there. But Goku stops them and says he can handle it and that everyone should just go and do whatever. Whatever looks to be relaxing, having some meals, wondering what’s going on…

Goku goes to deal with this, though Pan sneaks along with the radar creature so that she can help out. While the first episode deals with the basic revelations about what the cause was and the separation of the balls, the remaining three episodes here brings Goku and Pan to three separate dragon balls that have been corrupted and are guarded by minus energy guardians. What’s interesting is that each of these guardians is part of a specific use of the balls originally. So one of them reminds them of the time when Goku used it in his youth, while another has it when the pig character whose name escapes me at the moment used it to get a pair of panties. So the minus energy guardian is simply furious that he was created from something so foolish.

Each of the guardians has a fair amount of strength to them, but they all pale after the Android 17 saga. What the writers try to do here is instead of having them be all powerful guardians, at least for these first three, is that Goku and Pan have to discover the weakness in their attacks and take them down that way so that they can recapture the dragon ball which will then be fixed since the minus energy would be defeated. So instead of potentially dangerous guardians, we get goofy – and I do mean goofy- guardians that are more comedy oriented than anything else. There are some elements of tension once in awhile when the fights get serious or the heroes are seemingly going to lose, but this is such a formulaic pattern across all three episodes that it’s inconsequential.

In Summary:
And yet strangely, much like the previous two volumes with Android 17, I found myself enjoying these episodes and chuckling at the right places. The show moves along at a good clip here and there isn’t a lot of time spent on any one thing. It is formulaic, but it’s been so obviously mastered over time that they hit just about everything right. And since I like Goku in his small form and Pan’s a fun character, the focus on just the two of them plays out well here. This obviously isn’t high art and it’s not even something most Dragonball (Z) fans like, but I’m getting a kick out of it.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles,Textless Opening (English)

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: C
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: C
Packaging Rating: C
Menus Rating: C+
Extras Rating: C+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
MSRP: 24.95
Running time: 82
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Dragon Ball GT