Dragon Ball Z Saga 6: Doomed Heroes (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, November 28, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2005
What They Say
Earth's top warriors venture into Kami's Pendulum Room where the past, present and future exist simultaneously. After their eventful trip back in time, the fighters realize a terrifying reality as the two Saiyans speed ever closer to Earth. Meanwhile, Gohan continues his own martial arts training under the watchful eye of Piccolo, but a strange transformation takes him over, causing the young Saiyan to rampage out of control!
Contains episodes 16-18:
Flight of the Children
Pendulum Room Peril
The End of Snake Way
Gohan really gets around before Piccolo catches up with him while Kuririn and friends find their training gets truly hardcore.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Having done the show previously in its (albeit edited) English language release, we've been wanting to see it in its original language for a long time now. The shows mono mix is pretty much what we expected though and it's fairly lackluster and misses a lot of the oomph that's become so common from so many more current fighting shows. Even though it lacks that, it's not something that's really a problem if you've seen any of the show before since you're already used to how it feels. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and it's basically on par of previous Japanese language releases of the show.
Originally airing in 1989, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The show definitely feels its age in a lot of ways with the way it has its grain and color palette as well as the animation itself. The transfer for these episodes definitely look better than the previous release of the series but the source materials for the franchise has never been particularly strong to begin with and always easy to see where they made their shortcuts in animation. With just three episodes on the disc the quality of the authoring is quite good but there's only so much they can get out of the materials. Colors look good if a bit bland and washed out in a few places, cross coloration is non-existent and the only real noticeable problem is some occasional aliasing.
Using foil paper for the cover, FUNimation has done a nicely stylized cover where it's got the core image of Yamcha in fight mode pushing forward with his power and looking really in the mood for a fight. The background is made up of various characters from the episodes here and with the mixture of blacks against the fiery colors with the character designs it looks appropriately dark and powerful. The foil in particular really makes it all work better than it would otherwise. The back cover plays up a similar feel with Gohan and shots from the show. The discs extras and basic technical features are relatively easy to find though as usual things are mostly mixed down at the bottom with the production information. As is normal at this point in time, no insert is included with this release.
The menu layout is reminiscent of the cover layout as it uses the same shot of Yamcha but angles it a bit and covers it up with lots of heavy speed lines, flames and a piece from the show itself set to some of the darker music to the show that's rather atmospheric. The layout is nicely done and it looks good in how it conveys the feel of the show. The navigation is pretty straightforward and things are done the same as most other FUNimation releases with languages selecting the right angle to be played, which is why our players' language presets never work right here. Access times are nice and fast and this is a nicely in-theme menu.
The only included extra is the trivia game section which I haven't paid any real attention to.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Another three episodes brings another small blip in time for this lengthy series but it does manage to cover some interesting material. But before you can get to the good stuff you have to suffer a bit with some really simple and bad filler material.
The volume is heavily focused on Gohan which isn't a surprise considering where everyone else is at this time and we have had some good filler episodes for him where he's doing things to discover his true nature and power as well as the kind of person he wants to be but some of them are just bland. This volume opens with another one of them as he washes up on shore after his little boat capsized and he's now in a run down abandoned town that's filled with kids who are managing on their own as they're all orphans. Gohan fits in nicely here and he doesn’t reveal that he's an orphan and instead helps them to avoid and deal with the people that come by to try and take them into custody to find them homes where they'll all be split up. He also gets into a bit of trouble with them while helping them steal some food, but the episodes focus overall on the lost children and how it affects Gohan is simple and obvious from the opening frame.
Goku gets the short end of the stick again in this volume with only a few minutes of real screen time and even then he ends up getting the buffoon treatment when he finally meets Kaio-sama and pulls a reverse Yoda of sorts. The group that does get some good time even though they end up taking a beating along the way is Kurirun and those training with him. They've been working hard for some time and have grown quite a lot but the masters now want to put them to a test so they transport them back in time through a special room that allows them to fight a pair of Saiyan's head on. The battles are fairly brutal but self contained so you know it's not going to last long and it's really just there to serve the purpose of remind the characters that they have a really big fight coming.
The best material on this volume comes when Piccolo goes back to check on his student again to see how far he's come and challenges him head on to prove what he's been up to since he knows he's been skipping off to try and go home for awhile. This is a really good if brief fight sequence since it brings a few things back into the show that haven't existed since the early episodes and it really demonstrates how far Gohan has gone and just how much farther Piccolo really has to go. Piccolo's managed to come across really well in this series so far and his mentor status with Gohan is a big plus with it since he gets to act like a hard case with a good reason and force Gohan to truly fight back. Gohan's had it rough and easy at times in the first six months of his training but he has a hidden ace up his sleeve that he's not even aware of and it's something that continues to really scare Piccolo.
Continuing to revisit these episodes is actually fun since it's the first time I get to see them in Japanese and my overall knowledge of the series is much stronger. The show does suffer from the same problems though as we're eighteen episodes in now and really haven't progressed too far other than in Gohan's training really. A lot of things happen along the way here but at the same time, it seems like very little is really happening in the long run and it's taking forever to actually get there. The overall release is pretty solid and on par for what we're expecting but we continue to wish it was just a bit more overall.
Japanese 1.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,Spanish 1.0 Language,English Subtitles,Trivia Game
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, 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: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: C
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Dragon Ball Z