Dragonball Z TV #20: Frieza - The Summoning (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, February 07, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, May 08, 2001
Ah, after taking an eleven-month break from the Frieza Saga, FUNimation releases its best DBZ TV DVD yet. Note, however, that "best" is still pretty low compared to other domestic anime companies. My complaints about the DVDs for DBZ TV are usually consistent, meaning that this newest DVD suffers similar problems to all the previous releases with no remedy in sight-unless FUNimation were to go bankrupt.
Audio is pretty much similar to all the other FUNimation discs and the Japanese mono track is well-kept. I have reccurring nightmares about the English dub for episodes past English #53/Japanese #66 ("... if I don't like you, I'm charging you rent..." ugh!!!) , so I didn't even bother to spot check the dub. Like anyone will watch this disc over the hack dub job anyway...
Wow, my constantly putting out badly encoding Android DVDs, FUNimation makes The Summoning even better by comparison. Actually for reasons I do not know, FUNimation switched from its usual DVD compression/authorizing studio, Vision Wise Inc, to a different Atlanta, Georgia-based company. I noticed the difference as well. Expected print damage excluded, this is a fine-looking disc, vibrant colors, very little pixellation. The picture jitters a bit around the edges occasionally, but just a couple of flaws present themselves here. This was my fourth time watching the these episodes in Japanese (yes, I'm a freak) and the story still absorbed me so much I had to go out of my way to scan for disc errors. Sadly, the great video here makes me hate the new volume, Androids Invincible, even more.
Bonus: I really couldn't find a good way to link this in way to the review but the subtitles on this volume are much larger and in a wider font than the other discs. Pity the Android Invincible DVD doesn't have the same.
Yawn, recycled VHS screenshot... with dubbed episodes descriptions on back. YOU CALL THIS ARTKWORK!? 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 there. A funny thing I noticed - with the screenshot of the Namek Dragon looking downward, it does appear as if it's starring at the oversized, obnoxious text advertisements below. Hehe... sigh!
Wow, FUNimation experiments with new 3-D (sort of) CGI menus. Thanks... I'll compromise, give us fans the eye catchers and original credits back and don't bother to encode menus. I like this new menu much better with the spaceship feel. I gave a low grade because after each episode is over you are sent back to the menu where you must pick your language choice for the next episode. Which means... yep, two DIFFERENT video tracks are encoded on the disc. The Sony player I used to review this disc allowed me to switch the audio and subtitles back and forth, my Sharp player would not. I doubt if any major edits occur on the dub video track because DBZ-wise, there's hardly any violence on these three episodes.
I don't care how many times FUNimation lists previews for edited, dubbed VHS tapes as "extras;" it will not make them so.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When watching this single-layered disc, I discovered that the uncut and unedited Dragon Ball Z on DVD is still, indeed, cut and edited. As with the previous discs, we still lack next episode previews. FUNimation claims that the tapes Toei sent it had the previews but no audio. If these were true, FUNimation should have just made a deal with the I-channel to acquire the previews. Only one preview exists on the DVD, the one for episode 115 but it is the dubbed preview. Only one textless opening and ending sequence is shown, which I consider a flaw because every single episode of DBZ had different credits, AND FUNIMATION HAS ALL THE ORIGINAL CREDITS!!! The eyecatches are also senselessly left to die on the cutting room floor, despite fan protest. FUNimation just really needs to release a DVD boxset of DBZ TV. While it is currently releasing an average of one volume every two weeks, it will still take until 2007 to release all the episodes of DVD. Also, one would spend about $2,300 to collect all the discs, as they alternate having four and three episodes per DVD.
Since this is the fourth or so time I've plagiarized myself, have you realized that FUNimation is totally indifferent to fan protest or improving the quality of its product?
As for the show itself? Come on, it's DBZ, the greatest anime series of all time.
First of all, Gohan is SO CUTE in that saiya-jin armor!!! Many fans hate that and his haircut, but I adore them. Sorry, I just had to clear that outta my system.
These three episodes represent the calm right before the storm. Appreciate them now, because while watching this disc you will see the major transition in Dragon Ball Z where it truly became fighting-based, unlike the adventure-packed original Dragon Ball series. The disc begins with the aftermath of the fight with Captain Ginyu and involves setting up the characters for the long, LONG battle against the ungodly mighty power of Frieza. While extremely low of the violent fighting portion of DBZ, instead these episodes hone it on fear and betrayal - Gohan and Krillin find Dende and secretly try to have their wishes granted before Vegeta and Frieza intercept them. While we all want them to succeed, we also know that nothing is EVER that easy in the world of DBZ. The third episode on the disc begins the final battle of the Frieza sagas, which lasts for about 30 episodes... wow.
And at 3-4 episodes per disc, I can expect to spend another $225 + tax to finish the Frieza saga...
Damn you, FUNimation. Yet I and a score of fans who continue to raise Cain about the quality of these DVDs... we keep shelling out $25 for each one.
Sony DVP-650D DVD players with Audioquest and s-video cables on a Trinitron XBR 37 inch color 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.
Running time: 65
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Dragon Ball Z