Dragonball Z TV #22: Frieza - Revealed (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, April 26, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, July 10, 2001
Ah, it's been quite a while since I last reviewed a DBZ DVD. Now that I finally have the rest of the Frieza Arc DVD, I'm doing a marathon of them. Suffice to say, I'm in Nirvana.
Audio is identical to the other DBZ TV discs, English stereo, Japanese mono. The Japanese track was solid as usual. This time, I ejected the disc before I was subjected to the torture of Hell that is English-dubbed DBZ.
With all the massive amounts of tightly-drawn black lines, I expected there to be a lot of rainbows but surprisingly, it and other flaws were virtually non-existent. There was a little print damage- this being from the early 1990's ('91 if I remember correctly), such minor flaws are a given. I, however, was impressed by the high quality of the sources used to master the video here. Since I can remember how badly marked the original TV broadcast version was, FUNimation either did some major cleaning up work or got beautiful sources from Toei. Either way, I'm one happy Z fan.
This time we have Freiza about to enter his final form, but 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 on the cover, and they just look unsightly. I would appreciate a picture from a DBZ art book over this cover.
Menus here are identical to Frieza: The Summoning. To date, these are the only anime DVDs I know of where no "play" option exists and you must select the spoken language track and subtitles after each episode. It's awkward, it's horrible, and I dislike this because after experiencing a wonderful DBZ episode I'm suddenly ripped from the experience into a needless "choose your language" screen. Bleh. Double bleh for the crappy muzak that plays during the menu as well.
I don't care how many times FUNimation lists previews for edited, dubbed VHS tapes as "extras;" it will not make them so.
If you've ever read my DBZ reviews, you know what's coming next...
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 at the end of the DVD, but 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.
Although now, the Freiza Arc is priced at $14.99, which is a big improvement. Unfortunately, I bought the previous discs and the Android ones when they were all $24.99. Ouch. At least now I won't buy the Majin Buu ones until a price drop!
You know, it is funny, after one watches a block of DBZ episodes for the fourth time, one notices things, like that it's painfully obvious where FUNimation edited out the eyecatchers because the music and camera angle suddenly changes. I really don't like it, nor do I enjoy FUNimation's track-switching-happy DVD authorizing. About 3 times per episode, they will switch the track and then suddenly, but DVD makes a horrible, jarring, grating sound. It is truly awful and annoying to hear. I know the future discs will eventually stop it.
As for the show itself? Come on, it's DBZ, the greatest anime series of all time.
While we only have about an hour of animation on this disc, things go by rather quickly as several things dramatically change. Frieza finishes his battle with Piccolo by transforming once again, this time into a truly hideous creature reminiscent of HR Gieger's "Alien" and shooting Piccolo with little laser bolts. The scene is somewhat disturbing because Frieza takes the torture session like a video game with the way he "shoots" the beams. Gohan manages to interfere with a spectacular attack, however this causes Freiza to decide to show the Z Warriors his final form, and thus he begins to transform one final time. Vegeta, realizing that if he does nothing, he and everyone else will be brutually slaughtered, forces Kuririn to shoot him and then he goes to Dende to be healed, knowing full-well that his Saiyan power will increase many times over by going to the brink of death and bouncing back. [You know, since this seems to work so well, I never understood why in the later seaso!
ns the fighters since use it as a training technique...] His plan works, and he confidently starts to fight Freiza, firmly believing he has become a Super Saiyan. However, with just a little increase in his speed, Frieza shatters Vegeta's delusions. The battle looks hopeless as things have gotten worse and worse and everyone's death seems imminent and terror has overtaken all of them...
Assuming you like DragonBall Z (if not why would you buy this disc?), there's a lot to love here. Things are very tightly done here and with the camera work and the dark orchestral score, I was drawn deeply into the story, even though I had seen it three times before. As always, DBZ is a tense, dramatic-martial-arts-soap-opera and frankly, that's why I worship it. I actually cleaned my glasses multiple times between episodes so I could see the picture better and I almost felt bad that I had to divert my eyes to read the subtitles! The Freiza is about to shift, and the next volume will show not only one of the brutal torture sequences animated, but also be the real phase shift in DBZ to the highly-stylized one-on-one fighting that the program that become so famous for. I'm looking forward to it very much! Bottom Line: This disc is Essential Viewing; highly recommended.
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: 62
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Dragon Ball Z