Dragonball Z TV #23: Frieza - Death of a Prince (Mania.com)

By:Jonathan Hertzog
Review Date: Friday, April 26, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, August 28, 2001



The Review!
Absolutely perfect...

Audio:

Audio is identical to the other DBZ TV discs, English stereo, Japanese mono. The Japanese track was solid as usual. My only experience with the horribly-dubbed English track occurred by accident, as after the last episode the disc plays the dubbed-preview for the next episode.

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:

I think this is a particularly bad cover. Vegeta is off-center firing his energy blast, things are uncharacteristically black, and the cover just isn't appealing at all. I would have preferred FUNi to use the classic picture of Frieza and Goku standing back-to-back on the cliff. But then again, this is a 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:

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. I really hope these menus change by the end of the arc.

Extras:
I don't care how many times FUNimation lists previews for edited, dubbed VHS tapes as "extras;" it will not make them so.

Content:

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, 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!!! Having the episodes being spliced together just doesn't work, especially since I'm taken back to the menu screen after the end of each episode. 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.

As for the show itself? Come on, it's DBZ, the greatest anime series of all time.

Well, I'm assuming since you've taken a look at the title that the big surprise here as been spoiled already. These three episodes are the most emotionally powerfully episodes of DragonBall Z thus far. Vegeta finally realizes he is absolutely powerless against Frieza, and Frieza begins to slowly torture Vegeta to death. Brutal, just brutal, but nonetheless fascinating to watch. Finally, Goku finishes healing and rushes to the battle scene. In a heart wrenching scene Vegeta, as he dies, begs Goku to kill Frieza for him and for all the Saiyans that Frieza murdered. And thus, Goku and Frieza begin the battle that will occupy the rest of the 6 discs that make up this story arc. The fight is beautiful to watch. It's intense and powerful, as it seems the two fighters are evenly matched, but one things are just going to get hotter and more intense. While the last episode has a little bit of comic relief by Goku, this is where DBZ really gets serious. Episode 86, the final one on this disc, is finally where DBZ begins to have the much-loved, much-hated epic one-on-one battles that characterize the rest of the series. No longer does DragonBall Z have a transitionally period between the adventure/minor fighting of its processor DragonBall with adventure (like Goku's training in the first season or the cat-and-mouse game played while the various parties were after the Namekian Dragonballs) coupled with slightly longer battle sequences. The level of drama on this disc is perfect, I can't wait to finish writing up this review so I can watch more.



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



Mania Grade: A+
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: D
Menus Rating: D+
Extras Rating: F
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
MSRP: 24.98
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Dragon Ball Z