Dragon Ball Feature 1: The Path to Power - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 29.95
  • Running time: 82
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball Feature 1: The Path to Power

By Andrew Tei     October 14, 2003
Release Date: April 29, 2003

Dragon Ball Feature 1: The Path to Power
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
When an adventure thirsty girl named Bulma runs across... and nearly runs over... a bizarre young boy named Goku, they find themselves thrust into an adventure that will last a lifetime! Together they set out to recover the mystical Dragon Balls, artifacts of incredible power! Legend says that whomever collects all seven Dragon Balls can call forth the awesome Eternal Dragon, a powerful creature that will grant whatever wish their heart desires! But there is another interested party eager to control the power of the Dragon Balls. They are known as the Red Ribbon Army and they will stop at nothing to use the Dragon Balls to achieve their wish of total world domination. Along the way Goku will find out that the greatest power of all lies within himself. This is where legend begins!

The Review!
Just when I thought they couldn?t retell how Dragonball got started? Well here?s another retelling of how everything began.


For my primary viewing session, I listened to the feature in its original Japanese mono soundtrack. Sound effects were not 100% clear, and featured some distortion on the high end. It reminded me more of TV sound rather than the one you might expect in a movie. Obviously, there is no directionality at all. The voices were clear though. The music seems to be mixed at a higher volume than the dialogue.


The video is presented in a 4:3 picture. Age hasn?t treated this print very well, as numerous scratches are present throughout the entire presentation. The picture?s brightness seems to change between cuts in a scene. There?s a tiny bit of anti aliasing, and line shimmering also. Most of these problems are the results of the master, and not the compression process. This is a multiangle release, and the Japanese version includes the original credits while the English version has them removed. Subtitles for the Japanese version are white, small, and have black borders. They are a little hard to read.


The cover features Son Goku riding on a pterodactyl with Bulma, Oolong, Yamcha, Puar, Master Roshi, and Android #8 with the Eternal Dragon and the headquarters of the Red Ribbon army in the background. It?s a bit cluttered. The cover isn?t overly bright and the color seems subdued. The front cover advertises that the feature is uncut in both English and Japanese. On the back cover, there?s four shots all featuring Goku and a two paragraph description of the feature. Inside, there?s an insert featuring a clean version of the front cover.


We have a static main menu featuring Goku with the music that plays at the beginning of the feature. Sub menus are very responsive, but the main menu takes a while to load. Options include play feature, languages, profiles, and trailers. In the language menu, there is no indicator as to whether you are watching the feature in Japanese or English, or whether you have subs on.


The extras are limited to character profiles for eight characters in the feature, each having a one paragraph description.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

This feature was made to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Dragonball, and takes us back to the beginning of the story, making it a perfect starting block of course.

We open our tale similar to how an old Chinese fairy tale might start. Except soon we?re introduced to a young boy who sports a tail, and likes to go fishing with it. Goku is the name of the young lad, and when he?s going home with his catch he gets hit by a car driven by a girl named Bulma. Amazingly, Goku survives, and tosses the car with his own strength. Bulma even shoots him in the forehead with a gun, and the boy still survives. Goku has never met another human being besides his grandfather, who passed away, let alone a girl.

Bulma, we learn, is looking for the seven mysterious Dragonballs, which when brought together can summon the Eternal Dragon. The Eternal Dragon will then grant one wish. It turns out that Goku has one of the balls; his grandfather left it. Bulma already has two, so she convinces Goku to go with her to find the rest of the Dragonballs.

On the way, Goku meets up with a varied cast of misfits. First up is Oolong, a pig who can transform into anything else for up to five minutes. Next the bandit Yamcha show up, who tries to steal from Goku and Bulma. Yamcha has a small problem though; he immediately freezes up in the presence of a girl.

Eventually, Goku, Bulma, and Oolong end up at Muscle Tower, a base belonging to the Red Ribbon Army. There?s a whole army here protecting one of the Dragonballs, and Goku takes on everyone inside, including a number of Androids specially built for fighting.

After the tower, where Goku proves triumphant, the leader of the Red Ribbon Army, Commander Red, is now aware of our group. Commander Red wants the Dragonballs for himself to make his own wish come true.

Goku and Bulma continue on their journey where they eventually meet up with Master Roshi, a perverted old man who definitely likes panties. He also has an attack, called the kamehamena, a projectile energy attack, Goku replicates upon watching Master Roshi perform it just once. Lots of other adventures happen until its time for a showdown between the Red Ribbon Army and Goku.

There?s a lot of comedy and action mixed in this Dragonball feature. It?s more like three episodes of Dragonball put together than a movie, but it?s a small little romp. One of the best parts I like was listening to the Japanese cast for the first time ever. After hearing their voices actually, I found myself pretty impressed with the English cast. I think I even prefer it in English, and this DVD gives you the choice of both. Defintely a better situation than the Dragonball TV DVDs. There?s a lot of fun panty humor in here also. A must buy for any Dragonball fan.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles

Review Equipment
Toshiba 3109 to a Toshiba 36? Cinema Series via component, Pioneer VSX-810S receiver via optical, Cerwin Vega front speakers, Pinnacle center and rears


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