Dragon Ball: Piccolo Jr. Part 2 Saga Set - Mania.com



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Info:

  • 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.
  • MSRP: 39.95
  • Running time: 322
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball: Piccolo Jr. Part 2 Saga Set

By Chris Beveridge     January 30, 2006
Release Date: August 19, 2003


Dragon Ball: Piccolo Jr. Part 2 Saga Set
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.


What They Say
Contains episodes 138-153!

In the moments leading to the World Martial Arts Tournament Goku begins to sense a terrible danger. His deepest fears become reality when the familiar evil face of his toughest adversary once again sees the light of day! It's Piccolo Jr., and he's come for revenge!

Goku and Junior rocket towards a confrontation to once and for all settle the timeless grudge begun by the warmongering King Piccolo. As Piccolo Jr. methodically incapacitates Earth's mightiest warrior, Kami devises a plan that just might end the wicked menace forever. But in order for it to succeed Earth's Guardian may have to make the ultimate sacrifice!

The Review!
The Tenkaichi Tournament gets really serious as it moves to the final rounds and Goku finds just how much is really at stake.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Though it's a stereo mix it feels like an old mono mix that it probably really is. While it's not a bad mix it's showing its age in general and has some muffling and static to it at times. In general, it sounds much like I'd expect from this show based on other episodes that I've seen of it and Z. Even for its minor problems, it's still a pretty clear and understandable track that doesn't really detract from the overall show.

Video:
Originally airing back in 1986, the double disc set here contains seventeen episodes worth of the show. The first volume has eight episodes and the second one contains eight. The source material for this series and the others up through GT have always struck me as pretty poor in general with a lot of film grain being strongly visible. This original series is no different and that presents the usual problems associated with so much grain in that a lot of the areas of solid colors look pretty shifty and almost alive in how they move. The materials here also look a bit darker than normal which doesn't help the night time scenes look any better since the grain works against that as well. Even still with all the problems associated with the grain and materials, there aren't any obvious real authoring errors here so the bulk of the issues just comes down to the source and that's never easy to fix, particularly with such an old show. Either there's good materials or there isn't.

Packaging:
Keeping in theme with other covers for this series, the Turtle logo is prominent on the front cover and we get the headshots of Goku, Kuririn, Piccolo Jr. and Tienshinhan to help represent various points of this show. The character shots look good and nice and clean with some smooth colors to them. The back cover provides a few shots from the show and a summary of what to expect from the major arc here. The discs features and technical information is scrunched down into a small strip and isn't all that clean to read, particularly with white on green and red on green. The insert has the front cover done up again without the corporate logos on them and opens up to a breakdown of all sixteen episodes with a brief summary of them. The back cover just provides boxart for other shows.

Menu:
Using the style and colors from the front cover, we get a good looking static image with a bit of music playing along. With little on the disc other than the show, the menus are quick and easy to navigate and load. Due to the language selection layout being what it is for FUNimation titles where it has subtitles and languages set so specifically and that it adjusts what angle you play, we didn't try out players' presets and instead selected it manually. The only issue I really have with the menus is the episode selection piece. Since they use only the English version of the episode names, if you watch it in Japanese and try to figure out where you left off you're in a real pickle since there's very little similar between the two.

Extras:
The only extras included on this release are a series of character profile sections.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Tenkaichi Tournament's second appearance in the series which has the older and more powerful Goku heats up tremendously with this volume as we go through a few more rounds before things reach a strong climax with the fate of the world at stake. It then decides that it wants to do something a bit more personal that ends up being fairly yawn inducing.

While the first time we hit up the tournament the dynamic was a lot different because of the characters that were involved and Goku's own youth and energy being so infectious, this time around there's a fair bit of change in what's going on. Initially, we've got a fairly fun show as we move through the first couple of rounds of fights and learn some of the secrets that make up whose made it past the preliminary rounds. For example, the end of Kuririn's fight show just how far that he's come since he first came to Master Roshi's island and asked to be taken on as an apprentice. He's revealed some amazing strengths that he's picked up over the intervening three years and showcased them well. Yamcha on the other hand, who has continued to grow well and wants to outdo Goku but he has to deal with Shen, an amusing looking middle aged man with glasses who you could basically call an anime version of Woody Allen.

The fight is pretty amusing even if it does drag out a bit since Shen's got an almost drunken style of fighting but since we learn along the way that he's really Kami-sama in possession of the body, you know that it's going to go in his favor in the long run. Bits of his reasoning seep out during the fight but the real fun is just watching the goofy ways that Yamcha gets his butt handed to him during it as well as watching the audience and other fighters to see whose catching on to this guys real power. We also get to see just how far Tienshinhan and Goku have progressed as the two of them get really serious during their fight and Tienshinhan reveals some really interesting new abilities but it all seems for naught as Roshi keeps pointing out how Goku isn't even breathing hard and that there are still things that he's kept in reserve.

Where a good portion of this volume runs is with the fight between Goku and what turns out to (obviously) be Piccolo Jr. We do get some brief background to the last time that Goku fought Piccolo and how it's all come full circle to this but the majority of the time is dealing with the fight between the two, Kami-sama's reasons for being there and what's really at stake. In a way, this is one of those areas where the Dragonball franchise sort of lost me at times because Piccolo becomes a character of far too many powers and abilities. Not that Goku is exactly innocent of pulling things out of his ass – I fully expect him to start shooting ki out of there just like he does his feet – but Piccolo does the entire goofy deal of getting bigger and bigger in order to deal with Goku. The fight runs over a lot of episodes and it keeps going up in intensity which is good but there are some plain goofy areas. I particularly liked how they kept to trying to do announcements of what was going on even as the entire island was being destroyed.

Even as drawn out as the tournament can get during the final Goku and Piccolo fight, I would have taken that over the way that the minor storyline that follows gets drawn out. With Goku and Chichi having been nicely reunited not that long ago and set for marriage, they return to Gyumao's castle in order to get things settled with him. He's naturally ecstatic about his daughter going with Goku and wants to throw a massive wedding celebration for the two. For Chichi, she's excited by it while Goku couldn't care less but he goes along with whatever makes Chichi happy. And what makes her really happy is that Gyumao has her mother's wedding dress still and it's in perfect shape. But before they can move that forward, a tragedy happens and the castle finds itself surrounded by massive flames that cannot be put out unless done with the Bansho Fan.

The Bansho Fan of course was previously in the possession of Master Roshi who was using it as a flower stand or something before throwing it out when it turned out to be useless for him. So Goku and Chichi race around the world trying to figure out how to put together another one then finding the pieces for it and then finding out that things are obviously even more complex than they originally thought. It has some nice moments as you get to see the two of them working together well but it has a lot of poor repeated moments where you're watching Gyumao running around a castle engulfed in flames while he carries the wedding dress. Considering how long it must have taken for it all to get done it's amazing that there's a castle or Gyumao even left. It does all resolve though which is a real plus but it feels very weak after the intensity of the tournament session itself.

In Summary:
While there are things I didn't enjoy too much with this volume, it is overall exactly how I want this series and series like it to be done with a bunch of episodes at once that cover major arcs and then some. The tournament plays out with some really fun moments and some tense ones as well. Seeing the growth of the characters in their powers over the last few years as well as some of their personality changes where they're also now involved with other people gives them all a few more dimensions. And while the storyline for Goku and Chichi is far too long here, it was good to see the two of them on their own for awhile and away from everyone else for the most part. The Piccolo Jr. storyline takes care of one of the hinted at storylines from before and still has plenty of foundation for the future. This is the best way to watch this series and the original continues to be a real favorite after getting into it from the manga.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI set to 480p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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