Goku's challenges continue as he deals with the Red Ribbon Army, a very powerful cat and a return to the Tenkaichi Tournament.
What They Say
Goku embarks on a journey to test his strength against the best of the best!
Driven by his promise to a heartbroken young boy, Goku completes his training under Master Korin and prepares for a brutal rematch with Mercenary Tao! These two powerful warriors trade blows in a furious flurry of Dodon Rays and Kamehameha Waves, but that's only the beginning of this adventure.
The Red Ribbon Army continues to cast a dark shadow across the land as they inch ever closer to attaining ultimate power. Only Goku can halt their reign of terror and resurrect a fallen friend, but first he'll have to fight for possession of the seven Dragon Balls!
To complete his quest, Goku must beat a fortune-teller at her own game, slam the door on Demon Land, tame the dread Inoshikacho, and survive a beating from a masked dead man. His journey will be filled with danger, but with each victory, Goku gains the strength needed to emerge victorious from the upcoming World Martial Arts Tournament!
Contains episodes 62-92.
FUNimation has a pretty standard set of mixes here in the audio department that won’t really surprise anyone. They’ve included the two English languages mixes they have, one with the US based music that was created years ago and one with the original Japanese music, done as a 5.1 mix encoded at 448kbps and one does as a stereo mix encoded at 192kbps. For fans of the original Japanese language, we do get something of the short end of the stick with a measly mono channel mix done at 96kbps which pretty much underwhelms, particularly in comparison to everything else on the disc. Each has their merits and each has their poor points to them, but Dragon Ball has such a varied fan following that it’s hard to please everyone. On the plus side, we at least have three choices to it and they’re all serviceable to one extent or another. We predominantly listened to the Japanese mix and had no problems with it throughout regular playback.
Originally airing in late 1996 and into 1997, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. This release has thirty episodes and a side story movie spread across five discs, which means most discs run just over or around two hours a piece, though the first ones run a bit more. Dragon Ball GT was never a great looking show to begin with and it pretty much had the same kind of production design as Dragon Ball Z so it does maintain the same kind of look and feel. That means we do have some fairly noisy and grainy backgrounds at times and it doesn’t have a really polished look, but that does add to some of its appeal as it is a traditionally animated show. It isn’t a bad presentation, but it is one that is representative of the source materials from what I can see. Line noise shows up in various panning sequences and there’s a few hints of cross coloration here and there. These aren’t deal breakers to me though I do wonder if it’d look a lot better with a higher bitrate to play with beyond DVD. On the very positive side, FUNimation did not crop and make this show widescreen, which is why I’ll support it.
Dragon Ball GT mirrors the Dragon Ball Z release in its design except that it uses a beautiful shade of blue instead of the bright orange. The front cover has the logo down the side with the big Season Three tag at the bottom while the right side features a full shot of Muten Roshi, shirtless, as he engages in using his kamehameha with a very serious look on his face. The back of the slipcover has more of the blue where we get a good rundown of the premise of this season and a nice selection of shots along the left as it talks about the number of episodes and discs. Add in a little character artwork and a clean if small basic technical grid and you can get the basics here easily enough.
Within the slipcover it replicates the front cover artwork for the top piece and opens up to a digipak that has space for all five discs in a two/two/single format. The very left section has a booklet holder in which we get a really nice booklet that has a rundown of the heroes and villains of this season and a breakdown of all thirty one episodes. Behind the discs and the booklet is a four panel shot of Shen Long, or at least part of him. The back side of the slipcover, which has copious amounts of this green, has the symbol that has been used since the beginning as it was found on Goku’s back.
The menus for this release are the same across all five volumes as it uses the blue from the packaging along with the same headshot of Muten Roshi as its center piece. The menus are done in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen and they fill out the screen nicely and it looks nowhere near as garish as the previous set did. In fact, everything looks really good here. The layout is straightforward with navigation along the bottom which includes the marathon play option. Submenus load quickly and the language menu details the options quite nicely, even if it doesn’t observe our players presets.
The only extras are included on the fifth volume and it’s simply the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences, which are certainly appreciated.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With thirty-one new episodes that take us up through episode eighty-two, Dragon Ball hits up a lot of good material with this set and some rather dull material as well. The set favors the good stuff by a wide margin, making it easy to ignore the less than engaging filler-feeling episodes, though it also does strengthen the idea that Dragon Ball really only works well when it comes to tournaments itself. Those areas do tend to work the best and a return to the Tenkaichi Tournament is really quite welcome since it provides us with more structure and an expectation of what will happen.
The third set of Dragon Ball covers a lot of ground with four distinct arcs that are dealt with, though two of them are related when it comes to the larger scope. The first arc is one that's very appealing as it deals with the fight between Goku and Tao Pai Pai. Goku's attempts at dealing with the world's greatest assassin has him climbing Karin Tower to gain the Super Spirit Water he needs so that he can become more powerful. The very old but spry cat person he meets up there puts him through his paces before Goku can get that water, something that we learn that Roshi did years ago when he gained immortality. The differences in the two are quite astounding. When Goku climbed the tower the first time, it took him an entire day, but the second time took only three hours. In his attempts at besting Karin, it takes him three days to do so since he has to before Tao Pai Pai comes back while Muten Roshi took three years to do the same thing.
The Red Ribbon Army arc which follows this and is related as Goku is searching for the Dragon Balls so he can bring Oopa's father back to life is fairly good though a bit awkward at times. Goku's certainly unhappy with what Commander Red has done and he's reckless enough to take on the entire main base without any real plan. With so many people around the (area?) (world?) afraid of the Red Ribbon Army and unable to stop them, Goku's jumping right into the thick of it shows how focused he is on taking down the bad guys and getting the Dragon Balls he needs. It's a decent sequence of fights, and you can see more of the mechanical designs that will dominate up through the Dragon Ball GT series, but it lacks some of the impact of previous encounters with the army.
One of the more interesting arcs of the show focuses on Goku trying to get the last Dragon Ball he needs to revive Oopa's father. Muten Roshi suggests that they head to see the Fortunteller Baba to find out where it is since it's not showing on the radar that they have. There's an amusing if confusing relationship between the two of them but the arc is good fun as it has Goku going back into competition mode instead of fighting for his life, at least at first. Baba offers her services for quite the fee so Goku opts for the second option which is a series of fights against her five fighters. With a few others in tow, it's a good series of odd matches with classic movie monsters in Akira Toyama form which means they're goofy and silly. It's not a serious piece but it brings Baba to the forefront for a bit and hints at some of her roles to come in the future.
The remainder of the set covers a lot of ground as well as Goku heads out on a three year journey to improve himself. This leads to several standalone stories which are fairly bland but they're key in that they introduce the characters of Tenshinhan and Chaozu. The two are scammers at the start but we learn that they're actually part of Roshi's rival's school, the Crane School. While Goku runs into them out in the wild, he finds them again when the Tenkaichi Tournament kicks off again, now every three years because of the growing interest and the number of competitors. With three years between Goku leaving Baba and the tournament, nobody really looks like they've grown much but we see their strengths have seriously increased as the tournament gets underway.
The third set of Dragon Ball really covers a whole lot of ground with these episodes that it's almost surprising when you look at all that happens here. The shfit ahead around the middle where it advances three years forward was a nice touch as it gives the characters a chance to grow. While most of the fighters don't seem different outside of a haircut, Bulma at least looks older. There are more ties added to the characters with this set, with Baba and the Crane sensei making appearances as well as more of Muten Roshi's past being brought up. It's also a very silly set at times, it has a fair bit of raunchy humor and it's got a great big helping of mostly good fight sequences that don't drag out. Though there are some dull moments to be had, especially as I don't find Tenshinhan or Chaozu to be interesting characters in the slightest, this is a very solid set that takes us just past the halfway mark of the series and makes me eager to see more as soon as possible.
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Features Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
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