Dragon Ball Z Bardock/Trunks Double Feature - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: C
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 96
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z Bardock/Trunks Double Feature

By Chris Beveridge     February 07, 2008
Release Date: February 19, 2008


Dragon Ball Z Bardock/Trunks Double Feature
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.


What They Say
Contains both The History of Trunks and Bardock: The Father of Goku!

The History of Trunks
When Goku dies of a deadly virus, it seems like the end of the world. But the powerful Master's passing proves to be merely a presage of the horrible tragedies that are on the way!

When two Androids appear and start destroying the great cities of the Earth, the planet is plunged into darkness and its inhabitants are living in fear. But there is one last hope! Goku's son, Gohan, is now a man, and though outnumbered by the demonic Androids, he does have a special young teenager named Trunks on his side!

As Gohan trains Trunks, it seems like the world is collapsing around them! Can they put a stop to the horrible progression of evil? This is the story of the future that never was!

Bardock: The Father of Goku
When a low-class Saiyan soldier named Bardock unexpectedly inherits the ability to see into the future, his life takes a dramatic turn for the worse! Haunted by vision of his own end as well as the destruction of his entire planet, Bardock sets off on a nightmarish race with fate to avert the impending disaster.

But Bardock seems to be stumbling along in a maze of hopeless despair until a vision of his baby son, Kakarot, as a grown man inspires him to make a change and confront his destiny head on! This is the story of Bardock, the father of Goku!

The Review!
Combining two of the TV specials into one release with a fairly good bump up in several areas, this collection does almost everything right.

Audio:
The audio portion of this release is something that's certain to appeal to longtime Dragon Ball Z fans as both features now have the English language dialogue with the original Japanese music. This is done in a 5.1 remix at 448kbps which gives the action scenes a good deal more impact, particularly in the bass. The original stereo English mix is included at 192kbps along with the two channel mono presentation of the original Japanese audio. The new English mix is something of a mixed bag though as taking the original audio is problematic. Several of the voices don't come across well, likely because of original recording issues, and characters like the two Androids, Gohan and Bulma in the History of Trunks episode sound louder and slightly distorted. Other characters come across fine and the problem doesn't exist on the Bardock release.

Video:
The two specials on this release were originally released in 1990 and 1993, though the disc order tends to give us the newer one first. Both of these were originally TV specials that were done in full frame, but like other recent remastering efforts done by FUNimation, they're presented here in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The shows retain the same issues that you'll find in the TV series releases that were similarly done. The actual quality of the transfer is something of a surprise, though it's been about eight years since we saw these shows. Both of the specials are back to their original design in that they retain the eye-catches, something that was strangely removed during its original release. The end credits are still the same with the picture being zoomed and moved however. While Dragon Ball Z is not a show that I think can ever look truly clean and clear, this release is another piece of the puzzle that's being fixed with FUNimation releases as they've thrown the bitrate up much higher than usual. Most releases have been stuck around the 5mbps mark with plenty of dips lower. This one spends most of its time in the 8's on the History of Trunks while Bardock moves between the 7's and 8's. There are of course dips lower, but these bitrates are pretty regularly and the overall look is much improved. Background noise is still there, but it's greatly reduced and retains more stability. Colors in general look better and overall it doesn't make you cringe like the older releases used to.

Packaging:
FUNimation has presented what I believe is their first steelcase release and it's quite solid. Heavy on the dark colors and with a striking look, the front cover features a full color piece of Trunks in battle scarred mode looking very serious. The background brings in different images of Bardock in a dark colored filter which adds to that mood rather nicely. The logo is definitely good looking here with bold colors that stand out because of the steelcase material as opposed to a paper insert. The back of the steelcase has another shot of Trunks, this time a bit softer in its colors, along with a few very colorful shots from the show itself. The summaries for both specials are pretty clearly listed and the features of the discs given enough notice and with some of the usual buzzwords. The bottom portion is standard in that there's the usual production credits and a squished technical grid. The interior of the steelcase isn't quite as striking but it has a good shot of the main gang of Saiyans from the Bardock episode behind the insert and discs. The insert is something I'm rather glad to see as it opens to a two panel spread that features the original DVD artwork and lists when they were originally released. The front of the insert has a nice shot of everyone's favorite magical dragon while the back of the insert talks about the transfer and how it was done.

Menu:
The menu design for the series goes for the simple but effective approach as it uses a black background to let the characters stand out. Each volume uses a design that fits with that particular show, so Trunks on one and Bardock on the other, along with a smaller image of Shen-long in the background to add a bit more color. Menu navigation is straightforward as there isn't much on the disc itself and getting around is easy and problem free. There's a certain simplicity to what's here and that works when combined with the steelcase design and the packaging in general. It doesn't feel light and bubbly like the original Trunks release did to be sure. Access times are nice and fast and due to angle layouts and language options we wanted to go with, we didn't even try to see if the player presets would work properly considering they usually don't.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Going back into the world of Dragon Ball Z in the last couple of years has been surprisingly a lot of fun since I had taken in the entire manga run. I found that I enjoyed that far more than the TV series which in turn has led me to enjoying, at least superficially, some of the movies and specials. When I first saw the History of Trunks years ago, I had actually enjoyed it fairly well since it had little to do with the cast of characters that I didn't care for. But with more history behind me now, and having not seen the Bardock special before, it felt like a good time to give this a whirl again, even if FUNimation did decide to crop and alter the video presentation.

The two specials are certainly interested to view in this reversed order in comparison to the original broadcast. The History of Trunks starts off with the death of Goku and then shifts ahead a decade or two to tell its tale. When the Bardock special comes around, it goes back to the birth of Goku and goes forward by showing the fate of his father and the Planet Vegeta (not to be confused with the Prince Vegeta). The disparity in the timeframes is rather amusing though I think it would have worked better if the Bardock special had been first in the layout so that you saw Goku's birth and then his death with Trunks. Of course, each of these specials are on their own discs, so you could do that easily enough.

History of Trunks still proves to be one of the more enjoyable shows I've seen when it comes to the movies and specials in the Dragon Ball Z world. Moving forward a number of years after peace has settled on the world and Goku has passed on (again?), it revolves around the rise of two artificial humans created by Dr. Gero that have decided to eradicate humanity. Few are left from the old days and it really seems as if only Gohan is around to try and stave off the madness. But even he has his limits and the two androids have an unlimited and infinite power source that keeps them going. Gohan reluctantly agrees to begin training Trunks, who is now in his teens, to help him in defeating the androids but it'll take time. Time that humanity doesn't have as the two androids seem to have fun destroying city after city. They don't do this in a big fashion but rather take their time as it is being done over several years.

This is a good back story filler kind of episode in which we get to explore more of what Trunks brought to the TV series when he arrived there. Getting to see it play out in less of a flashback form adds nicely to the overall mythos as well as seeing how the world progressed after Goku's death and the peace that came shortly thereafter. Much the same way, the Bardock disc does the same but from the other direction. Father of Goku takes us back to the days of Bardock, when Saiyan's were plentiful, and starting to become something of a concern to Freeza. Seeing prince Vegeta becoming more and more powerful and the revelations that when Saiyan's work together they become stronger, there is a concerted effort to remove them from the universe.

While there are some nice nods towards Vegeta where we see his mindset and how callous he is at this stage, the episode focuses squarely around Bardock and his future. During a fight on one world that they're finishing up in conquering, one of the warriors manages to knock him the right way and "curses" him with seeing his future and that of his people. Bardock doesn't believe him of course but then the visions start kicking in and he sees the destruction of Planet Vegeta and the future of his son. His relationship with Goku is interesting to see, though the two never really interact. Because Goku is born as a weakling warrior with a power level of only two, Bardock has no love for him at all or even a smattering of interest. But these visions of the future show him something very different which gives him a strange sense of pride.

Where the problem lays in these shows is that they're really just pieces that fill in some of the blanks. Nothing here is truly new in a way but it does help to flesh out certain things about the franchise. Bardock getting explored a bit more is definitely a positive, and surely could carry an arc himself if not more in giving us the Saiyan view of things pre-Freeza and though the early part of it. The Trunks story was welcome as it provided more background on the world that led up to the androids wrecking as much havoc as they did. Getting a better understanding of what went on behind the scenes as Bulma worked to help her son and seeing Gohan really step into the role that his father had was good to see. Gohan continues to be the character I find myself enjoying the most in the series so seeing these older adventures of his is simply a lot of fun. And that really does encapsulate what these two TV specials are, simple fun.

In Summary:
As much fun as the content is on this release, the technical side is something of a toss-up depending on what you're interested in. The Trunks episode has some issues with the new 5.1 mix in its audio and both episodes are cropped from full frame to 16:9 which is an instant no-sale for others. At the same time, FUNimation's change in authoring personnel seems to have helped to fix a number of issues as these are some of the best looking Dragon Ball Z episodes I've seen in the last ten years of watching the franchise on DVD. It doesn't negate the other problems and it feels like two steps forward and one back, but I can't help but to say that I enjoyed the release overall. FUNimation knocked it out of the park with the packaging and the show itself is fun. I can't really recommend it for the technical reasons, but if you've passed it up before and want it, this is the DVD edition to snag.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
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.

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