Mania Grade: B
2 Comments | Add
Rate & Share:
- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: C
- Extras Rating: C+
- Age Rating: 13 and Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
- MSRP: 49.98
- Running time: 325
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Dragon Ball Z
Dragon Ball Z Kai Season 1 Part 3
Dragon Ball Z Kai Season 1 Part 3 Anime DVD Review
By Bryce Coulter
January 25, 2011
Release Date: December 14, 2010
Dragon Ball Z Kai Season 1 Part 3
The comedic antics of the unstoppable Ginyu Special Forces makes for a brief reprieve of the unstoppable action that is Dragon Ball Z Kai!
The last descendants of an evil race of warriors known as the Saiyans are on a collision course with Earth, and Goku - the strongest fighter on the planet - is all that stands between humanity and extinction. To save his friends and the world he loves, Goku must travel to a realm from which few return, but should he survive, he'll discover the power to face the villainous Saiyan warlord, Prince Vegeta.
The audio presentation for this release is spot-on as both language tracks get an updated stereo mix. The English 5.1 mix was very solid and we noticed no distortions or issues. The soundstage does a pretty decent job of using the soundstage effectively. However, do not expect the rears to get much of a workout. As with the previous releases, it all comes down to viewer preference as to which cast you prefer despite the casting changes. Overall, this is a solid audio release for the standard definition collection.
Originally airing from 1986, Dragon Ball Z Kai is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Remastered in 2009, Dragon Ball Kai looks as good as it is ever going to be. The remastering is on the same level as Robotech and much better than what was done with Voltron. The colors look good and the detail is much better than what I can ever remember with this series. Granted, this is my first in-depth exposure to the franchise, but I did get to see television broadcasts in the past. Of course, you will see some blemishes. Overall, this is a very clean and solid look for the series. One thing that you will notice is that there several kinds of animation pieces that are grafted into the footage. This is noticeable at the first several viewings, but soon becomes less noticeable as you move on through the episodes. The different video segments are hard not to notice, but can easily be forgotten.
The Dragon Ball Z Kai packaging looks a little less beefy than its predecessors. This release features two thin DVD cases with case with a cardboard slipcover. The front cover is features Piccolo. This is set against a white background with a green vertical bar on the right side. The logo is featured on the lower left corner. The back cover is oriented horizontally with another image of Piccolo. A dark grey background with white and green text provides a summary for the collection. A few clips from the episodes in the collection is displayed on the back along with the technical specifications. The DVD cases feature Krillan and Gohan in their Saiyan-style armor. Overall, this is a nicely assembled thinpack that will please anyone who is collecting the series.
The menus for this release are a bit disappointing in that there is nothing more than a static image of the famous dragon from Dragon Ball and a horizontal navigation menu. Some clips from the series scrolling on the screen would do this menu well. Of course, packing seven episodes per disc might limit what can be put on the menus, but it still would be nice. The menus were easy to navigate and worked with absolutely no issues.
The extras included in the collection are found on the second disc. The extras include the textless songs for the series and a handful of the latest FUNimation trailers. Also included is an interview with the English voice cast sharing their experiences with redoing the series that is now more closely aligned with the manga.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
The Namek arc is well underway as the first episode in this collection reacquaints us with the big game of keep-away that Krillan and Gohan are playing with Vegeta and Frieza. They are doing a pretty good job with it, but their game can’t keep up much longer. Collecting all of the Dragon Balls is not the only challenge set before all the invested parties. How will they summon Shen Long is the biggest question that will take up most of the collection. That, in itself, lies with the Grand Elder of the Namekians and a little friend who is mightier than one would think.
The shell game with the Dragon Balls only holds out for so long as Vegeta catches onto the game. This game also applies to Frieza as well and tends to drag the series of episodes that encompass the keep-away game. Little do Frieza and Vegeta realize that the secret to the Dragon Balls lies within the Naemkian Grand Elder. The Grand Elder has also befriended Krillan and Gohan, thus granting them enhanced fighting abilities which will prove useful as they await Goku’s arrival.
Vegeta finally gets his hands on all of the Dragon Balls, but only momentarily as Frieza is quick to claim them for himself with the aid of the Ginyu Special Forces. These five mighty warriors arrive early in the set to bring new Scouters for Freeza and the gang so they can find Vegeta and the missing Dragon Ball. The comedic relief that lies within the Ginyu force will leave you in stitches as they always perform some type of dance routine prior to engaging in combat.
With all of the Dargon Balls in his possession, Frieza has no means of being able to summon Shen Long. So it’s off to the Grand Elder to beat the means of summoning Shen Long out of him. With haste Frieza leaves the balls virtually unguarded and outside his ship. Leaving the balls with some underlings or burying them is just plain stupid for someone so powerful who could easily have another way of taking them with him. If you just acquired them all, would you leave them out in the open?
While Frieza is off to deal with the Grand Elder, the first major battle ensues as Gohan shows up to take on the Ginyu Force. Gohan quickly throws the Ginyu Force lackeys around with no problem. The fight with Captain Ginyu is the showcase fight for this collection as it does not disappoint as there are lots of twists and turns. Again, Goku’s chivalrous and honorable fighting style nearly costs him his life.
We also witness a transformation in Vegeta as he observes the fight between Captain Ginyu and Gohan. Vegeta believes that Gohan has become a Super Saiyan. He also knows that Frieza is virtually unstoppable. If he is to have any chance of gaining eternal life via the Dragon Balls, he is going to have to ally himself with team Goku. This also means that he must help Goku recover from the wounds that he received while fighting Captain Ginyu. The clock is ticking as Frieza is bound to return soon.
Waiting on Goku to heal, Gohan, Krillan, and Vegeta are going to have to stall Frieza. The latter portion of this collection showcases Frieza in all of his villainous glory and it does not disappoint. After having has his way with the Grand Elder and Nail, he arrives at his ship to find Gohan, Krillan, and Vegeta waiting for him. Vegeta decides to take a crack at taking on Frieza while Krillan and Gohan sneak off to summon Shen Long. With a little Dragon Magic Piccolo is brought back to the world of the living which is made up of all kinds of awesome as he aids in the fight against Frieza. As the collection closes, the battle against Frieza is at a boiling point and Goku makes his reappearance to contribute to the showcase battle. I can’t wait to see how this one will end as the fight is at a fever pitch!
Dragon Ball Kai’s fast pace action and streamlined storytelling, thus far has not disappointed this first time viewer of the series. While purists and veterans of the original series might take some issue with the omission of the filler content from the original, I believe that this form of the series is very solid and easy to follow. The visual upgrades are nice and the added content is unnoticeable unless you are trying to look for it. I think this version of the series will do well in the long run, especially with the fast paced consumption of media that is taking place today. This more concise format should draw the attention of viewers, like myself, who were afraid to jump into the former version’s large library of episodes. Like I have mentioned before, if you have not watched Dragon Ball Z, now is the time to do it as this series is definitely worth watching!
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Staff Commentary, Marathon Play,
Check out what people are saying about this article in our forums area, or check out our other recent discussions.