Dragon Ball Z Movie 13: Wrath of the Dragon Uncut - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 55
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z Movie 13: Wrath of the Dragon Uncut

By Chris Beveridge     August 21, 2006
Release Date: September 12, 2006

Dragon Ball Z Movie 13: Wrath of the Dragon Uncut
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
Long ago, an evil magician used his powers to bring a statue to life - creating the terrible monster, Hirudegarn! It was only through the use of two magic whistles that Hirudegarn was defeated and peace retuned to the galaxy. Two courageous brothers, Tapion and Minosha, took control of the whistles and sealed them, along with their own bodies, in magic boxes, which were cast out into the galaxy so Hirudegarn could never be revived again.

But when a mysterious stranger named Hoy arrives on Earth with the secret of Hirudegarn's revival, the Z fighters must turn to Tapion himself to answer Hoy's dangerous threats. Tapion has once before sacrificed his well-being to save the universe. With Hirudegarn destroying everything in sight, Goku, Trunks, and Goten must battle like never before in order to save the planet!

The Review!
Tricked into freeing a hero with a secret, Goku and the gang have to deal with a powerful and mysterious new enemy in their final movie.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix for this film is definitely noticeably better than some of the older movies with its mono track as it feels like it's more vibrant and full even though it's still just a stereo mix. There isn't exactly a lot of real directionality to it but it's much more fluid and less centered. The dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems during regular playback. We did check out some of the English 5.1 track and they managed to find a number of good areas to really punch things up and give both the forward and rear speakers some new life with the action. Providing you enjoy the English version, the 5.1 track is a definite plus.

Originally released in 1995, this movie is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. While many of the earlier movies looked almost like they came right out of a TV episode, this one is noticeably better both in the overall fluid nature of the animation that's much smoother and more detailed but also in the overall vibrancy of the colors. Another area that helped is that this one feels like it's less grainy which helps to remove some of that aged feel earlier movies had. The transfer looks good and is generally free of nicks and scratches and other print damage, cross coloration is very minimal and only a few areas of noticeable bothersome aliasing were visible.

Other than a very darkened and shadowed headshot of the main enemy that sneaks into the lower corner here, this cover is all about Goku and Shen-long which is amusing as both have relatively small roles here compared to the more key players such as Gohan and Trunks. The artwork is decent looking with its greenish golden shading and Goku of course looks good all powered up but it's almost like it's advertising for a different movie. The back cover provides a good looking shot of Shen-long with the phantasm creature while a series of shots from the film are laid about over it. The summary covers the premise pretty well and the layout is nicely done so that the technical grid is easy to read and with the right information. While no insert is included, the cover has artwork on the reverse side of the old man creature that instigates events in the film.

Using the same artwork as the cover with a strong blue background of shapes to give it a bit more flair, the main menu looks good with its mix of colors and detailed artwork. With little on the disc, the navigation along the bottom is pretty straightforward and easy to use. Access times are nice and fast and figuring out selections relatively easy. With FUNimation discs still not reading our players' language presets correctly, we had to set it up in the menu otherwise it defaults to English with no subtitles.

The only extra included is a series of character profiles that even include characters who had no dialogue in the film and maybe appeared on screen for all of a few seconds.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
My journey with Dragon Ball Z continues to just be plain odd and I wish that I'd been able to enjoy it in a more linear fashion. Having come to truly enjoy the original series manga and then getting into the Z manga series as well, it radically changed my opinion of the property over the last couple of years and has allowed me to enjoy the TV series more. The movies haven't quite made their way up the rung in my eyes though but with this final movie, Wrath of the Dragon, I think I've really found a winner.

The problem that I've always had with most, if not all, of the Dragon Ball Z movies is their runtime. They're so short to begin with and when you allot at least 75% of it to the fight scenes, there isn't going to be all that much plot to really bring into it. This is unfortunate since by this time they've got such a varied and vibrant cast of characters with plenty of quirks and the freedom of not being tied to the original manga that they could have expanded on things quite a lot. Wrath of the Dragon plays this up somewhat in terms of relationships by having Trunks take on an interesting role as well as tying it to something from within the TV series that gives those episodes a bit more meaning.

Life in general for the cast seems to have been pretty calm as of late but that changes when a curious old man arrives on the scene and plays up being in danger to gain the attention of the two Great Saiyamen. Through them, he's able to get in touch with the wider cast and talk about his need to find Shen-long as within a music box that he has is trapped the great hero Tapion. Mysteriously locked away over a thousand years ago, he's been seeking a way to return him to life as Earth is about to face a new danger that only he can handle as it's something he's done in the past. With the help of everyone, they're able to get the Balls and have Shen-long open the case, returning the mohawked warrior back to life.

Unfortunately, Tapion isn't all that pleased to be freed and is quite antisocial, no matter how much Trunks tries to befriend him and treat him as something of an older brother. As it turns out, the evil that's afoot is actually contained within Tapion and he's doing his best to restrain it. Slowly but surely we learn more of what's really going on and what happened on the planet Conuts that has caused this to all transpire on Earth now. Most everyone of the main cast makes an appearance throughout it, though several of them are without voices; you see Kuririn helping out in finding the Dragon Balls but saying nothing, as well as Vegeta at the end of a battle sitting nearby but without offering his opinion, something that feels out of place. Trunks takes up a lot of the time for this as he's treating Tapion like a brother but Gohan and Videl get a number of good scenes as well as the Great Saiyamen, something I can't get enough of.

The animation for the movie is quite good and you can see it very early on that it's not like a lot of the others. There's an opening car chase sequence and just watching how the numerous people on the sidewalks and loitering around are animated that it's more detailed and simply better animated than a lot in the past. There's a great deal of destruction caused throughout the movie as well and it's given a lot of detail in how buildings collapse and crumble. Character designs manage to be very consistent as well and instead of streamlining their costumes, such as Goku's usual orange piece, there's a lot of folds and other details applied to everything. While it's not on anything like a full feature length anime film level, it's a good couple of notches above what a number of past movies have looked like and the TV series itself.

In Summary:
While I'm still a fan of the manga more than the anime versions, this is one of the few movies that had me smiling throughout a good chunk of it and enjoying it both in how well the animation came out as well as the simple yet effective storyline. The plot is terribly simple and it's obvious what's going on early but that's part of the intent so that they can get to the fun of the fights and massive amounts of destruction. While I would have preferred a movie that would do more towards providing some sense of closure of the franchise overall, this is definitely a fun way to go as well.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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