Dragon Ball Z Saga 2: Piccolo's Plan - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z Saga 2: Piccolo's Plan

By Chris Beveridge     June 21, 2005
Release Date: June 07, 2005

Dragon Ball Z Saga 2: Piccolo's Plan
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
The situation looks bleak for Goku, but his new ally Piccolo may have a way to stop Raditz. He’s perfected a powerful new attack, yet one problem remains. Piccolo needs time to gather the energy for the blast, which means Goku will have to last for five minutes against Raditz alone! As Goku takes blow after punishing blow from the evil Raditz, Gohan’s rage is triggered. The young Saiyan unlocks an awesome power sleeping within him, unleashing a mighty attack that not even Radtiz can resist!

The Review!
Goku and Piccolo team up to fight off Raditz only to be saved by the unlikeliest of people.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Having done the show previously in its (albeit edited) English language release, we've been wanting to see it in its original language for a long time now. The shows mono mix is pretty much what we expected though and it's fairly lackluster and misses a lot of the oomph that's become so common from so many more current fighting shows. Even though it lacks that, it's not something that's really a problem if you've seen any of the show before since you're already used to how it feels. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and it's basically on par of previous Japanese language releases of the show.

Originally airing in 1989, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The show definitely feels its age in a lot of ways with the way it has its grain and color palette as well as the animation itself. The transfer for these episodes definitely look better than the previous release of the series but the source materials for the franchise has never been particularly strong to begin with and always easy to see where they made their shortcuts in animation. With just three episodes on the disc the quality of the authoring is quite good but there's only so much they can get out of the materials. Colors look good if a bit bland and washed out in a few places, cross coloration is non-existent and the only real noticeable problem is some occasional aliasing.

Using foil paper for the cover, FUNimation has done a nicely stylized cover which with the combination of the blacks and reds in the background and the striking greens and purples in the foreground, really stands out well here. These are very eye-catching covers and it breathes new life into the franchise. The background is made up of various characters from the episodes here and with the mixture of blacks against the fiery colors with the character designs it looks appropriately dark and powerful. The foil in particular really makes it all work better than it would otherwise. The back cover plays up a similar feel with Gohan in tears underneath the summary and shots from the show. The discs extras and basic technical features are relatively easy to find though as usual things are mostly mixed down at the bottom with the production information. As is normal at this point in time, no insert is included with this release.

The menu layout is reminiscent of the cover layout as it uses the same shot of Gohan but angles it a bit and covers it up with lots of heavy speed lines, flames and a piece from the show itself set to some of the darker music to the show that's rather atmospheric. The layout is nicely done and it looks good in how it conveys the feel of the show. The navigation is pretty straightforward and things are done the same as most other FUNimation releases with languages selecting the right angle to be played, which is why our players' language presets never work right here. Access times are nice and fast and this is a nicely in-theme menu.

The extras drop off considerably from the first volume with only a series of trivia questions here.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While there's some focus given to the larger problem of the coming of more of these Saiyans, Goku and Piccolo find themselves very much being stuck on dealing with just Raditz. Goku loses his cool somewhat in this since Raditz makes things person by kidnapping Gohan and tossing him in his capsule while awaiting the arrival of the planets most powerful warriors.

The pairing of Goku and Piccolo against this superior warrior has been one of the fun parts of these early episodes since the two are almost snarky with each other over the whole idea but continue to work as best as possible together. Their abilities aren't quite up to snuff though and Piccolo is surprised that Goku doesn't haven't any new moves hidden up his sleeve since Piccolo has been training all this time and coming up with new things so that he can kill Goku. This leaves him with the only real chance at taking down Raditz and the two spend a good part of the first two episodes getting worked over and then finally working together well enough so that they can take him down.

What's different about the fighting this time around is that Goku gets himself pummeled pretty badly and when Gohan sees this, he goes into a rage over it. This rage, his unbalanced emotions, set off all sorts of alarms on Radtiz's power gauge and he's shocked to think that the tiny frame of Gohan is containing more power than anyone else on the planet. It's such a shock that he's thrown off balance when Gohan simply hurls himself at Raditz which causes part of his armor to crack. This is where I dislike how the series worked since it gives more credence to the armor being part of Raditz's powers and/or defense as opposed to what he is himself. Goku and Piccolo drop their extraneous clothing pretty quickly and just go up against him with their bodies but with this revelation, Raditz gets weaker because of the shattered chest plate and it allows the others to take him down more easily. It just felt weak and inconsistent with how we got to know the Saiyans.

The show does get to start going down some interesting paths in the aftermath though and it's this area of setup that sets the pace for quite a lot of the episodes that are to follow. With the arrival of Roshi, Kuririn and Bulma, Piccolo gets to tell his side of how the events played out and makes a case for taking Gohan with him as Roshi's training wouldn't be enough or in time to deal with the threat that's coming. He's still written off Goku entirely at this point which makes sense though he does figure that his friends will go ball hunting again and revive him. We get to see some of Goku's afterlife which is done in an amusing way and fits his style of life rather well as he meets up with Kami and he finds out about a way to train in the afterlife, provided he can walk a few thousand miles first.

In Summary:
This set of episodes brings Radtiz's rain of terror to a close surprisingly quickly and gives false hope for the next set of battles which will be much longer. What's important here is that the characters all find new paths to follow, new tools to utilize and a strong motivation for doing their best as quickly as possible as the two remaining Saiyan's are even more powerful. These episodes are a lot of fun since they do go through so much stuff pretty quickly and without the feeling of it being dragged out overly much. The beginning of the series definitely starts out with a lot of promise.

Japanese 1.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,Spanish 1.0 Language,English Subtitles,Trivia Game

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, 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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