Dragon Ball Z Saga 5: Goku Held Hostage - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 3 & 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 5: Goku Held Hostage

By Chris Beveridge     September 29, 2005
Release Date: September 23, 2005

Dragon Ball Z Saga 5: Goku Held Hostage
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
After waking up dazed and disoriented, Goku discovers that watching him are two giant ogres who want nothing more than to use the hero as a play toy! If Goku can defeat their challenges, the pair vows to show him the way back to Snake Way. But can these two beasts be trusted? Meanwhile, still in shock that Raditz was able to dodge his strongest attack, Piccolo flies off the handle causing him to split in two!

The Review!
Time continues to go buy as the Saiyan's journey towards Earth while everyone else works their training even harder.

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 where it's got the core image of Goku racing at the viewer in an action pose wearing his traditional outfit. 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 Piccolo 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 Goku 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 only included extra is the trivia game section which I haven't paid any real attention to.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The training saga continues with this volume and three more episodes – this series so demands more episodes per volume – and there aren't any major revelations or events here but we do get some good material for Goku on his journey and Gohan gets to have a bit of fun. For those wanting the action though, you'll get some Piccolo scenes but otherwise it's not terribly heavy on the fighting aspect of the series.

Goku's trip down the serpentine path takes an unexpected turn as he fell off of the path during the last volume while sleeping and he's landed down in one of the outer districts and streets of hell. Hell's actually fairly unpopulated here as we meet the two demons there who work it, mostly in terms of handling a huge backlog of paperwork, but Goku still can't make his way back up to the path due to the physics of the realm. So he engages the two demons into a series of challenges as they offer a way to him to get back up there if he can succeed. They're lightly amusing and it's fun to see Goku finally doing something other than running above the clouds. These episodes are also good to see since it's the first time I've seen them uncut and properly worded. The old edit of changing hell to the "Home For Infinite Losers" always struck me as just how stupid censorship really is with these kinds of shows so having them the way they should be was like coming full circle.

Goku also runs into the "patron saint" of the serpentine path when after getting back on there he comes across an attached residence that belongs to the Snake Princess. It's been hundreds of years since their last visitor so they're all excited about Goku's arrival while he's simply focused on getting along on his journey. Amusingly, he thinks he's actually at King Kai's for a bit and believes the Snake Princess to be him. The Princess is more interested in acquiring Goku for herself since he's such a handsome subject and it's been ever so long since she's had anyone to call her own. The staff put on an amusing number of shows and methods in order to drug and capture Goku before he realizes what's going on.

On the other side of things, we get mostly an entire episode devoted to just Gohan and his training. While he is training and getting better and more confident, he's not exactly doing the same kind of training as you see Piccolo doing with his entire split-body maneuver that leads to him fighting against himself for awhile. Gohan's having fun and enjoying the life that he's been forced to carve out but when he sets off on a bit of an extended trip across one of the deserts, it goes badly and he finds himself out stranded on a remote island. The island time is fun but he's also starting to miss his parents so he's intent on taking a break and heading home to see his mother for a bit. Gohan's time during all of this shows him as a rather smart boy to be able to come up with the things he does but also that he really is gaining confidence, something that he really needed more than anything else. From the way he was always crying or running away when first confronted with danger, watching him now play with the creatures, forage for food and have a positive attitude about everything is a really great change in the character.

In Summary:
In a way, these are all definite filler episodes and we get maybe a minute's worth of time spent on the Saiyan's themselves as they traverse space. But at the same time, this is sort of the bread and butter of what the series is, even in its original run, as the time spent learning and doing is a key component to growing. Rather than it just being restricted to a few scenes and then on to the next big thing they're able to take much more time with it and the fans just seem to love it. These episodes don’t quite bother me like a lot of filler does for other series but at the same time it's not exactly something I look forward to and I do end up feeling somewhat empty afterwards, especially since it is only just three episodes and over in just an hours time.

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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