Dragon Ball Z Saga 8: Saiyan Invasion - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C+
  • 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: 62
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z Saga 8: Saiyan Invasion

By Chris Beveridge     March 17, 2006
Release Date: March 21, 2006

Dragon Ball Z Saga 8: Saiyan Invasion
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
The Saiyans defiantly announce their arrival on Earth. Sensing their immense power, Earth's heroes prepare for the worst as they speed toward an encounter with the alien invaders. However, nothing could prepare Piccolo for the truth behind his origins on the planet Namek. Not ready for the unorthodox style of the Saiyans, can Gohan, Piccolo, and Krillin hold out until Goku arrives?

Contains episodes 22-24:
The Darkest Day
Saibamen Attack!
The Power of Nappa

The Review!
The big bad guys have finally landed and after a year of training, Earth's mightiest now find themselves face to face with them.

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.

After all the volumes of red foil covers that looked pretty slick and breathed some new life into the artwork, this volume gives us the blue look as Saga II gets underway and the Saiyan's arrive. Nappa gets the main cover here and the foil accentuates the colors nicely while the blue gives it a very dark tone that works well. The back cover plays up a similar feel with Goku 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 Nappe 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 start of the second saga for the Vegeta storyline gets underway as the Saiyan's actually land on Earth now. Things aren't all hunky dory though since Goku is still flying along trying to get back himself and everyone on Earth is trying to decide whether they'd be a help in going to deal with the new enemy or a hindrance for those who barely have the power to stand up to them.

The three episode count again hurts the flow of the show but less so this time around since this is really the start of the new storyline as the training time is over. There's plenty of action to come and the arrival of the Saiyan's on Earth have them showing off their power right from the start. The pair, Nappa and Vegeta, are definitely quite different in their approach and style right from the start as Nappa gives the planet a welcome gesture in the first city they land in by practically wiping it off the map. The general population is shocked by what happens but they slowly get caught up on the events and how much is at stake in a most amusing way. The end result is that the media finds out exactly where the future of the planet is going to be decided and head off there to provide first hand coverage.

For all that we've seen and heard about the kind of power these guys have, they do make a good entrance with the death of thousands and lots of damage to the city they took out. It's something that was felt across the world and their presence is something that nobody can avoid knowing about. That said, once they head off to where Piccolo, Gohan and Kuririn are as they rate highly on the power meter now, the Saiyan's shift from impressive displays of power to a bit more plain bravado and a batch of weird science. The meeting of the two forces, with the Saiyan's making it clear that they're there to take the planet and sell it off after killing everyone, gets built up a bit as others arrive to help out, such as Yamucha and Tenshinhan. To get things going right, the Saiyan's opt for a bit of a game which Kuririn agrees to since it gives Goku a bit more time to show up.

The game turns out to be an amusing series of fights in which a group of six "Saibamen" are born from some seeds that Nappa has and some one on one action gets underway. The Saibamen are fun little creatures with big green heads that shoot out wads of white goo that's pretty destructive and corrosive. The fights shift between several of the members of the good guys side and the Saibamen which is pretty enjoyable since they're little feral characters but it also shows some of the ruthless nature of the Saiyan's themselves as they deal with Piccolo and the others. While this doesn't get us to the really good fighting material with the Saiyan's themselves, this is a nice prelude to things that allows time for Goku to get closer to the event but also for humanity in general to get a clue about what's going on with this new invasion.

In Summary:
Saga 2 gets nicely underway with this volume but it really is just prelude to what's to come. This in itself is amusing since basically the first seven volumes of the show have been all prelude in its own way with all the training that's been going on. Watching the show in small clumps is definitely a challenge but I'm admittedly coming at this from a different angle now that I've finished reading all the Dragonball Z manga and am just curious to see how it plays out in uncut form. The release overall is in very good shape when you factor in the usual and it compares well to previous volumes.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 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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