Dragon Ball Z Season 9 Box Set - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 49.98
  • Running time: 875
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z Season 9 Box Set

The Final Season

By Omari Orr     September 14, 2009
Release Date: May 19, 2009


Dragon Ball Z Season 9 Box Set
© FUNimation Entertainment, LTD

Dragonball Z stands as one of the most influential Shonen Jump series worldwide. This set containing the final season of the Shonen powerhouse represents both the best and worst of the franchise, with the best qualities slightly edging out its flaws.

What They Say
Majin Buu’s spree of terror continues, and his ruthlessness knows no bounds! In his quest to eliminate the remaining Z-Fighters, Buu has cut a path of destruction across the face of the Earth, leaving a trail of devastation so utterly complete that it may even be beyond the power of the Dragon Balls to repair...With their efforts to stop Majin Buu quickly proving futile, the Z-Fighters have but one remaining hope against this seemingly invincible foe—the Fusion Technique! But for this desperate plan to succeed, Goku will have to join forces with his oldest rival, Vegeta! Can the combined efforts of these two mighty Saiyan warriors put a stop to Majin Buu once and for all? The final battle for the fate of the universe begins!

The Review!
Audio:
    I listened to this DVD primarily in English with Japanese music with a spot check on the English TV track and Japanese track.

Video:
    Of course I can't cover the video without bringing up the one ultimate controversy with this set that has many anime fans divided, the 'widescreen' issue. The original source material was full screened at 4:3 and Funi cropped the picture into 16:9 for these orange box sets. This leaves a little bit of the top and bottom of the screen edited. Personally, it is semi-distracting when I have knowledge that this decision to 'widescreen' the series wasn't necessary. But it isn't so bad that is hampers my personal enjoyment of the series, especially when the video quality, in and of itself, is much brighter and cleaner looking. By this point everyone has taken their own personal stance on the issue so and, besides that, we have the Dragon Boxes coming so in this case it's simply a matter of pick your poison.

Packaging:
    The series comes packaged in an orange cardboard slipcase that slips off and contains a foldout digipak. The first slot houses a nice little booklet that gives you a small overview of the important players in this set and an episode guide. Each slot holds two DVDs. The cover has a picture of Super Saiyan Vegito with the series logo left aligned sideways. The back cover has screenshots aligned to the left and all the necessary information. Toward the bottom right is an information grid with language tracks, running times, and aspect ratios.
 
Menu:
The menu has a very simple and direct layout that is a static image of Vegitto with the setup options listed clearly for selection at the bottom of the screen.  There is a guitar riff piece that repeats over the menu.

Extras:
The usual Funimation trailers and Textless OP and ED songs.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Dragonball was one of the anime series that helped pioneer my interest in anime almost 15 years ago with the broadcast of the Saban version on weekend mornings. Yes, I'm one of those fans who kept up with that version while 'cheating' and watching badly done fan subs of later arcs where the characters cursed like sailors. I bought as much of the Japanese merchandise associated with the show including the original tankoubons, movie quides, and even the 7 hardcover books that were released at the end of the manga that covered everything in the DB world. Despite my hyper fanboyism with the show as I matured and my tastes expanded within my interest of anime I began to see the flaws in the Dragonball franchise and this set is no different representing both the best and worst of what Dragonball Z has to offer.

The first disc starts off at the beginning of the Fusion Saga where we see 'World Champion' Mr. Satan befriending the current arc bad guy, Majin Buu. Two gunmen have shot the puppy that Satan and Buu found in the previous set and Buu revives the puppy while Satan dispatches the two attackers. I actually liked watching the frienship development between Buu and Satan because it harkened back to the earlier days of Dragonball where characters changed and the audience discovered a different side to them.  It seems Buu's change of heart was going to stop his reign of destruction until one of the gunmen manage to fatally wound Satan. Buu being sent into rage and despair manages to heal Satan but unfortunately it also physically brings out his 'evil' half. The more intimidating evil Buu defeats the fat Buu and turns him into a cookie (yeah, newbie fans you read that correctly) and eats him therefore absorbing him and becoming the even scarier Super Buu. Super Buu proceeds to the last place of sanctuary of the surviving cast members, Kami's Lookout, and terrorizes everyone into  fighting the surviving heroes, Goten and Trunks. In the previous set Goten and Trunks mastered the new power-up of the arc, Fusion, which involves the two characters combining into one ultimate fighter. But this being Dragonball Z, everything takes time and this situation is no different. Problem is Buu is very impatient and his way of showing his lack of patience is to raise his hand and send out one big attack that completely eliminates every living soul on Earth (sans Mr. Satan and the puppy).  To further complicate matters Goten's mother, Chi-Chi, slaps Buu and gets her just desserts by getting turned into and egg and stepped on, effectively killing her and giving Goten motivation to defeat Buu.

Unfortunately this kicks off the one glaring flaw in the set and that is Super Buu vs. Gotenks (the combined Goten and Trunks). Before the fight even starts the mischievous Goten and Trunks decide to actively drag out the fight for the sake of 'dramatic impact'. It doesn't come at a price though as this decision leads to a series of events where the rest of the supporting cast is turned into candy and murdered. Still, despite some nice comedic touches (like the Kamikaze Ghost Attack) this fight had me yawning and glossing over the remainder of the fight.  Events don't really pick up until Gohan, who has been training in another world with Supreme Kai, enters into battle and takes on Super Buu.  Despite having a strong start the fight quickly derails once Super Buu begins absorbing the remaining fighters taking on their powers. Because of this change the series two main rivals, Goku and Vegeta enter into the battle to fight Buu. Supreme Kai gives Goku and less time-consuming Fusion technique which allows Goku and Vegeta to combine into Vegito. Vegito's fight with Buu is everything the Gotenks fight wasn't. While it operates on the same dynamics of drawing out more battle time the stakes are higher and besides that, there's nothing more funnier than seeing the good guy turned into the equivalent of a Milk Dud and still proceed to beat the living stuff out of the bad guy.

When Buu does manage to consume the heroes they split up and manage to reclaim their absorbed comrades. This effects Buu by activating his final transformation into Kid Buu. Kid Buu immediately blows up the Earth (which seemed rather pointless considering there were like less than a dozen characters that survived his first attack). Goku and Vegeta manage to save Mr. Satan and the guardian of Earth, Dende who both plays a major role in the final outing against Majin Buu.

The events for the final battle are set-up nicely and one of the few moments where the writing of Dragonball Z is actually well done. All the contributing players play their role in the final episodes, and Mr. Satan's role (which has been vital since the first disc) comes full circle. After the battle is over several episodes are spent on epilogue this brings the series into a nice sense of closure. True, GT came afterward but since this was supposed to be the true canon end of the series the final episode does help preserve the Son Goku legacy.
   
In Summary:
The dragged-out fighting does get a little frustrating (mainly the Gotenks fight). But some of the character revelations and pacing towards the end does keep the viewer interested. Be advised, play this series in 'Marathon Feature' because you skip the OP and ED and those few minutes recapping what happened in the episode you just saw a few seconds ago. I think ALL Shonen series should have a marathon feature, so I applaud Funi for pioneering the idea. I do still recommend these sets for the more casual viewer who may not want to commit to a superior but more daunting release.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment

Toshiba  50" 52HMX95 1080P HDTV, Samsung HT-Z410 CD Player HDMI set to 1080p and a 5.1 ch Speaker System with 166-Watt Subwoofer.

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