Dragonball Movie #03: Mystical Adventure - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: C-
  • Menus Rating: N/A
  • Extras Rating: C-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 50
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Dragon Ball

Dragonball Movie #03: Mystical Adventure

    February 27, 2001
Release Date: February 27, 2001


Dragonball Movie #03: Mystical Adventure
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.


What They Say
Goku and Krillin have completed their training under the mystical Master Roshi. Now the duo is off to test their newly acquired skills at a prestigious martial arts tournament sponsored by the young emperor Chiaotzu. The winner of the tournament is said to get an audience with the Emperor, and a wish for anything they want!

But sinister plans are underway beneath the fašade of the elaborate tournament. The young emperor’s wife has been kidnapped! The emperor’s right-hand man, Master Shen, has convinced him Dragon Balls must be gathered to wish her back. But secretly, he and his henchman Master Tao plan to overthrow the Emperor, and with the help of the Dragon Balls, rule the kingdom themselves!

And to complicate matters even more, Bulma and the gang are desperately searching for the Dragon Balls as well. As the tournament begins, the action all comes together. Get ready for a for a wild, crazy ride of comedy and excitement on a magical… MYSTICAL ADVENTURE!

The Review!
Kudos to FUNimation for finally releasing a Dragon Ball (not DBZ) movie on DVD, uncut and bilingual to boost. The three (or four if you count the 10th Year Anniversary Movie) Dragon Ball movies retell story arcs in the world of the Dragon Ball TV series and manga, instead of stories of the DBZ movies which occur in alternate realities. This film, however, may not appeal to all DBZ fans that love that series' martial arts mayhem. Dragon Ball is a comedy/adventure with some martial arts. DBZ is a martial arts drama with some comedy/adventure. Thus, there is a large difference between the relative styles of the two series. Veteran anime fans are likely to compare Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure to the Lupin III movies rather than to the DBZ TV series. Still, I enjoyed this disc quite a great deal and hope you will, too.

Video:

An excellent video transfer for FUNimation, especially considering the age of the source material, which dates to the mid-eighties. The colors looked much more vibrant and full on this DVD than the Japanese VHS and LD. However, slight pixelation exists and becomes evident during flashes of bright light (i.e. gunfire or the KAMEHAMEHA) and a few rainbows pop up occasionally, but these slight flaws do not distract the viewer from enjoying the movie. White specks on the screen do appear, but that is forgivable given the age of the prints. A possible complaint exist: instead of showing the movie in the original widescreen format like the Japanese releases, the film and been zoomed in and is now standard screen.

Audio:

I listened mostly to the Japanese track for reviewing this title, and it sounded excellent. Originally recorded in MONO, the Japanese version did not suffer from scratchiness or dropouts, very impressive. The English track in stereo also received excellent treatment, but I disliked it for reasons I will cover in the content section. Cover/Packaging: Unfortunately, Rick Lebo's cover art leaves much to be desired. Rather than using the VHS/LD cover from the Japanese release, Lebo chose to redraw Goku and the two Indians on the cover in a seemingly more American style of animation. They appear pale and obviously do not resemble original artwork. I am sorry to say that I have seen better fanart than this cover on the web and in manga. As with the rest of the FUNimation discs, there are no inserts of any kind on the inside At least we have a plastic DVD case instead of a typical Warner Brothers paper snap case. I found it funny that FUNimation recycled their disc information on the back stating " Not rated - Contains Some Violence and Brief Nudity" even though there was no nudity. Also, FUNimation spotted their claim on DBZ logos and characters but Dragon Ball, and it misspelled Emperor as "Emporer," but that's only slightly amusing for the DVD nerd like myself. At least we have a plastic DVD case instead of a typical Warner Brothers paper snap case.

Extras:

Just a bunch of commercials for DBZ products. Quite lame, but the Japanese versions didn't have any extras either. Still, I thought we might get a credit-less opening at least.

Content:

More or less, Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure is an extended episode of Dragon Ball TV. It retells how Goku met Tendenshinhan and Choazu, Karin, and the villainous Tao Pai Pai. Goku and Krillin complete their training under Master Roshi and head off to a Martial Arts Tournament in an empire which greatly resembles Imperial China. As normal with the Dragon Ball formula, there's some adventure, Master Roshi makes many inappropriate sexual advances to young women, Bulma searches for the Dragon Balls up ends up having to wish a dead person back to life and thus cannot get her own wish granted, and a mysterious villain appears who is defeated and the day is saved. Don't expect any deeply meaningful insights into life and the universe here. Original Dragon Ball fans in the states will eat this up, provided that any exist. Honestly this movie has a lot of characters, like Chaozu, Tao Pai Pai, Lunch and Arayle, which will not make much sense to viewers who have not read a sizeable portion of the manga or seen the TV series past the thirteen dubbed FUNimation episodes. Note an extra in the film who spots a baseball cap with the word "SLUMP" on it, referring to the manga/TV series Dr. Slump created by Dragon Ball artist Akira Toriyama. (But the guys who saw the show air uncut and subtitled on Nippon Golden Networks back in the late-eighties WILL get it, lucky dogs :)

While the Japanese voices were enjoyable, I do have an axe to grind with the English dubbed version. Although it's uncut, it's "uncut" in the same sense that DBZ TV is "uncut;" the dialogue has been heavily "adapted" into English, although at least FUNimation stayed closer to the original script and did not make the movie try to be painfully hip by adding ebonic slang words. (Thank God there's no "Krillin is in da houze!" and that character never says "yo, bro!") Still, I absolutely cannot STAND the new voice for Bulma, who now sounds like a total valley girl. It's just damn annoying. Also, Goku is played by the same actor who does the voice of Dende, another mistake, as his voice is way too soft-spoken to give Goku's happy-go-lucky attitude any justice. Karin voice's sounds rough like it went straight through a meat-grinder. Steve Simmons once again provides outstanding translations for the Japanese version, although FUNimation it seems, did not allow him to use swear words and substituted euphemisms for cussing. I also complain that the characters special techniques were left in Japanese and NOT translated into English. (You see the romanji for Yamucha's Wolf Spirit Punch Technique)

I was quite worried when I viewed the disc and discovered that it was single-layered. After choosing my language settings, I discovered that two different video tracks exist, based on the language that is selected. This means you cannot watch the movie in Japanese with the English dubtitles or the English dub with the correct Japanese translations to see how much it was adapted into English. The Japanese version is truly uncut, with the original opening and closing theme and credits, but oddly enough the English dub presents a clip-show version of the opening sequence in place of the original and cuts off half the screen to show the English credits at the end. Based on the release of the uncut VHS tapes, some editing in one form or another probably exists in the "uncut" dub, but I am not sure what.

Despite these nitpicky complaints, I greatly enjoyed this disc. I hope that FUNimation releases the other Dragon Ball movies on DVD, uncut subtitled, along with the complete TV series.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony DVP-650D DVD players with Audioquest and s-video cables on a Trinitron XBR 27 inch color TV.

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