Mania Grade: C
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- Audio Rating: B-
- Video Rating: B-
- Packaging Rating: C
- Menus Rating: C
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
- MSRP: 24.98
- Running time: 82
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Dragon Ball Z
Dragonball Z TV #19: Captain Gunyu - Double Cross
By Matt McClellan
February 07, 2002
Release Date: July 25, 2000
Thus the second Dragon Ball Z DVD from FUNimation has come. This disc continues the revelation in the anime community with both English and Japanese language tracks, along with an accurate subtitle track.
The Double Cross disc audio fared better in some areas. The dialogue seems louder, with less hiss. A strange thing to note is that the ATI DVD player on my computer reads the Japanese track on both discs to be in stereo. Interesting... However, the distortion (?) in the dialogue is much more noticeable and frequent, though not so much that it detracts from viewing. In the end, it balances out the same. Unfortunately the opening sounds as bad as it does on the first disc for the same reason. Thus, the minus is tacked on.
Video-wise, this second volume improved and weakened, balancing the rating to be the same. The Double Cross disc has both versions on the same video format, meaning switching audio is possible. This leads to sharper backgrounds, but the character animation didn't seem quite as sharp. The title cards and opening/ending are accessed through alternate angles that are automatically queued up by selecting the appropriate language. It was seamless, with no confusion or problems at all. I liked it.
There is something to make note of and that's the chapters. Judging from the menu you would think there are only five chapters on the Assault disc (Opening, Ep. 54, 55, 56, Closing) and six on this disk (Opening, Ep. 57, 58, 59, 60, Closing) but that doesn't appear to be the case. I can't get the chapter skip to do anything throughout the majority of both discs. I don't understand the chapters at all and can't really explain them. What I can say is that they are very frustrating and it's not worth your time to fiddle with them.
Something strange about the Double Cross disc is that it has close captioned subtitles for the dub as well as literal subtitles. They were also on the Assault disc. However, since the Assault disc was on two video tracks, the appropriate subtitle went with the appropriate language. On this disc, you can put the dubtitles over the Japanese language, or the literal subtitles over the English language. The only reason I'm saying this trivial fact is because I encourage you to try it sometime. It's a riot! Getting back on track, what bothered me was that when I selected the Japanese language in the menu and played the discs, the subtitles were the dubtitles. Your mileage may vary on this, but I had to change the subtitles manually. The opening sequence on the first episode of the Double Cross disc was very shifty for around half a minute.
The menus are the same for both discs and are very average. Just two static backgrounds of Ginyu with a few seconds of (English) music.
Packaging remains the same, essentially, with a sharp-looking, yet boring design-wise screen-cap. (lots of dashes..) On a positive note, there were no typos to be found. And no, we're not graced with an insert or any extras.
Once again, the technical aspects of the disc didn't make me jump for joy, but they were certainly worthy of the DVD logo. These episodes are much, MUCH superior to fansubs, certainly better then the International Channel, better then Cartoon Network (or YTV) and definitely better then its dubbed VHS counterpart.
Unfortunately, the content on these discs is the same job as the first. One opening and ending, no last/next time segments and no eyecatches. This disc maintains its unprofessional look. Improvements are said to be made, but more on that later. As for the credits, well, I can't read Japanese but I do know that the credits are from Movie #1. This is because of the overexposed sound and the fact the opening lists Tenkaichi Gohan as one of the songs but it's nowhere's on this disc. Once again, thanks to Chris Psaros for revealing this fact to me. As for the ending credits, I believe they're correct for Japanese episode 73. The reason I think this is because they look different from the credits of episode 69. Still, at best, they're the credits for episode 73 only and that's still not good enough. I'd really like FUNimation to translate these credits, or at the very least, provide a Japanese cast list pertaining to the episodes on the DVD on an insert or on the disc itself.
As for the subtitles, the font is the same. Small, but with a nice thick border. On this disc, the subtitles are white. The translation is every bit as well-written and as accurate you could hope for and then some. Kudos to Steven J. Simmons and FUNimation for hiring him as opposed to simply dubtitling the discs. The problem with dubbed names is still here, and the grammar needs work (on FUNimations part of course). Also, the typesetting was annoying, though it wasn't as frequent in these episodes. As for the swearing, Gen Fukunaga's policy of no swearing is still there... or so I thought. Stronger words like 'kuso' or 'kusotare' are still watered down, but there was swearing on this disc. When I read that Gen Fukunaga didn't want any swearing in the subtitles, I didn't know that didn't include 'damn' and 'bastard'. That was extremely strange to me. Not even Steve Simmons own review of the discs pointed this odd fact out. Not that I'm complaining at all, it's just... strange.
So in the end, this disc stacked up about as good as the last one. Meaning that it has strong points, but its got a share of problems as well.
I've read on very good authority that the next time/last time segments may appear on future volumes, though the next time segment will probably be an English voice over only. The names issue is also said to be corrected for all future volumes. The strange thing is, they guaranteed the original names for future volumes almost exactly when the DVDs came out. They weren't in circulation long enough for anyone to notice or complain about them. If FUNimation were so readily willing to use the original names, why did they even bother using the dubbed names in the subtitles in the first place? Unfortunately, nothing is said about the openings and endings being on each episode, the eyecatches or, most importantly, the Japanese credits issue. At least the future volumes will be an improvement over these, but it doesn't seem like they'll have everything I want. Also, the next discs correspond with the Trunks VHS tapes. This is being done so that the DVDs and VHS tapes will eventually bereleased day and date with each.
As for the episodes, it's still a thrill for me. I must admit that I really love Dragon Ball Z, and seeing these episodes uncut and in Japanese is such a treat and I really must thank FUNimation for it. You may not believe me, but watching Dragon Ball Z in Japanese is like watching an entirely different show-- a much, much better show. The reason I'm not mentioning anything about the shows specifically is because you can read about it in the other two reviews on this site or just about anywhere else. I did feel it necessary to bring up these issues and make them more known to the public. So here's hoping FUNimation put everything on the Trunks discs.
Relisys 17" Monitor, Creative PC-DVD Dxr2 5X DVD-ROM, Combridge Soundwords four speaker set-up