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DRAGON BALL Z – FUSION REBORN/WRATH OF THE DRAGON (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 23, 2009 by  



“The final two ‘DRAGON BALL Z’ films featuring two adrenaline-pumping, action-packed films.  Showcasing Super Saiyan 3 Goku, Gojita, the return of Frieza, the Ginyu Force and the story of how Trunks got his sword is revealed!”

TITLE: DRAGON BALL Z – FUSION REBORN/WRATH OF THE DRAGON

DURATION: 110 minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: High Definition, 16×9, 1080p,  Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1 with Japanese Music, Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1 with U.S. Music, Original Japanese

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV PG

DRAGON BALL Z MOVIE #12: Broly – Fusion Reborn

Director: Shigeyasu Yamauchi

Original Creator: Akira Toriyama

Screenplay: Takao Koyama

Music: Shunsuke Kikuchi

Art Director: Ken Tokushige

Animation Director: Naoyoshi Yamamuro

Producer: Tan Takaiwa, Tomio Anzai, Tsutomu Tomari

DRAGON BALL Z  MOVIE #13 – Wrath of the Dragon

Director: Shigeyasu Yamauchi

Original Manga by Akira Toriyama

Screenplay: Takao Koyama

Music: Shunsuke Kikuchi, Chiho Kikuchi, Takeshi Ike

Animation Director: Naoyoshi Yamamuro

Art Director: Ken Tokushige

Art Design: Tadao Kubota

Producer: Tomio Anzai, Tsutomu Tomari

DRAGON BALL Z MOVIE #10 – BIO BROLY

Director: Yoshihiro Ueda

Original Creator: Akira Toriyama

Screenplay: Takao Koyama

Music: Shunsuke Kikuchi, Chiho Kikuchi, Takeshi Ike

Art Director: Ken Tokushige

Animation Director: Naoyoshi Yamamuro

Producer: Tsutomu Tomari, Tomio Anzai

DRAGON BALL Z CAST:

Masako Nozawa/Sean Schemmel as Son Goku

Masako Nozawa/Stephanie Nadolny as Son Gohan

Hiromi Tsuru/Lalainia Lindbjerg as Bulma

Mayumi Tanaka/Sonny Strait as Kuririn

Toshio Furukawa/Christopher R. Sabat as Piccolo

Takeshi Aono/Christopher R. Sabat as Kami-Sama

Kenji Utsumi as ShenLong

Takeshi Kusao/Laura Bailey as Kid Trunks

Yuko Minaguchi/Kara Edwards as Videl

Daisuke Gouri/Chris Rager as Mr. Satan

Hikaru Midorikawa as Paikuhan

FUSION REBORN

The universe is ripped apart at the seams after an industrial disaster in Other World unleashes the monstrous Janemba – and the beast grows stronger with every moment. The turmoil reaches across dimensions, and the battle rages on two fronts.

Goku and Vegeta unite in the fight for Other World’s survival, while Goten and Trunks confront a ghoulish army of the undead on Earth. With strength and fury, the warriors reach incredible heights of power – but it isn’t enough. A dangerous plan of attack is devised, and only an unprecedented level of teamwork will deliver victory.

WRATH OF THE DRAGON

Two strangers have appeared on Earth. One of them invites devastation. The other has the power to prevent it. Harsh sacrifices must be made to untangle the web of deception that threatens to blind the forces of good to an approaching evil.

Dark magic has released an ancient monster – Hirudegarn – that consumes both flesh and soul. As it rampages on Earth, its power threatens to multiply to unthinkable levels. Such wickedness can only be defeated by Tapion, a man who has already given so much – and must now offer his very life to save the universe.

The final two “DRAGON BALL Z” films get their Blu-ray High Definition release and showcases two adrenaline-pumping, action-packed films that includes Goku Super Saiyan Level 3, Gojita and more enemies that will test the Z Warriors even further.

DBZ MOVIE #12:  FUSION REBORN

The twelfth “DRAGON BALL Z” film was released in theaters back in March 1995 and also became the first “Dragon Ball” film released in theaters in the United States over a decade later.

The timeline of this film takes place during the Buu saga and Goku is fighting in another Other World Tournament.  The finalists once again are Goku and Pikkon who are happy to be fighting each other again.

Meanwhile, King Yemma is busy at the gate assigning the souls to Heaven or Hell.  While everyone is busy, a delinquent employee in Hell who rather enjoy his rock n’ roll music instead of working, disregards his job and in the process, the evil purification machine overfills and breaks.  This allows all dead to return back to Earth alive and suddenly Frieza, the Ginyu Force and Adolf Hitler to arrive and create havoc in the world.

Fortunately, Gohan, Vedil, Trunks and Goten are able to defend the cities against the evils but in another dimension, Goku and Pikkon must fight one of their toughest enemies, a big monster known as Jamempa who has the ability to split himself into more evil beings like himself and the ability to bend reality and therefore his attacks are unpredictable.

With Goku and Pikkon having the odds against them in battle, a familiar face arrives in time to lend some help against the evil being.

DBZ Movie #13: WRATH OF THE DRAGON

The 13th and final “DRAGON BALL Z” film was released in July 1995.  The film takes place around the time of the Buu Saga and features a story about an old alien being Hoi who tries to get Gohan to open up a music box.  Supposedly, the music box contains the legendary warrior named Tapion who fought off a major evil.  Now the evil has returned and the only way to defeat the evil is by releasing Tapion from a music box.  Gohan tries to open it but its not possible.

By visiting his father Goku, Bulma and the team, they decide to find the Dragon Balls and hope to avert disaster by releasing this Tapion.

After finding all Dragon Balls and making their wish to Shenron, Tapion is released but is shocked that the Z warriors helped Hoi in doing so.  Tapion leaves to be alone and Trunks and Goten try to be friendly be giving the warrior some food.

Meanwhile, the attacks begin with a huge monster tearing up the city.  We see two figures, one dressed in a disguise and the other blowing an ocarina to stop the evil monster from further destruction.  Gohan and Vedil see Tapion coming from the destruction and both think that they may have released an evil being to the planet.

We eventually learn that Tapion is actually a good guy from the planet Konack and he and his young brother Minosha have been sealed two halves of an evil monster in order to prevent the black magic alien race known as the Kash-Par from obtaining the monster ever again.

The monster Hirudegarn nearly obliterated their whole race and because of how destructive this monster is, a wizard has sealed  the upper half of the monster into Tapion (the other lower half to Minosha) and sealed himself in the music box in order to prevent the Hoi and the Kash-Par to extract Hirudegarn and make him whole.    The weakness of the monster is the music that comes from the ocarina and the magical sword given to him by the wizard.

Meanwhile, Trunks persistence in befriending Tapion seems to work and the two become like brothers.  But unknown to them, Hoi has a plan to extract the monster right out of Tapion.   Now the Z Warriors must do all they can to prevent Hoi from extracting the monster from Tapion.

VIDEO & AUDIO

Both “DRAGON BALL Z” films are featured in 1080p, High Definition (16×9).  FUNimation Entertainment remastered the films in High Definition and also had these two films digitally restored.  The widescreen transfer is from the original Japanese film and because these two films were the latest, final two films from “DRAGON BALL Z”, they are the most colorful of the DBZ films and also feature the least amount of dust and scratches.  With that being said, both films look absolutely vibrant on Blu-ray as the oranges and reds look fantastic and the blacks are much deeper.

As for the audio, like the previous Blu-ray releases of the DBZ films, you can watch the film in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 in English with the Japanese or U.S. music.  The Japanese audio is presented in its original format.

For the Japanese audio purists who wish FUNimation Entertainment would give a lossless Japanese track, unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon.

I try to watch as many anime in its original Japanese presentation but “DRAGON BALL Z” is an anime series in which I found the English dub to be very well done.  I felt that the casting of each character has been spending and the fact that the audio is lossless in English, it’s really hard for me to go back and watch the films again in Japanese without any improvement to the audio.

The two films feature optional English subtitles if needed.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

There are no major special features included on this Blu-ray disc but the FUNimation Entertainment trailers.

It’s been nearly 15 years since I’ve seen these two films but I have to admit that I was very excited to watch both “FUSION REBORN” and “WRATH OF THE DRAGON” on Blu-ray in High Definition. For one, both these films feature Goku Super Saiyan Level 3, Gojita and Gotenks. Characters that I absolutely have enjoyed watching on the “DRAGON BALL Z” TV series but also two films that would feature tougher enemies and more hardcore action.

For those familiar with the “DRAGON BALL Z” films, not all films fit into the DBZ TV series timeline that smoothly but for those who always wanted more battles with enemies aside from Frieza, Cell and Buu, the films do provide that antagonist. And instead of watching dozens of episodes dedicated to that arc, these enemies are self contained to one film (with the exception of Broly who appears in three films).

Also, both of these films are interesting in the fact that they include a protagonist other than the Z Warriors taking on the enemy as “FUSION REBORN” brings back Pikkon and “WRATH OF THE DRAGON” features Tapion.

“FUSION REBORN” was quite interesting because we see both Goku and Pikkon trying to fight another enemy that is cute and nearly as brainless as Buu but is quite deadly. It was also interesting to see how the animation would utilize a larger, black stroke around the character in certain scenes and definitely gave “DRAGON BALL Z” a slightly different look than previous films.  But it was the humor in the film that was quite fun to watch.  To see Trunks and Goten fuse to become Gotenks and take on Hitler and the guys, to see a Frieza who meets a grown up Gohan to watch Goku and Vegita get their fusion wrong and become an overweight character instead.  A much more humorous film compared to previous releases.

As for “WRATH OF THE DRAGON”, fans of Trunks, especially Future Trunks may have wondered where Trunks’s sword came from and finally, all is revealed in this film.    What I loved about this film is that we get to see Bulma’s concern for Trunks, especially without his father and how Trunks looks up to Talpion as a big brother.  We rarely get to see these type of personal moments since the films are action-based but whenever the writers could fit in any type of character development scenes, I enjoy them.

If there was one thing that I wished the Blu-ray would have (and this is me being nitpicky) special features. To see the Japanese teaser or theatrical trailers for the film would have been nice and of course, a lossless Japanese audio track that would have been nice as well. But nevertheless, this release is another film collection worth having in your DBZ collection.

Although I tend to recommend all DBZ films to all hardcore fans, for those who are on a budget and really need to pick and choose, I definitely recommend “DRAGON BALL Z – FUSION REBORN/WRATH OF THE DRAGON”.   Both films feature a good combination of humor, action and everything you come to enjoy about “DRAGON BALL Z”.

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