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DRAGON BALL Z – THE HISTORY OF TRUNKS / BARDOCK THE FATHER OF GOKU (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 28, 2009 by  



“The first two Dragon Ball specials get the Blu-ray treatment.  Vibrant in colorful, fans of the action-packed ‘Dragon Ball Z’ series are definitely going to want to pick this up, especially for the fan favorite ‘THE HISTORY OF TRUNKS’

TITLE: DRAGON BALL Z – THE HISTORY OF TRUNKS / BARDOCK THE FATHER OF GOKU

DURATION: 48 minutes (96 minutes for both)

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

CATALOG #: FN-03857

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV PG

DRAGON BALL Z SPECIAL 2: THE HISTORY OF TRUNKS

Director: Daisuke Nishio

Original Author: Akira Toriyama

Screenplay: Takao Koyama

Music: Shunsuke Kikuchi, Chiho Kikuchi (opening), Takeshi Ike

Animation director: Minoru Maeda

DRAGON BALL Z – BARDOCK THE FATHER OF GOKU

Director: Daisuke Nishio

Original Manga by Akira Toriyama

Screenplay: Katsuyuki Sumisawa, Takao Koyama

Music: Shunsuke Kikuchi

Character Design: Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru and Minoru Maeda

Animation Director: Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru

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

Akira Kamiya/Chuck Huber as Garlic Jr

Daisuke Gouri as Gyuumaou

Kenji Utsumi as ShenLong

Kôhei Miyauchi as Kame Sennin

Mayumi Shou/Lisa Ann Beley as Chi-Chi

Miki Itou/Meredith McCoy as Android 18

Shigeru Nakahara/Chuck Huber as Android 17

Takeshi Kusao/Eric Vale as Trunks

Masao Nozawa/Sonny Strait as Bardock

Ryusei Nakao/Linda Young as Freeza

THE HISTORY OF TRUNKS

When Goku dies of a deadly virus, it seems like the end of the world.  But the powerful Master’s passing proves to be merely a presage of the horrible tragedies that are on the way!  When two androids appear and start destroying the great cities of Earth, the planet is plunged into darkness and its inhabitants are living in fear.  But there is one last hope!  Goku’s song Gohan is now a man and though outnumbered by the demonic Androids, he does have a special young teenager named Trunks on his side!  As Gohan trains Trunks, it seems like the world is collapsing around them!  Can they put a stop to the horrible progression of evil?  This is the story of the future that never was!

BARDOCK, THE FATHER OF GOKU

When a low-class Saiyan soldier named Bardock unexpectedly inherits the ability to see into the future, his life takes a dramatic turn for the worse!  Haunted by visions of his own end as well as the destruction of his entire planet, Bardock sets off on a nightmarish race with fate to advert the impending disaster.  But Bardock seems to be stumbling along in a maze of hopeless despair until a vision of his baby son, Kakarot, as a grow man inspires him to make a change and confront his destiny head on!…  This is the story of Bardock, the father of Goku!

I can remember when “THE HISTORY OF TRUNKS” was shown on TV in Japan back in 1993 the buzz on the anime bulleting boards (BBS) at the time was just message after message of excitement and shock by “DRAGON BALL Z” fans.

That excitement was followed by the large attended screenings at anime fan clubs for “THE HISTORY OF TRUNKS”, the second special of “DRAGON BALL Z”. Fans traveling nearly three hours just to see this special during those old school anime years and I can remember seeing the shocked faces of everyone who watched it.  It will always be a lasting memory and many years later, “THE HISTORY OF TRUNKS” special would still become a favorite of mine.

Now nearly two decades later, the first two specials have been released together on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment.

The Blu-ray starts off with the second special “The HISTORY OF TRUNKS”.  As we know from the TV series, future Trunks was able to come from the future to warn the Z Fighters about an impending battle with the androids that will take place a year later.  But most of all, to get an antidote to Son Goku who died in Trunks future from a deadly virus.

This special showcases the events leading up to future Trunks before he goes back in time.   The special starts off with everyone at Chichi’s home at the death of Goku who succumbed to the deadly virus.  Then we learn of the androids arrival and learn that the majority of the Z Fighters have been killed by Androids 17 and 18 and now humanity is being killed off.  The only surviving people in the group of friends are Chichi, her father Ox King, Gohan, Bulma, Trunks, Master Rohshi, Oolong and Puar.

Trunks wishes he could fight them off but knows he is no match and his mother Bulma is way to strict to let him get into trouble.  One day, as Trunks takes a look at a city that has been devastated by the Androids, Gohan makes his return 13-years after the androids have arrived.

Gohan is now a strong man and donning his father’s original colors and after the begging of Trunks to become his master and to train him, Gohan agrees.

During the first battle against the androids, both Gohan and Trunks try to fight the androids together but because of Trunks inexperience with fighting, he is literally being pummeled to death.  Gohan can’t stand for it and rescues Trunks but when the androids set off a deadly blast.  You see the aftermath of the blast and Gohan has lost an arm and Trunks doesn’t look like he’s alive.  With only one sensu bean, Gohan must make a decision, use it to bring his arm back and get healthy or use it on Trunks.  Thinking of what his father would do, Gohan uses the final sensu beans on Trunks.

Meanwhile, while Gohan and Trunks are out for the count and they are in need for more healing and training, the androids continue their killing spree around Earth.  With more people dying, Gohan makes the decision to fight them alone.

Definitely an awesome special that Trunks fans and anyone who were captivated by the Android saga will definitely enjoy.  This special has been among my favorites for years and to watch this on Blu-ray was fantastic.

The second special featured on the Blu-ray is the first special and was released back in 1990 and takes place when Frieza was in control of many planets and destroying them.  Among those planets was the planet Vegita, where the Saiyan Bardock is from.

Bardock is a low-class fighter but his group of low-class fighting Saiyans has been successful in beating a lot of enemies that would be difficult for top tier Saiyan fighters.  While on a fight against the Kanassa, Bardock and his group managed to kill off the enemies on that planet but one.  Tooro has given Bardock a gift (or more like a curse) which allows him to see the future of his doom.  Something that Tooro and his species have seen in their heads and wanted Bardock to have the gift to see how he will die.

Meanwhile, as the group returns to Vegita to rehabilitate, Bardock starts seeing images in his head.  Images of his son Kakkarot (Goku) as a child, teenager and adult.  Also, he sees an image of his planet of Vegita being destroyed.  He shrugs it off as a nightmare and as the images of his son, he can’t believe his son became a soft man and not a warrior.

While Kakkarot was undergoing rehabilitation, his team was sent on a mission but it was a fake mission planned by Frieza.  Frieza who is not liking how this group of Saiyan’s are becoming too powerful has his minions murder everyone in Bardock’s team.  When Kakkarot discovers it was Frieza who set them up to die, Bardock vows for revenge against Frieza and his men.  But meanwhile, these images in his head become much more real and he learns that perhaps they are not dreams or nightmares, it was what the alien Tooro told him, a glimpse to how he will die.  Can Bardock change the future?  Can he defeat Frieza?

Two action-packed “DRAGON BALL Z” specials on one Blu-ray Disc!

VIDEO:

If there is one thing that is important to remind everyone is that these two animated specials are twenty years old.  It’s a general known fact that a lot of older anime films, specials and even TV series have not been preserved well.

There is only so much that can be done with the original master source, so let’s start with the good and the bad.  The good is that this is probably the best we are ever going to see “Dragon Ball Z”.  It’s on Blu-ray, hi-def and the picture quality was great for that time and the colors are nice and sharp with it’s 1080p transfer.  The video was remastered in High Definition and digitally restored and you get a nice wide screen 16×9 transfer.  Colors look good for two anime films that are twenty years old.

With that being said, the good news is that the specials fared quite well in its translation to Blu-ray.  Because these two were shown on television, you don’t get as much scratches or dust.  In fact, I saw very little of any scratches or dust which was great considering how old these two specials were.  Also, the colors were quite vibrant and was very pleased with the video transfer.

AUDIO:

Like the treatment they have given to their TV season box sets of “DRAGON BALL Z”, this Blu-ray disc features Dolby TrueHD, English 5.1 with Japanese or U.S. Music and the original 2.0 Japanese track.  I love having been given the choice and although I grew up watching “DRAGON BALL Z” with its original Japanese language, I have to say that the English dubbing for the US “DRAGON BALL Z” is terrific and perfectly cast.

The Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 track is where you are going to hear the difference because of the utilization of the rear channels during the battle scenes.  So, it’s great to have FUNimation really work the 5.1 track for the Blu-ray release.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Surprisingly there are no special features included on the Blu-ray but there are a good number trailers for a lot of the recent FUNimation DVD and Blu-ray releases.

I may sound a bit biased towards these two specials because I was there to see the excitement by anime fans not long after the special was shown in Japan and to see the anime club viewings in the US so packed with people watching it in Japanese (without understanding what is going on) and to see anime BBS message boards with long threads from “DRAGON BALL Z” fans just discussing their shock after watching the special.  It was one of those rare times I can remember so many fans coming together to watch a film that was not subtitled in English (the other was the first “Street Fighter” animated film) and no one really knew what was going on but because the special featured so much action, it was just worth watching.

I’ve purchased many incarnations of “THE HISTORY OF TRUNKS” and to watch it on Blu-ray and to see how vibrant the colors were and how good it looked for an anime 16-years old, was quite nice.

The same can be said in regards to “BARDOCK, THE FATHER OF GOKU”.  A special that I watched nearly two decades ago and again, to really enjoy because rarely do the “Dragon Ball Z” storyline go outside of main core of characters and focus on another group.

Not much was known about Bardock but it was great to watch this special again.  And again, for something that came out so old, and in this case 19 years ago to look so vibrant in colors and looking so great in Blu-ray is a major plus.

FUNimation Entertainment did another fantastic job on this Blu-ray and it may have a bit of the dust and scratches but it was very minimal.  But as a longtime “DRAGON BALL Z” fan, “THE HISTORY OF TRUNKS” is one of those must-own releases.  For DBZ fans, these two specials would be a fantastic addition to your anime collection and for a Blu-ray, the price for both one Blu-ray disc is great.

Overall, another action-packed release that is definitely recommended!

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