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DRAGON BALL Z – TREE OF MIGHT / LORD SLUG (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 22, 2009 by  



“Featuring the third and fourth ‘DRAGONBALL Z’ films on Blu-ray, this latest action-packed release features more battles in digitally remastered glory!

TITLE: DRAGONBALL Z – TREE OF MIGHT / LORD SLUG

DURATION: 115 Minutes

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-03862

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV PG

TREE OF MIGHT

Director: Daisuke Nishio

Screenplay: Takao Koyama

Music: Shunsuke Kikuchi

Art director: Yuji Ikeda

Animation director: Minoru Maeda

Producer: Kenji Shimizu, Kozo Morishita

LORD SLUG

Director: Daisuke Nishio

Screenplay: Takao Koyama

Music: Shunsuke Kikuchi

Art director: Yuji Ikeda

Art: Hitoshi Nagasaki, Shigenori Takada

Animation director: Minoru Maeda

Producer: Kozo Morishita

Art Coordinator: Minoru Nakamura

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

Kôhei Miyauchi as Kame Sennin

Mayumi Shou/Lisa Ann Beley as Chi-Chi

Hiroko Emori/Cathe Weseluck as Chaozu

Masako Nozawa/Chris Patton as Taurus/Turles

Kenji Utsumi/Brice Armstrong as Lord Slug (Old)

Yuusaku Yara/Brice Armstrong as Slug (Young)

TREE OF MIGHT

The Earth’s destruction within a single, solitary seed.  Brought forth from the darkest reaches of space, the Tree of Might has been sown with the vilest of intentions, for once it takes root nothing else can survive.  A plant designed to drain the energy of a planet.  It steals the very essence of life only to blossom in death and desolation.

Unable to fell this mighty threat, Goku and the Z Warriors must instead confront the harbinger of the evil, a a Saiyan bearing an uncanny resemblence to our hero – Turles.  This new enemy kidnaps Gohan and sets the son against the father, a tragedy which only delays the inevitable fight.  As Goku finally faces off against the deplorable double, Turles turns to the thieving tree…

This is the story of hope untapped.

LORD SLUG

Once again called upon to save their planet from disaster, Goku and Krillin race to head off a giant asteroid on a collision course with Earth.  The threat deflected, their home is saved… Or is it?

A greater menace looms in the shadows, a being so evil that he was banished from his old world and now seeks to create a new one of his own.  Lord Slug, prepared to dominate by freezing and opposition, seeks out the seven Dragon Balls.  Fully restored to youth and more powerful than ever, the Z Warriors soon prove to match for this ancient enemy, a Namekian with abilities from lore and legend.  As Goku falls, another must step up before all is lost.

This is the story of legend and loss.

“TREE OF MIGHT/LORD SLUG”, the third and fourth “DRAGON BALL Z” films are now out on Blu-ray featuring even more action-packed battles, both digitally remastered in 1080p High Definition.

The first film on the Blu-ray is “TREE OF MIGHT”, the third film in the “DRAGON BALL Z” film series, debuted in Japan back in 1990. An evil Saiyajin named Turles (Taurus) who bares the resemblance of Goku along with his minions have reached the planet Earth and are disappointed that Kakarot (Goku) has not destroyed it.

So, they unleash a seed onto the planet which will grow into the “Tree of Might”, a tree that saps the world’s energy in order for it to grow and bare some fruit. The fruit is known to make a Saiyan much more stronger.

The tree grows at such an incredible rate that it’s literally destroying the planet and Turles and his minions are wanting to destroy this world quickly and defeat Goku for his failure. But fortunately the Z Warriors Son Goku, his son Gohan, Piccolo, Kuririn, Tien Shinhan, Chiaotzu and Yamcha are there to prevent Turles from destroying the planet.

This film also introduces Gohan’s purple dragon pet, Icarus who is featured in the television series.

The second film “LORD SLUG” debuted in Japan back in 1991. A threat is coming to Earth. In fact, a smaller planet is about to slam into Earth and Goku and Kuririn do what they can to stop it. As the smaller planet is destroyed, an alien spaceship emerges and lands on the planet.

As a crowd of curious bystanders watch to see what comes out of the spaceship, an army comes out and tells the humans that they Lord Slug has claimed the planet Earth and all humans must bow to him. Of course, the humans refuse and thus chaos ensues.

With Gohan, ChiChi, Bulma, Oolong and Icarus nearby, Gohan tries to fight the military goons. But for the old Lord Slug, he sees a Dragon Ball on Gohan’s hat. He then sends his army to find the remaining Dragon Balls and uses it to summon Shenglong and his wish, to be restored to his youth.

As Goku, Gohan, Piccolo and Kururin fights against Lord Slug’s minions, he is revealed to be one of Planet Namek’s “Super Nameks” that were banished by the Dragon Balls because the power had corrupted them. And now with tremendous strength and literally a giant, the Z Warriors must do what they can to fight for the planet Earth.

VIDEO & AUDIO:
Video is presented in 1080p High Definition and 16×9. With the first two films, because of its age, the colors stood out but there were much more scratches and dust that were evident in the video presentation.

For “TREE OF MIGHT”, the scratches and dust were minimal and “LORD SLUG”, very little. So, this second volume of the “DRAGON BALL Z” film series definitely looks much better video-wise compared to the first volume.

With the 1080p conversion, the colors are vibrant for two films that are nearly 20-years-old and personally, this is probably the best we will ever see these two films on the Blu-ray format.

But the video quality is much better over the first two films and I was pleased with that.

As for the audio, audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 with Japanese Music (or with U.S. Music) and the original Japanese audio track. The Japanese audio is in its original presentation, and it’s a version that I have seen multiple times of these films when they were shown on Japanese television. With that being said, you’re not going to get much at all from your home theater system for the Japanese track. Now for the Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 track, oh my… you will hear the difference.

For “TREE OF MIGHT”, you actually hear the forest ambiance as Gohan, Bulma, Oolong and others are going camping. You hear the sounds of the animals around you and especially the fire and the flames burning. I was very impressed by the sound distribution on each speaker channel for “TREE OF MIGHT” and “LORD SLUG”. “TREE OF MIGHT” was the film that really surprised me by the amount of sound coming from the rear channels. For a classic film, it was great to hear these two films via Dolby TrueHD.

And although I typically watch a lot of my anime in Japanese, I feel that “DRAGON BALL Z” is one of the best well-casted, well-done English voice dubs for an anime series out there. Each character and their English voice talent do a tremendous job and although having watched “Dragon Ball Z” in Japanese when I was younger, the improved sound quality and very good voice acting for the English dubs has been my preference for viewing the films and TV series.

The digitally remastered high definition 1080p treatment for the film and it’s TrueHD audio definitely made these two films much more enjoyable!

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 releases.

As any “DRAGON BALL Z” fan can expect, you’re going to get a lot of action and really awesome battles from these two films.

The earlier “DRAGON BALL Z” films tend to feature the dragon balls being used a lot, Gohan’s unknown power and Goku being the person who typically would bring that 1-2 punch.  For fans of the TV series, as mentioned earlier, Icarus makes his debut on the third film “TREE OF MIGHT” and so you can see how Gohan and Icarus became very close.   The fourth film “LORD SLUG” pretty much answers the question for those wondering if a Saiyan can become a Super Saiyan, can a Namek become a Super Namek?  And with “LORD SLUG”, the answer is yes.

To watch these films on Blu-ray and to see how the color becomes much more vibrant and again, for a film of its age, nearly 20-years old, it’s absolutely beautiful.   And the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio and the use of the audio directed to the surround channels were well done.  It really enhances your viewing of the two films.  So, all in all, great treament by FUNimation for putting these two on Blu-ray, 1080p High Definition and Dolby TrueHD treatment but also giving fans a chance to own these two films for a low price.

Overall, if you are a big fan of the “Dragon Ball Z” series and own a Blu-ray player, then definitely start considering getting these films on Blu-ray!  It’s well worth it!

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