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DRAGON BALL GT – SEASON 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

February 8, 2009 by  



“’The third ‘DRAGON BALL’ series is here as GT takes place nine years after ‘DRAGON BALL Z’.  A series that is worth your time, it slowly builds up to a major fierce battle with our favorite warriors against the latest threat to humanity named Baby.  Action-packed, enjoyable and 34-episodes in one volume for a great price, can’t beat that!”

DVD TITLE: DRAGON BALL GT – SEASON 1

DURATION: 780 minutes (34 episodes)

DVD INFORMATION: 34 Episodes on 5 discs, 4:3, with English subtitles, English Voice Track with Original Japanese Music 5.1 Surround, English Voice Track with TV Broadcast Music Stereo and Japanese Voice Track with Original Music menu

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV PG

Directed by Minoru Okazaki

Series Director: Daisuke Nisho, Osamu Kasai

Screenplay: Aya Matsui, Daisuke Yajima, Jun Maekawa, Junki Takegami and Masashi Kubota

Music by Akihito Tokunaga

Original Creator: Akira Toriyama

Character Design: Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru

Theme Song by Deen, Field of View and ZARD

Featuring the following voice talent:

Masako Nozawa/Zoe Slusar as Son Goku

Masako Nozawa/Hyle Herbert as Son Gohan

Masako Nozawa/Robert McCollum as Son Goten

Takeshi Kusao/Eric Vale as Trunks

Yuko Minaguchi/Elise Baughman as Pan

Ryo Horikawa/Christopher R. Sabat as Vegeta

Megumi Urawa/Sean Teague – Uub

Hiromi Tsuru/Tiffany Volmer as Bulma

Hiromi Tsuru as Bra

Kozo Shioya/Josh Martin as Mr. Buu

Naoko Watanabe/Cynthia Cranz as Chichi

Yusuke Numata/Mike McFarland as Baby

Mayumi Tanaka/Sonny Strait as Kuririn

Ryo Horikawa/Christopher R. Sabat as Piccolo

Yuko Minaguchi/Lucy Small as Videl

After enduring trials that would have crushed any other soul, Goku is now faced with the most important journey of his life.  The Dragon Balls have been scattered to the ends of creation!  The universe is dense with danger and the Saiyan hero must plunge head first into peril, for if the seven magic relics of Shenron are gathered within a eyar’s time, Earth will meet with final catastrophe.

Alongside his friends, Pan and Trunks, Goku will struggle against the most formidable evils yet, be they savage beast with the power to crumble mountains, false gods intent on sacrificing those who believe, or cruel manipulators of science who seek to strip the good of all power.  The countdown to oblivion has begun… And before the clock strikes eternal midnight, the most incredible menace to ever threaten existence will rise!

Our favorite characters from “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball Z” are back with “Dragon Ball GT”, a 64-episode series that aired in Japan in 1996-1997. The animated series would be the first to not be based on the original manga.  I was among the many fans of “DRAGON BALL Z” who waited in high anticipation for this series to come out in Japan and there was a lot of buzz with this animated series.

The storyline of “Dragon Ball GT” takes place nine years after the events of “Dragon Ball Z”, our favorite characters have aged.  Here is a brief explanation of how our favorite characters are doing:

Son Goku – Has been gone for several years away from his family and has been busy training his apprentice, Uub (the reincarnation of the evil Majin Buu and now a good person).

Son Gohan – Now a researcher at Capsule Corps, Gohan is a dedicated family man and married to Vedil and has a 13-year-old daughter named Pan.

Son Goten – Now a teenager and more interested in dating girls

Chichi – Always the concerned mother

Vedil – Loving wife of Gohan and mother of Pan

Pan – The 13-year-old daughter of Gohan and Vedil.  Like her mother and likes to fight and compete.

Bulma – Still the main inventor of Capsule Corp. but now a loving wife to husband Vegeta, son Trunks and daughter Bulla (Bra).

Vegeta – Husband and father who is sensitive to what his daughter Bulla says to him.  Still the same brash man as he always is.

Trunks – Now President of Capsule Corp., like his mother very intelligent and into science and technology.  Likes to escape from business life whenever he can.

Bulla (Bra) – The 14-year-old daughter who doesn’t fight like her brother.  Loves to shop and into fashion and being a teenager.

Piccolo – Still training and meditating.

Krillin – Married to Android 18 and has a daughter named Marron.  Now sports a mustache and his hair is grayed.

Hercule (Mr. Satan) – The Champion of the World and has a whole city and establishments named after him.

The series kicks off with a former and familiar enemy from Goku’s past.  Emperor Pilaf and his assistants (Shu and Mai) have scoured the galaxy looking for the seven Black Star Dragon Balls.  When Pilaf is surprised to have an older Goku there to stop him from using the Dragon Balls, Emperor Pilaf accidentally uses his wish from Shenron to turn Goku into a child again.   The wish is granted and Goku has become a young child.

Goku still retains his power and everything else but his original body and to make things worse, they are warned by King Kai that because the Black Star Dragon Balls were used, if they do not find the seven Dragon Balls within a year, the planet Earth will be destroyed.  So, a team is created to help search the Dragon Balls.  Vegeta and Chichi decide that their sons Trunks and Goten will accompany Goku to find the Black Star Dragon Balls throughout the galaxy.

But as Goten prepares to get on the ship, Pan who wants to prove herself that she’s not a young kid, ends up sneaking into the ship and accidentally launching the spaceship and ends up taking Goten’s spot.

Thus the first arc of “Dragon Ball GT” features Goku, Trunks and Pan going all over the galaxy to find these Dragon Balls.

Throughout their adventures in space, they end up recruiting a robot named Giru who has a built-in radar to find the Dragon Balls and the four go on various missions to retrieve them and encountering challenges and obstacles along the way.

They eventually run into Dr. Myuu, a scientist who wants to control the galaxy and has created the ultimate machine mutant known as Baby.

The second arc of Season 1 features Baby revealing himself to be a descendant of the Tuffles, a race that was destroyed by the Saiyans.  He has the ability to take control of people and plant cells in order to take control of their bodies (or use them as food) and his goal is to take control of the Saiyans and everyone in the world.  Unfortunately for Goku, Trunks and Pan, they don’t realize that when they return back to Earth that Baby has nearly taken control of humanity and their friends.

This leads to an intense battle with a powerful enemy that they never faced before.  How can they stop Baby?  How can they battle their friends without fatally damaging their bodies?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“DRAGON BALL GT” was created in the mid-90’s and the video looks good on DVD considering that I watched this series when it was out in Japan and had to resort to many rental videos to watch it.  The video has been remastered and digitally restored and presented in 4:3.

The audio is what was expected.  “DRAGON BALL Z” features one of the best cast for an anime series and each voice fit the characters quite well in English, so fortunately the same cast is working on “DRAGON BALL GT”.  The audio is featured in English 5.1 stereo.   The Japanese track is the original 2.0 stereo track.  Overall, both voice acting are done quite well for the Japanese and English tracks.  If anything, the only surprising situation is to hear an English sung version (which I couldn’t stand) of the popular J-Pop theme songs by Field of View, DEEN and ZARD.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

On Disc 5, you get textless opening and ending theme but that’s pretty much it.  You can watch FUNimation Entertainment trailers as well.

If anything, you do get an episode synopsis booklet and it also features character profile information on the key enemies that Goku, Trunks and Pan encounter.

When “DRAGON BALL GT” aired in Japan, I have to admit that I was a bit surprised that there was a new series and even more surprised to find out that “DRAGON BALL GT” unlike “DRAGON BALL Z” would be more lighter in tone.  Definitely more of a series that can be enjoyed by a younger demographic and although there was fighting, the first 16 or so episodes focused more on the search of the Black Dragon Balls.

For many of us who enjoyed “DRAGON BALL Z”, I suppose that there was an immediate longing for more hardcore storylines and battles that we were accustomed to and hoped for “DRAGON BALL GT”. But with Goku shrunken down to a child, TRUNKS definitely not like the Future Trunks we were accustomed to during the Cell saga and the other character being Gohan and Vedil’s young daughter Pan, the series seemed to be targeted towards a young demographic and I have to admit at that time, I was turned off by it.  Also, at that time, watching it in straight Japanese, I’m sure I lost a lot in translation.

But nearly over 13 years later, I figured I would give it another try and watch it with my five year old.  I figured the series was more light-hearted that it was something he could enjoy and sure enough he did.  In fact, watching it again, I enjoyed it.

For volume 1, the first 16-episodes pretty much focused on the journey of finding the Black Star Dragon Balls but it was eventually setting up a storyline that would introduce Dr. Myuu and his creation, Baby.  And if you thought Cell and Majin Buu were badass villains, Baby is definitely not a slouch either.  With the ability to possess mankind and anything living, suffice to say, this is a villain that our favorite fighters are not used to fighting.

And sure enough, once Baby comes to the picture, we start to get that “DRAGON BALL Z” style of feel of Earth near destruction and finally getting to see those major battles that we enjoyed from the previous series.  Watching now a grown up Goten taking on Baby, followed by a battle between Goten and Gohan and then seeing Vegeta get into a battle again.  That was exciting.

In fact, I had no idea that things have ramped up for “DRAGON BALL GT”.  All this time, I thought it was all light-hearted episodes but to watch it now and see that it became an action-packed series, I was amazed.

So, suffice to say, I was surprised to watch and see how the series suddenly ramped up and became more action-based and I was hooked.

When the series first came out in America, I can see how some may have been a bit disconcerted if they had to watch “DRAGON BALL GT” ala few episodes per volume because as mentioned, the first 16-episodes were about seeking “DRAGON BALLS” and the main characters were more or less playing hide-and-seek to avoid trouble and find the Black Star Dragon Balls.

Fortunately, this time around, with this release of all 34-episodes in one volume at a great price, you’re getting a spectacular deal for the price.   You’re getting the “Black Star Dragon Ball” and the “Baby” saga together and it definitely makes things much worthwhile.

Having grown up with “DRAGON BALL” as a child, “DRAGON BALL Z” as a teenager and then “DRAGON BALL GT” as a young adult, I found myself to be a bit more caring because as these characters have grown up, I have as well and here I am watching the series with my own child.

Personally, if you have watched “DRAGON BALL” and “DRAGON BALL Z”, if you’re a hardcore fan, more than likely you’re not going to bypass “DRAGON BALL GT”.  Like myself, you’ve grown up with the series and have an interest in these characters.

“DRAGON BALL GT” doesn’t start out with a bang as what some “DRAGON BALL Z” fans might have expected but if you give it a chance, the series is entertaining and you definitely get the action-packed battles as the series progresses.

With all 34 episodes on one volume, it makes more sense buying it now at a good price.  If you were a fan of the previous two series, then definitely it’s worth checking out.






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