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Dragon Ball – Season Four (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

May 4, 2010 by  



Action-packed and enjoyable throughout!  Season four of “Dragon Ball” brings us an action-packed volume featuring battles against between Goku vs. Tien, Krillin and features the King Piccolo saga!

Image courtesy of © BIRD STUDIO/SHUEISHA, TOEI ANIMATION. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Dragon Ball – Season Four

DURATION: Episodes 93-122, 5 DVD’s (745 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, English Voice Track with Original Japanese music 5.1 Surround, Japanese Voice Track with Original Music Mono

COMPANY: Toei Animation/FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: May 4, 2010

Originally created by Akira Toriyama

Directed by Daisuke Nisho and Minoru Okazaki

Music by Shusuke Kikuchi

Character Designs by Minoru Maeda, Yuki Ikeda

Anime Production by Toei Anime

Featuring the following voice talent:

Masao Nozawa/Stephanie Nadolny as Son Goku

Hiromi Tsuru/Tiffany Vollmer as Bulma

Daisuke Gouri as Umigame

Eiko Yamada/Julie Franklin as Mai

Kenji Utsumi/Christopher R. Sabat as Shen Long

Kohei Miyauchi/Mike McFarland as Kame Sennin (Master Roshi)

Mayumi Shou/Laura Bailey as Chi Chi

Mayumi Tanaka as Krillin

Naoki Tatsuta/Brad Jackson as Oolong

Naoko Watanabe/Monika Antonelli as Pu’erh (Puar)

Christopher R. Sabat as Grandpa Gohan and Turtle

Shigeru Chiba/Chuck Huber as Pilaf

Tohru Furuya/Christopher R. Sabat as Yamcha

Takeshi Aono/Christopher R. Sabat as Piccolo

Brendan Hunter as Tien

Goku’s headed for a showdown with a sinister green fiend!

A new breed of evil – more powerful than anything ever experienced – is taking the world’s greatest martial artists down for the count. Goku is quick to join the fight, but he’s about to meet his match in the form of King Piccolo. This menacing monster has the power to pulverize the planet, and his murderous rampage will not stop until he controls the power of the seven magic Dragon Balls.

When Krillin is the first hero cut down by the monster’s minion, the stage is set for a brutal grudge match between Goku and Piccolo. Earth’s greatest champion vows to avenge the loss of his best friend, but first, he must journey to Korin Tower on a quest for the Ultra Divine Water: a magical elixir that could give him the strength to save humanity – or send him straight to the grave!

It’s the series that started it all… “Dragon Ball”. Originally, a manga series written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama for “Shonen Jump”, the manga series lasted from 1984 through 1995 and since the manga series has produced several anime series which include “Dragon Ball”, “Dragon Ball Z”, “Dragon Ball GT” and currently in Japan, a new HD broadcasting of “Dragon Ball Kai” and in 2009, an American live action film titled “Dragonball Evolution” was released worldwide.

“Dragon Ball” is the first arc of the series which aired in Japan from 1986 through 1989 and lasted for 153 episodes. The series was released by Harmony Gold USA in the late 80’s and then by FUNimation Entertainment in 1995 and uncut episodes were released on DVD in 2003.  The episodes focus on Son Goku’s childhood, searching for the dragon balls and training to become stronger to protect his friends and the world.

With the uncut episodes released in the U.S., remastered and digitally restored, the fourth season of “Dragon Ball” is here and features the martial arts tournament against Tien and also the beginning of the King Piccolo saga.

“Dragon Ball” focuses on the following characters:

Son Goku – Not much is known about Goku’s past. He was found by a man he calls Grandpa Gohan and trained to be a boy who loves nature and people. And has incredible strength and fighting ability. He was warned by his grandfather to never look at the moon but one day he did and turned into a giant ape and accidentally killed his grandfather. Although not too familiar with humans, he meets a female named Bulma for the first time who is trying to look for Dragon Balls.   Now Son Goku continues to train to help his friends and protect the world from evil.

Bulma – A teenager who’s father is a scientist and owner of the Capsule Corporation. A technology that people can store vehicles, homes and storage into a tiny capsule. When thrown, the capsule turns into the actual object that was stored. She’s rather impulsive and outspoken. Her dream is to find the Dragon Balls and make a wish in order to get a perfect boyfriend.

Oolong – A pig who has a fascination with women’s panties. A perverted pig who once terrorized a village. Has the ability to transform to anything for five minutes. Attended a class with Puar in transforming but failed and never learned to stay in a object for more than five minutes. He joins Bulma and Goku in their mission to find the Dragon Balls.

Yamcha – A banded who is accompanied by his shape-shifting animal Puar. With his Wolf’s Fang Fist fighting ability, he trains under Master Roshi and joins Goku to fight evil.

Krillin – A former monk who has been bullied by his other monks. He goes to Master Roshi for training and trains alongside Goku and becomes good friends with him.

Master Roshi (Kamisama-sen) – An old lecherous man who trained Grandpa Gohan and the Ox King to fight. Despite looking like an old man, he has a tremendous fighting ability and is known for his devastating attack known as the Kamehameha. During the martial arts tournament, he disguises himself as the world champion, Jackie Chun.

Other Characters:

Puar – A shape shifting animal who can shape-shift for a long period of time and hangs around Yamcha.

Launch – A shy and attractive maid of Master Roshi who has a dissociative identity disorder. When she sneezes, she goes from the shy/beautiful blue haired woman to a blonde, attractive and dangerous weapon-toting, foul-mouth woman.

Korin – The guardian of Korin Tower who has the sacred water which Goku needs.

Fortuneteller Baba – Master Roshi’s oldest sister who uses her psychic abilities for financial gain.

Master Shen – An old rival/friend of Master Roshi who trained under the same master but went towards a darker path. Also, the brother of Mercenary Tao.

Tien – A stuent of Master Shen and a dangerous martial arts fighter with three eyes. An enemy of Goku in the beginning, he learns his ways and trains under Master Roshi.

Chiaotzu – A good friend of Tien and trains alongside with him.

Yajirobe – A warrior with strength but also constantly hungry.  Not the one to get involved in anyone’s battles but somehow ends up getting involved.  The second person after Son Goku to climb the Tower of Korin.

The Villains:

Master Shen – The brother of Mercenary Tao and the master of the Crane School of Martial Arts which Tien and Chiaotzu has trained under.  After the death of Tao, he wants revenge against Goku.

King Piccolo – Escaping his prison, now Piccolo wants to destroy Earth piece by piece and kill all living things.  His minions include Tambourine, Cymbal, Drum and Piano.

“Dragon Ball – Season Four” features a total of 30 episodes on five DVD’s. Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 93 – Tien Shinhan vs. Jackie Chun – It’s the semi-finals and Jackie Chun (Master Roshi) takes on Tien.
  • EPISODE 94 – Stepping Down – Jackie Chun wants to try and change Tien’s evil ways.
  • EPISODE 95 – Goku vs. Krillin – In the semi-finals, it’s friend vs. friend – Goku vs. Krillin.
  • EPISODE 96 – Tail’s Tale – Krillin knows one way he can fight against Goku.
  • EPISODE 97 – Final Match: Goku vs. Tien – It’s Goku and Krillin to the end, who will with the match?
  • EPISODE 98 – Victory’s Edge – It’s the finals – Goku vs. Tien.
  • EPISODE 99 – Tien’s Insurrection – Something happens to Goku during his battle with Tien.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 100 – The Spirit Canon – With Tien losing the match, he uses his last resort against Goku.
  • EPISODE 101 – The Fallen – Goku takes on Tien’s tri-beam.
  • EPISODE 102 – Enter King Piccolo – Goku’s friend is killed and now he wants revenge against the menacing monster, King Piccolo.
  • EPISODE 103 – Tambourine Attacks! – Piccolo sends his killer minion Tambourine to slaughter the most powerful martial arts fighters in the world.
  • EPISODE 104 – Mark of the Demon – Piccolo sends his minions to find the dragon balls.
  • EPISODE 105 – Here Comes Yajirobe – Goku meets the samurai warrior, Yajirobe.
  • EPISODE 106 – Terrible Tambourine– Master Roshi and Chiaotzu try to find the dragon balls before Piccolo’s minions find them.

DISC 3:

  • EPISODE 107 – Tien’s Atonement – Tien must make a choice…pursue the life of good or evil.
  • EPISODE 108 – Goku’s Revenge – Goku vs. Tambourine
  • EPISODE 109 – Goku vs. King Piccolo – The first battle between King Piccolo and Goku.
  • EPISODE 110 – Piccolo Closes In – Master Roshi and Tien try to get the dragon balls.
  • EPISODE 111 – Roshi’s Gambit – Master Roshi vs. King Piccolo
  • EPISODE 112 – King Piccolo’s Wish – Another friend of Goku’s perishes in battle and Piccolo uses the dragon balls.
  • EPISODE 113 – Siege on Chow Castle – Goku and Yajirobe climb Korin’s Tower.

DISC 4:

  • EPISODE 114 – Conquest and Power – Goku asks Korin for more training in order to fight Piccolo.
  • EPISODE 115 – Awaken Darkness – Goku looks for the Ultra Divine Water.
  • EPISODE 116 – A Taste of Destiny– Goku is put through the test in order to find the water.
  • EPISODE 117 – The Ultimate Sacrifice – Tien masters the evil containment wave and now he goes to fight Piccolo.
  • EPISODE 118 – Prelude to Vengeance – King Piccolo makes his decree to the world.
  • EPISODE 119 – Battle Cry – Tien vs. Drum
  • EPISODE 120 – Goku Strikes Back – Goku returns for a rematch against Piccolo.

DISC 5:

  • EPISODE 121 – The Biggest Crisis – The battle between Goku vs. Piccolo continues.
  • EPISODE 122 – Final Showdown – King Piccolo uses Tien to fight Goku.

VIDEO:

When I first saw “Dragon Ball”, it was probably back in 1992 and the quality of this raw Japanese video was so rough and hard to watch, it was just bad. Several years later, I was able to catch the first few episodes that aired on television but the problem was that the schedule was inconsistent and our television network was quite bad.

So, it is great to see this uncut, remastered and digitally restored version on DVD. Presented in its original format of 4:3, one thing I noticed is how good this anime series looked on DVD. The series is nearly 25 years old and just watching it, FUNimation Entertainment did a great job in bringing this series out and making it look very good. Granted, it is not free of blemishes, there is some dust, you will see a bit of compression but for the most part, compared to what we had available years ago or over a decade ago, I’m quite content with this remastered version of the series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for the audio, similar to the recent FUNimation Entertainment “Dragon Ball Z” and “Dragon Ball GT” releases, the English voice track with original Japanese music comes in 5.1 Surround, while the Japanese voice track is in its original Japanese mono. I watched both English and Japanese and of course, there are some changes in the English dialogue (ie. Master Roshi and in the Japanese track, Kamesama Sennen) and grew up watching the original Japanese version but for the most part, I have enjoyed the “Dragon Ball Z” and “Dragon Ball GT” dub work and similar to those two series, I found the English dub work for “Dragon Ball” to be quite solid. Dialogue is clear and understandable and for audio settings, for both audio tracks, I found the best setting for me was to select on my receiver “Stereo on all Channels”.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Dragon Ball – Season Four” comes with the textless opening and closing theme songs and FUNimation Entertainment trailers plus a 24-page booklet with character information and episode synopsis.

This is the volume of “Dragon Ball” that I have been waiting for!

For many people familiar with the characters of “Dragon Ball Z”, many people who were only familiar with that series were probably unclear about Goku’s rival Piccolo and why the two had an uneasy relationship in the first season.  Also, a lot of people may not know that Tien and Chiaotzu were also one time enemies and rivals of Goku and friends.  But this latest season definitely ramps things up in terms of action in the “Dragon Ball” storyline which would extend through “Dragon Ball Z” and partly with “Dragon Ball GT” (despite GT not being an official manga by Akira Toriyama).

But for any fans of “Dragon Ball”, the martial arts tournaments have always been exciting and fun to watch and in this case, this latest tournament is no different as we get to see Goku vs. Krillin but also Goku vs. Tien.  We also can see how ruthless Piccolo was back then and definitely a 180 to what people are familiar of the character today from “Dragon Ball Z”.

Also, the fourth season introduces us to the samurai warrior Yajirobe who is the comedy character for his hunger and naivety but for some reason, he’s just a hilarious and silly character that somehow ends up saving the day and continues that way even through “Dragon Ball Z”.

And if you have collected the first three seasons, it just gets better from there and the next volume of “Dragon Ball” should be the final in the series, just in time as FUNimation Entertainment prepares its HD release of “Dragon Ball Z Kai” (note: “Dragon Ball Z” is currently available, also in its uncut Japanese version featured in the “Dragon Box” DVD sets from FUNimation Entertainment”. Hopefully, we will see a re-release or maybe a Blu-ray release of the “Dragon Ball” films.

Overall, “Dragon Ball – Season Four” is another awesome, action-packed volume and it just gets better and better with each release. Definitely recommended!






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