Dragon Ball – Season One (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)
September 6, 2009 by Dennis Amith
“Enjoyable, addicting and absolutely awesome! This is the animated series that introduced Goku, Bulma, Krillin, Yamcha and friends. 31 Episodes in one volume, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth with this release. Highly recommended!”
Image courtesy of © 1986 STUDIO/SHUEISHA, TOEI ANIMATION. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Dragon Ball – Seasone One
DURATION: 31 Episodes, 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: August 25, 2009
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 as Yamcha
Duncan Brannan as Monster Carrot
The greatest adventure of all time begins now!
Goku may be small, but this fearless warrior packs a punch as powerful as any on the planet. Left alone after his grandfather’s and eating some more. But all that changes on the day he meets Bulma – a bossy, blue-haired beauty with boys on the brain. Together, they set out to track down the seven magic Dragon Balls and make the wish that they will change their lives forever.
And that’s just the beginning! Goku also spends some time on Turtle Island where he and Krillin study martial arts under the legendary Master Roshi. The old hermit may not look like much, but if his new pupils can find him a woman, he’ll make sure they’re ready to rumble at the upcoming World Martial Arts Tournament.
Season One of Dragon Ball is a must-have for everyone from the die-hard fan to the next generation of collectors.
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.
But now the episodes will be released in the USA for the first season of “Dragon Ball” for the first time uncut, remastered and digitally restored.
“Dragon Ball” focuses on Son Goku, a boy who is not familiar with any humans but his Grandpa Gohan. One day, a teenage girl named Bulma uses her Dragon Ball radar to track down a Dragon Ball belonging to Goku. Goku explains to her that he never seen any female humans before but his grandfather taught him to be nice to them. He also explains that the Dragon Ball he has was given to him as a gift by his grandfather.
Bulma who has accumulated a few Dragon Balls herself wants to find the remaining Dragon Balls in order to grant herself a wish. Goku decides to join her on her quest to find the Dragon Balls and along the way the two have their own set of challenges.
“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. Having own the #4 Dragon Ball which his grandfather gave him, he decides to join her on a quest to find the remaining Dragon Balls (seven total).
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, it was not strong enough to beat Goku and thus he ends up assisting both Goku and Bulma along the way in order to get the Dragon Balls.
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 a rival but also 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. He then takes Goku and Krillin as his students.
Puar – A shape shifting animal who can shape-shift for a long period of time and hangs around Yamcha.
The Ox-King – Many fear the Ox-King who rules Fire Mountain and is the father of Chi Chi. Aside from his brute strength, this huge man is a goodhearted guy who just hated people for trying to steal from him. He also cares deeply about his daughter and does everything to make her happy.
Chi Chi – A girl who is smitten with Goku and wants to marry him. The daughter of the Ox-King.
Launch – A woman that Master Roshi likes and when normal, she’s a regular, innocent girl. But when she sneezes, she becomes a whole new different woman with a bad attitude.
Emperor Pilaf – The main antagonist of Bulma and Goku who is trying to collect all the Dragon Balls. He calls himself the emperor and expects Shu and Mai to find the Dragon Balls.
Shu – A ninja fox who works for Emperor Pilaf. Tends to be a bit misunderstood and clumsy.
Mai – The gun-toting henchman for Emperor Pilaf.
Colonel Silver – The ruthless high-ranking official of the Red Ribbon Army who will squash anyone in his way in order to find the Dragon Balls.
Red Ribbon Army – Not much is known about the Red Ribbon Army but they are ruthless and are led by Colonel Silver.
“Dragon Ball – Season One” features a total of 31 episodes on five DVD’s. Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode:
- EPISODE 1- Secret of the Dragon Balls – Bulma and Goku meet for the first time.
- EPISODE 2- The Emperor’s Quest – Another group looking for the Dragon Balls.
- EPISODE 3 – The Nimbus Cloud of Roshi – Goku tries to help a turtle get to his home.
- EPISODE 4 – Oolong the Terrible – Bulma and Goku find a Dragon Ball in a nearby village but the village has been terrorized by something called Oolong the Terrible.
- EPISODE 5 – Yamcha the Desert Bandit – Yamcha, the bandit from the desert challenges Goku.
- EPISODE 6 – Keep an Eye on the Dragon Balls – Oolong joins Bulma and Goku on their quest for the Dragon Balls.
- EPISODE 7 – The Ox-King on Fire Mountain – The next Dragon Ball may not be easy to find especially since its located inside the home of the Ox-King.
- EPISODE 8 – The Kamehameha Wave – Goku and Chi Chi go to Master Roshi for help to calm the fire at Fire mountain.
- EPISODE 9 – Boss Rabbit’s Magic Touch – While at another village, a rabbit turns Bulma into a carrot. Will Goku be able to beat this troublesome rabbit.
- EPISODE 10 – The Dragon Balls are Stolen – Emperor Pilaf and his group try to steal the Dragon Balls from Bulma.
- EPISODE 11 – The Penalty is Pinball – Emperor Pilaf traps the Goku and friends in a game of pinball.
- EPISODE 12 – A Wish to the Eternal Dragon – Who will make the wish to Shenlong after the Dragon Balls are gathered.
- EPISODE 13 – The Legend of Goku – Bulma and Oolong learn why Grandpa Gohan told Goku not to look at the moon.
- EPISODE 14 – Goku’s Rival – Goku meets his rival/training partner Krillin.
- EPISODE 15 – Look Out for Launch – Goku and Krillin must find a date for Master Roshi in order to receive training.
- EPISODE 16 – Find that Stone! – Goku and Krillin continue to train while the woman Launch has a secret.
- EPISODE 17 – Milk Delivery – Goku and Krillin delivery milk as part of their training.
- EPISODE 18 – The Turtle Hermit Way – Will Goku and Krillin survive Master Roshi’s training.
- EPISODE 19 – The Tournament Begins – Goku and Krillin take part in their first World Martial Arts Tournament.
- EPISODE 20 – Elimination Round – Goku and Krillin take on their first opponents in the tournament.
- EPISODE 21 – Smells Like Trouble – Krillin must go against the very smelly and foul Bacterian.
- EPISODE 22- Quarterfinals Begin – Yamcha fights an old man named Jackie Chun in the tournament.
- EPISODE 23 – Monster Beast Giran – Goku takes on the frightening beast Giran in the tournament.
- EPISODE 24 – Krillin’s Frantic Attack! – Krilllin takes on Jackie Chun in the semi-finals of the tournament.
- EPISODE 25 – Danger From Above – Goku takes on Nam in the semi-finals of the tournament.
- EPISODE 26 – The Grand Finals – The finals of the World Martial Arts Tournament featuring Goku vs. Jackie Chun.
- EPISODE 27 – Number One Under the Moon? – When a full moon comes out during the tournament, Goku changes to an ape.
- EPISODE 28 – The Final Blow – Jackie Chun must end the battle with Goku (in ape form) before anyone gets killed.
- EPISODE 29 – The Roaming Lake – Goku looks for his grandfather’s Dragon Ball.
- EPISODE 30 – Pilaf and the Mystery Force – While Emperor Pilaf and his group search for the Dragon Ball, so is the mysterious Red Army.
- EPISODE 31- Wedding Plans? – One of the Dragon Balls is in the possession of the Ox-King and with Goku to return, will it be a grand wedding for Goku and Chi Chi?
VIDEO & AUDIO:
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 with only a hint of dust particles and scratches but for the most part, this remastered version definitely looked very good on DVD.
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” dubwork that I found the English dubwork 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.
“Dragom Ball – Season One” comes with the textless opening and closing theme songs and FUNimation Entertainment trailers.
Enjoyable, addicting and absolutely awesome!
That’s how I felt after watching the first season of “Dragon Ball”. I thought it was absolutely fabulous that the FUNimation Entertainment has released the series uncut, remastered and digitally restored but to also release the first 31 episodes as a box set like they did with “Dragon Ball Z” and “Dragon Ball GT”. For fans of any of the “Dragon Ball” series, not so long ago, it cost a lot of money just to purchase separate volumes of the series (which typically came with only a few episodes) and now, here we are several years later and definitely getting our money’s worth.
Also, to watch this series once again, not only was it a nostalgic time for me, it was just great to see the episodes and watching how fun, humorous and action-packed they were. Each episode was absolutely addicting and it was great seeing how awesome of a fighter Master Roshi (Kamesama Sennen) was back then and just seeing how the story evolved pre-Dragon Ball Z. Also, to see Bulma and Yamcha during their younger years was fun as well.
Although “Dragon Ball” is not as intense or action-oriented like “Dragon Ball Z”, the series still manages to capture a lot of action and although this is Goku when he was much, much younger, even then, he was no slouch and had very good fighting ability. And there was more emphasis on the storyline as well.
For parents wondering about the TV 14 rating, part of it is because Goku is nude quite a few times and also, when he finds out that females are not the same as males (and he hasn’t been around humans all that long), Goku tends to touch people in the crotch to see if they are male or female. Also, during Krillin’s fight with Bacterium, there are things that the opponent does that you will never seen in a television series, let alone an animated series. And the characters of Oolong and even Master Roshi are characters that are quite perverted.
As for the DVD, as mentioned, this is the best I have seen “Dragon Ball” look and 31 episodes for the first volume is pretty much a bargain for what it’s sold for. Granted, I wish there were some special features included outside of textless theme songs but overall, you’re getting your money’s worth with these box set releases.
Granted, if I had to find a negative and wanted to be nitpicky, I can easily complain that the fifth disc only contains three episodes and that the Japanese audio track was not in Dolby Digital 5.1 but truthfully, 31 episodes is still plentiful and for purists, you do get the Japanese audio track in its original mono format. Really, there is nothing I can really complain about this release. It’s a very solid release that is affordable and just worth it!
Overall, “Dragon Ball – Season One” is another wonderful release from FUNimation Entertainment. Fans of any of the “Dragon Ball” series will definitely want to make sure this one is in their collection. Highly recommended!
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