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Dragon Ball Z – Dragon Box Z Vol. 7 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

October 14, 2011 by  



The final Dragon Box Z is here!  A thrilling, hilarious, action-packed, kick-ass final volume! Featuring a total of 40-episodes of “Dragon Ball Z” in one box set! Uncut, unedited and presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio with Japanese dialogue and theme music. If you are a hardcore DBZ fan, the “Dragon Box Z” DVD box sets are highly recommended!

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

TITLE: Dragon Ball Z – Dragon Box Z Vol. 7

DURATION: Episodes 251-291 (1025 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Japanese Voice track with original music mono, English voice track with original Japanese Music 5.1 surround, 4:3, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV PG

Released on October 11, 2011

Based on the manga and created by Akira Toriyama

Directed by Daisuke Nishio

Series Composition: Takao Koyama

Character Design by Yuji Ikeda

Music by Shunsuke Kikuchi

Screenplay: Aya Matsui, Hiroshi Toda, Jun Maekawa, Katsuyuki Sumisawa, Keiji Terui, Masashi Kubota, Reiko Yoshida, Satoru Akahori, Sumio Uetaka, Takao Koyama, Toshiki Inoue, Yoshiyuki Suga

Episode director: Atsutoshi Umezawa, Daisuke Nishio, Hidehiko Kadoda, Hiroki Shibata, Johei Matsuura, Junichi Fujise, Kazuhisa Takenouchi, Kazuhito Kikuchi, Masahiro Hosoda, Minoru Okazaki, Mitsuo Hashimoto, Osamu Kasai, Shigeyasu Yamauchi, Takahiro Imamura, Tatsuya Orime, Yoshihiro Ueda

Featuring the following voice talent:

Masako Nozawa/Sean Schemmel as Son Goku

Masako Nozawa/Stephanie Nadolny as Son Gohan

Masako Nozawa/Robert McCollum as Son Goten

Takeshi Kusao/Eric Vale as Trunks

Ryo Horikawa/Christopher R. Sabat as Vegeta

Hiromi Tsuru/Tiffany Volmer as Bulma

Kozo Shioya/Josh Martin as Majin Buu

Naoko Watanabe/Cynthia Cranz as Chichi

Mayumi Tanaka/Sonny Strait as Kuririn

Ryo Horikawa/Christopher R. Sabat as Piccolo

Yuko Minaguchi/Lucy Small as Videl

Hirotaka Suzuoki – Tinshinhan

Tohru Furuya – Yamucha

Miki Itou/Meredith McCoy as Andrid No. 18

Daisuke Gouri/Don Brown as Mr. Satan (Hercule)

Michael Dobson as Supreme Kai

Norio Wakamoto/Dameon Clarke as Cell

The battle to harness the power of the seven Dragon Balls explodes in vivid detail like never before. The Dragon Box features over 40 uncut episodes, remastered and restored frame by frame, rendering the legendary action in pristine clarity. Each episode is presented in Japanese and English with the complete opening and closing credits and includes the original episode previews.

And here we are with the final volume of “Dragon Box Z”.

I first discovered “Dragon Ball Z” during the very early 90’s. During the infant stages of Japanese anime conventions in America, there would be “Dragon Ball Z” parties where many people would gather around a hotel room and watch a marathon of episodes. Needless to say, the series which hadn’t been released in America was very popular but of course the only way people could see the show were fan subs with terrible quality on VHS.

I then had the opportunity to discover “Dragon Ball Z” through a Japanese video rental store and although I was taking Japanese at my university at the time, I would rent all that I can but probably miss a lot of the story since my comprehension of Japanese was quite bad at the time.

But then the series came to the US, the videos were released with several episodes per volume and I have to admit, looking back how anime TV episodes were distributed, especially like a long series such as DBZ, if one was able to collect every episode, it would literally cost an arm and a leg.

In 2007, FUNimation Entertainment did something quite wonderful and that was releasing a digitally remastered, digitally restored version of “Dragon Ball Z” in 16×9 widescreen and you would get around 32-36 or so episodes per volume at such a low price. This was such a fantastic deal and for nine seasons (the final volume released was released in 2009), I’ve watched “Dragon Ball Z” completely and have given nothing but positive reviews for them.

But…

I would receive countless e-mails from the hardcore fans of the Japanese television series who were very upset that the show was not presented in its original aspect ratio (4:3) which is the ratio for standard TV and felt the previous releases featured colors that were saturated, the wrong opening and ending credits, no previews for the next episode. Suffice to say, those hardcore DBZ fans who loved the original Japanese episodes were upset. For me, I just looked it at it price wise and figured, at least we are getting something for a great price and I wasn’t going to complain.

But this goes to show you how FUNimation Entertainment does care for its fans and not sure if they received a lot of mail from hardcore fans but they decided to bring out “Dragon Box Z Volume 1” in the fall of 2009 and here we are now with the final seventh volume of “Dragon Box Z” which focuses on episodes 251-291 which showcases the final Buu saga and a final episode which will set up a bridge for the next Dragon Ball series, “Dragon Ball GT”.

In Japan, these episodes were cleaned frame by frame and removing jitter and some grain. Keeping the original colors but most importantly for the fans, keeping everything intact including the 4:3 aspect ratio.

As for the series, aside from the technical differences as mentioned earlier, because the series focuses on the Japanese version of the show, the names of characters are different as the Japanese versions uses “Kamisama-hen” versus “Master Roshi”, Kaio the Genki Dama versus “King Kai”, “Tenshinhan” versus “Tien”, “Vegeta” instead of “Vegita”, etc. The DVD’s come with both Japanese and English dubbing.

In the final seventh volume of the “Dragon Ball Z – Dragon Box Z”, the set continues with the new World Martial Arts Tournament is happening and the Z-Fighters taking on their most powerful adversary yet, but also a few still competing in the martial arts tournament.

The World’s Champ Mr. Satan has managed to make Majin Buu more compassionate towards life when Buu is given a puppy.  But sure enough, two criminals gun down Buu’s puppy and then all hell erupts.  This new anger that Majin Buu has never felt before has him spawn another form of Buu.  While the current Buu (big version) was able accept humanity and become peaceful, this new Evil Buu (skinner and muscular) is everything that was evil.

This Evil Buu manages to beat the current Majin Buu and convert his power over to his and becoming much more powerful.

As for the Z-Warriors, with Vegeta sacrificing his life in the last volume and Goku no longer with the living (since the Cell Saga) and in another dimension withe the Supreme Kais watching Gohan train, Piccolo is left to train Trunks and Goten and making sure they perfect their fusion technique to become Gotenks, the last opportunity for Planet Earth to destroy Evil Buu.

The main characters during this part of the series are:

Goku – Now an adult, married to Chichi and has a son named Gohan. Constantly training in order to become stronger. Still naive and hungry as he was when he was younger. Currently, he is deceased and using his time to train before returning back to the land of the living.

Gohan – Goku’s young son. Goku realizes that Gohan has strong potential but during an unfortunate incident, asks for Piccolo to train his son in fighting to protect people and the planet. Gohan has accompanied Bulma and Kuririn to find the Dragon Balls in the Planet Nemek.

Kuririn – Goku’s childhood friend who accompanies Gohan and Bulma to find the Dragon Balls in the Planet Nemek.

Bulma – A woman still developing products at her father’s company, Capsule Corp. and uses her intelligence to solve the Z Warriors under dire circumstances. With her Dragon Ball scanner, she joins Gohan and Kuririn to find the Dragon Balls in Planet Nemek.

Kaiosama – One of the Kings who trains Goku on how to fight with gravity ten times greater than Earth at Kaio’s world.

Vegeta – The Prince of Saiyan and the most powerful Saiyajin of them all. Comes to Earth in order to destroy it but after being defeated by Goku, rehabilitates himself and now finds himself fighting alongside Gohan and Kuririn.

TrunksThe young son of Bulma and Vegeta who hangs out with Goten

Goten – The second son of Goku and Chichi and hangs out with Trunks.

Kaioshin – The ruler of the Kaios of the Other World, Kaioshin has taken over the position after the previous Kaoshin was killed by the warlock Babidi. He has come to the Earth realm to recruit the Z-Warriors to fight against Babidi and Majin Buu.

Kibit – The loyal bodyguard of Kaioshin.

The main enemies in this set are:

Majin Buu (Boo) – Created by Bibidi, Buu was created to destroy worlds and was sealed away by the former Kaoshin, until he was released once again by Babidi. But is this the same Majin Buu who is known as the destroyer of worlds?  (Note: There are two Buu’s, the heavy set Buu is the kinder, playful version.  The skinny Buu is the evil version.)

Disc 37:

  • Episode 251 – Birth of a Superhuman Warrior!! His Name is Gotenks – With Piccolo now training Gotenks and Trunks, the two must now fuse!
  • Episode 252 – The Final Weapon is Engaged!?  Satan Will Save the Earth – As Mr. Satan becomes the Earth’s last defense against Majin Buu, the two develop a friendship.  And Buu has a new pet dog.
  • Episode 253 – The Successful Fusion of Gotenks! Boo Splits in Two?! – Majin Buu starts to listen to Mr. Satan about no killing, while a pair of thugs aim to kill Buu but end up killing something else instead.
  • Episode 254 – Run Away, Satan!! An Angry Majin Boo Emerges – What happens to Majin Buu after two criminals gun down his puppy?
  • Episode 255 – Which One Will Win!? A Good-and-Evil Boo-Boo Confrontation – The battle of the Buu’s as Majin Buu somehow accidentally manifests an Evil Buu.
  • Episode 256 – A No-Timeout Catastrophe!! Earth’s Humanity Exterminated – The Evil Buu decides to take his challenge directly to Gotenks.
  • Episode 257 – The Special Training is a Success!!  You’re Finished Now, Majin Boo – Piccolo manages to trick Evil Buu to go into the Hyperbolic Time Chamber with him and Gotenks.

 

Disc 38:

  • Episode 258 – ‘I’m Going Like I Mean It!!’ A Wide-Open Super Gotenks – Evil Buu takes on Gotenks.  Who will become the victor?
  • Episode 259 – ‘I’ve Done It!! Boo Successfully Eliminated with Ghosts!? – In a desperate attempt to stop any further destruction, Piccolo destroys the Hyperbolic Time Chamber’s door, trapping the three in the chamber forever.
  • Episode 260 – Gotenks’ Explosion of Power! Yet Evil Boo Proes Unstoppable – As Evil Buu becomes hungry, he finds a way to leave the chamber but now looks towards the Z-Warriors outside of the chamber as food.
  • Episode 261 – Going Too Far!?  Boo-Boo Volleyball – Gotenks transforms into Super Saiyan Level 3 but will this extra power be enought to defeat Evil Buu?
  • Episode 262 – Truly ‘Great’!! A Reborn Gohan Returns to Earth – Gohan continues with his training at the World of Kais and the battle between Gotenks and Evil Buu continues.
  • Episode 263 – Boo Overwhelmed!! Gohan’s Miracle Power – Gotenks fusion is unraveled and Trunks and Goten are in trouble.  Gohan comes to the rescue utilizing his new training.
  • Episode 264 – Has He Done It!? Majin Boo’s Great Explosion – Evil Buu uses a tactic to destroy himself in order to destroy Gohan.  Did Buu’s plan work?

 

Disc 39:

  • Episode 265 – Boo’s Worst Foul!! Gotenks is Absorbed!? – Evil Buu’s tactic was a ploy, now his goal is to absorb the powers of Gotenks in order to become Super Buu.
  • Episode 266 – For the Sake of the Entire Universe… Return to Life, Son Goku – Evil Buu is now more powerful than ever after absorbing a few Z-Warriors.  Does Gohan have enough power to take him on alone?
  • Episode 267 – Gotenks, Piccolo, and Gohan… By Absorbing These Three, Boo Powers Up! – Goku knows that Gohan is getting weak and the Old Kai has a plan to save the day.
  • Episode 268 – Merged!! Vegeta’s Pride and Goku’s Rage – Vegeta arrives and both Goku and Vegeta must join forces again in order to defeat Evil Buu.
  • Episode 269 – Magnificent Power!! Vegetto Surpasses the Ultimate – Goku and Vegeta utilize old Kai’s plan to become Vegito.
  • Episode 270 –  A Fissure Between Dimensions!!  Has Boo Snapped!? – The battle between Vegito and Evil Bu begins.
  • Episode 271 – The Ace Up Boo’s Sleeve!! ‘You Become a Hard Candy’! – Evil Buu comes up with another tactic to fight Vegito.

 

Disc 40:

  • Episode 272 – A Hero Lost!? Vegeto is Absorbed – Evil Buu turns Vegito into candy and absorbs them.
  • Episode 273 – A Demonic Maze!! What Is There Inside Boo’s Belly!? – Although Goku and Vegeto were absorbed, they are able to separate and move around inside Buu’s body.
  • Episode 274 – The True Majin Boo Appears! Goku vs. Boo, the Final Showdown, Begins!! – Both Goku and Vegeta discover their friends and children inside Buu.
  • Episode 275 – A Majin’s Secret!! Two More Boos Inside of Boo – Evil Buu doesn’t like Goku and Vegeta messing with his body and thus finds a way to have himself take on the two in his own body.
  • Episode 276 – Where Is the Exit!?  Escape from a Collapsing Boo – Both Goku and Vegeta think they have the upper hand against Evil Buu.  But all of a sudden, Evil Buu starts to evolve into another type of Buu.
  • Episode 277 – Earth Disappears!! Boo’s Reverse-Transformation of Evil – The plan of freeing Trunks, Goten, Piccolo and Gohan inside of Evil Buu backfires.  And now the new Evil Kid Buu targets the Planet Earth to destroy.
  • Episode 278 – Boo’s Assault!! A Conclusion in the Kaioshin Realm – With last episode’s shocking ending, Evil Kid Buu now has the World of the Kais as his next target.

Disc 41:

  • Episode 279 – Seize the Future!! A Decisive Battle with the Universe at StakeInstead of fusing, Goku and Vegeta decide they should fight Evil Kid Buu alone to the shock of the Kais.
  • Episode 280 – Vegeta Takes Off His Hat!! Goku, You are No. 1 – Goku Super Saiyan 3 fights against Evil Kid Buu.
  • Episode 281 – The MAjin Duel of Boo vs. Boo! Here Comes Goku’s Full-Power Genki Dama!! – Goku’s energy is rapidly draining but needs the time to gather energy to stay alive.
  • Episode 282 – Don’t You Pick on Satan!! The Original Boo is Revived – Evil Kid Buu starts to have a major pain in his body and his name is Majin Buu (original version).
  • Episode 283 – Vegeta’s Secret Plan!! Polunga and the Two Wishes – With Majin Buu and Evil Buu fighting it out once again, Vegeta asks Dende to summon the Dragon from the Planet Namek in order to restore the Earth and the humans back to life.
  • Episode 284 – A Last Hope!! We’ll Make a Huge Genki Dama – Goku asks the revived humans of Earth to give him energy but it seems that many are not willing to.
  • Episode 285 – Ultra-Impressive!  The Genki Dama From Everyone Is Finished – Goku desperately needs more energy but the people of Earth are unwilling, that is until he gets help from someone famous.

Disc 42:

  • Episode 286 – Son Goku is Strongest After All!! Majin Boo is Eliminated – The people of Earth lend their energy to Goku to create the Spirit Bomb!  Will it be enough to destroy Evil Kid Buu?
  • Episode 287 –  Peace Returns!! Majin Boo, Champion of Justice!? – With the result of the last episode, Goku and friends return to Earth and try to integrate Majin Buu back into society as a good guy.
  • Episode 288 – Majin Boo is Pulverized by Everyone’s Collective Genki Dama! The Battle Ends, and the Future Begins – It’s the big party for the Z-Warriors but Goku is nowhere to be found.
  • Episode 289 – Grandpa Goku! I am Pan – Ten years have passed since the battle with Evil Kid Buu and everyone has gotten older, Gohan and Vedil now have a young daughter named Pan who has been trained by her parents and Goku.
  • Episode 290 – I Am Oob!  Now 10 Years Old, the Former Majin! – It’s time for a new World Tournament and Goku gets a feeling someone special may fight in the tournament.
  • Episode 291 – Even Stronger!! Goku’s Dream is Super-Huge – The tournament fight between Goku and Uub continues.  Is Uub the reincarnation of Buu?

 

VIDEO:

“Dragon Ball Z” via this “Dragon Box Z Vol. 7” set contains episodes featured in standard definition (4:3 aspect ratio). The colors are much different than the previous box set where colors were deeper and more pronounced, the colors of the series features its original presentation as it was in Japan and of course, restored frame by frame in which the previous season was not. Personally, I don’t have a preference to which is better but if anything, this set is for the hardcore fans who preferred the original Japanese presentation.

But for these episodes which aired in 1991, you have to acknowledge how good the transfer was for this restoration. Granted, there is a “Dragon Ball Kai” currently airing in Japan in High Definition (and will be released in the US this month on Blu-ray and DVD) which will look much better but for this DVD box set release, considering it’s 20-years-later, for the diehard fans who have wanted these episodes in its original presentation for so long, Pony Canyon definitely did a very good job on restoration and again, great to see FUNimation Entertainment bring this box set to the US.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for audio, this is where things are a bit different from the original Japanese audio presentation. Because FUNimation Entertainment had to include the English dubbed audio, instead of using the 448 kb/s audio, they went with 96 kb/s. This may upset fans who wanted a higher bitrate but because its important to attract those who are prefer English dubs and make the set even more marketable, the English dub had to be included. With that being said, I’ve grown up watching the Japanese audio and typically, I prefer to watch anime in Japanese BUT with “Dragon Ball Z”, I have always felt that the English dub was among the best out there and the voices just sound right for the characters.

But the intention for this box set was for those who wanted the Japanese audio. Personally, it’s a preference that I would rather have 5.1 surround versus mono or stereo soundtracks. And when I do, I typically set my receiver to stereo on all channels since I have a 7.2 setup. But fans will be happy that they get the original Japanese audio for the complete episode, previews for the next episode, opening and ending theme and you get Hironobu Kageyama’s “Cha-La, Head-Cha-La” instead of the Falcouner score.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Dragon Box Z Vol. 7” doesn’t come with any special features but it comes with extras such as the cool packaging and an awesome hardbound booklet.

What we have is a yellow slip case box with Goku on the front, unlike the season box sets which were gateway folded, the DVD’s are presented in two foil covered DVD cases and are presented in Japanese style with the first disc on the right hand side and the two discs on the left.

Also included is a hardcover 50-page booklet titled “Dragonbook” in Japanese reading style. The book features a profile of the Goku family, ultimate character and relationship chart, perfect guide, Dragon Ball Z Design Works Collection, Tenkaichi Couples’ Championship and The Track of Son Goku’s Infinite Power.

The overall box set package is definitely a solid presentation for the hardcore fans and I have to admit, looks way cooler than the previous FUnimation Entertainment DBZ orange box sets.

After 250 episodes, here we are with the final 40-episodes of the “Dragon Ball Z” animated series.

Needless to say, this final volume is action-packed but also features quite a bit of humor as well.  Buu (Boo) is such an interesting villain.  Whereas Frieza is the destroyer and Cell was just plain evil, Evil Buu was much more powerful than either of them but where the others would go on destruction campaigns, Buu’s motivation was enjoying the fight and eating sweets and chocolates.  Definitely a far cry from Frieza and Cell but overall, Buu was a unique villain.  And to see Hercule (Mr. Satan) take some initiative (and also becoming the series clown), it was so interesting to see how he would be important in these final episodes.

If there was any disappointment, it was that Gohan who had such a buildup throughout all the seasons from his younger age to his younger pre-teenage years, his character received the less amount of attention (battle wise) and more focus on the character of Trunks and Goten as Gotenks.  Afterall, we have seen how powerful Gohan had gotten in his battles versus Frieza and Cell, I was hoping to see some sort of unleash of Gohan that would really show off his character now as an older teenager.

Nevertheless, the series brought everything back home with a storyline that focused on the two Saiyans which are Goku and Vegeta, and the way these two interact is always fun to watch and you’ll always know that when these two are together, there is either a lot of action, or a lot of humorous scenes between the two.  And fortunately, you get both.

Each episode has a very good storyline that it’s quite easy to watch episode after episode and find yourself watching a marathon of multiple discs because the episodes were quite enjoyable and action-packed. I also, have to say that there are no filler episodes and each episode, you’re going to get hardcore battles and just non-stop action. It’s what you would expect from a series such as “Dragon Ball Z” and nothing less.

But it’s the instability of Majin Buu’s character which is quite interesting. Because of the way this being is made, unlike Frieza and Cell, the ability to continually regenerate, makes him nearly an unstoppable character. His look and demeanor is nothing like we have seen in the first 200-episodes and to see him kill people for the sake of hunger or for enjoyment to hear things go “boom”, makes Majin Buu an interesting but moreso, a deadlier villain than any villain that has appeared on “Dragon Ball Z” thus far.

And so, you are asking yourself? I own the orange box sets of “Dragon Ball Z”, do I really need to purchase the Dragon Box Z series?

For the most part, this DVD box set is definitely worth it. That is if you are a diehard fan and want how things were when they first aired on Japanese television. That is these episodes are in standard definition with the aspect ratio of 4:3. A focus on the original Japanese dialogue, music and unchanged, uncut opening and ending themes. While the English dub is still included, these box sets are released for one reason and that is to appease the hardcore “Dragon Ball Z” fans!

And I have to give credit to FUNimation Entertainment for giving those fans what they wanted for so long and I see that as quite admirable because they invested in bringing this release stateside and preparing it for the American consumer with the special box set and booklet.

Do I have a preference on which I like better? Well having watch both…and enjoying the season box sets, I am actually content with both but I will have to say that “Dragon Box Z” has a much cooler packaging presentation and about 6-8 more episodes but you will be paying about $15 more. So, it’s really up to you if it’s worth it. Personally, if you just want to see the episodes and prefer to watch it with the English dubs, the original season box sets can be found for a great price these days and were solid releases to begin with. But for the hardcore fans who have demanded and have wanted the original series and how they were presented, you can’t beat these “Dragon Box” DVD boxsets. They’re awesome!

This box set was created for those who wanted “Dragon Ball Z” to be presented how it was in Japan and they have waited a long, long time for it. So, I look at these box sets as fans are now getting the best of both worlds and now those fans should be happy. Now the only thing is left will be the Blu-ray fans who will be clamoring for “Dragon Ball Z Kai” (“Dragon Ball Z” minus the filler episodes, remastered with new intro and vocals all re-recorded) which will be released this month but if you want the entire series, the Dragon Box Z series is what you want, otherwise if you want on Blu-ray – “Dragon Ball Z Kai” is the way to go. So, whether or not you pick the original orange box release, this Dragon Box Z release or “Dragon Ball Z Kai” release, all three are solid releases.

Overall, hardcore fans get there money’s worth with this DVD boxset. You get 40 episodes in their original Japanese TV presentation and each episode which were remastered and you also get cool package-based content. For those hardcore DBZ fans who have waited this long for the original Japanese DBZ anime series in its original presentation, this box set is for you!

If you have come this far in collecting volumes 1-6, then definitely… “Dragon Ball Z – Dragon Box Vol. 7” is highly recommended.






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