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“Dragon Ball Z” Season Sets Blasting onto Blu-ray This Winter

November 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

“Dragon Ball Z” Season Sets Blasting onto Blu-ray This Winter

DBZ-Beauty-1a

Flower Mound, TX (November 7, 2013) – FUNimation® Entertainment has announced that it is giving the Blu-ray release of the anime phenomenon Dragon Ball Z another go.

Originally attempted with the Level Sets in 2011, production was suspended due to technical challenges of the frame by frame restoration from the original film.  After careful evaluation of the process, FUNimation is glad to announce that restoration has recommenced and releases will be available before years end.

Different from the Level Sets before it, the episode count on the Blu-ray Season Sets will be identical to their extremely popular DVD counterparts. Also different, is the restoration and re-mastering process being used. A bolder, more vibrant color palette is being used to produce a picture current, and future, televisions can take advantage of. The Blu-ray Season Sets will also come in a widescreen format. Precise shot-by-shot reframing of each scene has used to ensure the optimal picture when converting from its native, full screen format.

“We want Dragon Ball Z to be a part of the HD experience,” said Gen Fukunaga, CEO and president of FUNimation Entertainment. “We want people to see how much time and care has been taken to give them something similar to what is being animated today.”

Each set of three releases will feature never-before-seen triptych cover art, showcasing the majorheroes and villains from Dragon Ball Z’s three major sagas.

FUNimation Suspends Production of Dragon Ball Z Blu-rays

January 26, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Flower Mound, TX – January 26, 2012-  FUNimation Entertainment, has officially confirmed they have suspended production of all future planned Blu-ray releases of Dragon Ball Z including Level 2.1  scheduled to be released on March 27, 2012.

Blu-ray editions of Dragon Ball Z went into production based on fan demand, however due to technical challenges of restoring from the original film frame by frame, we are unable to continue these releases by way of this process.  FUNimation will be re-evaluating the current process and researching more efficient methods of restoration.

Specific questions may be directed to : feedback@funimation.com

Dragon Ball Z Level 1.2 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

A wonderful, cleaned-up remaster of one of the most awesome anime series ever created!  “Dragon Ball Z” looks and sounds so much better on Blu-ray and for those who have upgraded to HD and have wanted a classic anime series that delivers in storyline, characters and all-out action, “Dragon Ball Level 1.2″ is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © Bird Studio/Shuiesha/Toei Animation. 2009 Toei Animation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Dragon Ball Z Level 1.2

DURATION: (Episodes 8-34) 425 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (4×3), English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Toei Animation/FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV PG

Release Date: December 13, 2011

Originally 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/Zoe Slusar as Son Goku

Masako Nozawa/Hyle Herbert as Son Gohan

Ryo Horikawa/Christopher R. Sabat as Vegeta

Hiromi Tsuru/Tiffany Volmer as Bulma

Naoko Watanabe/Cynthia Cranz as Chichi

Mayumi Tanaka/Sonny Strait as Kuririn

Ryo Horikawa/Christopher R. Sabat as Piccolo

Hirotaka Suzuoki – Tinshinhan

Tohru Furuya – Yamucha

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

Michael Dobson as Supreme Kai

Fear the sinister Saiyan onslaught! Celebrate the heroic return of Goku! And prepare for an epic showdown with Vegeta!

The last survivors of a cruel, warrior race, the Saiyans have carved a path of destruction across the galaxy, an now they have set their sights on Earth! They will stop at nothing until they have the wish-granting powers of the seven magic Dragon Balls for their very own.

With the fate of his family, friends, and the entire human race hanging in the balance, Goku, the Earth’s greatest hero, must rise to meet the approaching threat. As he prepares for the fight of his life, Goku embarks on an epic journey that will take him to other worlds, pit him against new and old enemies alike, and force him to confront the dark secrets of his own past. At the end of this path, the most powerful opponent he has ever faced awaits: the evil Saiyan Prince Vegeta!

For the past few years, I have been raving about FUNimation Entertainment’s releases of “Dragon Ball Z” from the original orange box collections to the recent Dragon Box Z DVD box set releases (Japanese version of the series uncut). And afterward, raved about the “Dragon Ball Z Kai” series on Blu-ray.

Having grown up with “Dragon Ball Z” and during my teenage years visiting the local Japanese video rental store and always in heavy anticipation of what was being shown on television in Japan that week and waiting the two weeks it would arrive in the US and watching it in Japanese, despite not knowing what was being said, I enjoyed the series tremendously.

The main protagonist Son Goku was Japan’s equivalent to America’s Superman. I’m sure the juxtaposition of both Superman and Dragonball can be seen as a baby from other planet comes to Earth, the baby growing up to becoming a boy with tremendous strength and abilities and raised by a loving person who instilled good in his heart.

Granted, Goku’s original mission when landing on Earth was to destroy humanity but learning kindness towards people, nature and animals, he became a hero that protected all that he loved from any evil. But most importantly, Goku was a character that was far from perfect. He was a character that was always learning about people, enjoying life but most of all, setting a goal to becoming stronger and developing his skills in order to protect the people and the planet that he loves.

And now this beloved, action anime series receives its latest release from FUNimation Entertainment, restored specifically for Blu-ray known as “Dragon Ball Z Level 1.2″ featuring episodes 18-34.

“Dragon Ball Z” begins five years after the finale on “Dragon Ball”, after Goku defeated King Piccolo. “Dragon Ball Z” begins with Goku introducing his friends to his young son Gohan. But while things seem peaceful, unfortunately things are going to go from peaceful to downright terrible when Goku’s brother from the planet Saiyan, Raditz, goes to check and see if Goku has destroyed the planet Earth. But Goku, who was raised by the peaceful Gohan when he was a baby grew up compassionate towards the living life on Earth and swore to protect it.

Needless, to say Raditz is disappointed and decides to kidnap Gohan and gives Goku an ultimatum, he must slaughter 100 of Earth’s people and has a day to consider joining him in destroying Earth. Or else, Goku must fight against him.

With Raditz being the most powerful nemesis by far, Goku and his former nemesis Piccolo decide to work together in order to beat Raditz and rescue Gohan.

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.

Gohan - Goku’s young four year old son who may have some unknown power like his father. Due to his mother Chichi’s strictness, he has never been trained to fight. Just study.

Piccolo – Still a rival to Goku but during these dire circumstances, the two form an alliance. Also, becomes Gohan’s guardian and trainer.

Chichi – Goku’s wife, Gohan’s mother who is very strict. She does not want Gohan to be like his father.

Bulma – A woman still developing products at her father’s company, Capsule Corp. and uses her intelligence to help the Z Warriors under dire circumstances.

Yamcha – Ex-boyfriend of Bulma who once joined Goku and Bulma during their adventures to find the Dragon Ball.

Master Roshi – A trained martial artists who was friends with Goku’s adopted grandfather, Gohan. Despite his old age, he can still fight and also a big pervert.

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

Tien and Chiaotzu – Former rivals of Goku for the 23rd Martial Arts Tournament and now his good friends.

The main enemy:

Vegeta - The prince of the Planet Saiyan who has come to the planet with Nappa after the death of Raditz but also to search for the Dragon Balls which he wants for immortality.

Nappa – An elite Saiyan warrior who has accompanied Vegeta to search for the Dragon Balls.

“Dragon Ball Z Level 1.2″ features episodes 18-34 of the series. Here is a brief synopsis of each episode:

DISC 1

  • EPISODE 18 – Gohan’s tail grows back and sees a full moon.  That can only mean…
  • EPISODE 19 – Goku’s training from King Kai begins.
  • EPISODE 20 – Goku’s training continues with the grasshopper Gregory.
  • EPISODE 21 – Goku’s training is complete.
  • EPISODE 22 – Vegeta and Nappa arrive on Earth and Nappa causes destruction in East City.
  • EPISODE 23 – Vegeta and Nappa send Saibamen after the Z-Warriors.  And a hero is killed.
  • EPISODE 24 – After the death of a Z-Warrior, an enraged Krilling takes on the Saibamen.
  • EPISODE 25 – Tien, Piccolo and Krillin vs. Nappa.  Another Z-Warrior is killed.
  • EPISODE 26 – Vegeta delays the fight in order to wait for Goku to arrive, meanwhile Nappa causes more destruction. Another Z-Warrior is killed in battle.

DISC 2

  • EPISODE 27 – Piccolo, Krillin and Gohan tries to pull off Nappa’s tail.
  • EPISODE 28 – Another Z-Warrior is killed and Goku arrives.
  • EPISODE 29 – Goku vs. Nappa
  • EPISODE 30 – Goku vs. the powerful Vegeta.
  • EPISODE 31 – The battle between Goku and Vegeta continues.
  • EPISODE 32 – The fight between Goku and Vegeta continues.  But Goku has exhausted his power.
  • EPISODE 33 – Gohan and Krillin arrive on the battlefield in hopes of helping Goku.
  • EPISODE 34 – Gohan and Krillin vs. Vegeta.

VIDEO:

As mentioned earlier, this is not the same “Dragon Ball Z” featured in the orange DVD box sets or the “Dragon Box Z” box sets that were just enhanced for Blu-ray. This 1080p High Definition version of the series is a new digital transfer by FUNimation Entertainment and ANDTRANSFER for restoration.

In the past, I would notice the scratches and white speckles. In fact, years before the release of “Dragon Ball Z Kai”, when FUNimation Entertainment released the first two “Dragon Ball Z” movies on blu-ray, it was littered with dust and white speckles and I felt that if DBZ ever made it to Blu-ray, it may suffer from the same quality.

In fact, I have dreamed that they would restore the series but at 291 episodes, I figured that it would be too expensive for them to pursue it, even if “Dragon Ball Z” was FUNimation Entertainment’s flagship series. But sure enough, they did do it in 2011 and they took the original Japanese 16mm film frame and made it to 1080p. The FUNimation Entertainment team cleaned up the episodes frame by frame (note: you do see a few white speckles but only a very few times) and the picture quality is much more vibrant, clearer and you do see the grain a bit more. Colors and line art is more pronounced as with the artistic background.

So, FUNimation Entertainment did something which I thought was never going to happen and literally give American fans the best looking version of the “Dragon Ball Z” series to date. Yes, “Dragon Ball Z Kai” looks great but it’s not the entire series. So, I’m pretty ecstatic about this release and quite happy that FUNimation Entertainment decided to go through with the restoration.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Dragon Ball Z Level 1.2” is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English) with the original Japanese music, English Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (broadcast version) and Dolby TrueHD Monaural for the Japanese track with Japanese music.

Because the English is mixed and utilizes more channels, there is a dramatic difference in sound, although for those with a modern receiver and have a solid 5.1 or 7.2 setup, can easily switch their receiver to stereo on all channels for the Japanese soundtrack for a more immersive soundscape.

But here is the lowdown on the lossless audio. Sound effects are now heavily utilized on the surround channels.  When a person is screaming, the surround channels are used as well. I didn’t notice major activity via LFE but felt the series was more front, center and surround channel driven.  A lot of cool sound effects utilized this time around for the battle sequences (and there are so many of them in these episodes in “Dragon Ball Z Level 1.2″).

The Japanese soundtrack is probably the best that we’re ever going to hear it. Remember that this is an older series made back in 1989. While “Dragon Ball Z Kai”, the Japanese brought in voice actors to re-record the soundtrack, this is not Kai, this is the original series. And as much as I want to say the hardcore fans of the Japanese version would be happy, fortunately for these hardcore fans, FUNimation Entertainment released the “Dragon Box Z” DVD box sets.

With that being said, I grew 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.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Dragon Ball Z Level 1.2″ features the following special features:

  • Textless Opening Song – (1:52)
  • Textless Closing Song - (1:39)
  • An Engineer and a Pen: Autograph Collection Part 1 – (2:10) Featuring autographed photos of the English dub cast.
  • The Many Faces of Christopher R. Sabat – (1:00) Photos of voice actor Christopher R. Sabat (voice actor of Goku) being made-over.

EXTRAS:

“Dragon Ball Z Level 1.2″ comes with a slipcover case.

All that went through my mind when I was watching “Dragon Ball Z Level 1.2″ was how awesome an experience it was to see this series finally in HD and how fantastic it looked and how incredible the lossless audio track was.

With Level 1.2, you get several arcs for the first season.    The second arc continues as Piccolo is training Gohan to become stronger while Goku trains at Kaio-sama’s world and the arrival of the two Saiyans: Vegeta and Nappa leads to a battle against Earth’s toughest warriors which include Yamucha, Tenshinhan, Krillin, Piccolo and Gohan.

But these episodes were quite significant back then as it would feature the major deaths of four major characters that fans have grew up watching from the original “Dragon Ball” series.  And eventually leading up to the first of many continuing battles between Goku and Vegeta.  But this volume does feature that first battle between the two Saiyans.

As a person who has followed the series for over 20 years, watching “Dragon Ball Z Level 1.2″ was fun, especially to see it so cool in HD! I didn’t think it would happen because there were so many episodes in the series, but FUNimation Entertainment did it and I’m quite happy.

I was captivated by the original “Dragon Ball” series (which featured Goku as a child) and later with “Dragon Ball Z” featuring Goku as an adult. The series would bring back the characters that were seen on the original “Dragon Ball” series but this time around, the series took on more of a serious tone as the enemies became more deadly and Goku and his friends were put into grave situations that they have never had to face before. “Dragon Ball Z” would feature wonderful character development, intense action sequences and most of all, knowing how to extend the series to tease fans and keep people in high anticipation of what would be happening next.

Since then, I have had the opportunity to see this DBZ fandom grow in the US from the very early ’90s and seeing “Dragon Ball Z” viewing parties at the early anime conventions and then seeing how the series exploded into American pop culture once the series began airing on television in the US and with its DVD releases. It’s hard to believe that this series I have followed for years and began in 1989 has celebrated its 20th Anniversary celebration in 2009.

But the celebration was fantastic news for fans as this time, “Dragon Ball Z” would be remastered for HD TV and would be called “Dragon Ball Z Kai” which would include a brand new opening and ending sequence, commercial cut scenes, new frames produced digitally, re-recording of the voice talent, new music and most importantly, focusing on the main story arcs and reducing the series 291 episodes to a total of 97 episodes.

With that being said, while I enjoyed watching “Dragon Ball Z Kai” as it looks even better in HD, if you are a big fan of the series, you know that so much was cut out. Especially since Kai only covered part of the series to the Cell Saga and leaving the Buu saga in the dust.

There are so many episodes that people would miss out on but the problem is that those orange box DVD sets which contained 30+ episodes… well, either they are hard to find or many people have moved on to Blu-ray and wouldn’t think about going back to DVD.

But let’s assume that you have purchased the orange DVD box sets of “Dragon Ball Z” which were remastered for 16:9, gave the option of listening to English with Japanese music, it’s original English presentation or watching it in Japanese. Needless to say, some fans complained because it was 16:9 and not the original presentation. So, to appease the hardcore fans, FUNimation Entertainment released the “Dragon Box Z” DVD Box Sets.

But now with “Dragon Ball Z Kai” coming to a close on Blu-ray and many fans wondering “Will the complete ‘Dragon Ball Z’ series ever come out on Blu-ray?”. Well, FUNimation Entertainment has answered that question with a big “YES!” by its announcement to release “Dragon Ball Z” on Blu-ray and in 2011, fans were able to get two volumes and await Level 1.3 which will conclude the first season (episode 39 is the final episode of season 1), before going into the next major story arc which introduces another action-packed storyline with an even stronger enemy named Frieza.

Now, some of you with those orange DVD Box Sets wonder…”is it worth purchasing all over again?”. Well, yes and no. First, let me explain why I say “yes”. Yes, in the fact that FUNimation Entertainment redid the visuals to make it in its original 4:3, similar to major cinema on Blu-ray and DVD, ran it through the Spirit Datacine in order to make the series ready for HD and went as far as to clean up all the white speckles and do what they can to make it presentable in HD. In other words, this is not the same release that fans received with the orange DVD box set. This release is specifically for fans who want “Dragon Ball Z” on Blu-ray. Cleaned up and given the best presentation and literally looking better than its previous DVD counterparts.

But I also mentioned “No”. Unless you are a hardcore fan, bare in mind that this release is also unlike the orange DVD Box Sets that came with 30+ episodes and took about nine volumes. The first Blu-ray for the “Dragon Ball Z Level 1.1″ release will only contain the first 17-episodes and if this will be the average, you can expect 17 or 18 volumes of “Dragon Ball Z” on Blu-ray. But by saying that, restoration for films or any type of media is very expensive, so it’s not surprising to me that for a long series such as “Dragon Ball Z”, there are only 17-episodes featured.

Once again, I never expected this series to receive restoration because it is 291-episodes long and that would be expensive. But FUNimation Entertainment did it and all I can say is that this is the best looking version of the anime series to date.

The original orange DVD box sets were fantastic and many fans should be fine with that. That is unless you are now focusing on anime on Blu-ray, then yes, these new “Dragon Ball Z” Blu-ray releases and the upgrade of its visuals make it a series worth purchasing.

Overall, “Dragon Ball Z Level 1.2″ is an impressive release from FUNimation Entertainment but definitely will make fans of “Dragon Ball Z” excitied.  One, because this project has showed us how much of an improvement can be made to a classic anime series and two, with what FUNimation was able to accomplish, one can only hope that they do the same and give a remastered treatment to the original “Dragon Ball” and also “Dragon Ball GT” series.  And also other classic anime series that FUNimation Entertainment is able to license.

Sure, there may be a few hardcore fans will complain that the series is not like the manga (and I agree with you) and I know hardcore fans will complain that it’s not the same as the Japanese TV airing (which FUNimation Entertainment went on to release the ‘Dragon Box Z’ box sets) and those who have forked money over before will complain of having to rebuy it again (but this is for Blu-ray not DVD). But that’s the nature of media and you have to expect upgrading. But as mentioned before, those original orange “Dragon Ball Z” DVD Box sets were fantastic and if you own them already, you should be fine with those releases. Unless you want it in HD, then yes, you will have to upgrade.

And if you are a DBZ fan and own the DVD’s but are also watching your anime on Blu, this is too awesome of an anime series to pass up and is definitely worth the upgrade.

So, for those who want to experience the complete “Dragon Ball Z” series looking its best via HD, now you have your chance. If you don’t want to watch the 291 episodes, then you also have a choice of watching “Dragon Ball Z Kai” (although you do miss out on the “Buu” storyline and many other episodes).

But once again, this volume is pretty awesome as you get the first major battle between Goku and Vegeta and the deaths of several Z-Warriors.  Definitely an exciting, action-packed volume of “Dragon Ball Z”!

In conclusion, “Dragon Ball Z” on Blu-ray is fantastic for the fans of the series but also for those who have been craving for a wonderful, action-packed anime series that truly delivers in story, cool characters and action.  “Dragon Ball Z Level 1.2″ is highly recommended!

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

October 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

Dragon Ball Z – Dragon Box Z Vol. 6 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

July 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

My favorite story-arc of the “Dragon Ball Z” series! The Majin Buu Arc begins and Goku reaches Super Saiyan Level 3! 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 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. 6

DURATION: Episodes 210-250 (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 July 19, 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.

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 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 latest, action-packed sixth volume of “Dragon Box Z” which focuses on episodes 210-250 which concludes the Cell saga, features the Underworld Martial Arts Tournament and the Super Saiyaman Arc.

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 sixth 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 intend to take part.

Trunks and Goten intend to take part in the junior tournament, while the Z-Warriors are excited about taking part in the adult tournament.  But unbeknown to the Z-Warriors is that an evil Warlock named Babidi and the evil Demon King Dabura are trying to unseal a monster named Majin Buu.  Meanwhile, Kaoishin, the ruler of the Kaios of the Other World and his bodyguard Kibit have come to Earth in order to recruit the Z-Warriors to fight Majin Buu and Babidi.

But with focus of some of the Z-Warriors are on the tournament and Goku, Gohan, Vegeta and Kaioshin on Babidi, Dabura and Majin Buu…With the power that the Z-Warriors currently have, will it be enough to beat them?

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:

Babidi – The evil warlock trying to release the seal and revive Majin Buu that was created by Babidi’s father, Bibidi.   

Dabura – The Demon King who is assisting Babidi in trying to unseal Majin Buu.

Majin Buu – 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?

Disc 31:

  • Episode 210 – No Small Matter!! Little Trunks – The junior division of the Tenkaichi Tournament continues!
  • Episode 211 – It’s My Turn! Goten’s Anxious First Fight Trunks vs. Goten in the Junior tournament!
  • Episode 212 – Happiness Times a Million! The Junior Champion is DecidedTrunks vs. Goten in the Junior tournament!  Who wins?
  • Episode 213 – Now What, Satan!? The Greatest Pinch in History – Trunks vs. Mr. Satan in an exhibition match.
  • Episode 214 – Event Match-Ups Decided!! Let’s Hurry and Hold the First Round – The adult division of the tournament begins!
  • Episode 215 – What’s the Matter,  Piccolo?  An Unheard-of No-Fight Forfeit – Piccolo takes on the mysterious Shin!
  • Episode 216 - Undyingly Unpleasant!? The Mystery of Spopovitch – Videl vs. Spopovitch!

Disc 32:

  • Episode 217 – A Tragic Videl!! Are You Coming Out, Angry Super Gohan! - Videl vs. Spopovitch!
  • Episode 218 – Exposed! The Super Saiyaman is Son Gohan! – Gohan’s identity is revealed!
  • Episode 219 – A Slithering Conspiracy!! Gohan’s Power is Stolen – Yamu and Spopvitch attack Gohan.
  • Episode 220 – The Man Behind the Curtain Appears!! The Evil Madoshi Babidi - The Z-fighters search for Babidi’s minions who have managed to capture Gohan’s energy.
  • Episode 221 – The Awaiting Trap!! A Challenge from the Demon Realm – Piccolo and Krillin make their move against Dabura (The King of Demons) who is assisting Babidi.  Meanwhile, Goku, Vegeta, Gohan and Supreme Kai enter Babidi’s spaceship.
  • Episode 222 – Goku’s Power Wide Open!! Blow Away Yakon – Babidi unleashes his first monster to take on Vegeta.
  • Episode 223 – Don’t Toy With Me!! Vegeta’s Breakthrough First Strike of Fury  – Babidi unleashes his second monster to take on Goku.

Disc 33:

  • Episode 224 – A Great Miscalculation!! Satan vs. Three Super-WarriorS!? – As the Z-fighters have their work cutout for them against Babidi, at the World’s Martial Arts tournament, Android No. 18 goes against Mighty Mask and Mr. Satan.
  • Episode 225 – Such Strong Kids!!  No. 18’s Close Fight!? – Android No. 18 finds out the true identities of who is behind Mighty Mask.  Meanwhile, Babidi unleashes his third opponent…Dabura.
  • Episode 226 – Confrontation with the Demon King! It’s Your Turn, Gohan!! – Android No. 18 now advances against the final match against Mr. Satan.  Mr. Satan knows he is no match for No. 18 but the android is willing to cut a deal with him.
  • Episodes 227 – A Wicked Heart Discovered!! Dabura’s Great Idea - Gohan must now go against Dabura
  • Episode 228 – Vegeta, Prince of Destruction, Revived!!  Intrusion at the Tournament – Babidi manages to use Vegeta’s hatred and negative energy against him and turn him into a Majin, fueling his anger against Goku and making him more powerful.
  • Episode 229 – The Super Confrontation of Destiny!! The Clash of Goku vs. Vegeta - Vegeta now a Majin wants a battle against Goku but Supreme Kai says that in order to fight Vegeta, Goku must battle him first.
  • Episode 230 – Just You Wait, Babidi!! Your Aspirations Will Not Be Allowed - The Saiyan battle between Vegeta and Goku.

Disc 34:

  • Episode 231 – The Seal is Broken! Out Comes the Vicious Majin Boo!! - While Vegeta and Goku are fighting each other, Gohan and Supreme Kai must do what they can to stop Babidi.
  • Episode 232 – I Won’t Allow the Revival!! A Kamehame-Ha of Resistance – While Gohan tries to destroy the nesting area of Majin Buu, he ends up making it hatch.
  • Episode 233 – A Straight Line to Despair!? The Grief of Kaioshin – When Buu comes out of his shell, he is revealed to be an overweight pink being that likes to have its share of fun.  Dabura is not thrilled about Buu and thus provokes him.  Gohan then tries to fight Buu.
  • Episode 234 – The Terrifying Majin!! Death’s Dread Draws Near Gohan – Goten and Trunks find out that Piccolo and Krillin have been turned into stone.  Dabura returns to fight Buu!
  • Episode 235 – ‘Gonna Eat’Cha!!’ A Hungry Majin’s Supernatural Power  – Vegeta takes a cheap shot against Goku, knocking him out.  Now Vegeta has his attention on Buu.
  • Episode 236 – A Warrior’s Resolution!! I Will Dispose of the Majin – Vegeta fights Buu with all he can!
  • Episode 237 – For Those Whome He Loves…Vegeta Perishes!! – With Vegeta trying to do all he can to defeat Buu, Buu seems unstoppable.  Vegeta decides the only way to put an end to him is to sacrifice himself.

Disc 35:

  • Episode 238 – The Nightmare Revisited!! Majin Boo Has Survived – The aftermath of Vegeta’s sacrifice
  • Episode 239 – The Struggle of Videl and the Others!  Find the Dragon Balls – Due to the aftermath, Bulma and others decide to go on a search for the Dragon Balls.
  • Episode 240 – Enormous Hope!! A New Finishing Technique for the Little Squirts - Goku knows that the only way to defeat Buu is if he uses the Art of Fusion but with Vegeta gone, the only two capable of possibly fusing are Gotenks and Trunks.
  • Episode 241 – Goten and Trunks — The World’s Most Wanted - Babidi is not thrilled that Piccolo, Goten and Trunks have left the battlefield and because they did, he has threatened the world that Buu will kill everyone until the three come back to face him and Buu.
  • Episode 242 – Gohan Revised — Kaioshin’s Secret Weapon!? – Goku begins his training of Gotenks and Trunks to learn the Art of Fusion.
  • Episode 243 – It Came Ou~t!!  The Legendary Z-Sword – Gohan continues his training from the Supreme Kai to learn the legendary Z-Sword.
  • Episode 244 – Metro West is Targeted! Stop, Majin Boo!! – A mother whose sons lost in the Jr. World’s Martial Arts Tournament gives information to Babidi about Capsule Corp.

Disc 36:

  • Episode 245 – An Astounding, Great Transformation!! Super Saiyan 3 – As Trunks hurries to find the Dragon Ball radar at Capsule Corp., Goku must stall Babidi and Majin Buu and thus begins his transformation to Super Saiyan 3.
  • Episode 246 – Bye Bye Babidi!! Majin Boo Rebels – Super Saiyan 3 Goku goes against Majin Buu.
  • Episode 247 – Absurdly Awful-Looking!? The Special Training Transformation Pose - With Trunks successful in obtaining the Dragon Ball Radar, Goku goes back to train Gotenks and Trunks the Fusion Dance.
  • Episode 248 – See You Later, Everybody!! Goku Returns to the Other World – With Goku now preparing Gotenks and Trunks, Buu decides to build himself a home and cause more destruction and death.
  • Episode 249 – Where is Gohan!? Ferocious Training in the Kaioshin Realm – With Goku’s time on Earth now over, he must go back to Heaven.  Meanwhile Gohan continues his training.
  • Episode 250 – You’re Kidding, Right!? The Z-Sword is Broken – Goku joins the Supreme Kai to observe Gohan’s training.  But while Gohan goes through his final test, something happens to the Z-Sword.

VIDEO:

“Dragon Ball Z” via this “Dragon Box Z Vol. 6″ 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. 6″ 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 Piccolo 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, One-Hit Wonder Grand Prix, Two Great Races – Saiyan and Two Great Races – Namekian.

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.

With over 200+ episodes, here with the next volume of “Dragon Box Z” which continues the final chapter of the “Dragon Ball Z” series. What can I say… if you thought the Frieza and Cell sagas were fantastic, the Majin Buu saga and where it will go from here is quite amazing.  Personally, having grown up with the series and watching the Buu series when it aired in Japan, I was hooked and it’s so great to watch it again!

No villain in “Dragon Ball Z” has looked as cute and nonthreatening as Majin Buu but yet has managed to slaughter a millions of people and really put the Z-Warriors in a position that they have never been in before.

The high points of this season is the fact that you get a long awaited battle between Goku vs. Vegeta, you get the Super Saiyan level 3 transformation of Goku but then we get to see the fusion technique.

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.

Vegeta fans will definitely enjoy his character transformation but most of all his redemption.  The first half is very Vegeta intensive and in Japan, many people wanted more of him and they got it.  So, to see a powerful Vegeta going against Goku was awesome.

The series manages to weave in every character close to the Z-warriors that we have known from the series in this eighth season, which is very cool.   And also, for Hercule/Mr. Satan fans, you will actually get to see him in action as well.

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 it?

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!

“Dragon Ball Z – Dragon Box Vol. 6″ is highly recommended.

Dragon Ball Z – Dragon Box Z Vol. 5 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

May 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The conclusion of the Cell Arc, the Underworld Martial Arts Tournament and the Super Saiyaman Arc! All three major storylines are presented in 40 “Dragon Ball Z” episodes in one box set!  And for the hardcore fans who have wanted the series uncut, unedited, presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio with Japanese dialogue and theme music are getting what they want with these special “Dragon Box Z” sets.  If you are a DBZ fan, this DVD box set is highly recommended!

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

TITLE: Dragon Ball Z – Dragon Box Z Vol. 5

DURATION: Episodes 169-209 (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 April 26, 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.

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 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 latest, action-packed fifth volume of “Dragon Box Z” which focuses on episodes 169-209 which concludes the Cell saga, features the Underworld Martial Arts Tournament and the Super Saiyaman Arc.

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 fifth volume of the “Dragon Ball Z – Dragon Box Z”, the set continues with the Cell Games (episodes 169-193) as everyone puts their hope in Goku defeating Cell.  But everyone is alarmed that Goku feels he can’t beat Cell at all but is not scared or worried of what may happen.  What secret does Goku have under his sleeve?

The next episodes that follow the Cell Games the Underworld Martial Arts Tournament and the Super Saiyaman Arc.

The tournament (episodes 194-199) features focuses on Goku who is still dead and living in the underworld.   But with the Underworld Martial Arts Tournament coming full force, King Kai and the other Kai’s wager on who will win the tournament.  Meanwhile, what happens when Future Trunks goes back to the future?

Meanwhile, as the Underworld Martial Arts Tournament is going on,  King Kai and West Kai at each other’s throats of who is the best, Goku or Pikkon? And thus the first disc on this box set focuses on the tournament.

The second storyline that follows after the Underworld Martial Arts Tournament reintroduces us to Z-Fighters seven years later (Episodes 200-209).

Bulma and Vegeta are married and have a young child named Trunks.  Gohan is now a teenager and will be attending public high school for the first time.  As expected, with his strict mother Chi Chi, Gohan becomes a straight A student.  But you also learn that he has a younger brother named Goten.

As Gohan enters Orange Star High School in Satan City (named after Mr. Satan because of his lie that he is the one that defeated Cell), he sees that there is trouble in the city with bank robbers and so forth, so with the help of Bulma, creates a costume for him and thus Gohan goes under the secret identity of Great Saiyaman.

In high school, he meets Bedil (Mr. Satan’s daughter) who is a powerful fighter and helps the police force take on the criminals.  Eventually, she catches on to Gohan’s identity and demands Gohan to teach her how to fly or else, she will reveal his secret identity.

For the third arc, a new World Martial Arts Tournament is happening and the Z-Fighters intend to take part.  Also, Goku has been granted a 24-hour stay in Planet Earth to take part in the tournament. As everyone reunites for the first time in many years, Goku for the first time, gets to meet his young seven-year-old son Goten.

Meanwhile, the Z-Warriors get a chance to see Gohan’s Super Saiyaman disguise.  How will they react?

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.

Future Trunks – Takes a time machine from the future to the past in order to change the future in which his timeline, all Z-warriors have been killed by the androids (artificial humans). In his timeline, Goku died of a virus but if he can get medication to him to prevent Goku from dying, possibly the Z-warriors and humanity in the future have a chance in surviving the android onslaught.

The main enemies in this set are:

Cell – Unlike the other androids, he continually evolves ingesting humans in order to become a “Perfect Form” Cell.

VIDEO:

“Dragon Ball Z” via this “Dragon Box Z Vol. 5″ 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 1990-1991, 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. 5″ doesn’t come with any special features but it comes with cool packaging and an awesome hardbound booklet.

What we have is a yellow slip case box with Gohan 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, Impressive Words, Fashion Check, We Count Down Anything and the Great Saiyaman Illustrated.

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 orange box sets.

With this latest DVD box set, you get a total of 40 episodes which include the finale of the Cell Games and the long awaited fight between Goku and Cell, you get the Underworld Martial Arts Tournament arc and then you get the Super Saiyaman Arc which showcases the Z-Warriors seven years later and Gohan a teenager meeting Vedil for the first time.

These episodes are leading up to the martial arts tournament for the next volume where everyone will get to see the next generation of Z-Warriors, Gohan, Vedil, Goten and Trunks go into battle but for this volume alone and how much is included, this is an awesome DVD set!

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

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!

“Dragon Ball Z – Dragon Box Vol. 5″ is highly recommended.

FUNimation Entertainment and Toei Animation Announce Online Streaming of Dragon Ball Z

January 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Anime Leaders to Stream Episodes of Iconic Anime Series


Flower Mound, Texas – January 3, 2011 — FUNimation® Entertainment and Toei Animation Co., Ltd. have entered into an agreement giving the American anime leader exclusive rights to the U.S. and Canadian online streaming of the studios’ signature animated series “Dragon Ball Z.”

Starting Saturday, January 15th at 7:30 PM CDT preceding the One Piece simulcast at 8:00 PM CDT, FUNimation will stream the series from its beginning via the official Dragon Ball Z website www.dragonballz.com <http://www.dragonballz.com>  in addition to www.dragonballzkai.com <http://www.dragonballzkai.com>  , www.funimation.com <http://www.funimation.com>  and FUNimation partner site www.hulu.com <http://www.hulu.com> .

FUNimation will offer its professionally-produced, uncut, English-tracked and English-subtitled adaptations of the hugely successful series beginning with the first episode as well as other chapters of the Dragon Ball franchise: Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Z Kai.

“We are pleased to offer the first legal streaming of this seminal anime series,” said Gen Fukunaga, president and CEO of FUNimation Entertainment. “Dragon Ball Z and One Piece are the crown jewels of our digital content strategy and we are proud of the diverse selection of series that entertains established fans and new ones as well.”

DRAGON BALL Z: TENKAICHI TAG TEAM FOR THE PSP (PLAYSTATION PORTABLE) SYSTEM OUT NOW

October 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Get Your Hands on the Fiercest Two Vs. Two Fight Action, Available Now at Retailers Across North America

SANTA CLARA, Calif., (Oct. 19, 2010) – Full of fighting spirit, NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. today announced the launch of Dragon Ball Z®: Tenkaichi Tag Team for PSP®. Available now at retailers across North America, the latest explosive hand-held grenade of ki fighting fury gives fans 70 playable and customizable characters, a wealth of gameplay modes, and blistering two-on-two battles.

In a first for the series, Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team invites players to launch themselves into punishing two vs. two combat on PSP.  Take on the deadly Dragon Ball Z legions solo, or team up with friends via Ad Hoc through single and multiplayer gameplay modes including Dragon Walker, Battle 100 and Survival.

In the new Dragon Walker Mode, players will follow the entire epic Dragon Ball Z story arc from the Saiyan saga right up to the Majin Buu saga.  Battle 100 mode challenges players to triumph in the most earth-shattering encounters from the Dragon Ball Z world alongside newly-created scenarios in increasingly tough tests of skill and determination.  You’ll need stamina, strategy and Super Saiyan skills to win this fight!

Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team is rated “T” for Teen and will carry an MSRP of $39.99. For more information about the game, please visit www.namcobandaigames.com <http://www.namcobandaigames.com/> or http://dragonball.namco.com <http://dragonball.namco.com/> . To join the official fan community, please visit http://www.gokuscorner.com <http://www.gokuscorner.com/> .

About NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc.
NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. is a leading interactive entertainment software publisher and developer based in Santa Clara, CA.  The company is a part of the NAMCO BANDAI group of companies known for creating and publishing many of the industry’s top video game franchises including the PAC-MAN®, SOULCALIBUR®, NARUTO™ and Tekken® brands.  For more information about NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc., and our products log onto http://www.namcobandaigames.com <http://www.namcobandaigames.com/> .

About FUNimation Entertainment:
FUNimation® Entertainment, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Navarre Corporation, is the leading company for home video sales of Japanese animation in the United States. FUNimation has a proven formula for launching and advancing brands, and manages a full spectrum of rights for most of its brands including broadcasting, licensing, production, internet, and home video sales and distribution. For more information about FUNimation Entertainment and its brands, visit www.funimation.com <http://www.funimation.com/> .

©BIRD STUDIO/SHUEISHA, TOEI ANIMATION. License coordinated by FUNimation® Productions, Ltd. All rights reserved. Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT, and all logos, character names and distinctive likenesses thereof are trademarks of Shueisha Inc. ©2010 NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc. All rights reserved.

“PlayStation” is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. The ratings icon is a trademark of the Entertainment Software Association.

Press Release © 2010 NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc.

Dragon Ball Z – Dragon Box Z Vol. 4 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

October 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

This is the DVD box set that hardcore DBZ fans have wanted.  The series uncensored, its original Japanese 4:3 presentation and remastered!   And this fourth volume continues the DBZ action with the Android Saga and Cell Saga.  More than likely, if you have purchased the previous three volumes, from here on in, you’re going to buy the rest because these episodes just get better and better.  Overall, this DVD box set is highly recommended!

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

TITLE: Dragon Ball Z – Dragon Box Z Vol. 4

DURATION: Episodes 127-168 (1050 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 September 21, 2010

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.

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 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 latest, action-packed fourth volume of “Dragon Box Z” which focuses on episodes 127-168 and continuing the android saga and the beginning of the Cell saga.  .

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 fourth volume of the “Dragon Ball Z – Dragon Box Z”, the set continues with the conclusion of the Android Saga (episodes 127-147) and begins the Cell Saga (from episode 148 through 168) and sets the next volume for the Cell Games Saga.

There is a lot of action in this series and no filler episodes.  It’s straight mayhem as Cell continues to absorb people and the heroes can do nothing but just hope they can hang on for a day or more while the Saiyans complete their training and hope to defeat Cell.

The Cell series was quite popular back then when I was watching the series in straight Japanese and the whole android storyline was just exciting to watch (especially the special episode in Future Trunks world which pits him and an older Gohan against the evil androids).  It is important to note that the special is not included in the Dragon Box Z but it is available on DVD and Blu-ray.  But for those who have never seen the special and don’t intend to buy it, there is an episode that shows footage from that special.

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.

Future Trunks – Takes a time machine from the future to the past in order to change the future in which his timeline, all Z-warriors have been killed by the androids (artificial humans). In his timeline, Goku died of a virus but if he can get medication to him to prevent Goku from dying, possibly the Z-warriors and humanity in the future have a chance in surviving the android onslaught.

The main enemies in this set are:

Android 16/Artificial Human No. 16 – A powerful android who is passionate about the life on planet Earth but his main programming is to destroy Goku.

Android 17/Artificial Human No. 17 – A powerful male android who is deadly and has no care for human life.

Android 18/Artificial Human No. 18 - A powerful female android who enjoys fashion but also ending human life.

Android 19/Artificial Human No. 19 - Created by Doctor Gero to absorb all forms of energy.

Android 20/Artificial Human No. 20 – The mad scientist Dr. Gero of the Red Ribbon Army has taken his brain and created Android 20 and now has become powerful.

Cell – Unlike the other androids, he continually evolves ingesting humans in order to become a “Perfect Form” Cell.

VIDEO:

“Dragon Ball Z” via this “Dragon Box Z Vol. 4″ 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 1990-1991, 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. 4″ doesn’t come with any special features but it comes with cool packaging and an awesome hardbound booklet.

What we have is a yellow slip case box with Cell 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, Impressive Words and Dragon Ball Z Overlooked Moments. 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 orange box sets.

For the most part, this DVD box set is definitely worth it. But before fans who have bought the original single volumes and then the season box sets go on a tirade of having another version of “Dragon Ball Z” released, the main thing to remember is that those who have been vocal from the start were the diehard fans. They wanted the original 4:3 aspect ratio, they wanted the original Japanese presentation and the could care less about the English dubs and the Falcouner score.

Personally, the season box sets are still solid for those who are not so demanding. This box set is primarily for those hardcore fans and FUNimation Entertainment are 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. And for those not familiar with those season box sets, well the good news is that the English dub is featured as well.

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.

With this latest volume, you get the Android and Cell Saga and this is definitely one of the more intense action-packed battle sagas in the whole “Dragon Ball Z” series and was popular in Japan due to the popularity of Future Trunks.   And for the most part, if you are a hardcore fan who have purchased the previous three volumes, more than likely from here on in, you’re going to pickup up the upcoming volumes as the action and the storyline continues to get better and better.

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!

“Dragon Ball Z – Dragon Box Vol. 4″ is highly recommended.

J!-ENT’s Michelle Tymon interviews Ryo Horikawa

June 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 


Ryo Horikawa holding up IAM Agency’s iPhone application

Photos and Written by J!-Ent’s Michelle Tymon

Anyone with any interest in Japanese anime and seiyuus should be familiar with the name Ryo Horikawa. If not, they most likely have heard his voice at least once. His extensive voice acting resume includes such roles as Kenta Hirono (Yume Senshi Wingman) Tadao Yokoshima (Ghost Sweeper Mikami), Takeshi Onimaru (Yaiba), Captain Falcon (Super Smash Bros. series), Reinhard (Legend of the Galactic Heroes),Natsu Tanimoto/Hermit (Kenichi The Mightiest Disciple), Heiji Hattori (Detective Conan), Andromeda Shun (Saint Seiya), and of course Vegeta from various “Dragon Ball” series.

Ryo Horikawa was born Makoto Horikawa in Osaka, Japan on February 1st 1958. Ryo Horikawa started acting when he was still a child. His debut as a seiyuu came in 1984 with “Yume Senshi Wingman” in which he got the leading role of Kenta Hirono through an audition. From then, he played various roles including the very kind-hearted Andromeda Shun from “Saint Seiya” and the very proud and cold hearted Vegeta from “Dragon Ball Z” as well as other “Dragon Ball” series. The roles that he plays are not limited to a certain type of character; he has played all kinds of roles and somehow manages to pull off each one. He’s played very soft spoken characters to very arrogant and aggressive characters; he’s played very serious roles as well as comedic roles too. In many of the roles he ends up playing the rival of the main character such as Vegeta (Dragon Ball Z, etc), Heiji Hattori (Detective Conan), and Hermit (Kenichi The Mightiest Disciple). Other than anime, he has also does dubbing from American shows and movies like “Thomas the Tank Engine” and “Dirty Harry 2”. His acting includes a lot of stage acting which he still does today; he’s also been in movies and he’s also done voices for Tokusatsu series such as “Samurai Sentai Shinkenja”.

Ryo Horikawa is indeed a very talented voice actor, but he is also an entrepreneur. Horikawa-san has his own companies called Aslead Company and IAM Agency as well as his own Seiyuu Acting School where he trains aspiring seiyuu. His school for seiyuu has multiple locations all throughout Japan. At the press conference, he showed off an iPhone/iPod Touch application that his company was making and he said that he wanted to release in the US as well. The application is an alarm clock that plays Vegeta’s voice (and possibly his other roles and there seems to be possibilities to get other seiyuu’s voices as well). He also has his own radio show on Pakedio AniRaji Channel.

IAM Agency's iPhone application

A major project Horikawa-san has just done is a movie called “Asakusadou Suimutan”. It was a 99 minute movie shot completely in one shot without any editing or cutting. The story is about Honoka, a girl who lost her mother when she was very young. She is now all grown up and has her own dream, to have a debut live with her band Dream Dolls Collection at the Oedo Band Session 2010. However, something was troubling her. May 5th 2010 is Honoka’s 24th birthday and that is the age her mother died at and she has a fear that she may not be able to outlive her mother. Her relationship with her father is not a very good one on top of everything she’s feeling. Her father Koutarou has his own band and is rather well known and they will be on the same stage with Honoka’s own band. Honoka must try to outlive her mother and make her dream come true. The director of this movie is Kinshirou Ogino and other cast members include Princess Tenko, Shiho Takano, and Yuuki Itou. Horikawa-san said he would like to try to release the finished project in the US as well if he had a chance.

Horikawa-san posing with fans

Ryo Horikawa’s appearance at Sakura Con was announced rather late, just about a week before the convention so it might have been a surprise for many fans at the event. Because of his late announcement, there were only a few appearances with Horikawa-san at the event. On Friday, he had a press conference and Horikawa-san often stopped to take pictures with fans while walking around the convention. At his autograph signing on Saturday, he kindly signed multiple items for his fans, took pictures with them and even agreed to be shot on video acting out Vegeta and other characters he has done. On Sunday, he held a fan Q&A panel where he displayed his English skills, answering many fan questions in English. Mayumi Tanaka was also at this year’s Sakura Con so fans were able to see two seiyuu stars together at one event.

With so much talent in various fields, it’s no wonder that he is loved by so many fans all around the world and I’m sure fans in Seattle would love to see him again soon.

I had a chance to sit down with Horikawa-san at Sakura Con 2010 for an interview:

Interview Questions:

J!-ENT: Is this your first time in Seattle and is there anywhere that you’d like to go sight-seeing? I also noticed that you speak English very well. Could you tell us how you learned it?

Horikawa: Yes, it is. Seattle is actually a very special place for me. When I was young, an exchange student from Seattle was staying at my relative’s house and she taught me to speak English and I taught her how to speak Japanese in exchange. So you could say that Seattle is a place of my dreams and I’m very happy to be here. As for places to go, I have quite a few places I’d like to go to. So far I got to walk around a little bit and I had some very delicious clam chowder. I hope people don’t get the wrong idea about me when I say this, but since I love wine tasting, I would love to go somewhere that has great red wine.

J!-ENT: How are you enjoying Seattle and Sakura Con so far? Now that you’ve been here a couple of days, did you do any sight-seeing?

Horikawa: It’s really fun. Everyone here is very passionate and kind here, the guests, staff, and the attendees. It’s been very comfortable so far. I got to go do a little sight-seeing yesterday. I went to the Space Needle and the Sci-Fi Museum and they were both really fun. It was fun seeing the history of sci-fi and also seeing Jimi Hendrix’s guitars as well as some history concerning musicians at Experience Music Project as well. I wanted to go the Lake Union too but it was a little cold. If it was a little warmer, I wanted to walk down by the water. I think it was on the second day we got here, we went to Pike Place Market and I loved going there too. It was right by the water and we got to eat some really good chowder. I’ve been having a great time even though it’s just for a short time and I would like to stay longer in actuality.

J!-ENT: Did you know that Japanese anime was so big in the US?

Horikawa: I did hear of that, but I didn’t know everyone was so passionate but it makes me very happy as an actor to see that and it makes me want to work harder on my end in creating wonderful characters.

J!-ENT: How do American anime fans and Japanese anime fans differ?

Horikawa: You know, I’m not really sure. I don’t think they’re that different to be honest. The passion that the fans feel here or in Japan, Europe or anywhere I think is the same.

J!-ENT: How did you get into voice acting?

Horikawa: Well, I started acting as a child. I got into voice acting with the anime, “Yume Senshi Wingman” and before I knew it, many years have passed with me doing this business. Overall I think that when you’re playing a role, be it voice acting or playing someone on stage, I believe it’s the same thing. You’re breathing life into that role, be it through pictures or in person, or standing in front of a microphone or standing on stage.

J!-ENT: Are there any times in auditions that you went in for a certain role and instead got asked to play a different role?

Horikawa: Sometimes I get approached with roles that are very different from myself and I try to stay very open to that and lose any likes or dislikes I may initially feel and instead purely concentrate on what the character would feel or do. For example, if I was that character, what would I do in this situation or what would I feel in that situation, how would I move, etc. I try to take my first honest thoughts from the heart, so as a result I don’t really think about this role would be a bit hard for me or this role would be easy for me.

J!-ENT: Could you tell me how you got your debut role as Kenta Hirono in “Yume Senshi Wingman”? Were you offered the role or did you go audition? With the roles that followed your debut, did you get those mostly due to auditions or were you offered the roles?

Horikawa: That was genuinely and simply due to an audition. Of course there were many people there auditioning for the role so I didn’t think at all that I would get the role. But as an actor, I’ve done work on stage and TV so I thought I’d give this audition a shot as well. As I said, I didn’t think at all that I would even get the role, so I did the role naturally without too much thought. Before I knew it, I was in the final auditions and I was told “you’re the one” and I was like, “Really?”. That was the start of my voice acting career. Towards the beginning, because I wasn’t that well known yet most of my roles were due to auditions. Once my career advanced more, I was offered some roles as well.

J!-ENT: What would you say was your most difficult role to date?

Horikawa: That’s a very difficult question. I think that any role is hard in its own way. Every role that I have done, I personally love. I get asked “What is your favorite role?” quite often, but I feel that if I didn’t really love the role, I can’t breathe life into the character and give them the soul they deserve. So every role that I’ve done is very precious to me.

J!-ENT: One of the most popular roles that you’ve played is Vegeta from the Dragon Ball series. Are there any characters you wish got more attention or popularity?

Horikawa: I’ve mentioned this before, but I love all of the characters I have done so I don’t ever really feel like I like one character more than another. I’m not just saying that just to say it, I really do feel this way from the bottom of my heart. Of course I know that the people who are watching my characters are going to like one character over another character and I think that’s just fine. But being on the side that acts out those characters, one of the American voice actors said this earlier as well but we’re putting the souls into the characters we act out and that’s our job and that’s how I want to keep feeling in the future as well. However in the future I may find a character that I might like even more and I’m looking forward to that.

J!-ENT: You have worked with many other seiyuu. Do you have anyone you like working with a lot and are there any seiyuu that you hang out with outside of work?

Horikawa: Well usually in Japan after we’re done with recording, all of us go out to dinner or lunch, not just the cast but the staff as well. So we do all get along outside of what programs we may be working on. I do feel that the relationships I’ve made at work are pretty deep ones. For example of course there’s Mayumi Tanaka, Masako Nozawa, Toshio Furukawa, and Tohru Furuya… so yes, there are quite a few.

J!-ENT: Have you ever heard any of the dubbed versions of your characters and if so, what did you think?

Horikawa: Honestly, I have to say that I haven’t heard any of them prior to today but I did get to hear a sample earlier and that was fun. I think the English dubs are good and I honestly want to try dubbing in English myself.

J!-ENT: If you were not in the seiyuu business, what do you think you’d be doing?

Horikawa:(Laughs) I wonder what I would have been doing. When I was a child, I really liked boats and I dreamed of being a submariner. Looking back on it now, I’m not really sure why but I liked submarines more than regular boats. It’s a really stressful job, for example the US Navy. You have to be really tough not just physically but psychologically or I don’t think you would last. I watched American TV shows involving the subject and movies for example “The Hunt for Red October” and “Crimson Tide” with Denzel Washington. I had a point in my life where I really admired people like the captains in those movies, with all of the responsibility they had to have to protect everyone. I don’t think civilians really have the opportunity to ever be in a submarine but if I ever had the chance I would love to do so.

J!-ENT: Do you have any secret talents?

Horikawa: (Laughs) It’s not exactly hidden but I guess we can make it a secret. It may not be a talent but one of my favorite things to do is wine tasting. It’s not just drinking wine, but the communication that takes place with say friends or a girlfriend… family, etc. I enjoy being able to enjoy communication with another. So I go by myself, I go with friends… and also I do like to drink. When everyone around me is happy and having a good time while eating and drinking, I feel happy as well. That is also the energy I try to bring to work as well, when everyone around me is having a good time, I’m having a good time. Outside of work, I also enjoy jogging and walking. I like to walk around and of course it’s good for your health. I do quite a bit of walking every day.

J!-ENT: At the press conference, you mentioned that you were working on a movie. Could you tell me a little more about the movie you’re working on?

Horikawa: The Japanese title is “Asakusadou Suimutan”. Asakusa is a part of Tokyo, “Dou” is referring to city hall and “suimutan” is a bit hard I believe to translate into English. “The Tale of my Sweet Dreams in Asakusa” is what I’m thinking about translating it into. This is a story about human conflict between a father and his daughter and the love that they ultimately have for each other despite their differences. The movie is going to be 99 minutes long, shot in one cut with no editing. So the camera is going to be running that whole time without any cutting and of course that is one of the challenges in this. Movies are usually shot in scenes, then edited and then put back together so it takes days to finish. Since the camera is going to be running for the whole 99 minutes, it’s going to be done in one day but of course this in turn calls for a lot more concentration and it calls for a lot more work from us the actors and the staff. We’ve already started rehearsals and I think that that’s going to be the hardest part, so if we don’t keep doing rehearsals over and over and getting everything down perfectly it won’t work. Of course while in rehearsals, there are times where we’re all practicing separately but we’re going to have to put everything together on May 5th when we’re going to shoot. That’s going to be extremely hard. Also for the 99 minutes, there’s going to be music playing during some of the parts and those songs are going to act as cues as to where each of us are supposed to be during a certain part so rehearsal is extremely important. This is all going to be very difficult, but I believe that that’s also what makes it worth doing and I’m excited to do it.

J!-ENT: Are you going to be releasing the movie in the US as well?

Horikawa: If possible, I would like to release it in the US and we are trying to take steps towards that. I believe the film will premiere around September in Japan and after that I would like to try to get the picture released in the US as well.

J!-ENT: You and Mayumi Tanaka have worked together quite a bit on the “Dragon Ball” series and you’re both currently here at Sakura Con. Were you able to do anything like sight-seeing with Ms. Tanaka since you’ve been here?

Horikawa: I didn’t get to go anywhere with her but the other night… (laughs) once again we’re all really good friends. The other night we were in the party room and we were having fun and she was spinning plates, and her son is here as well so we were all hanging out. We didn’t really get to go anywhere but we already see each other all the time so it’s not that big of a deal.

J!-ENT: You were so kind to all of your fans that came to see you at your autograph signing here at Sakura Con. You signed multiple autographs, took pictures and even recorded videos for all the fans that came to see you. How did it feel to see so many fans outside of Japan admire your work so much?

Horikawa: I said this earlier but when those around me feel happy, I feel happy as well. They all seemed really happy and seeing that is very encouraging for me as well. Seeing all these fans that are happy with the work that I do, I feel that I need to work even harder with my roles and really put my heart into it so I can do an even better job. I am very thankful seeing that here, in Japan, anywhere.

J!-ENT: If we were to look in your MP3 and or CD Player right now, what would we find? Or simply, what is your favorite kind of music?

Horikawa: I’m not actually sure what I have in there right now but as for my favorite kind of music, well as I mentioned earlier, there’s Jimi Hendrix and American music in general has always had an influence on the youth of Japan. I’m actually in a band right now and I really like rock music… let’s see, I also like the Rolling Stones, The Beatles and classic rock.

J!-ENT: You mentioned an interest in guitars and that you were in a band. Do you play guitar?

Horikawa: No, I sadly do not play guitar. I can play the keyboard a little bit, but not enough to call myself a keyboardist. This randomly goes back to an earlier question of what I might have been doing if I wasn’t an actor… maybe I would have been in JASDF (Japanese Air Self-Defense Force)… maybe not because I’m a bit weak. I might have been in the restaurant business as well.

J!-ENT: For every interview, we have a section called word play which I give you five words and you give me your definition for those words:

Horikawa: 1. Love: That’s deep… My children and my family. When I say “my children”, I mean my students. I run a school that specializes in classes for aspiring seiyuu.
2. Success: Keep on going, success is something that you keep striving for.
3. Seiyuu: Acting, to act.
4. Anime fans: I love them all.
5. Sakura-Con: Fantastic.

J!-ENT: Lastly, do you have a message for all of your fans all around the world?

Horikawa: I am very grateful. What I’m grateful for is to be able to meet all of these people who are so passionate and love not just my work but anime in general. All of this is a lot of encouragement for me to work harder and to keep doing this work. I think I’ll be doing this job until I die, because I love this job and all the fans that are watching. I want to thank everyone for always watching and I hope that I can return again soon and see everyone again.

Ryo Horikawa’s Official Blog: http://ameblo.jp/ryo-horikawa/
Ryo Horikawa’s Old Official Blog: http://yaplog.jp/horikawa-ryo/
Ryo Horikawa’s Aslead Company Website: http://www.aslead-voice.co.jp/index.html
Ryo Horikawa’s I AM Agency Website: http://iamagency.jp/index.htm
Ryo Horikawa’s Seiyuu School Website: http://www.iam.tv/index.html
Ryo Horikawa’s Radio Show Website: http://www.pkdio.jp/
Ryo Horikawa Wikipedia Page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryo_Horikawa
Official site for “Asakusadou Suimutan”: http://a-suimutan.com//
Official Blog for “Asakusadou Suimutan”: http://suimutan.otaden.jp/

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