It’s always a good day whenever a new Dragon Ball collection comes out. It gives me the same feeling opening up one of these sets today as it did 15 years ago whenever I received the latest DBZ VHS volume. And now that they are available on Blu-Ray, the Dragon Ball series has never looked better. Thankfully sets these days contain more than 3 episodes, they can now cover a whole arc…almost.
The 13 episodes in this set cover the second arc of Dragon Ball Super, the Golden Frieza saga. Like the part 1 set, which was a retelling of the 2013 Battle of Gods movie. This set is an expanded retelling of the 2015 Resurrection of F movie. Some would say you can just skip the episodes in this set, just watch the 2 mentioned movies and then pick up Dragon Ball Super from episode 28. I’d say you’d be doing yourself a disservice by doing so as there is plenty of content from those movies that are expanded on here as well as brand new scenes, characters and plot lines made just for Dragon Ball Super.
The main plot of the set revolves around Goku and Vegeta trying to convince Whis, who we were introduced to last season as the attendant of Beerus the god of destruction to train them. With Goku always pushing himself to become ever stronger and Vegeta constantly playing catch up to Goku this results in some genuinely hilarious moments as we get to witness Whis’ unorthodox training methods.
Meanwhile remnants of the Frieza force who we thought were eradicated in the early days of DBZ have banded together in search of the Dragon Balls with the end goal to revive their lord Frieza. When they eventually succeed in doing so Frieza swears he will obtain revenge against Goku and spends 4 months training before heading to Earth with the plan to destroy it.
This culminates in an all in battle on Earth between the whole remaining Frieza force which allows us to see many of the core Dragon Ball characters in action, some of which for the first time in the Super series before reaching the action packed battle with Goku and Vegeta taking on Frieza and his new Golden form.
It wouldn’t be Dragon Ball without a little bit of filler content thrown in. And there is a bit of it here. But before you throw your hands in the air and boycott the set I can tell you it’s extremely entertaining filler and has some of the funniest moments in all of Dragon Ball. I’m still holding out hope that there will be another episode one day where Goku and Piccolo retry their drivers license test. This filler includes some additional plot around the birth of Pan, expanded scenes and character development for the Frieza force and even the return of our favourite frog Captain Ginyu.
One thing I wasn’t a big fan of was having the final episode of the season not be included on the set. Just when it’s reaching it’s climax, the set reaches it’s end. This is either a clever marketing plan to entice you to pick up the next set when it releases but could also be caused by the first arc of Dragon Ball Super being 14 episodes long (the finale episode of part 1 is the first episode on this set also) rather than the standard 13 episodes that most anime series follow. This may have resulted in a flow on domino effect where since these sets are released in 13 episode blocks the final episode will always be missing.
Dragon Ball Super deserves praise when it comes to it’s pacing. We all know how long some of the arcs in Dragon Ball Z took to reach their conclusions. In comparison the Frieza saga in Z from the point Frieza reached his final form to the time of his defeat was 23 episodes. And that doesn’t include the introduction, build up and battle of his first 3 forms. Where in Super things move along much more fluently and complete the core battle in 5-6 episodes.
The visual and performance praises I mentioned in my review of part 1 remain true here. The series looks incredible on Blu-Ray with the vibrant colours and action looking clean and crisp. And the English dub is as great as ever with both Sean Schemmel and Chris Sabat bringing their A game for their performances while also injecting plenty of humour.
As mentioned above, it’s always a fun time jumping into a new Dragon Ball set and this one is no different. It’s beautiful to look at on Blu-Ray and the plot of this season see’s the return of one of the best villains from the Z series. It does have some filler episodes but they are enjoyable to watch and tell some pretty entertaining stories. It’s just a shame that the set ends just as it’s ramping up to the finale with the final episode coming in the next set, which does make me excited to pick up the next one when it releases.
All images ©BIRD STUDIO/SHUEISHA, TOEI ANIMATION
A Blu-Ray review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment for the purpose of this review.
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