The fourth Dragon Ball Super collection has launched this month here in Australia, and it probably comes with no surprise that I’ll be reviewing it. Especially since I’ve reviewed the first 3 volumes on the site prior. This set is a bit of a mixed bag, containing some of the best episodes we’ve seen so far but also quite a lot of what fans consider to be the worst kind of Dragon Ball episodes.
As with the previous volumes this one starts out strong, finishing off the arc that primarily featured in the previous set. Unfortunately from that point we’re thrown into a filler arc that dulls the excitement a little before finishing the set with some fantastic episodes that left me craving more when the episodes concluded and I was sent back the the Blu-Ray menu.
As mentioned in the opening of this review, this set begins with a couple of episodes finishing off the Universe 6 tournament saga and features the inevitable summoning of Super Shenron that the whole saga was alluding to. These episodes contain a great mix of what makes Dragon Ball such an enjoyable series. There’s fight scenes, some great story that expands the lore of the Dragon Ball universe and it’s characters and some brilliant moments of laugh out loud humour sprinkled throughout the whole thing.
After these opening episodes the set takes a bit of a downhill turn throwing 5 filler episodes into the mix before jumping into the next ‘main’ or ‘canon’ arc in the Dragon Ball Super story. The first 2 of these episodes are Dragon Ball slice of life stories that involve a staged Monaka fight and a whole episode about Goku and Picolo looking after Gohan’s daughter Pan. While not on the comedic level of the driving school episode from Dragon Ball Z these episodes do have their fair share of laughs but are ultimately forgettable in the grand scheme of the series.
We’re then thrown into a 3 episode arc known as the ‘Copy-Vegeta’ arc. This takes place on a planet called Potaufeu and is a more traditional Dragon Ball story. With a galactic threat that manages to overpower much of the main cast, creating a slime-like clone of Vegeta in the process. It was a clever way to be able to give us a Goku vs Vegeta story again but the pacing over these episodes was quite slow, stretching what is quite a basic and straight forward story and battle over 3 episodes where it would have been much more enjoyable and better paced if it were trimmed to 1 and a half to 2 episodes.
Thankfully we’re thoroughly rewarded after seeing the demise of clone Vegeta with what I consider the best Dragon Ball Super arc yet. Well at least the opening episodes of it. We’re reintroduced to future Trunks, the same Trunks that went back to his own timeline after the Cell saga of DBZ.
This timeline has seen it’s fair share of bad luck. First the original attack from the androids and now Future Trunks’ world has been decimated again by a new threat. This arc features a much darker tonal shift from the normally comedic nature we’re used to in this series. With a world and colour palette that is drastically different from the ‘current world’ timeline our characters reside in. I loved this darker, post apocalyptic setting as it takes Dragon Ball Super in a new direction not really experienced in this franchise since the History of Trunks movie.
Right off the bat we’re shown that this timeline is not a nice place. And to further enforce that, we’re shown that they’re not affraid to kill off a character or two. Trunks heads back to the past, reuniting with our main cast of characters to warn them of the threat reigning havoc in his timeline. An enemy that looks just like Goku that they have dubbed Goku Black.
Up until this point the main arcs of Dragon Ball Super have been told in 14 episode blocks. That is no longer the case anymore going forward. Which means that this set and many going forward won’t feature their own contained storylines like they have so far but instead will just be the next 13 episodes in the current arc. This means the sets now don’t include a conclusion or sense of finality to the current story leaving me wanting a lot more of the Goku Black sotry. This is more of a problem for me because of how long it is between the home releases of these sets.
The home release Blu-Ray contains Dragon Ball Super episodes 40-52 across 2 discs and can be watched in either the English Dub or in Japanese with English subtitles. Apart from the episodes, disc 2 contains clean versions of the opening and closing themes and a really cool interview with Sean Schemmel(Goku, King Kai).
This collection is a real mixed bag. On one hand it contains the best episodes of Super so far but also contains the most amount of filler episodes in a single set so far too with 5 of the 13 episodes falling into this category. The setup of the future timeline and the introduction to the Goku Black storyline has me itching for the next set which unfortunately is months away. So while it’s not the strongest collection of episodes, it is the beginning of one of the biggest arcs in DBS and should definitely be on the shelf of any fans of the Dragon Ball franchise.
A Blu-Ray review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment for the purpose of this review.
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