What They Say:
After learning that Frieza murdered his father and destroyed his home planet, Goku takes aim at the putrid purple monster in the greatest grudge match the galaxy has ever seen! The bruises multiply at a furious rate as the two warriors trade blows in a battle that literally destroys planet Namek. As the slugfest approaches a standstill, Frieza forever silences Goku’s closest friend – sending Earth’s hero into a Super Saiyan rage that threatens to obliterate them both!
Contains episodes 40-52.
The audio presentation for this release is spot-on as both language tracks get an updated stereo mix. The English 5.1 mix was very solid and we noticed no distortions or issues. The soundstage does a pretty decent job of using the soundstage effectively. However, do not expect the rears to get much of a workout. As with the previous releases, it all comes down to viewer preference as to which cast you prefer despite the casting changes. Overall, this is a solid audio release for the standard definition collection.
Originally airing from 1986, Dragon Ball Z Kai is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Remastered in 2009, Dragon Ball Kai looks as good as it is ever going to be. The remastering is on the same level as Robotech and much better than what was done with Voltron. The colors look good and the detail is much better than what I can ever remember with this series. Granted, this is my first in-depth exposure to the franchise, but I did get to see television broadcasts in the past. Of course, you will see some blemishes. Overall, this is a very clean and solid look for the series. One thing that you will notice is that there several kinds of animation pieces that are grafted into the footage. This is noticeable at the first several viewings, but soon becomes less noticeable as you move on through the episodes. The different video segments are hard not to notice, but can easily be forgotten.
Following the format of the previous Dragon Ball Kai collections, this release features two thin DVD cases with case with a cardboard slipcover. The front cover features Goku in his Super Saiyan form grappling Frieza. This is set against a white background with a purple vertical bar on the right side. The logo is featured on the lower left corner. The back cover is oriented horizontally with another image of Frieza (with the tip of his tail intact). A dark grey background with white and purple text provides a summary for the collection. A few clips from the episodes in the collection is displayed on the back along with the technical specifications. The DVD cases feature Frieza and Goku. A nice piece of artwork is featured on both thin cases for each character that is not the same as what is the front or back cover of the slipcover..
The menus for this release are a bit disappointing in that there is nothing more than a static image of the famous dragon from Dragon Ball and a horizontal navigation menu. Some clips from the series scrolling on the screen would do this menu well. Of course, packing seven episodes per disc might limit what can be put on the menus, but it still would be nice. The menus were easy to navigate and worked with absolutely no issues.
The extras included in the collection are found on the second disc. The extras include the textless songs for the series and a handful of the latest FUNimation trailers.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The showcase fight that we have all been waiting for is finally here. I’ll be the first to tell you that the fight itself is going to take longer than the anticipation that built up before the fight. This whole collection is all about Goku and Frieza and it is a knock-out and drag-out fight that will make any WWE wrestling match look like child’s play. I cannot imagine what this fight would be like in the original DBZ release. This will be one of the primary reasons why I won’t be watching the original anytime soon!
You will find a few tidbits of subplot in this collection. There is the Bulma v/s Ginyu. In the last collection, we saw Ginyu’s persona finally manifesting itself in the frog-like creature. Ginyu gets one more go round with by switching bodies with Bulma which is short lived. This sub plot feels more like fan service for Bulma and does not do anything that moves the overarching story along.
The other subplots injected throughout the first half of the collection focus on getting Vegeta, Gohan, Krillan, Bulma, and Piccolo out of the showcase fight between Goku and Frieza. Vegeta and Krillan are surprisingly removed in a very permanent way while Gohan, Bulma, and a nearly dead Piccolo scamper away to escape in Goku’s space capsule.
Vegeta and Krillan’s demise along with all that has taken place since Goku arrived has finally manifested itself in Goku’s anger. That anger is now channeled into him being able to unleash the power of the Super Sayain. And, it’s about time, as it seems like Goku always finds some reason to hold back. He now has a reason to fight!
The main plot is nothing special and does not carry a whole lot of substance. We know that Frieza is the universe’s ultimate baddie while Goku is the free spirit who sees everything from a different light. I wish I could view life so simplistically. Nevertheless, Goku cannot stand idly by with all that has happened and his fury is at its most raw and ultimate form. Like most shonen anime, we start to get a clearer picture of the villain when everything is on the line. However, there isn’t much reason to sympathize with a destroyer of worlds who is responsible of wiping out the Saiyan race.
The freakish nature in Frieza’s ability to change forms is just ridiculous and yet a weakness as we see Goku take on each form. Both appear to have their limits, but it is Frieza who appears to be the one taken by surprise as he attempt to use his powers, even those that he has not used in a long time. You can’t help but cheer for Goku as he takes everything Frieza throws at him.
Unfortunately, the fight is not going to conclude with this collection which is big downer as the collection appears to close at pivotal point in the fight. However, it does leave you with a whole new perspective about what Goku has overcome. His path to acquiring the legendary Super Sayain powers is more about the purity of heart with an equal amount of controlled rage/anger. This something that Vegeta and his brothers have completely missed out on. I am sure this topic will be of interest and perhaps a new plot point as Dragon Ball Kai progresses.
Dragon Ball Kai continues on at pretty fast pace. Plot-wise, you are not going to find a whole lot here that moves story forward. The showcase fight feels a little stretched. Although, one could argue that it allows you to truly appreciate what Goku has accomplished and how the fate of his friends and the universe are hanging on him stopping Frieza. The action is every bit as intense, if not more, than the previous collections as we see Frieza and Goku throw everything they’ve got into it. It’s pretty much a given the Frieza is going to get his due, but not in this collection. So, it’s pretty much anyone’s guess (unless you’ve seen DBZ) how this thing will wrap up. I can’t wait to see how this ends!
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: C
Extras Grade: C+
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: March 8th, 2011
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Samsung UN46B6000VF 120Hz LED HDTV, Samsung HT-WS1R/XAA 2.1 Channel Soundbar Speaker System with Wireless Subwoofer, and Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p