The complete Cell Games saga, filler junk and a time skip seven years into the future! Can Gohan adapt to the high school life after living one as a warrior? Find out now in my review of Dragon Box Set 5!
What They Say: 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.
Contains episodes 169-209
Audio: Dragon Box Set 5 features two audio tracks. The original Japanese mono track (48 kHz, 96 kbps) and the English dub set against the original Japanese soundtrack in a 5.1 mix (48kHz, 384kbps). The Japanese track is still great and for the purpose of this review, the vast majority of my time was spent with the Japanese audio.
Video: The colors are vibrant and accurate with no loss in film grain or detail. All presented in its original aspect ratio of 4:3. Any flaws you see in the video at this point are in the source itself. Nothing has changed between this volume and the previous. I’m still quite pleased with this release.
Packaging: Packed in a sturdy cardboard box, this volume features kid Gohan on the cover. Inside, the six DVDs are kept within two solid “book” type cases that open up and lie flat. These house three DVDs each. These are black with an etched drawing of Shen-Long on the covers. On the spines are little bits of a bigger picture that will become complete as you collect these box sets. The disc art is very nice as each one features a different character with a clean Toriyama illustration set against a white background.
Menu: The menus remain unchanged. Simple, fast and gets the job done. Each disc features a different action shot from the show in the background with an eye scouter overlay that has the different disc options in it. Basically, you’re looking at the action shot through the eye scouter.
Extras: As usual, a hardcover booklet is included with this volume. Each page is made from a nice quality glossy paper and is filled with information about the series, show, characters and more. There is a guide for each episode, a look at the designs of the show, a section on the visual gags hidden in the episodes and the character relationship chart has been expanded to include the developments up to this point.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers): As I mentioned before, this set of episodes covers three different arcs (if you go by FUNi’s definition); The Cell Games, Goku’s adventures in the afterlife tournament and the Great Saiyaman arc. With the exception of the obvious filler arc there in the middle, the other two feature plenty of developments and changes for some of our favorite characters.
In the Cell Games, the battle for Earth takes place over the span of two huge fights. It starts off with Goku vs. Cell which is probably one of the most even fights in the series. Like Goku vs. Vegeta back at the beginning of the series, both fighters just pound the hell out of each other. One big surprise that occurs is the fact that Goku throws in the towel well before the conclusion of the fight. He sends in Gohan instead claiming that he has more than enough power to destroy Cell. The chain of events that occur afterward lead to one of the most famous scenes in the series’ history. Gohan fans will be ecstatic.
Skipping over the goofy filler arc of Goku’s adventures in the after life, we hit a time skip that sees Gohan as a teenager attending Satan City High School. After being raised out in the countryside and a culture full of battle, he is very awkward around other people which gives him a tiny bit of depth. On occasion, he helps out the local citizens when crime occurs which leads him to become the Great Saiyaman. A superhero for the city. Just as he is getting used to his new life, Goku sends everyone a message letting them know that he has been granted a 24 hour pass to the living world in order to fight in the upcoming Tenkaichi tournament. The box set ends here as the gang gathers back together once again.
There are a big group of changes in this set of episodes including new characters and subtle changes in older characters. New characters include the bombastic Mr. Satan who is the “World’s Strongest Man” and Earth’s best fighter. Well, that they know of. He arrives at the Cell Games aiming to take down Cell but ends up getting smacked into a mountain for his troubles. After the time skip, Goten is introduced as Chi Chi’s second child by Goku who is the spitting image of the man while Trunks has grown up into the spoiled son of Vegeta and Bulma. Finally, Videl is shown as a love interest for Gohan and the daughter of Mr. Satan.
Goten and Trunk’s appearances in the show mark some interesting changes for a couple of characters; Chi Chi and Vegeta. Because Goten looks so much like Goku, Chi Chi has been much less strict in his upbringing than she was with Gohan’s. She even taught him out to spar and was the first to see him turn into a Super Saiyan! Over at Capsule Corporation, Vegeta has grown into a semi-loving father who seems to enjoy spending time with his son (especially after seeing Future Trunks get messed up with his own eyes). When he discovers Trunks can turn Super Saiyan like Goten, he then fosters his son’s budding rivalry into another way he can compete with Goku. The old Vegeta still shines through.
The biggest change takes place during Gohan and Cell’s fight. Gohan is pushed over the limit and his rage unlocks his hidden power which turns him into a Saiyan that surpasses all Saiyans. With this change, Gohan becomes ruthless and even sadistic as he toys with Cell. He relishes in the act of slowly torturing him. He completely gives in to the overly aggressive nature of the Super Saiyan to the point where it costs him dearly and puts the planet in danger.
There is only one big complaint I have about this set of episode and that is Cell himself. See, by now we know that Cell can regenerate his limbs. He explains that as long as he has a specific bundle of nerves within his brain, he can always regenerate. Well, at one great moment during his battle with Goku, Cell’s upper half is completely destroyed by a sweet Instant Kamehameha. Nothing was left from the waist up. Yet, he regenerated with ease. That is a huge oversight just to have a final clash with Gohan later on.
In Summary: With the exception of the boring filler arc, this set of episodes was one of the most entertaining in the series. Cell was a fun villain as Norio Wakamoto just nailed that role and his fights with Goku and Gohan were some of the most fun in the show. While the silly oversight regarding Cell made me shake my head, it doesn’t over shadow the rest of the fun for Dragon Ball Z fans. We’re in the home stretch with only two more box sets left in this classic series. Get ready because a whole lot of pink bubblegum is headed our way.
Updated tally of the most memorable moments. These are not in order of most to least, but rather in order of appearance.
- Goku’s Kamehameha vs. Vegeta’s Galick-Ho beam battle.
- Freeza reveals his final transformation.
- Vegeta’s final speech on Namek before his death.
- Goku’s transformation into a Super Saiyan.
- Freeza is cut in half by Trunks
- Vegeta’s “Final Flash” attack on Cell.
- Goku’s Instant Kamehameha on Cell
- Gohan’s Japanese transformation to Super Saiyan 2 (w/ Spirit vs. Spirit song).
English 2.0 Language, Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Hardcover Booklet
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: April 26th, 2011
Running Time: 1025 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Vizio E470VL 42” LCD HDTV, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver, Yamaha 5.1 Surround Sound Speakers, PlayStation 3 Slim via HDMI @1080p