What They Say:
The epic showdown between Goku and Frieza reaches its climax as planet Namek crumbles beneath their feet! In the aftermath of battle, neither fighter is anywhere to be found, but Earth’s few remaining heroes have much bigger problems. A mysterious and powerful stranger known only as Trunks arrives from the future with a warning: the Androids are coming, they take no prisoners, and even Goku – wherever he may be – is no match for their kind!
Contains episodes 53-65.
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 become more immersed in the story and action. 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 Trunks in his Super Saiyan form bringing it to the mecha form of Frieza. This is set against a white background with a green 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 Trunks and his sword. 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 features the Trunks and Super Saiyan Trunks on the front.
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.
The story that is spun in Dragon Ball Z Kai is very fast paced and does not bog down much in side stories or too much monologuing. If you’re watching it for the first time or even know something about Dragon Ball Z, you can’t help but wonder about what has been left out. Nevertheless, I try to avoid looking at Dragon Ball Z as much as possible. At some point, I may take the plunge and watch the original in all its glory after Kai is finished. All in all, it is a fun and very interesting story for the viewer who has never watched it.
The fifth collection in Dragon Ball Z Kai is probably the most intense yet as there are some huge moments with Frieza. At the end of the last collection, one was led to believe that Frieza was just about finished and that Goku was all but done with him. That would be the case if we weren’t talking about Goku and his code of chivalry. Goku gives Frieza a chance to walk away from the fight.
Masterminds of evil will never settle for sulking in defeat and Frieza defiantly continues to fight as he is literally in chopped up pieces. It’s pretty obvious that Frieza is finished, but his story doesn’t end that quickly. There has to be a segway to the next story arc. And, what a better way to do so than have Frieza’s poppa show up to help put him all back together again.
Our next major story arc is set back on Earth. With the Namekians taken care of and everyone else restored to the land of the living, we learn that Frieza is coming to take out his revenge along with his daddy, who is supposed to be the ultimate baddy. This part kind of drug out and felt really disjointed as everyone is anticipating Frieza’s arrival without Goku, who is supposed to arrive several hours later. Frieza’s new mechanized body will wreak havoc like none other and team Goku knows that they don’t stand a chance.
When all seems lost, a mysterious sword wielding figure appears and unleashes a can on Freiza and his big daddy. Trunks is one bad dude that makes Goku and the gang look like weaklings. Trunks’ arrival makes for an interesting plot twist as he has come from the future bearing bad tidings for team Goku. He has come to forewarn and hopefully prevent two androids from destroying the earth.
Attempting to keep it a secret only goes so far as Piccolo overhears the initial discussion between Goku and Trunks. Trunks reveals that Goku will die soon from an incurable disease. Things are pretty bleak as Trunks describes how the androids set about to destroy everything. So, we’re gonna be without Goku for a while and everyone will need to train hard in order to face the androids. This of course will take place while Goku fights off the disease with the aid of some medicine from the future.
Time travel and dealing with past/future events always brings about a sense of uncertainty as the viewer tries to understand what could happen, will happen, and has happened. Altering the past to reshape the future is always interesting. And, I for one am excited to see how Future Trunks will interact with his parents as the plot continues. How the gang will deal with Trunks’ predictions will prove to be interesting. As preparations are made we get to learn more about the supporting cast, which has always felt a bit light. My wish for wanting to know more about Tien, Master Roshi, Yamcha, and Chiaotzu may come true. I hope this will continue on in the next collection as we get to see them a lot more, more so than any of the previous collections.
Dragon Ball Kai picks up speed and continues at a blazing pace. The showcase fight between Goku and Frieza comes to a dramatic conclusion, but feels a tad too long. Frieza is all but finished and the gang is safely back at home on earth, but there is little reprieve. A visitor from the future arrives proclaiming the impending doom of the earth at the hands of some androids that were created by a Dr. Gero of the Red Ribbon Army. Frieza is all but a distant memory as the new threat for our heroes seems all but hopeless. The next collection won’t come soon enough!
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: June 28th, 2011
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
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