The Cell Games conclude with a potential passing the torch moment and some entertaining and surprising heartfelt moments…
What They Say :
The sixth season of the anime following the adventures of Goku (voice of Masako Nozawa) as he attempts to save the Earth from an alien invasion. The episodes are: ‘What Is the Tournament?’, ‘The Doomsday Broadcast’, ‘Meet Me in the Ring’, ‘No Worries Here’, ‘A Girl Named Lime’, ‘Memories of Gohan’, ‘A New Guardian’, ‘Dende’s Dragon’, ‘The Puzzle of General Tao’, ‘The Games Begin’, ‘Losers Fight First’, ‘Goku Vs Cell’, ‘Cell’s Bag of Tricks’, ‘No More Rules’, ‘The Fight Is Over’, ‘Faith in a Boy’, ‘Gohan’s Desperate Plea’, ‘Android Explosion’, ‘Cell Juniors Attack’, ‘The Unleashing and Awakening’, ‘The Unstoppable Gohan’, ‘Cell’s Mighty Breakdown’, ‘A Hero’s Farewell’, ‘Cell Returns!’, ‘The Horror Won’t End’, ‘Save the World’, ‘Goku’s Decision’, ‘One More Wish’ and ‘Free the Future’.
The Review :
Set in 5.1 English Dolby Surround Sound with Japanese Music, US 2.0 Stereo and 2.0 Japanese Stereo, the Dragonball experience is at its best with these releases. With the 5.1 release being one of the best I’ve heard, the remastering of the franchise has been very good to this release with minor glitches at best – here, had no issues with the audio, all linked in the subtitles in both languages, with no audio glitches or distortions. Visually, set in full screen format when watching it, the animation has been remastered to a much more clearer and constant format, making it the best release for any DBZ (O.K, the UK has had only one release but in comparison with most of the previous US releases) fan – no issues with pausing when the animation goes blurred, so issues with distortion or missing time with the audio, and flowed very well and a joy to look at.
A 6 disc menu, each has the same thing with a picture of Super Saiyan Goku on the front with an orange background whilst the menu is on a black bar with Play All (All episode with op and ending), Marathon Feature (all the episodes with the opening and ending only occurring at the first and last episode of each set), episode selection, set up, and on the last disc only, extras. Very standard, not a problem accessing the menu either from the main menu or from watching the show, and the marathon feature is pretty good if you just want to watch the complete story without interruptions. Nothing special but nothing wrong with it at all.
The only extras were the clean opening and ending. Considering that has been the same since the second box set and the first time DBZ has been released in the UK when the first release at least has some teaser background footage, this is quite disappointing.
The Cell saga started off weakly (mostly due to the Garlic Jr saga and some initial weak villains) but the origins of Cell and his absorption of the Androids brought a legitimate threat to the Z Fighters. The interesting thing here is how Goku and company adapts to the threat here considering his almighty power is actually well told when it comes down to defeating the android. It’s probably the strongest ending to any of the sagas, though I still prefer the Frieza saga overall, this did end in quite a good way.
We left Goku and Gohan in the hyperbolic time chamber, as they condense a year into a day of training to try and get close to Cell’s power, with Piccolo, Vegeta and Trunks waiting to go in again. To their surprise, they finish early and whilst they are stronger, Goku admits he’s probably not up to Cell’s level, yet refuses to go in there again, and instead decides to spend the remaining days before the Cell Games being with his family, which has been quite rare over the seasons for various reasons. We get some decent quality time as Gohan befriends people hiding in a shelter, Chi Chi reminisces about how Gohan was named, and they most relax. The others think Goku has a plan, but he’s keeping it quite quiet. Meanwhile Cell continues to be his evil self, killing military personal as they realize they need the Dragon Balls to resurrect the people Cell killed. With no Kami anymore however, Goku enlists the help of an old friend, Dende, the young Namek mage on their new planet, to take over as Kami, and thus, bringing back some new Earth Dragon Balls.
As Goku succeeds in that, the Cell Games are about to begin, if Cell wins, the Earth is doomed. After some hilarity with everyone’s new favourite character Mr Satan/Hercule (the current champion of Earth who is basically just a strong human being and an ant to the Z Cast but has such an overblown ego it’s incredibly comical) trying to understand how all these other guys do such ‘tricks’ we get Goku and Cell fighting off. The fight is quite even, though Goku feels he’s not as strong. After seeing Cell showing the abilities of various fighters he got cells from, Goku apparently manages to defeat him with a close range Kamehameha dissolving half of his body. Unfortunately, due to Piccolo’s cells he regenerates and the amount of energy Goku used to try and win meant he is far weaker now. To everyone’s surprise Goku gives up, and Cell thinks he’s won as he thinks no-one in the party is as strong as Goku. However, Goku nominates someone he thinks can beat him…his own son Gohan.
What I like about this part from here on is just how everything actually does link, not just in the season, but for the series in general. From the very first few episodes back when Radditz attacked Goku, there was an ongoing plot of Gohan having hidden power which manages to put his levels far beyond his own level. It’s even flashbacked upon with fights against Radditz, Nappa and Frieza when he held his own at some point despite being outmatched normally. However, it’s only when his friends and family appear to be in trouble. Cell is intrigued by this and creates several Cell Jr clones to attack his friends and family. With Cell stealing the senzu beans, the others are beat up a fair bit, but thanks to a sacrifice by Android 16 who was fixed by Bulma previously, Gohan manages to incorporate that anger and rage, and evolve into a Super Saiyan V2 – managing to increase his power but not lose his speed like Trunks did at the end of Season 5.
From there, plenty of twists – Gohan is now much stronger, even causing Cell to go down to his Level 2 form (actually throwing up Android 16) but Gohan’s own arrogance wanting to see Cell suffer is nearly his downfall as Cell attempts to blow up the Earth. It leads to a decision made by Goku, a shocking rebirth of Cell, and a final battle between Cell and Gohan.
The ending is very unique, and they don’t forget anything. Trunks manages to return back to the past after the saga ends and wraps everything up with his new found powers, whilst Gohan is now the strongest in the world(despite Hercule hilariously managing to find a way to take credit for it), which leads to what the future will hold with the future sagas. There are plenty of other little things that develop here as well, for example the relationship between Vegeta and Trunks has elements that Vegeta does care for his son, especially after a rage when he thinks Cell has killed him. His fate at the end of the series is unresolved so again, plenty of mystery to what he does, as he doesn’t go with the other Z fighters and just appears to leave Bulma so going to be interesting what happens to him. Also, it was just really nice to finally see some proper dad/son time between Gohan and Goku. The episodes which revolved around this didn’t feel like filler (some even had links to the original Dragon Ball) so nothing felt out of place, which was nice.
Cell himself is probably the biggest weakness of the release, mainly as he was just a very generic, albeit powerful villain. His motives were just for getting stronger, and this release his only has vague goals of simply being able to travel to planet to planet, blowing them up and getting more energy. At least Frieza had a motive in that he sold planets, Cell’s motive is just ‘I’m evil.’ Granted, his threat was genuine, the fact he could use the cells of all the other fighters using their techniques and storing information was a real kick in the teeth after Goku’s final move and sacrifice, and whilst I felt Android 17 was very generic, Androids 16 and 18 at least had more personality and development with 16’s love of the environment and the weird relationship 18 had with Krillin (which is hilarious shot down but also a potential hint of happening at the same time by the end of the release). It was good seeing all the Z fighters involved though – Piccolo still seeing Gohan as a good friend which is always great to see, and even Tien and Yamacha getting their moments to shine.
Of course, the fight scenes are the big pay off, and it always delivers. The Goku/Cell and Cell/Gohan fights being very drawn out as per standard but also entertaining, whilst Hercule/Mr Satan was utterly hilarious over his attempts to say he was still stronger, trying to say all their techniques were tricks, and the way he managed to convince the camera crew in the end was pure gold. The way Cell defeats Hercule was also hilarious, as Krillin himself said ‘he was rooting for Cell.’ Kind of weird to have a comedy moment just before the big fights, but Hercule as a slapstick braggart? Definitely works for this series.
It’s a surprising conclusion but it’s a definite pass the torch moment between father and son, the way the future is resolved is not forgotten and well done, and there is surprisingly decent character development. DBZ is still DBZ, so the action still takes front and centre, but this season is close to the end of the Frieza Saga for the best so far in DBZ.
You know what you are getting into with Dragon Ball Z – a lot of fighting, over the top battles with the usual jokes of how long the fights go through. Here though, they don’t seem so drawn out and whilst the fact Cell has to be defeated 3 times was a bit long-winded, it did make sense and everyone having to help out was a nice touch as everyone gets their moment. The stars are Goku and Gohan, but Trunks and Vegeta’s relationship is subtly coming together, and the moments of father/son bonding with the Sonns is rare and surprising. Add a bit of comedy with Hercule and the excellent conclusion, despite a rather standard villain, The Cell Games is one of the better arcs of DBZ. Recommended for DBZ fans definitely, casual viewers will probably enjoy this as well.
Japanese Language, English Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening And Ending
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C-
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: 4th March 2013
Running Time: 725 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 – 1.78:1
Playstation3, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.