One of the weaker parts of the DBZ Saga as the goofiness of Maijin Buu despite his huge threat makes this seem a lot less interesting than the previous villains, though it ends in a unique cliffhanger, and some surprisingly tender moments involving Vegeta of all people may make this still a worthy purchase…
What They Say :
The awakening of unstoppable Majin Buu! The forces of good and evil have converged upon the planet Earth, and the fate of the universe hangs in the balance! The evil wizard Babidi has traveled across the galaxy on a quest for revenge, hoping to fulfill his father’s thwarted dreams of universal domination. Meanwhile, the Supreme Kai has come to enlist the aid of the Z-Fighters in an effort to prevent Babidi from completing his plans and awakening a monster of unimaginable terror: Majin Buu! Contains episodes 220-253.
The DVD release has a 5.1 Dolby Surround track along with a standard 2.0 Japanese stereo track. The English track is good as most 5.1 releases are, which is always recommended for a remastered track as well – no probs with the sound being in sync with the subtitles, plus you have 3 options with the US Broadcast audio stereo (from the original release) and the Japanese audio stereo if you so choose. Video quality is mostly fine however there were 2 occasions on episode 14 and episode 27 of this review where there was some crackling which slowed down the episode briefly on those occasions. It only happened on these two episodes for a few seconds and this is a test disc review, but hopefully this was rectified on the main release. It still looks good for the remastered release overall though.
The menus are mostly identical in each of the 6 discs, with a horizontal image of Maijin Vegeta on an orange background with the menu selections on a black bar at the bottoms, with discs 1-5 having the choice of Play All (with opening and endings on each episode), Marathon Feature (op and end only on the first and last episode respectively), Episode List and Set Up, with Disc 6 also having an Extras feature. Very basic, but easy to navigate both from the menu and from the show itself.
The only extras were on the final disc, which was the new clean opening and ending for this season.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Dragonball Z is firmly into the final arc of the main series, the Buu arc, which for most of it I have to admit for me is the weakest of the arcs – not to say it doesn’t have its good moments, just out of the villains at least at this stage, the combination if fairly week. However, there are definitely some stand out moments in this set and it does end with some good potential.
We get Gohan, Vegeta and Goku flying out to Babidi’s ship along with Piccolo and Krillin, but those two are quickly defeated by Babidi’s bodyguard Dabura who turns them to stone. With Babidi getting the energy from Gohan to revive Buu, the clock is ticking and as they investigate the ship, they have to fight various warriors in the ship, where their energy from the battles will be used to help power up Buu. As the kais are stunned at the power of the Z warriors, we get a fun interlude as the tournament has to still wrap up despite many of the fighters not being there. It leads to a comical battle where Mr. Satan eventually is the winner after Android 18 manages to blackmail him into giving her twice the prize money if she drops the match with a humorous double act by Trunks and Goten trying to pretend to be one of the fighters Mighty Mask. However, it doesn’t distract from the main issue mainly because Hercule/Mr Satan is such a lovable idiot – which actually comes into play by the end of the arc.
It leads to Gohan fights Dabura and it’s clear the years of studying after his heroics against Cell have not been good to Gohan as Vegeta notices how much weaker he seems and it makes his Saiyan blood boil. Babidi actually takes advantage of this, actually taking over Vegeta’s mind, which seems to make him revert to his much more callous self from the early days, where he even returns to the stadium and blows up part of it, killing many fans. However, it’s clear he has not completely lost control, and his only reason for letting Badidi control was to give him the power to fight Goku. It’s clear that over the years Vegeta still harbours a grudge over the fact that Goku has always been stronger than he is. Due to his killing, Goku complies but it is interesting that Vegeta’s focus is only on Goku, and won’t react to Babidi’s orders, his rage and pride the deciding factor rather than any mental weakness in the Saiyan.
Vegeta is actually for me the best part of this arc because you can see the torment between how he feels he’s become soft after being on Earth, yet at the same time has the grudging respect for Goku and this planet. He wishes to return to his past cold self, yet sees the Earth life as an enjoyable prospect. The talk he has with Goku combined with what happens a bit later with Maijin Buu put Vegeta as probably my favourite character now because he literally comes full circle, even when asking Piccolo at one point if he was to die, where would he go? Despite Piccolo’s honest and truthful answer, Vegeta doesn’t regret anything and it’s a true moment in the Saiyan’s circle of being an anti-hero.
Whilst the Goku/Vegeta battle occurs, the inevitable happens and Maijin Buu is resurrected – which surprises everyone because instead of the ferocious monster he was predicted to be, he’s a pink blob adult child. Yet the power he reeks amongst his silliness is immense, and the fact he defeats Dabura so easily (even turning him into a cookie and eating him!) means that as silly as his abilities are, he is very dangerous. Buu quickly defeats Gohan, leaving Goku and Vegeta to hold their fight for the greater good, but as mentioned, Vegeta has another idea. He knocks Goku out as his guard is down, and goes to take vengeance thinking Gohan has died, unaware that Goten and Trunks have now followed them…
This leads to the aforementioned Vegeta turnaround moment – he finally hugs his son, realizes he loved Bulma, and actually self-destructs to try and kill Maijin Buu. The ultimate sacrifice sadly doesn’t work as one of Buu’s abilities is that his body mass can be spread apart and be put back together like clay dough. This leads to the now recovered Krillin and Piccolo (as Dabura was killed, his stone abilities wore off, leading to an amusing moment when Trunks accidentally broke a part of the Piccolo statue, good job he can regrow his limbs…), they along with Goku go to the lookout where Dende is, and have to try and figure out a way to stop Buu. On the way, Videl, Bulma, Yamacha and others have been locating the Dragon Balls to try and bring back to life everyone killed by Buu or Vegeta, and Goku with less than a day on earth, manages to postpone two of the wishes for the future, whilst he teaches Trunks and Goten a technique called Fusion, which could potentially be strong enough to kill Buu.
The finale is interesting because Gohan to make up for being much weaker, gets training from the restored Kai’s, first in a weapon known as the Z-sword, and then with aid of Goku returning to the afterlife and able to visit the Kai’s world, with the help from the Elder Kai there, to bring Gohan’s power to an even higher level through a very silly ritual (combined with perverted old man bribery). Goku showing his ultimate power form against Buu and to showcase to the two children along with the Fusion technique seems to be the way to see if the next generation are the saviors like when Gohan did it – problem is, Trunks and Goten aren’t actually as likeable as they are far more impulsive than young Gohan and for example, get bored of the fusion technique (plus it’s looks silly). And when they do master it, they immediately go after Buu without any instruction…and get subsequently beat down. It’s strange that the real turning point is right at the end. Up until then, Buu has been very malicious with basically killing anybody and anything…but doing it very goofily by turning them into treats – whilst evil, it’s almost like a big children trying to be bad…only with all the power of the universe. He just doesn’t seem to fit in with the DBZ universe. Though he does turn on his master, there is a hint that he doesn’t seem to know what is bad and what is good, and doing good things actually make him feel better (he heals a child’s blindness at one point). Of all people, it’s Hercule/Mr Satan who makes him see this as he, as the champion of earth, tries to somehow trick Buu into seeing his defeat (poisoned chocolates, explosives, no effect) but upon seeing a puppy, Buu makes a friend and Hercule actually asks him why he does this evil stuff – when Buu has no answer, Hercule basically convinces him to stop being evil as there is so much good in the world. Buu actually takes it to heart and is about to agree…before two poachers shoot the dog. It ends with Buu with a shocked and angry face…which could be the turning point of this arc.
This arc doesn’t seem to have as much going for it than the Vegeta, Cell and Frieza arcs for a few reasons. First off, despite Buu seemingly being way stronger, his childlike qualities are a stark contrast and despite the things he does, it almost seems comic in comparison. There is a lot of cuts back to the tournament and the girls looking for the Dragon Balls, but considering how well Videl was developed in the last season, here she’s barely an afterthought. The antics of Goten/Trunks aren’t really interesting, amusing or charming (Piccolo as the baby sister seems to mirror the audience’s reactions) and the factor of Goku having to return to the afterlife means after Vegeta gets killed, it’s going to lead to seeing if we can make the kids more interesting and likeable. Whilst Gohan maybe a factor, the fact that at the moment he is a non-factor doesn’t bring us hope considering what happened at the end of the Cell Saga.
But it isn’t completely average. Vegeta was perhaps at his best in this arc, mainly because we see he never lost his jealousy over being seen as second-rate compared to Goku, and you can see whilst he still has his cold edge, he doesn’t want to admit he has enjoyed his life on Earth with Bulma and Trunks – the hug at the end with Trunks was a real turnabout moment, along with his sacrifice, which whilst pointless, was still heart tugging – his talk with Piccolo was also a key moment, and considering what a fan favourite he is, certain he will be back for the end somehow thanks to Goku’s trick with the Dragonballs. The comedy was enjoyable, especially anything involving Hercule – the way 18 throws the match is hilarious, but is this the turning point for the egotistical yet lovable doofus? The way he manages to get Buu seemingly to turn away from evil suggests he might be more important than before, yet the way it ends, DBZ manages to give us a decent cliffhanger.
I can’t say I enjoyed this as much as previous arcs, but it made me smile a lot, the Vegeta parts were excellent and it did end well – let’s just hope the final season pays off…
Whilst Buu seems a credible villain in terms of power, his arc is a bit off due to the strangeness and less callous nature of him – which in turn makes this arc seem a bit sillier (no helps thanks to some other antics of the kais, the second string and Hercule) combined with the focus on Trunks and Goten as the potential saviors doesn’t ring as well due to how unlikeable they seem in comparison to young Gohan previously. Nonetheless, it still not bad mainly thanks to some excellent Vegeta scenes, and a surprisingly well done cliffhanger makes it still a must for DBZ fans, especially as the finale is coming…
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening/Ending
Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: C-
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: July 15th, 2013
Running Time: 565 minutes
Review Equipment: Playstation3, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.