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Dragonball Z Season 9 UK Anime DVD Review

11 min read
Dragon Ball Z Season 9
Dragon Ball Z Season 9

The Buu saga ends Dragonball Z in one part excellent fashion…but then also feels like a wasted opportunity with some of the choices made.

What They Say :
Majin Buu’s spree of terror continues, and his ruthlessness knows no bounds! In his quest to eliminate the remaining Z-Fighters, Buu has cut a path of destruction across the face of the Earth, leaving a trail of devastation so utterly complete that it may even be beyond the power of the Dragon Balls to repair..With their efforts to stop Majin Buu quickly proving futile, the Z-Fighters have but one remaining hope against this seemingly invincible foe: the Fusion Technique! But for this desperate plan to succeed, Goku will have to join forces with his oldest rival, Vegeta! Can the combined efforts of these two mighty Saiyan warriors put a stop to Majin Buu once and for all? The final battle for the fate of the universe begins! Contains episodes 254-291.

Audio/Video
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 excellent (no issues compared to the previous release where there was slowdown on a couple of the episodes) as the 9th set of the UK debut of DBZ remastered ends well visually and sound wise.

Menu:
The menus are mostly identical in each of the 6 discs, with a horizontal image of Super Saiyan 3 Goku 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.

Extras:
Very few extras sadly, especially with the final realize as only the repeat of the opening and ending textless. This is especially jarring considering the first release had a very short segment about the creation of DBZ and since then nothing something, which is very disappointed considering this was the first time the UK got a DBZ release.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With this being the final release of Dragon Ball Z, it was always interesting how they would end the Buu saga, and indeed the series in general. For me, the Buu saga is probably the weakest of them all sadly, and whilst there were some interesting ideas in this volume, there were still a lot of things that didn’t make it work compared to previous releases, which is a shame, as there were still some iconic moments that at least makes it a worthwhile purchase.

We left off with Buu apparently reforming after making friends with Mr. Satan, but his new puppy dog friend is shot by some poachers. Mr. Satan quickly takes care of them, but later as Buu begins to actually enjoy life, one of the poachers then shoots the champion of Earth. Buu enraged, manages to heal him before releasing a ton of steam. The steam forms the evil part of Buu, whilst the fat side is the good part of Buu. The two Buus fight, with the evil Buu seemingly stronger, and is actually able to reverse Fat Buu’s magic to turn him into chocolate. Evil Buu eats him, which transforms him into a new version of Buu, which will be dubbed Super Buu. He spares Mr. Satan but goes searching for new prey. One of the issues I have with this saga is the fact that Buu has no motive outside of ‘destroying the world because I’m evil’. At least with the other villains there was a motive outside of it – mostly conquering the world or becoming immortal, or in Cell’s case learning and seeking his other beings to become stronger, with Buu, after Babidi tied he literally has no purpose. That might be within his character but then he separates, absorbs and becomes stronger despite being part of his original character? It gets more confusing with some of his abilities and his ‘kid’ form later in the arc as well…

The main story of course is that the Z warriors need to defeat Buu, and the strongest warrior is now Gotenks when they fuse. Whilst the boys are in the hyperbolic time chamber, he goes onto Dende’s outpost and annihilates all the people on Earth waiting for the boys to be ready. They stall him for a bit thanks to Piccolo and Videl (who Buu recognizes as Mr. Satan’s daughter, his one link to humanity) but the fact Buu kills Chi-chi before the fight adds more fuel as Goten becomes more serious. When Buu runs out of patience, Piccolo slowly gets him to the chamber and hopes the boys have mastered fusion and are strong enough to take out Super Buu.

At first it seems the boys haven’t done much and their attacks are either not fazing Buu or just ridiculous. One of them, their ghost attack, actually does work but we continue to see Buu regenerate when he is blasted to pieces. Buu seems unstoppable so Piccolo destroys the entrance to the chamber, trapping all of them inside. With silly mechanic number 20, Buu screams in anger which somehow creates a vortex so he can escape (whilst I’m aware the powers of DBZ are crazy, at least most are due to training, Buu seems to be able to do anything via magic with no real explanation, another reason why I find him the weakest of the main villains over the sagas). Gotenks doesn’t seem to do much better as he goes to Super Saiyan 3 to create another vortex, but when he finds Buu, he has transformed everyone that was in the lookout into chocolate/candy and eaten them all. Plus whilst Gotenks is a match for Buu for a while, he is forced to depower as the Super Saiyan energy and fusion techniques wore him out. However, once he separates, Gohan who was training with the elder Kai, has completed his ‘training’ and is sent back to Earth to help out being one of the few people technically still alive.

The formula of DBZ begins to feel familiar, as Gohan is now far stronger than ever and is more than a match for Buu. Of course, this doesn’t last too long as Buu tries to kill them by self destructing. Gohan escapes, saves Mr. Satan and an alive Dende (who Mr. Popo threw to the Earth before Buu killed them so they have the possibilities of the Dragonballs) but Buu reforms himself. He challenges Gotenks to a rematch but using another new ability, he is able to absorb Gotenks and Piccolo into his own flesh. Now with their powers, he now has the upper hand, so the elder Kai forfeits his life so that Goku can live again so they may have a chance. At the same time, in the afterlife, a certain someone is also being sent back despite being dead…

The making up powers on the spot to beat Buu seems to apply with the heroes, as not only does the elder Kai have an earring which allows instant fusion, but of course Vegeta returns as a last throw of the dice, especially when Gohan gets absorbed by Buu making him even more powerful. This leads to the fusion choice which of course is what fans wanted, the two fan favourites of Goku and Vegeta together as Vegeto. Again, the formula as Vegito is initially stronger, but Buu turns him into candy – yet the candy is just as strong! Buu is forced to revert them, but Buu later absorbs them…fortunately due to a shield, they avoid being fully integrated to Buu, and actually explore his body, and find the bodies of Gohan, Piccolo, Trunks, Goten and even Fat Buu inside him. They manage to free them which in turn weakens Buu. They are actually able to defuse inside the body (and Vegeta being Vegeta makes sure they don’t do it again) but Buu reverts to a childlike version…which is somehow even stronger than his main version with absorbed forms! Granted, they do try and explain it through some story telling (and why the Fat Buu is as he is) but it is very brief, and it doesn’t really mesh well in trying to say this original form is the strongest version.

Then again, DBZ logic.

It leads basically to the Kid Buu being able to fight both Vegeta and Goku with ease, but somehow the Fat Buu is also able to become back into the real world. Vegeta actually swallows a lot of pride and admits Goku is better, and basically thanks to King Kai and Namek, he makes a plan to bring everyone back to life on earth, erase their memories of Buu’s havoc, and using their energy so Goku can create a spirit bomb powerful enough to destroy Buu completely. They manage to do so with the help of the Namekian dragons, Dende and of all people Mr Satan (who using the telepathy he convinces the people of Earth to give who they believe is him fighting Buu, giving Goku the energy to make the Spirit Bomb). It drags on a bit as most of the big battles of DBZ do, but it ends happily, with everyone’s loved ones back on Earth, even have a party before the potential epilogue 10 years later(which may or not be the set up to Dragonball GT…but the less said about that the better)…

As you can see, there seemed to be a lot to get through, but at the same time not so much. The formula of DBZ is in full effect – good guys are losing, get stronger, bad guy cheats to win, good guys find another way to get better which leads to the final conclusion of the good guys win. It is one of the original shounen formulas but seems way more obvious here. Partly I believe is the fact that Buu as a villain isn’t as interesting as Vegeta, Frieza or Cell. Despite him being stronger than all of those, the fact he has kiddy fits of eating deserts (even in his evil forms) really makes him seem much less effective to the viewer despite the fact he is clearly far stronger. He does display more intelligence and character at times, but only when he has absorbed the smarter characters (Piccolo, Gohan) – and a lot of the times in terms of his power it is almost like the rules are made up. At least with Frieza and Cell you know why they got stronger (Frieza having transformations and Cell needing the bodies of the other androids) – Buu simply seems to do what we wants with no real explanation (his absorption was alluded to just because he is able to reform, but still feels like a cop out). The fact the good guys fare no better in this regard (the earring for fusion, Vegeta and Goku having a get out of death card, super Saiyan candy, etc) seems far more obvious in this arc than in previous arcs, making it a fair bit weaker. It also doesn’t help that it’s attempt to create somehow else to save the day outside of Goku and then Gohan fails as Trunks/Goten failed miserably in the end as their immaturity even put Piccolo’s patience (and the viewers) to its limit, and in the end, it was up to the fan favourites to end the series.

Granted, it was the best way to finish. Vegeta in particular grows tremendously, despite his Saiyan arrogance, the fact he is able to admit Goku is stronger, and puts his faith in him knowing he can’t beat Buu is actually a good way to round out his character. He still has his badass nature and his pride, but the fact he can admit this, and the love of his family shows how much the man has come through. And of all people, I actually became fond of Mr Satan after this arc – the man is a fraud, no doubt, but the fact he really WAS the reason why Buu lost and the fact the Z fighters now consider him one of the crew (including 10 years in the future – also Gohan/Videl’s daughter Pan is super adorable) is again, a nice turnaround for him considering his arrogance during the Cell arc. Most of the characters do get their moments as well in a small way, plus the epilogue in the future was interesting (though Goku doesn’t come out of it that well as his reason for leaving his family again is very spur of the moment and shows his irresponsibility) – however the battles did feel too long and drawn out, with just more and more reasons for it to extend.

However, at the same time, that is kind of the point of DBZ. We’ve all done the jokes of how long the battles take ever since the 5 minute joke during the Frieza saga. And this is why it is considered a classic. It is just great to switch your brain off, enjoy the action, whether it is sinister, comical, diabolical, or that moment when you know Goku is finally going to pull it off. So despite my feeling the Buu saga is the weakest of the sagas, the show was still a great way doing memory lane and enjoying it over the last year.

My boxed releases are now stored ready for the inevitable marathon drinking game later in the year. At the least, there will be a big smile on my face.

Summary:
The Buu saga, whilst ending how it should be, does feel a bit over the top even for DBZ standards. The fights are extended too much, Buu is an evil villain sue just there because of evil, and the attempts to do something similar to the end of the Cell saga failed when their attempted protagonists simply didn’t work as well as Goku, Vegeta or Gohan. However, it is still worth the purchase to finish out the DBZ saga as it is still a classic series that as long as you enjoy a bit of silliness and switching your brain off, you find out why in its own way it is as regarded as it is. One more time…KAMEHAME….HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade:A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: C-

Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: October 21st, 2013
Running Time: 950 minutes
Price: £24.99

Review Equipment: Playstation3, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.

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