What They Say:
With Majin Buu defeated, Goku has taken a completely new role as a…radish farmer?! With Earth at peace, our heroes have settled into normal lives. But they can’t get too comfortable. Far away, a powerful god awakens to a prophecy revealing his demise at the hands of a formidable being. When his search for the Saiyan God brings him to Earth, can Goku and his friends take on their strongest foe yet?
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo as well as an English 5.1 mix, both of which are done up with the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The series design as a stereo mix in its original form gets a nice little boost from the 5.1 mix but both of them largely work a solid forward soundstage design. It’s got some good impact in the fight sequences and the other sound effects related to it get some good placement and depth where needed. A lot of the dialogue is straightforward but there are some bigger moments that play well and it works in the way that you’d expect from this series, especially with the yelling – and more so in the English language adaptation. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2015, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The thirteen episodes are spread across two discs in a nine/four format with several extras on the second disc. Animated by Toei Animation, the series sticks to the traditional designs for the most part as we’d expect and it leans on what the recent feature film material has done as well. Unlike the older works this series comes across as very bright and vibrant and that stands out. This is definitely noticeable in the oranges but the blue skies really hit a sweet note as well. Colors are strong and well defined while the details in the fluid fight sequences come across really well. There are gradients to be found in some of the backgrounds but this is all by design and probably somewhat due to the budget of the series. It’s a great looking show overall that’s encoded in a crisp and clean way.
The packaging for this release brings us a standard sized Blu-ray case with an O-card that replicates the case artwork. The cardstock gives it a bit more pop of color but also some metallic elements for Goku’s hair and the logo that really stands out well, even with the rest of the character artwork benefiting from it. I do like the sparseness of the cover in its design with red and white backgrounds since it makes it a stronger character focus. The back cover works some good sized images along the left while the right runs through the premise of the series while also breaking down the extras. The technical grid lists everything cleanly and accurately while the reverse side cover does up the episodes by number and title on the left while the right has the character artwork from the front against a solid darker red background.
THe menu design for this keeps things simple but it has just enough to separate it from the default of other releases that it helps. The block along the bottom doesn’t cover the whole section and is nicely broken up with red and black with a dash of orange dots. The part, disc, and episode numbers are all listed clearly so that when it’s part of a larger collection down the line it’ll all fit together. The navigation itself is kept simple and effective both as the main menu and the pop-up menu. The design is simple but it’s problem free and worked well throughout the viewing session.
The extras for this release are pretty good as we get some nice things for the English language fans. While The standards are here in the clean opening and closing sequences, we also get two interview pieces. The first lets voice actors Sonny Strait and Savannah Ligaluppi talk about the project for about twelve minutes while we also get a nine minute piece with Chris Sabat and his daughter Hero.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The return of the Dragon Ball franchise a couple of years ago with a new movie that went over very well financially around the world meant it was only a matter of time before Toei milked the cash cow again. Being more a fan of the origianl Dragon Ball than the Z incarnation (though I like the Z manga chapters a good deal), the summer 2015 arrival of Dragon Ball Super was definitely a welcome event – even if it didn’t get English simulcast for far too long, which meant I didn’t watch any of it until that set. While I’m not a deep in the woods knowledge kind of fan about the property, it is one that I’ve grown to appreciate over the years so I was definitely excited for this continuation.
Unfortunately, the continuation isn’t exactly that just yet. A large portion of this set of thirteen episodes is essentially an expanded upon version of the Battle of the Gods film. While life has gone on over the years in this world, there are things across the universe that move on as well. One such thing is the most powerful creature in the universe, Beerus the Destroyer. After a thirty-nine year slumber, he’s now been awakened by his associate Whis in order to deal with a supposed prophecy that Beers learned about. Beers is fully presented as a dangerous opponent of an unprecedented level, a problem this franchise has always had to deal with, but it provides good nods to Frieza and others that we’ve encountered over the years. But he’s also balanced by his love of food, something that he and Whis enjoy in their travels. Of course, when they tire of things they do tend to obliterate that particular world and all of its people.
With Beers curious to see if the prophecy of a Super Saiyan God existing, he discovers what happened to the Saiyan homeworld and with Freeza in particular and zeroes in on the group that appears to have survived on Earth. It’s no surprise that he ends up there, though with a quick detour beforehand on Kaio’s tiny world where Beers has an intriguing history as well. It’s here that Goku gets his first encounter with him and we get to see exactly what kind of power level that Beers has in relation to a highly powered up Goku. With Goku, we get what we’ve always gotten; a man who wants to face tougher and tougher opponents based on his own abilities. That’s been one of the things about him that’s a great thing as he wants to do it on his own strength. He’s not looking to be the strongest, as he’d be lost without a goal, and he’s not doing it in order to be a ruler or use it to abuse others. He’s simply a fool that loves a good challenge and fight.
What ends up happening is that Beers ends up on Earth where Vegeta is only to discover that all our familiar characters are there to celebrate Bulma’s latest birthday. That gives us an excuse to have a lot of characters there and have fun, only to get all properly panicked when Beers reveals why he’s actually there. There’s a lot of fun in getting the gang all back together, though it takes time to do so, and the series actually gets some good stuff early with Goku coming into a lot of money that allows him to go train. That brings Mr. Satan to the forefront a bit – always a dicey proposition – but also gave us a look at how the world was recovering after the events of the last series. Some of the reconnect moments are cute, from Bulma’s frustration with Vegeta at times and what we discover about Videl, all of which helps to reinforce the bonds here well.
When the later episodes shift focus into the fight between Beers and Goku, with him all powered up and everything, the show returns to familiar territory but does it well. Goku doesn’t get time to train at this God level that he’s now in thanks to Videl but he gets to fight someone that has a real love of a challenge. Beers is presented as someone that’s bored with what he’s had as challengers over the eons and it’s no surprise that Goku presents a real challenge to him and it lights a fire in him. We’ve seen this before in Goku – and we see it again toward the end of this set – but that’s part of what makes it work. The only area I didn’t care for is that the level of the fight in this first set already has the two of them going at it in a way that will destroy all existence. That’s ramping things up too fast, too heavily!
Dragon Ball Super was a hard start for a lot of viewers because it basically decompressed the first of the new movies. While that movie did very well and got this series made, which is ongoing as of this writing, the movies have generally been considered out of continuity. So getting it playing out here with some tweaks and expansions, and a bigger plan, is a good thing. It does mean that it’s terribly familiar for those that got into the film but I like the differences, the better use of the supporting characters, and just getting back into this mindset again. It’s a good looking show with a great release that lets the actors get back in the saddle in a big way and run with it. I’m definitely looking forward to what’s coming next more than this set but this sets the foundations well for the next era.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Catching Up on the Dragon Ball Universe: Sonny Strait & Savannah Ligaluppi, Catching Up on the Dragon Ball Universe: Christopher R. Sabat & Hero D. Sabat, Textless Opening & Closing Songs
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: July 25th, 2017
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.