What They Say:
While two of the strongest fighters train in another world, trouble stirs for planet Earth. The remains of a powerful force have started to gather, seeking revenge for their fallen leader—the wicked overlord Frieza! When evil takes on a new form with the force of 1,000 troops, can Gohan and the remaining Z Fighters take him on?
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 Freeza’s outfit and the general look of it 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. With few discs using clips these days in the menu this one works it well as there are many fun scenes to pull from and bring to life to set the tone for the release. The block along the bottom doesn’t cover the whole section and is nicely broken up with purple 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 Jason Douglas and Ian Sinclair talk about the project for about eighteen minutes.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first set of Dragon Ball Super proved to be a decent bit of fun overall as it took the recent movie and reworked it into something larger. It also made it feel more like old school Dragon Ball Z because it padded the hell out of it. I would have been fine with it if it had been my first time seeing the story but after having the more compressed theatrical version previously it made for a problematic experience on some level. That said, I was glad to have long form Dragon Ball again and reconnecting with these characters to see them move in familiar and new directions. It’s a sprawling cast and this one felt like it knew how to draw on both the original Dragon Ball series and the Z series while finding its own way as well.
This set kicks off with it finishing off the fight with Beers so that we get him and Whis heading back and a kind of detente for the moment where while he plays coy, Beers is actually interested in what Goku may become. Whis is just keen on lots of food which is why over the rest of this set he’s sneaking away there to enjoy some tasty treats with Bulma, something that works out for Vegeta as he makes his own play to go and train under Whis as Whis makes it clear that he’s the one that has trained Beers and keeps him going along. That helps to get Vegeta working on getting stronger to surpass Goku, since that always rankles him, and later on we also get a nod from an alternate universe version of Beers and Whis that hints at even bigger material to come much further down the line. This stuff is all kind of along the fringes for the most part but it adds some welcome color and setup to things.
It also doesn’t take long for Goku, who is doing his best to keep training outside of Chichi’s view, to discover where Vegeta has gone and cajole his way into the training as well. This has some fun on Earth first with all the family aspects of it, especially as we learn that Goku’s going to be a grandpa as Videl is pregnant, but the bulk of it is Goku and Vegeta going through the training under Whis. Which is basically being maids in the residence while Beers sleeps, though there are some really dangerous trials that get underway. It’s all focused on getting both of them to better handle higher levels of Ki and manipulate them but it’s presented in standard fare Dragon Ball goofiness, so I can’t give it too much grief as it’s simply a part of the franchise as a whole.
Where this set loses me a bit is that we get back to what’s going on with the Freeza gang as they’re a shell of what they used to be. The problem is that Freeza is revived and he’s intent on revenge. Why oh why do we still have to deal with Freeza? I know, I know, it’s because the character is a fan favorite and they can’t let anything go in this franchise. Freeza’s return to power has him at a whole new level and his intention to get revenge has him heading to Earth before he can really master any of it, though obviously still give Goku a run for his money. That takes some time to get underway because of where Goku and Vegeta are and we’re treated to the second string team coming in to fight against the Ginyu Force and others until word can reach Goku. There’s some fun here in getting the gang back together but it also just reminds you how left behind so many of them are in terms of power and how well they’ve been used.
Dragon Ball Super finishes up the opening arc and nearly finishes out the second here as Freeza is brought back into play and it can’t finish out soon enough for me. The character is a boogeyman that’s been brought out too often over the years and feels like far too safe of an avenue to pursue. That said, they do have fun with it here and it’s not overdone when you get down to it in what it’s trying to do. This set gives us some good time with the second string cast but also plays well with how Vegeta and Goku are trying to grow and seeding some of what’s to come when dealing with Beers and Whis to show there are grander things afoot. I’m enjoying the show and what it’s doing overall but am anxious to see it move away from things that it’s leaned hard into already with both Beers from the film and Freeza from the past.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Watching Dragon Ball Super: with Jason Douglas & Ian Sinclair, 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: October 3rd, 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.