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Dragon Ball Super Season 1 Part 1 UK Blu-ray Anime Review

10 min read

Basically, it’s one movie but extended to 13 episodes. However, knowing DB sagas this can only mean more…

What They Say:
After defeating Majin Buu, life is peaceful once again. 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 re-vealing his demise at the hands of a formidable being. Can Goku and his friends take on their strongest foe yet?

The Review:
The audio has a 5.1 release in English and a 2.0 in Japanese for the series– I watched the first disc in English and the second disc in Japanese to compare, despite not saying 5.1 the Japanese release was high quality to the point there was no adjustment to the volume, there were no other issues regarding sound quality, echoing, synching with subtitles, etc – the quality is high overall. The Funimation dub is still superb and whilst it doesn’t feel like a long time because of so many re-releases and previous incarnations, the update still feels like an old friend especially as this arc is basically a version of one of the movies but expanded.

Similar with the audio, the video is set in full screen format via NTSC transfer to PAL format with the show combining animation and colour in a more traditional sense, with no real problems with the subtitles, the sound synching in either language, no pause lag or in general, it is a quality release, especially considering how vibrant the colours are – this is not your old-school Dragonball in least in terms of the looks – this quality could bring in a new generation of fans at this rate…

The menu is pretty standard – we see clips of the show intertwined with music as below the scenes we get the classic Play All, Episodes, Setup and on disc 2, Extras. Easily selectable and like most Blu-Rays gives you the option to choose via a pop-up menu whilst in show some else (bar extras). Fast, quick, efficient and nice looking.

The DB universe tends to be picky with extras, and it seemed this way at first with the textless opening and two endings, along with trailers for a number of shows (Record Of Lodoss War, The Boy & The Beast, The Seven Deadly Sins, Assassination Classroom, One Piece Film: Gold and Speed Racer) being the standard.

In a first though, we have a couple of interviews with two main voice actors Sonny Strait (Krillin) and Christopher R. Sabat (Picollo/Vegeta) but they are with some interesting company…their children! Sonny is with his adult daughter Savannah Ligaluppi, whilst Christopher is with his young child daughter Hero D Sabat, and the two actors are trying to explain to their children what Dragon Ball is about.

As you can probably guess, it gets quite amusing, especially as both adult and child are confused but try to grasp with their fathers’ love and knowledge of the show, and a lot of fun is had (Hero knowing the first rule of DB law – Yamcha is weak :P) – maybe it’s just the fact I was such a fan but seeing her talk about Aunty Monica (Rial) as Bulma was way too adorable – it’s definitely a different style of interview segment and one I didn’t expect so definite kudos for it.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The return of Dragonball gives me a smile on my face as despite many movies and other versions it is still easily my guiltiest pleasure as was the first anime outside of Pokemon and Digimon that I grew up with. And with some of the DBZ arcs being really good whilst others not so, it is definitely a bit of column A and B with it – some credible and exciting villains, excellent battles and a lot of fun characters, but obviously plot isn’t a strong point.

So the release of Dragonball Super, an extended series which comes after the Maijin Buu arc of DBZ, and incorporates two of the more recent movies (Battle Of Gods/Ressurection F) and going to extend the universe even further, this had me quite excited to see what they will come up with. Admittingly I was aware the initial arcs are basically extensions of the above movies, but with much more modern animation and extended storytelling, this could be really surprising as it is still ongoing (originally airing in 2015) and with more story to tell…so how do we start?

Surprisingly cutely.  Goku is actually working (as despite being a saviour he still needs to pay the bills – hilarious considering how irresponsible Goku can be compared to how much of a disciplinarian Chichi is) but wants to continue training, but he needs a lot of money. Also Gohan and Videl are now married and Trunks and Goten are disappointed they couldn’t buy them a wedding gift so go and get some spring water (thinking it is a beauty queen)…Videl not wanting to break the kids hearts thanks them and her father Mr. Satan also is unconditionally awesome because he is rewarded 100 million zeni for supposedly saving the world again. Now at the end of the Maijin Buu arc, Mr. Satan’s character had developed from cowardly braggart to actually worthy in his own way of saving the world, and here he continues that development as he’s clearly on good terms with Goku and his son-in-law Gohan, and actually gives Goku the money considering Mr. Satan is already rich. This in turn allows him to go train with King Kai…

…which starts up the Beerus arc. So yep, this is the catalyst for the Battle Of Gods movie but expanded into more episodes. Beerus is basically a Destroyer, a god among gods who has power beyond anything seen before in the DBZ universe who seems incredibly petty – destroying universes if they displease them with food for example. However, Beerus in a vision sees someone who might be worthy of fighting him – known as a Super Saiyan God. So of course, Goku who has a habit of wanting to fight guys more powerful than he is, is kept in the dark of his awakening…unfortunately Beerus doesn’t care about that and goes out to find him. Meanwhile on Earth, it is Bulmas party with all the old gang there (bar Vegeta who is in training himself – hilariously he did take a vacation with Bulma/Trunks and lasted about half way before heading back for training…) with Goten and Trunks finding out one of the main prizes for the bingo is in fact the Dragon Balls (which obviously becomes important later). With cameos from a lot of cast (including the Pilaf gang of all people trying to find the balls) but eventually, Beerus does find Goku and things get down.

To say Goku is destroyed even in Super Saiyan 3 mode is an understatement especially as he doesn’t know what a SS God is, Beerus seems bored and is planning to destroy Earth almost as a punishment. King Kai warns Vegeta of his arrival to not antagonise him which leads to of all people Vegeta being humble in his presence (granted, the last time he saw Beerus he had humiliated his father and made him grovel so he is aware of his power). Strangely though, Bulma invites them to the party and Beerus seems to actually enjoy his time there due to the excellent cuisine of the chefs on the cruise ship. With Vegeta trying to calm him down and Beerus’ associate Whis enjoying all the sushi, Beerus wants to try some pudding…

…unfortunately of all people, it’s Buu who has all the pudding and despite Mr. Satan’s efforts to share, Buu being Buu doesn’t allow Beerus to have any…and that’s all it takes for Beerus to snap. He easily defeats Buu, and then defeats Gotenks with ease, along with Piccolo, Tien, Android 18 and Gohan. Lastly Vegeta remains and looks also to be defeated easily but Bulma comes up and slaps Beerus(!) for running her party. Beerus strikes her as well (knocking her out) which enrages Vegeta and actually gives him a decent fight but considering Beerus still isn’t anywhere near his full power, still loses. Beerus is now ready to destroy the Earth, but Goku teleports in and makes the idea of asking Shenron about what a SS God is…

So he does (hilariously even Shenron is scared of Beerus) and we learn an SS God is one by kind hearted Saiyans (5) transfer their power into one. Goku is chosen and with Vegeta, Gohan, Goten and Trunks there, seems right…until Whis points out that 5 Saiyans are required to transfer energy not 5 in total, so they need 6. In a smartly alluded to moment right at the start of the series, Videl then informs everyone that she is pregnant which would count as her child would be quarter Saiyan. And yes, this does work and Goku becomes a Super Saiyan God. He slowly begins to figure out his powers, to the point that Beerus realises that yes, this is a worthy fighter and unleashes what appears to be his true power – almost teaching Goku how to get stronger as he wants him to follow him and even when he appears defeated, Goku learns more and more and manages to keep up, almost destroying the universe with their power (Goku actually learns how to harness their energy so it doesn’t happen) which angers Beerus and the two have a beam war which Beerus appears to win, but actually used his power to negate the destruction of the Earth. It leads to Goku eventually losing his god power…but because of his Saiyan heritage and getting used to the power, he is now far stronger than he was in his Super Saiyan form as the battle continues…

…and dammit, it ends at episode 13 because there is one more episode of this arc. A tad annoying to say the least…

Dragon Ball Super updated in today’s market is very exciting. The updated animation combined with the voices still of the Funimation dub and in the original Japanese (though I will admit shed-ding a tear hearing Bulma in Japanese as her voice actress Hiromi Tsuru recently passed away) means that this is a new age of bringing Dragon balls fans into today’s market as well as getting new fans. The fact they actually flashback using the original footage is a nice touch and whilst you probably would need to have seen the original series to get all the characters there are flashbacks and mentions which can help newer fans get into it.

Of course, the fact it is just an extended run of the Battle Of Gods movie can be a bit cheap but it does mean there is more content coming with an original story. And Beerus is always interesting as a villain, because he clearly like Goku wants a challenge but is far more petty about it. He definitely is the type that if you got him on your side, he will be a friend for life (thank you Bulma and the catering team – you may have saved the earth with your cuisine…) and Whis as the supposed smiling sidekick who definitely feels like he’s also powerful adds some unintentional comedy.

The throwback to all the cast (there are some fun moments with Yamcha saying to Beerus he’s actually one of the best martial artists in the world, Krillin getting the wasabi takoyaki, Android 18 being the most excited to play bingo, the Pilaf crew giving up the Dragonballs just for some tasty food) combined with little hints of development (Mr. Satan giving Goku the money, Gohan feeling bad that Mr. Satan always helps him out with Videl being the supportive wife but also a very intelligent woman right – she’s the one that gets the Saiyans out of the jam of course).

Of course, the main selling point of DB Super is the fight scenes, and the Beerus/Goku fight in space really takes the cake. The strange thing is that it isn’t the flashiest of fights for the most part but it is almost like a teacher training a student, albeit with the fate of the universe at stake as well. Beerus is overpowered to such a degree he takes out SS3 Goku in two hits, and Vegeta seems initially stronger so you get the feeling that Vegeta may also become an SS God in the future as their rivalry is never going to end despite being ‘friends’ to an extent.

And add that some decent comedy as well (Krillin again works well here, though Beerus’ reaction to food can be hilarious especially during his fight with Gotenks) it’s definitely a welcome return for DB fans. Granted, not exactly high on plot and some of the characters aren’t in full bloom (there isn’t much in Picollo for example, and Buu was a bit too annoying especially considering his selfishness nearly destroyed the world…granted Beerus isn’t too much better regarding being selfish) but it’s definitely the start of something much bigger and I can’t wait.

In Summary:
DB: Super is a return to form that will be pleasing to DB fans and may even get some new fans around as it isn’t the hardest to follow even if you don’t know the characters at first. Beerus is an interesting first arc villain as he is clearly overpowered and have to see if Goku can work around it and with some great action, animation and even comedy at times, combined with excellent performances all round (seeing Vegeta being all humble is definitely worth the price of admission) it is not going to be a groundbreaking anime, but definitely one for the enjoyment.

Cleaning Openings/Endings

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

Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: October 30th, 2017
MSRP: £24.99
Running Time: 325 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.

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