What They Say:
After a startling meeting with Beerus’ brother Champa goes sideways, the godly brothers decide to settle their differences in the best way possible: by putting their best fighters to the test.
It’s a battle of universes as Universe 7—the home of Goku and the Z Fighters—faces Universe 6 in a brand-new Martial Arts Tournament! And the ultimate prize is one worth fighting for—the Super Dragon Balls from Universe 6. Can Goku gather the best fighters for a chance at true glory? And who is the mysterious Monaka that Beerus boasts as his strongest warrior? Get ready for an out-of-this-world competition!
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 beginning its 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 Vegeta’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 blue 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 blue 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 get another Anime Expo piece that has Jason Douglas and Sean Schemmel talking about their experience on the show and these characters some more..
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The third installment of the Dragon Ball Super home video release is one that finishes off the Golden Freeza saga before being dominated by the Universe 6 saga, which will finish up in the next set. While I was somewhat bored by the first set of this series as it drew out the events from the film a few years back, the second set picked up a fair bit with events but it was still something of a drag. A lot of that was owed to Freeza, a character that has been brought back far too often for my tastes when it really needed some finality, regardless of how many fans like him. By bringing him back over and over, and putting him back in the same garden situation when done with him as they do here in the opening episode, it’s just a time killing device until they decide to go back to that well again. And it’s just frustrating and is something of a stagnant point for the show.
Thankfully, this set moves us to some new material with a familiar concept – a tournament. As much as I hate to admit it at times, the tournament structure is what really drives this series as well as it does. The arrival of Champa and Vados on Beers world as the two are the Destroyer and servant from the sixth universe, sets in motion a new chain of events. With Goku and Vegeta in the background trying to grasp all of this, the general idea is that there are twelve universes where two are counterparts to each other, and the sixth and seventh are that with the franchise taking place in the seventh universe. Champa is essentially Beers but from a different timeline and series of events that made him who he is. Which is why he’s a bit chubbier and lazier but essentially still who Beers is himself. And what drives both Beers and Champa?
When Champa gets a taste of cup ramen he’s basically over the moon, which Beers takes advantage of by lording it over him all the more. Sadly, Champa doesn’t have this option in his own universe as the Earth was destroyed there some time ago (and was destroyed in the seventh universe at the start of this set to great effect, even if it was largely meaningless). That infuriates Champa and gets Beers to set up a fight between the two universes with the fate of Earth at stake. If Champa wins, he’ll use the seven planet-sized Dragon Balls that exist in his universe to transport Earth to his universe. For Beers, that means losing the one thing that he’s actually enjoying since waking up this time around. And even though he won’t admit it, he’s actually enjoying the time with Goku and Vegeta and all the others because they’re not just cowering in fear like so many have over his life. They’ve largely welcomed him to their table.
The show does as you’d expect in putting together a range of characters to be on the seventh universe’s team, and that includes sending Goku and Vegeta into their special training outside of time where they put in three very stinky and smelly years of building up their abilities. Let’s be frank; the bulk of this set is all about the matches as we get introduced to the combatants on both sides. The sixth universe side has some familiar pieces, including a Freeza type known as Frost that’s nowhere near as powerful as Freeza at the moment, and there’s an extended fight with an assassin known as Hit that works very well in giving us something pretty fun and creative to work through. We don’t get the end of this tournament but what we get is solid and engaging with its focus largely on Goku and Vegeta as you’d expect.
What sold me on this set, much to my surprise, was Vegeta. While we get the usual material with him frustrated by Goku and some very fun little bits with Bulma – including the reason why he and Goku get along with their significant others as they’re strong women that fight back, it’s one fight in particular that made me really enjoy it. When discovering a Saiyan on the sixth universe side, we learn how they’re basically peacekeepers for hire and are generally good guys in this universe. His opponent, Cabba, reminds me a bit of Gon from Hunter x Hunter and is essentially outclassed by Vegeta here. But Vegeta can’t stand to see a Saiyan of any stripe like this and through the match he works in his own way to teach and train Cabba to be better and get him on the right path by opening up to his anger and using that. That may have unintended consequences down the line but it showed a really neat side of Vegeta that I like, similar to Piccolo and his affection for Gohan all those years ago.
Dragon Ball Super is moving along well and a lot of what it does really feels reminiscent of the original Dragon Ball series for me as opposed to the Z series. It’s not overstaying things even as it plays to familiar ideas with mild change-ups to them. It’s smooth and fun to watch with some good humor and even knowing the stakes of the fight it doesn’t feel like it’s truly the end of the world kind of material. The Z series always had to up things, and Super does that as well, but it retains the charm and some of the joys of it all that the original work had that I didn’t feel translated into the far too long fight sequences that Z engaged in. this is a very good set that has me excited to see more.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Anime Expo 2017: Interview with Sean Schemmel & Jason Douglas, 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: February 20th, 2018
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.