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Dragon Ball Super Part 4 UK Blu-ray Anime Review

10 min read

The return of a fan favourite and an evil twin storyline which is the start of something compelling…

What They Say:
COEXISTENCE

The universe versus universe tournament finally has it winner with it, a chance to wish on the Super Dragon Balls! But are they really going to wish something like that?! Then, after an unexpected visit to a bizarre planet, a sudden SOS from the future arrives in the form of Future Trunks! What horror plagues his timeline, and can the Z Fighters face a foe that looks exactly like Goku?

The Review:

Audio:
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, there is clearly a lot of care in and love to the DB fans, especially when you see who they cast as the fake Vegeta in the mini filler arc (more on this in the review but trust me, if you watched the original DBZ dubs back in the day you are in for a nostalgia treat…)

Video:
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 – and with Future Trunks arc now happening you combine a lot more gritty looks combined with the more colourful nature of the cast…

Packaging:
There was no packing for this test release.

Menu:
The menu is pretty standard – we see clips of the show intertwined with music as below the scenes we get the classic Play All, Marathon Play (the same as Play All but only the opening at the very beginning and one ending at the very end) 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.

Extras:
We have a lot of traditional extras – we have the two variations of the opening textless (6th Universe version and the Future Trunks versions) and the two different endings clean, along with some trailers for The Royal Tutor, Kenka Bancho Otome: Girl Beats Boys, Eldive, One Piece and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.

The one standout extra is an interview with the legendary Sean Schemmel – a.k.a. the guy who has been playing Goku for nearly 20 years in English. Here, he gets to explain his role as Goku Black and how it differs from stand out Goku (mainly as gets to explore a lot more different emotions as an ‘evil’ version of Goku compared to the naïve innocent Goku) – he also is the voice of King Kai so mentions that much easier to go into that voice and the Goku voices, how the character of Goku has changed yet stayed the same over the past 20 years, how needed to research Goku Black and modifying the voice and how the director directs him with the new role. Also it’s apparent he hasn’t aged a day since watching him from the original dub…wonder how he felt when a certain other actor came in for a certain role in the filler arc – reunion time 

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

With Dragonball Super starting to expand onto new universes and new characters, the end of the Universe 6 arc is upon with the conclusion, and ready to set up onto a new arc with the return of an old favourite character and some new surprises as well…

We conclude the Universe 6 arc in an interesting way – we left Goku bringing back the Kaioken technique to combine with his Super Saiyan Blue form to try and beat Hit who is also evolving at a spectacular rate – however Goku realises that Hit is still holding back because he’s not allowed to use his assassination techniques. Whilst the gods argue whether he should or not, Goku realises the strain on his body with these forms and the time being wasted and actually forfeits the match much to Beerus’ panic because Mokona as established isn’t really a fighter and is in fact terrified to face Hit and was just used to motivate Goku and Vegeta. However, in a surprise twist, Hit forfeits the match against Mokona (well, in spectacular bad acting mode) which allows Beerus to get his wish…but not before he and Champa panic when their boss Xeno appears…who is basically a cute little doll like creature who kind of has the power to destroy universes if he wishes to.

So, of course, Goku challenges him…^^ Fortunately, Xeno is not a fighter and admires Goku, and instead mentions there may be a whole universe tournament in the near future…hmmm….

Anyway, we have some fun episodes like when Bulma has a party but with Mokona also there Goku of course wants to spar with him, leading to Beerus having to swallow his pride and pretend to be Mokona in a costume and an episode where Goku is having trouble dealing with his pains so ends up babysitting Pan to amusing things when the Pilaf family get involved. The other filler like arc, however, has a treat for dub fans – Trunks and Goten sneak into Mokona’s delivery truck and end up in a planet that have bandits trying to steal something called Superhuman water which can clone others and eventually kill the originals. Vegeta heads with Jaco to find the boys but the liquid absorbs Vegeta…

…I rarely mention things like this but has to be said, I did squee when Liquid/Clone Vegeta spoke because instead of using Vegeta’s current VA (Chris Sabat) they actually went and got Brian Drummond, the original VA from the Ocean dub and he still has the same voice and mannerisms down pat so yes, this made me very happy. It does lead also to Goku finding them and fights the fake Vegeta, which of course is a quandary for the real one…if Goku doesn’t win, he dies…but at the same time wants the fake Vegeta to win because he has absorbed all his strength so is a good demonstration to see how he would fair against Goku…

The true arc though begins shortly after that when we see the future again, and it still looks destroyed. Future Trunks has beaten the androids but a new threat has come about…but who or what is it?

Immediately, the arc changes things – Trunks is meeting with his mother Bulma who reveals she has been working on a time machine but just before they head out, an explosion destroys most of the lab. With this Bulma tells Trunks to head off without her…and leads to her death. With the present guys training and working, Trunks needs to head off and gets help from perhaps someone you would not have expected to be a big part of any storyline…Mai.

Yes, as in Pilaf girl Mai – she’s all grown up and is a member of a resistance and aids Trunks against this threat and to see her so hardened up and strong is strange considering up until now she has always been used for comic relief – it is also clear there is some attraction between the two (which makes the future visit even more interesting as it is clear kid Trunks likes kid Mai, but kid Mai definitely likes adult Trunks much to kid Trunks own strange jealousy). We learn more in the present about Xeno and the universes around as Trunks and Mai look to travel to the future, but then the mysterious enemy attacks. Mai acts as a decoy to try and get Trunks to the future but is seemingly killed. We see the mysterious enemy shortly after….and it appears to be…Goku?

Well kind of. We later learn he is known as Goku Black and definitely isn’t the same as Goku but at the same time not enough info is known at this point if he is a twin, clone, or someone else entirely. Trunks manages to escape as Goku Black doesn’t know where he is and Trunks makes it to the present where present Bulma contacts Goku and Vegeta (along with Whis and Beerus) as he is unconscious but when he awakes Trunks attacks Goku not realising where he is – fortunately Goku and Bulma manage to calm him down. He explains the enemy but Goku Black somehow transports himself to the past as well and fights present Goku, and it appears Goku is the stronger of the two but something drags Black back into the past (but not before destroying the time machine to screw over Future Trunks) – fortunately Bulma still has the capsule of Cell’s time machine so time to get fixing. We learn of Black’s goals, Trunks meeting kid Mai, and the fact that Black has a ring which allowed him that temporary time travel, which apparently can only been given by Supreme Kai. With this in mind, Goku, Beerus and Whis head off as our last shot is of a mysterious stranger….and the fact that future Mai may still be alive…

With the mix of arcs DB Super is really pulling more and more stops out. For those who may have bought the fighting game Dragon Ball FighterZ, the cast you may not have had a clue about (Hit, Goku Black) are now here and now their popularity is pretty obvious. Hit is a seemingly cold assassin but through fighting Goku he not only improves as a fighter, he improves as a person in a way as he refuses a reward and even throws the fight as a thanks to Goku when he faces Mokona. I really hope we see him again as we have another potential good rival for Goku and with the hints of a multi universe tournament this sounds likely.

The ‘filler’ section I guess still had it’s fun moments – seeing Pan looking set to be powerful was both cute and funny (combined with some hilarious Goku being a grandpa moments – his bad teleporting into Bulma’s place when she is nearly naked and his comment just making both her and Vegeta more angry, and I’ll never find Piccolo basically being overprotective over Pan not funny) but when the true crux of the show comes in the start of the Goku Black arc this seems to be something that will be the equivalent of a Frieza or Cell arc. Future Trunks returning is a welcome sight for a fan favourite but the fact he is outmatched by Goku Black does feel there is going to be a) reveals and b) more set ups for Goku to be stronger. On one hand, I know this is the set up and Goku is quite the likeable character (his need to fight stronger opponents notwithstanding, as much as I liked the Brian Drummond Vegeta arc, it still led to Goku saving the day despite Vegeta showing to be the key person in this) but you do hope there is more to this – I can see Vegeta getting heavily involved because Trunks being his son – the real surprise though is Mai of all people may be getting a pivotal role too which I’m really intrigued by. Also on a side note, one character I’ve liked a lot more in Super than I did in the original series is Bulma – in fact she may actually be my favourite character – the fact she can stand up (read: bribe and even scare) to Beerus combined with her motherly nature but still quite hot-headed and comical makes her extremely entertaining and because of her future self and tech skills, she is quite pivotal in most of the arcs if in a non-combat way – genuinely surprised how much I enjoy her character.

The reveal at the end suggests the mystery character is who they are looking for in terms of helping Goku Black but that is a cliff-hanger for another day. If you have got this far, Super will definitely keep you entertained – indeed, there is nothing inherently wrong with it if you are used to the DB formula – lots of fights, some funny moments and a potential new villain – and there is definitely enough intrigue for it to want you to get the next set.

In Summary:
DBZ Super continues on its merry way, finishing one arc, having a bit of a fun couple of arcs, and then hitting the serious button with a new villain – Goku Black is very mysterious but not enough is known yet but that’s why it sets up as a nice cliff-hanger so the next set is ready for money to be spent on. What is there is plenty of fun, albeit a little predictable but it’s Dragonball so you don’t expect too much on that front. What you do get is good, turn off your brain entertainment, with some good characters (Hit, Bulma and Future Mai, in particular, being my favourites, along with the Brian Drummond Vegeta), good action, good comedy and good drama. In other words, still good.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Ending, Trailers, Interview with Sean Schemmel

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: August 6th, 2018
MSRP: £24.99
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

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

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