What They Say:
Following their first encounter with Goku Black, the Saiyan trio are itching to dish out some payback! It’s a mystery as to why Black has a Time Ring, so it’s off to the Tenth Universe for a discussion with the Supreme Kai and his suspiciously well-mannered apprentice. With everyone’s lives on the line, the Z Fighters must face the problem head-on or try to alter the timeline at the source!
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 Goku Black’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 fun as we get a nice thing for the English language fans. While The standards are here in the clean opening and closing sequences, we get a cute piece with the voice actors for Mai and Trunks getting together for some coffee and treat where they talk about them. It’s casual and fun in the way that fans would hang out and talk about such things. Eric Vale and Colleen Clinkenbeard certainly have fun with it, especially as they delve into how well they connect on the convention circuit.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the structure of this series the previous set is the one that got us underway with the Future Trunks saga after it dealt with the short Copy-Vegeta saga. Sadly, I didn’t get to see that set but the fun thing with Dragon Ball in its many iterations is that you can catch up pretty easily with what’s going on thanks to how the show itself works and I was able to hit the ground running fairly quickly with this set. This release takes us up through episode sixty-five which means we’ll finish out the arc with the next release before heading into the big Universe Survival saga. This one is a bit wonky with what it’s doing but there’s something to be said for having characters like Goku sitting around talking about parallel earths, time travel, and more. And making sense.
The general thrust of the first half of this set is simply to try and understand what’s going on. With the encounter with Goku Black fresh in their minds and the power that he’s throwing out there combined with what Trunks has said about how bad things have gone in the future, there’s some solid exploration going on here. It narrows things down in a fun way as we get Goku heading off with Whis and Beers where they go to Universe Ten to meet up with the Kai there. It’s here that we get introduced to Zamasu, the apprentice to the Kai, Gowasu. There’s a lot to like in just enjoying another Kai and what goes on there but also just in the interactions with Beers and Whis since they’re looking at things from an even larger perspective than Gowasu is. The two are definitely interesting characters as we get to understand how Zamasu is able to grow into the role he’s being groomed for.
But that grooming involves him traveling forward in time with the special ring that Gowasu has in order to see progress on the world they’re watching. It’s here that we get to understand what’s driving Zamasu as much as it is because he’s looking for the kind of order and peace in the universe that you simply can’t get with the chaos of life that comes with it. There’s a quick brutality that surprised me there in how Zamasu dealt with one of the future locals but part of that was just in how the interaction must have changed things for their evolution. But all of this is what sets things in motion for Zamasu with his bigger plan, the comically named Project 0 Mortals, and it’s something that even Beers recognizes that he’s doing. That the close relationship between Gowasu and Zamasu blinds Gowasu to seeing it is a nice touch but I like how Beers wraps it all up quickly and easily by eliminating Zamasu.
The problem is that this fixes it just for this timeline and that doesn’t help Trunks at all. It’s something that Trunks actually explains to his younger self in how when he first came here he brought a cure for the heart condition that Goku had which saved his life. But that didn’t save Goku in his timeline and that made it clear that they’re not operating in the “same history” as he puts it. I like the dynamic between the old and young Trunks because it removes that whole never interact with yourself in the past since it’s not the same past. Of course, with this logic it means that there’s an endless array of timelines that you could go down the rabbit hole with and you’d never actually save any worlds in a way. But that doesn’t stop Goku from wanting to deal with what’s going on because Trunks is important to them for several reasons and Goku sees the whole thing as a big fight he can’t turn away from. Thankfully, they do remove Beers and Whis from it and that’s a smart move but also a problematic move. I’ll admit, the two have grown on me immensely and they provide the humor I’m looking for in the series.
Naturally, a good portion of the set here involves the fight on Trunks world where we get Goku and Vegeta along with Trunks going up against Goku Black and the Zamasu here. Things get complicated in how all of this came to be, needlessly so I think, but the idea of an immortal pair that can’t be hurt and having Goku Black going with a Super Saiyan Rose level with its own coloring definitely makes for some good stuff. In terms of story, it’s just kind of drawn out when you get down to it as there’s not a lot of progress here. But in terms of style and action, the show delivers really well here. Goku gets a pretty serious hit and the focus on Trunks and Vegeta provides for the kind of bonding time that I like with it as they’ve always had a kind of tense and awkward relationship that leaves me grinning with the dialogue and simply how they look at each other.
The Dragon Ball Super series has definitely been an enjoyable one for me in a way that the Z franchise struggled with toward the end. While it can’t recapture the magic of the original Dragon Ball for me there’s a lot of fun to be had here since it avoids feeling like a fanfic series. Trunks was always one of my favorite components of the Z series and giving him another arc here and providing for some good interaction with his younger self made me smile. The story is pretty good in the first half, especially when Beers and Whis essentially wrap things up, while the back half digs well into some enjoyable and well-choreographed action that will delight fans since it’s animated so well. It’s a solid entry that has one more set to wrap it up in before moving onto the next thing.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Coffee Break with Mai and Trunks, 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 2nd, 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.