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Dragon Ball Super Collection 8 Blu-ray Anime Review

8 min read
The stage is set and the tournament gets underway!

The stage is set and the tournament gets underway!

What They Say:
Dragon Ball Super Part 8 contains episodes 92-104 of the anime directed by Ryota Nakamura.

With Buu out of commission, and in order to complete their roster, Goku recruits an old enemy as the 7th Universe’s final teammate. However, the other universes aren’t keen on letting this new foe join the fight. The stage is set, and the Tournament of Power finally starts! Can the Z Fighters last against an onslaught of targeted aggression, or will personal grudges mark the beginning of the end?!

The Review:
Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
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 Caulifla 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 orange background.

Menu:
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 workable 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.

Extras:
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 – of which there are two of each, we also get a new piece focusing on “two humans and an android’ as it brings in Sonny Strait, Mike mcFarland, and Chuck Huber as over eleven minutes they talk about the show and kind of bust on each other a bit thanks to a long working relationship.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The 8th collection of the Dragon Ball Super series is a bit of a frustrating one as it covers episodes 92 through 104 of the original run. This contains episodes from the final arc of this series with the Universe Survival Saga as the only thing as this is what will finish things out eventually. It’s definitely a better setup than the last couple of volumes where there were splits between arcs, some two-episode arcs in the middle, and just a different sense about it. Here, we get just this arc as the story slowly moves forward and we finally start putting the team together into a dark and dangerous situation with the fate of the universe at stake.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of the set early on focuses on fleshing out the team that Goku needs to put together to fight against the other Universes. There’s fun that comes from that in seeing who will step up, who won’t, and some of the issues that come into play with like Mr. Satan and Majin Buu early on. Some of the early ways that people were drawn in is also revealed to be a lie and we get that dealt with until the fates really make it clear what’s going on. Alongside this we also see events picking up elsewhere as teams come together, notably Universe Six, and we get the idea of just what kind of varied characters are going to step into play with it. There’s a lot of tensions in Goku’s universe as you’d expect but it’s nice to get away from that to see what’s going on elsewhere for a bit.

The other Universe stuff definitely picks up as it progresses and we see some amusing plays going on there, such as assassination attempts and more to get onto teams or remove those from contention. It’s not terribly deep because they’re not terribly familiar characters but seeing the formation come through alongside Goku’s definitely smooths things out, particularly when you get the two Androids involved now and the drama that comes from that. We also get an episode where some of the players from three of the Universes showcase putting the stage together for the battle that’s to come because, well, some durability needs to exist. It’s amusing in its own way because as you try to remember the scale of what’s being planned, the sillier it seems but also the more dangerous it seems with the forces that are going to be unleashed. A lot of the danger is still masked by Goku’s smile and eagerness.

I do like that Goku tries to come up with some good ground rules for everyone to follow in how they do this, by not being alone and always have one extra person there against however many they face. It doesn’t hold up in the face of battle itself, but it’s nice to see that Goku isn’t completely just thinking of his own joy and pleasure that will come from facing such a significant battle. Between the exhibition and the match itself, the Zeno twins continue to amuse but mostly what we get into here is the main sprawling fight. I’m in a weird space where I enjoy it but it’s the kind of work that really is best suited for “color commentary” as it unfolds as opposed to a piece like this. The back and forth of the fights, the match-ups that happen along the way, the players involved, there are a lot of little moments that work well but get swept away in the rhythm of the larger fight itself and that it’s about eight episodes long within this set. The number of forces is definitely fun and I like seeing some of the variety we get, though Caulifla doesn’t do much for me even though they get the cover, but I liked just having the Androids here and the weird vibe that Jiren gives off to me that makes him and his team disturbing. But even that takes a back seat when the show begins removing universes…

In Summary:
Dragon Ball Super is all-in on tournament material now and the stakes are truly being felt. There are some downtime moments in our future and we get a few of them here, especially as the first few episodes are mostly finishing up of getting the teams together and being upfront about the stakes. There’s a lot to like when it comes to the action here as it moves pretty strongly throughout with a lot of good back and forth among a range of engaging characters, old and new alike. As usual, Funimation has put together a solid release here with an original extra included and a very fun dub that lets the cast really run with what they’re given. It’s still surreal that thirty years after first starting to dub the original work they’re still playing these characters and having a blast doing so. The results are in the release.

Features:
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Dragon Ball Super: Two Humans and an Android, 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: July 2nd, 2019
MSRP: $44.98
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
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.


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