What They Say:
Dragon Ball Super Part 9 contains episodes 105-117 of the anime directed by Ryota Nakamura.
The Tournament of Power rages on. The 2nd Universe’s warriors of love are out for blood, Frieza makes his move, and Goku’s attention turns to Jiren. But when Goku’s stamina starts to dwindle, can Instinct save him?
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 Jiren 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 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 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.
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 fun piece where for about ten minutes we get some Twitter questions asked of Weidenheft and Bennett. There are some good questions in here but we get plenty of the goofy ones and you mix in the animation from the show amid the answers and you get what you get. The actors are definitely personable as you’d expect here and make it fun even if it’s a lot of fluff.
With one more set to go after this, the ninth installment of Dragon Ball Super keeps us going through the same arc that will wrap things up for this series. This set had me feeling a lot like the previous set simply because it is extended fight after extended fight, relatively speaking. The show hasn’t played out like Dragon Ball Z in the slightest when you get down to it and it’s been light and fun as it moves through everything even though you’ve got the fate of several universes hanging in the balance. The thrill of the fight is what’s driving a lot of them at this point and while they do know that things are serious here you can never away from how Goku in particular just loves being able to throw down and go as hard as he can for a good challenge.
What you basically get to decide with this set is which of the fights and characters do you like most to make it work. It opens very well for me as it deals with the Master Roshi fight and how the others think he’ll be fine as he’s sworn off worldly pleasures and the like while going up against Dercori. She’s fun as she uses all of her abilities to manipulate all of this to get him going and you see the struggle that he’s under throughout it as the fight really gets underway. So much so that it takes all Goku can do in order to get him back to health by the end of it. These two have such a long and great relationship that’s largely left unsaid but understood that I wish it was said a bit more because of all of it. When we do get Goku bringing him away to recuperate, it would have been great to have more time between them to explore it just a touch, considering the fate of the universe.
This set places a fair bit of focus on Jiren, though some of the early material keeps him away from our favored heroes. Watching him dealing with some of the Third Universe folks like Maji makes for some fun even if it doesn’t last long simply because of the power disparity. That’s less of a thing when he finally goes up against Goku, which runs about four episodes overall. It’s the kind of fight that this series is pretty well known for in that Jiren has some honor along the way, such as pausing so Goku can recover a bit. The two want to go all out with it and just fight hard and are willing to make sure that the other person is at their best. The fight itself didn’t feel like it was anything too special but I’ve had that feeling in general for a long time simply because of how many fights there’ve been. It looks great here and has all the right pieces it needed to work and does so. I’m just admittedly a bit jaded at this point.
I do like that the show plays at some background plotting such as when we see how Kale and Caulifla are watching the big battle and taking notes because they want to have their own attempt on him. They do get a bit of a distraction as they have to go up against Monna for a bit from the Fourth Universe, but their real deal is trying to go up against Goku because he is as powerful as he is. The trick of it is that they want to know how to get to this high Super Saiyan level in order to win. Goku’s one that would, of course, teach them how to do it because he wants to see what their unlocked power is like. So that’s not a surprise. It’s fun watching how he deals with them since he isn’t totally recovered when they first get all up in his face and he’s able to keep on them even without that. Blend that in with some time for Vegeta to get in a little action himself as he’s facing off against Top, there’s a lot going on and the sense of what it all means is there, but it keeps coming back to that joy that a bunch of them feel simply for being able to fight like this and enjoy it.
Dragon Ball Super is on the edge of wrapping up with an arc that has gone on for a fair bit. This one kicked off back in episode 77 and we’re up to 115 here, which is short compared to days of old but pretty lock here by contrast of the rest of the season. This block of episodes and the fights here are decent but it really comes down to which characters that you like in order for it to work. Jiren doesn’t do much for me but the time with Master Roshi early on, the small moments with Krillin, and so forth is what drives it for me. Even Vegeta’s time with Top toward the end connects better than some of the characters here, though I’ll easily admit to enjoying watching how Beerus reacts to so much of what’s going on at times. Still, it’s a good bit of fun and some big high stakes Dragon Ball goodness.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Dragon Ball Super: Twitter Q&A with Sarah Wiedenheft and Dawn Bennett, 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 8th, 2019
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.