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Dragon Ball Super Part 9 UK Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read
The Tournament of Power rages on!

The Tournament Of Power continues with some old favourites managing to show more relevance than they have in years, but in the end it is all about that levelling up….

What They Say:
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. Unflinching resolve faces immeasurable power, as Saiyan and Pride Trooper test each other’s capabilities. But when Goku’s stamina starts to dwindle, can Instinct save him? Time is winding down, fighters are falling out,and the battles are heating up!
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 with the extras and interviews showing this quite well.

Video:
Similar with the audio, the video is set in full screen 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…

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:
The only extras that were on the disc other than the textless opening and ending, was a Twitter Q&A session with Sarah Wiedenheft (Zeno) and Dawn Bennett (Kale) – the two ladies answer questions sent to them via Twitter which they answer with serious and comical tones – questions include Is Goku stronger than Superman, Goku vs. Batman, Kale vs. Broly, most satisfying things about voice acting, how Zeno takes their coffee…O.K, not exactly all are serious questions but it works for these characters and the actresses do well in their responses.

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

Dragon Ball Super is continuing into the Tournament Of Power, and whilst the focus is primarily on Goku’s team, there are definitely a number of other characters which are getting focus and bringing worry, and in this arc we get a lot more interest in them – this also focuses on how Goku and the others can win and how, and see if this holds out till the end. Because whilst they are the team with the biggest numbers, the strongest enemies seem to be on another team and by the end of this arc Goku SEEMS to be tapped out. What’ll happen? Let’s find out…

One character who seems to get more relevant in this arc in comparison to the entirety of DBZ is Master Roshi. One of the most key characters in the original Dragon Ball, he was relegated to background status bar a few perverted old man jokes, which still carried true in Super. However, even then there was a glimpse of him being perhaps being stronger than his prime when he helped out the good guys against the Frieza Force and the fact he was picked for the Tournament of Power suggested his experience would be an asset. And add to the fact that he specifically was training to not be enticed by female fighters, we get to see his point of view in this battle.

First, of course, he does have to face off against some female fighters from the fourth universe – he has been researching, keeping afar, and starting to pick off fighters he can defeat. Indeed, he defeats two of the female fighters and when another fighter, an avian martial arts master named Ganos gets stronger throughout their fight, Roshi’s experience begins to showcase despite his aging body, even flashbacking to the original Dragonball to his training of Goku and Krillin as he defeats Ganos with the Kamehameha, which of course he invented. He also has to deal with Frost as well despite weakened but despite some trickery, he is saved by of all people Vegeta before he finally surrenders – managing to gain Beerus’ praise as well to boot.

Another background character gets his moment too in Tien albeit not as good sadly as he manages to help out Gohan, Piccolo, Goku and Vegeta deal with a sniper which leads to the others taking out members of the 6th Universe and Tien taking out the sniper though he also gets eliminated, whilst getting praise from Beerus he is still disappointed. I suspect fans might be too as Krillin and Tien never seem to catch a break (not as bad as Yamcha but still) whilst Roshi got to shine in this section as the humans in the group especially if you are a fan of them and wish the Saiyans didn’t have to always show everyone up despite their obvious advantages.

One member who also makes his presence and intentions well known is Frieza. To say he’s untrustworthy is an understatement but here, it seems it is clear he is at least willing to work with his teammates for his own goals as revealed that if he wins he wants to use the Super Dragon Balls to overthrow the gods. However, he managed to trick Frost by thinking he was on his side by attacking Gohan, but Gohan being far more intelligent than his father, figures out Frieza’s plan and leads to Frosts’ elimination – he even later gives Goku some energy (twice – once for himself and once for the Spirit Bomb) knowing he needs Goku to defeat Jiren….

…and speaking of Jiren, we finally get the first true battle between Goku and Jiren and Jiren is…kind of insanely powerful. He even lets Goku power up a Spirit Bomb on him and he just deflects it away (this was the move remember that took out Maijin Buu). The two power up and fight but it appears Jiren is way too strong. However, when the Spirit Bomb causes a black hole which takes out Goku, it somehow seems to cause a new transformation – theorizing it caused him to break his limits and go what is being called ‘Ultra Instinct.’ However, it does exhaust him leading to Hit to try and help Goku whilst Piccolo and Gohan deal with Namekian Universe six warriors named Saonel and Pilina. Sadly, Hit is taken out by Jiren, and to make matters worse for his team, Cabba is also eliminated by Frieza – a shame as there was definitely a sempai/kohai dynamic between him and Vegeta throughout the tournament as someone else Vegeta did actually care about, but sadly this isn’t brought on that much.

The other saiyans however, Caulifia and Kale get to fuse together to take on Goku, (calling themselves Kefla) whilst Vegeta gets to take on Top, whose power is apparently close to Jiren’s. Goku seems to begin to understand how to activate Ultra Instinct (making Vegeta envious) and finally eliminated Kefla, leading Universe 6 with just the two Namekians, but Goku is now tapped out with all of Universe 2 seeing his state. With Vegeta, Gohan, Piccolo and the Androids though near him, they begin to chip away at the remaining competitors whilst trying to help Goku (18 even getting an elimination when someone mocks her love for Krillin)….

It isn’t as big of a cliffhanger as before, due to Jiren returning to meditating as his sheer aura is more powerful than most of the remaining cast, Goku is exhausted and about to be ganged up on, with the other members (bar Frieza…hmmm…) seemingly occupied, and the fact that some of the fan favourite characters in Hit, Kale, Cabba and Kaulifa have been eliminated – which is the issue I guess with this type of arc as despite a ton of characters, there really is only focus on a certain amount because you know they will be there in the end. I think we can pencil in Goku and Jiren for the end, just who comes along with him? Vegeta? Frieza? Top? Aside from those the rest don’t seem to be developed enough or seemingly ready for the finale – Gohan is considered the leader and it is clear Frieza might stay in line because Gohan has intelligence his father does not so he doesn’t want to reveal or betray too much, but again his fighting hasn’t been a focus almost showcasing he isn’t as strong as the above ones. The Androids seem to be here and there, and whilst 18 does get a moment here, it is setting up that the two will kick some butt at some point, just not sure when/if we will get to see that.

It is still plenty of fun, and the crux of what Dragon Ball Super has been great – an updated version of a classic, with still classic moments (the Master Roshi episodes were a blast from the past, literally with some of the old DB clips used) and the reveal of a new form/power for Goku to try and keep up with Jiren. Of course, you now have to keep up with base, kaioken, Super Saiyan, Blue, etc but it has been explained and something that Goku appears to only (at the moment) access for short periods of time. Needless to say Vegeta is annoyed that Goku has managed to ‘surpass’ him again, but I get the feeling he will also get his moment in the sun as he hasn’t been heavily featured yet so I expected he will get focus on.

With the wildcard in Frieza, at least two incredibly powerful enemies in Top and Jiren, still some unknown fighters (there has been many mentions one of the universes have fighters that are invisible) – there is plenty to take on board here. Fans of Tien will probably be annoyed he didn’t get that much of a role like Krillin did (again, the humans do seem to get the most slack) but the battles are the flowing and the time limit ticking away, it can only show what the inevitable final battle would be…just who else is involved is the mystery….

Summary:
With the Tournament Of Power in full swing, a few surprises are showcased especially with Roshi getting his moment in the spotlight, more eliminations and the surprising removal of Hit and the Universe 6 Super Saiyans, it is all setting up for Goku vs. Jiren, and with Goku unearthing a new ability, this seems to be the key to their victory. Whilst it is seemingly coming to the end, it doesn’t feel like it mainly due to a lot of characters not getting their moment (including Vegeta) so the anticipation is definitely there, just need to hope it hits you with a bang.

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: 09/12/2019
MSRP: £24.99
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 – 1.78:1 Widescreen

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

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