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Dragon Ball Z: Season 8 (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000157310
Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 27/7/2013 15:55
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    Review for Dragon Ball Z: Season 8

    3 / 10


    Just one more to go after this, one more instalment and I’m done with Dragon Ball. No more Dragon Ball to review, which when you think about it, with the run of some three hundred episodes over the last year, will come as a welcome relief. That’s as long as Manga doesn’t release the original Dragon Ball series, Dragon Ball Z Kai, the 4:3 aspect ratio Dragon Boxes, which they should have released in the first place instead of these cropped re-mastered versions, or even jump on the Blu-ray bandwagon, now that it looks like Funimation are thinking about resuming their HD re-masters of the show. Of course there’s still Dragon Ball GT to release. Maybe I shouldn’t count my Dragon Balls until they’ve been found.

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    Son Goku is dead, and that is a good thing. No really, he’s up in heaven, having a whale of a time, and he’s decided not to come back to life. You can see his point. As the strongest fighter on Earth, he’s a trouble magnet, and it’s no surprise that villains like Vegeta, Frieza, The Androids, and Cell all keep showing up to challenge him, and wind up wreaking havoc on innocent bystanders in the process. So, Goku has decided to stay dead for a while, to give Earth some peace and quiet. On Earth, seven years pass, and Gohan grows up, and contrary to his mother’s fears he doesn’t become a delinquent. In fact he reaches the point where home schooling is no longer an option, and he has to attend high school. But seven years of peace on Earth brings the idiots out of the woodwork. Gohan is attending school in Satan City, named after the ‘hero’ that saved the world from Cell, and it’s a city plagued with petty crime. Turning Super Saiyan isn’t much of a disguise, so Gohan turns to Bulma for a full on superhero suit, and soon Great Saiyaman is patrolling the city, trying to keep his identity secret from Satan’s daughter Videl.

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    You can’t keep Goku up in heaven for long, especially when there’s another grand fighting tournament taking place on Earth. In fact most of the Z fighters enter, and it looks to be a good old super-powered tournament as in the old days. Goku gets a day release, and is reunited with his sons (Gohan’s got a kid brother named Goten now), and the tournament is just getting going. Except there’s a conspiracy and secret plan in progress. Someone is looking to drain the power of all the most powerful warriors, a dangerous wizard named Babidi. He’s looking to resurrect the Majin Buu, a power that has been sealed away on Earth for millions of years. If Majin Buu is revived, Earth will be destroyed. The Z fighters are recruited by a couple of divine visitors to deal with Babidi, and as we join this collection of episodes, they are in pursuit of those that drained Gohan of his powers.

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    The 34 episodes of Dragon Ball Z Season 8 are collected across 6 discs from Manga Entertainment.

    Disc 1
    220. The Wizard’s Curse
    221. King of the Demons
    222. Vegeta Attacks
    223. Next Up, Goku
    224. Battle Supreme
    225. Eighteen Unmasks

    Disc 2
    226. Pay to Win
    227. Heart of a Villain
    228. The Dark Prince Returns
    229. Vegeta’s Pride
    230. The Long Awaited Fight
    231. Magic Ball of Buu

    Disc 3
    232. Buu is Hatched
    233. The Losses Begin
    234. The Terror of Mr Buu
    235. Meal Time
    236. The Warrior’s Decision
    237. Final Atonement

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    Disc 4
    238. Evil Lives On
    239. Find the Dragon Balls
    240. Revival
    241. Global Announcement
    242. Learn to Fuse!
    243. The Z Sword

    Disc 5
    244. Race to Capsule Corp.
    245. Super Saiyan 3?!
    246. Buu’s Mutiny
    247. The Fusion Dance
    248. Goku’s Time is Up

    Disc 6
    249. Return to Other World
    250. Out From the Broken Sword
    251. Gotenks is Born
    252. Unlikely Friendship
    253. I Kill No More

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    Dragon Ball Z gets a 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer on these discs, which courtesy of Madman Entertainment is a native PAL conversion, with the 4% speedup that implies. It’s the same transfer as for the first season, so you’ll find that it has been cropped from the original 4:3 ratio, and has had DNR applied to scrub the grain, and in some scenes to such excess that line art detail is lost. That said, it does clean up a treat and looks pretty watchable on a widescreen set. If all you want are the episodes, and aspect ratio and integrity of the original art isn’t a concern, then you’ll have no issues watching these episodes, as the transfer is clean and without any other major problem.

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    You get three distinct options here. The one that I chose is probably the least appealing in technical terms, but long habit always makes me click on the original language track first. Here it’s in DD 2.0 mono Japanese, and this one is as mono as it gets, showing its age, and not all that well defined. It’s accompanied by a translated English subtitle track. It’s adequate, but there was a distinctly different style to anime dubs when Dragon Ball Z was made, and compared to modern anime it seems very quaint. Then there is the broadcast version option. When Dragon Ball Z was broadcast, the original music was deemed as unsuitable for US audience sensibilities, so a completely new score was composed for the show. You can thus watch Dragon Ball Z with this music, and the most recent Funimation dub in glorious DD 2.0 Stereo with a signs only track.

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    Finally, and really quite appealing is the DD 5.1 option, which has the Funimation dub, but also has the original Japanese music score to the episodes. I gave this a quick spin, and found that the surround audio does a fair bit in giving the show some space, while the stereo track isn’t too far behind it in terms of clarity. Both of these tracks blow the Japanese track out of the water in technical terms. The dub itself is pretty agreeable, what I sampled of it, and it’s a lot looser and free flowing than what I am used to. It’s also not absolutely faithful to the original script, which makes for some interesting differences.

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    One thing worth noting is that every single disc in this collection has a badly placed layer change, right in the middle of an audio intensive scene. Random pauses abound making me think there’s something wrong with my DVD player. Finally there was what I think are signs of injudiciously applied pitch correction. This is particularly noticeable in background music. Whenever there is supposed to be an extended, smooth note, it sounds clipped and choppy. This is more prevalent in the Japanese mono track than either of the English audio tracks, but it is present in all.

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    Once again, the extras amount to marathon mode for the episodes, which plays them through without credit sequences or last episode recaps. On disc 6, you’ll find the textless credit sequences, and that’s your lot.

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    I think I go through waves of tolerance for shonen anime. There are some months where I can’t get enough of the stuff, where a wodge load of masculine posturing and proclamations of impending signature moves are just what I need to sate a mainstream anime craving. Then there are some months, months like this one, where if I never see another super powered fight to the death against impossible odds, it will be too soon. Just a scant few weeks ago, I was happily watching Dragon Ball Z Collection Seven, convinced that I had finally worked out just why people enjoy the show so much. Admittedly I’m weird like that. When it comes to shonen anime, I’m the sort who appreciates the smaller stories, and on occasion even some filler. Watching Gohan going through his Clark Kent phase, prior to another world tournament was admittedly fun.

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    Now Collection Eight arrives, and I’m sat, glum-faced in front of the television, asking myself again and again just why the hell I’m watching this stuff, although I don’t use the word ‘stuff’. There comes a point in a shonen anime where I just find it hard to care anymore about the characters and the trials they are facing. That happens twice in Collection Eight, first when it becomes apparent that the heroes are now so powered up, so insanely strong, that when they fight they literally leave mushroom clouds in their wake. There’s no way that you can relate to someone that strong. It’s hard to get motivated about their success in battle, feel worry when they are in peril. That’s made even worse in Dragon Ball Z where everyone has a get-out-of-jail-free card. Just make a wish on the Balls of Dragon and you can bring the dead back to life. Hell in this set of episodes, Goku’s back on day release from the afterlife just so that he can take part in the tournament.

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    This time we get to see the battle that has long been trailed and tantalised, Goku vs. Vegeta. The problem is that by this time they are so insanely powerful that I just can’t bring myself to care. Then there is the main villain of the piece, the second reason to stop caring, Majin Buu. Once again in this collection, we shift from the smaller, more inconsequential stories to another of those ‘battles against the most powerful villains for the fate of the universe’ arcs, which I usually find as dull as dishwater. With each new villain, the stakes get higher, and the powers get more intense. The latest villain makes Cell look like a Sunday schoolteacher, who in turn had that effect on the androids, who in turn had that effect on Frieza. The return of the Saiyans who started off Dragon Ball Z in such destructive fashion 250-odd episodes ago now looks like being bitten by a mosquito.

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    So now that we come towards the end of the Dragon Ball Z saga, Majin Buu is the meanest, scariest, terrifying villain in the known universe, the one figure that has gods quaking in their sandals. And he turns out to be George Dawes. No, seriously, he’s a giant pink baby, whose special move is to turn his enemies into chocolate, cakes, and candies, and then proceed to eat them. Bit of anime trivia here, the original George Dawes, Matt Lucas actually provided one of the voices for a BBC dub of Urusei Yatsura. The best way I can describe Majin Buu is that the animators took Bubbles, Kaio’s monkey, shaved off his fur, increased him in size tenfold, and gave him a nappy. That is the meanest villain in the universe.

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    Anyway, he goes around systematically destroying the Earth and eradicating the human race. The Z Fighters’ plan to deal with this is to just let him do so, while they train up with a ridiculous Fusion technique that blends two fighters together, to eventually defeat him. They have their get-out-of-jail-free card of course, and plan to bring everyone back to life by wishing on the Dragon Balls. You know that a story has a problem when it requires wish fulfilment to resolve its plot. I won’t even elaborate on the prelude, where we meet Buu’s creator’s son, Babidi, or rather lawsuit by Lucasfilm for Yoda infringement, whose right hand man is Satan. Not Satan in Dragon Ball Z who turns out to be something of a good guy in this collection, but Satan king of demons, who’s called Dabura here. I also won’t even go into Vegeta deliberately turning to evil, and slaughtering a couple hundred innocent bystanders, almost taking his wife out in the process, because he really, really wants to have a fight with Goku.

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    Dragon Ball Z: Collection 8. When it becomes clear that the creators of the show don’t care what they are putting out, why should the viewer also care?

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