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Dragon Ball: Season 2 (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000163795
Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 30/6/2014 18:28
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    Review for Dragon Ball: Season 2

    7 / 10


    If you’d asked me one boxset ago if I would ever look forward to another Dragon Ball release of any kind, I would have laughed derisively in your face, thoroughly disenchanted with the whole franchise. But that was before I saw the beginning of it all, with Manga’s recent release of Dragon Ball Season 1, set back when Goku was a little boy who couldn’t tell the difference between other girls and boys without an interrogative grope. This month I find myself actually looking forward to the next Dragon Ball release. So I guess I’m laughing derisively on the other side of my face.

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    A young girl named Bulma wanted a boyfriend. For some reason, she decided to go looking for the seven Dragon Balls, which when collected summon the eternal dragon Shen Long, which will grant one wish. The Dragon Balls are then scattered to the four winds once more, inert for a whole year before they can be gathered and wished upon again. Her search led her to an isolated mountain, where dwelled a young boy named Son Goku, trained in the martial arts by his late grandfather, possessing a magical staff, sporting a monkey’s tail, and suffering from a ‘time of the month’ that you wouldn’t believe. Goku also had the four star Dragon Ball, his last remaining memento of his grandfather, one that he wasn’t too willing to part with. Which is why he wound up travelling with Bulma as she looked for the other Dragon Balls. But they weren’t the only people looking to have their ultimate wishes granted, there are some other, more nefarious characters out there too.

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    Having failed to triumph at the last Tenkaichi tournament, Son Goku is all ready to return to training, but Muten Roshi tells him and Kuririn, that they have no more left to learn from him. What he really wants is some quality time with Lunch, but Goku takes it as an opportunity to return to his search for the four star Dragon Ball, the memento of his grandfather Son Gohan. It’s been a year, which means that the Dragon Balls have manifested once more, and the ultimate wish is up for grabs. It also means that Pilaf is trying once more to achieve his aims of global domination, but this time there is a new player on the scene hunting for the Dragon Balls, the mysterious Red Ribbon Army.

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    29 episodes of Dragon Ball, plus extras are presented across four discs from Manga Entertainment collecting the Australian releases, The Red Ribbon Army Saga and the General Blue Saga.

    Disc 1
    29. The Roaming Lake
    30. Pilaf and the Mystery Force
    31. Wedding Plans?
    32. The Flying Fortress – Vanished?!
    33. The Legend of a Dragon
    34. Cruel General Red
    35. Cold Reception
    36. Major Metallitron

    Disc 2
    37. Ninja Murasaki is Coming!
    38. Five Murasakis
    39. Mysterious Android #8
    40. Horrifying Buyon
    41. The Fall of Muscle Tower
    42. The Secret of Dr. Flappe
    43. A Trip to the City
    44. Master Thief, Hasky
    45. Danger in the Air

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    Disc 3
    46. Bulma’s Bad Day
    47. Kame House – Found!
    48. Deep Blue Sea
    49. Roshi Surprise
    50. The Trap is Sprung
    51. Beware of Robot

    Disc 4
    52. The Pirate Treasure
    53. Blue, Black and Blue
    54. Escape From Pirate Cave
    55. Penguin Village
    56. Strange Visitor
    57. Arale vs. Blue

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    This takes me back some. Back when I first started reviewing anime on DVD, it all looked like this, sourced from tape masters of varying condition, and mastered on disc with NTSC-PAL standards conversions. The Australian Madman release that is the source of these discs was made 10 years ago, while the anime itself is from the mid-eighties. It’s a simple but effective animation, which does what it needs to get the gags across. The tape origin shows in the transfer, which isn’t overly afflicted by visible interlacing or blended frames. Then again, the softness of the videotape origins tends to mask all that. You might expect that with as many as nine episodes on a disc, that will tell in the compression, but other than macroblocking being a little more obvious in large expanses of colour, the Dragon Ball discs get off pretty lightly.

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    You have the choice between DD 2.0 Stereo English, and what I assume is 2.0 Mono Japanese. Given its vintage, expect a rather thin, and occasionally shrill original language experience with the odd moment of hiss as well. Those early Funimation releases via Madman actually used to come with two subtitle tracks, dubtitles to go with the English dub, and a translated English track to go with the Japanese audio. It’s interesting to see how the anime was re-versioned for the US television audience. This collection of episodes has more in the way of insert pop songs than Dragon Ball Z had in its entirety.

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    The discs present their content with animated menus, and there is no Marathon Mode. Oddly enough, Dragon Ball doesn’t need it, with its short, gag filled stories, with not a lot in the way of recaps and previews at this point, and a couple of very agreeable (in Japanese) theme songs. You can tell from some of the shows trailed on the discs that they are sourced from a vintage release from Madman.

    Disc 1 offers twelve character profiles of regulars and arc specific guest characters, Australian trailers for Area 88 Volume 1, and Panyo Panyo Digi Charat Volume 1.

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    Disc 2 also offers twelve character profiles.

    Disc 3 has just 9 profiles on it, and trailers for Beast Wars, Transformers Season 1, and Battle of the Planets: Collection 1.

    Disc 4 has those 9 profiles again, and trailers for Kimba the White Lion: Deluxe DVD Edition, and Panyo Panyo Digi Charat Volume 1.

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    Dragon Ball Season 2 offers four more discs of fun. It’s much in the same vein as the first collection, albeit with the action turned up a notch, and the comedy toned down a bit (you can’t have Goku crotch-patting his way through the series constantly. Kid’s gotta learn sometime), but at no point does it approach the repetitive and po-faced tedium of Dragon Ball Z and beyond. Even during the most intense, life-threatening fights, there is a one-liner waiting to happen, a pratfall just around the corner. The whole point of this series is to make you laugh, and for the most part, it succeeds. I’m enjoying the original Dragon Ball in a way that the later series never grabbed me.

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    It’s all about the Red Ribbon Army in this collection. A year has passed since the last wish on the Dragon Balls, so they’ve reactivated and become available to be collected once more. That also means that Goku can go looking for his grandfather’s memento, which is where the search begins anew. Of course the prospect of a new wish to make means that nefarious characters are after the Dragon Balls too, with last season’s antagonist Pilaf making an early appearance to serve as contrast in strength to this season’s level up in villainy. The Red Ribbon Army, under the command of Commander Red, are supposedly the most bad, the most evil, and most unrepentant army in the world, and are set on world domination with the aid of the Dragon Balls. Goku only wants the four star Dragon Ball, but has to go looking for them one by one regardless, and wherever he goes, the Red Ribbon Army minions are there first.

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    The first arc with the first Dragon Ball revisits some old friends, including Pilaf of course, and Goku’s intended Chichi, but it’s here we also meet Colonel Silver, hot on the tail of a Dragon Ball, and not quite ready for Goku’s fighting abilities, or the ire of his future father in law, the Demon King Gyumao. But word about Goku begins to precede him when his next stop takes him to the frozen North, and he has to deal with General White in the hunt for the next Dragon Ball. White is holed up in a TARDIS of a tower (bigger on the inside), with a whole heap of minions to fight for him, including a Terminator look-a-like, and a rather disappointing ninja. Goku has to fight his way up the tower, and rescue a Frankenstein’s monster along the way in proper video game style. The final arc in this collection sees our heroes head to the middle of the ocean to search for the next Dragon Ball, where they come up against General Blue, a cruel narcissist who’s apt to execute his men for the slightest flaws, and has certain predilections that make our heroes’ skins crawl. He also is the toughest villain we’ve seen so far, actually able to outwit and outfight Goku down to his strength and psychic abilities.

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    The final three episodes in this collection are something of a treat for fans of mangaka Akira Toriyama, as Dragon Ball crosses over with his earlier creation, Dr. Slump. The show’s written in a way to play that up, with plenty of throwaway jokes and one-liners that most of us probably won’t get. But it does make me want someone to license and release the Dr. Slump anime, as it too looks like a whole lot of fun, with an emphasis on comedy. I really like where Dragon Ball is, even though I have to keep reminding myself that these characters are those from Dragon Ball Z, where they fly around everywhere, practically invulnerable like Superman (not Suppa-man), and where every battle has the fate of the universe hanging in the balance. The fights here are smaller scale, but our heroes can get hurt, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll win.

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    With all that, there is still that emphasis on gags and comedy, and during Goku’s hunt for the Dragon Balls, he runs into old friends to play up the yuks from time to time. While the earliest episodes have Chichi and Pilaf, once Goku’s Dragon Radar breaks following the battle with General White, he has to look up Bulma again to get her to fix it. Naturally we meet Yamucha, Oolong and Puerh also, and it turns out that Bulma’s romance with Yamucha isn’t going all that well. Bulma’s also invented a shrinking device that will let her ride on Kinto-un, which is why she tags along on Goku’s next Dragon Ball search. A stop off at Muten Roshi’s to pick up a submarine (in exchange for the shrinking device) also has Kuririn join the party, and again the characters together offer lots of opportunity for comedy. Of course with Roshi now able to shrink himself, he can try and sneak a look at the girls when they use his bathroom, the old pervert!

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    I like Dragon Ball. It’s consistently funny, which is something you could never accuse Dragon Ball Z of being. The transfer on these discs may be archaic, but the quality of the episodes shines through. I’m looking forward to the next instalment of Dragon Ball, to see more of Goku’s antics against Commander Red’s minions now that they have a Dragon Radar of their own. I’m even looking forward to see the original incarnation of Piccolo, although that won’t be for a few boxsets yet.

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