DVD Review: Dragon Ball – Collection 1

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It’s been an exceptionally long wait but the uncut episodes of Dragon Ball are finally starting to appear, so what did we think of this DVD release by Manga Entertainment UK? Find out in our DVD Review of Dragon Ball – Collection 1

Synopsis:

Goku may be small, but this fearless warrior packs a punch as powerful as any on the planet. Left alone after his grandfather’s death, this unusual boy is happy to spend his days hunting and eating and eating some more. But everything changes on the day he meets Bulma – a bossy, blue-haired beauty with boys on the brain. Together, they set out to track down the seven magic Dragon Balls and make the wish that will change their lives forever.

And that’s just the beginning! Goku also spends some time on Turtle Island where he and Krillin study martial arts under the legendary Master Roshi. The old hermit may not look like much, but if his new pupils can find him a woman, he’ll make sure they’re ready to rumble at the upcoming World Martial Arts Tournament!

Our View:

This first collection of Dragon Ball contains the entire “Saga of Goku” and “First World Tournament” sagas, each of which present a different outlook on the Dragon Ball franchise. The initial 13 episodes sees the main cast of characters introduced to the viewer and sets them upon an adventure to find the Dragon Balls, meanwhile the remaining episodes see Krillin introduced to the storyline whereby both Goku & Krillin train with Master Roshi and then take part in the world martial arts tournament.

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Introduction is the name of the game, and within the first 13 episodes, which make up the saga of Goku story arc, we see Bulma, Roshi, Oolong, ChiChi, and Ox King all introduced to the viewer as they aid Goku and Bulma in their quest to find the Dragon Balls. Meanwhile Yamcha & Puar lurk in the background in an attempt to steal their Dragon Balls. That’s not the only danger either as Emperor Pilaf and his team (the group from the first episode of Dragon Ball GT) are also looking for the Dragons Balls and are closing in on our group of heroes.

The remaining 15 episodes on the other hand introduce Krillin and the whole concept of martial arts fighting, as while the previous story arc had some fights they weren’t intense or long. For some this ‘Martial Arts Tournament’ is where the entertainment picks-up, as it’s one fight after another, although this is traditional martial arts fighting with some Kamehameha Waves thrown in for good measure. There is a distinctive difference between the two story arcs, so at least there is some variety to be had, for instance the first arc (Saga of Goku) is about finding the Dragon Balls and having some fun, while the second arc (World Tournament Saga) is about getting stronger and putting this strength to the test.

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It’s quite interesting to see how ‘radically’ different this Dragon Ball collection is to the rest of the franchise, as while it has a childish appearance there is nothing childish about it (hence the higher age ratings). The reason for this is because all of the sexual innuendo flying about, for instance Master Roshi’s perverted nation around women is constantly being brought up, something which only gets brief screentime in Dragon Ball Z, furthermore there is plenty of scenes which involve girls underwear or Goku ‘touching’ girls because they are different to him. It’s all quite amusing, and has that childish nature to it, but it’s the blatant on-screen appearance that sometimes makes it uncomfortable to watch, such as Goku running around naked. It’s not like there is any swearing either, although there is a few comical moments where bulma gives other characters the finger.

Extras:

Since Manga Entertainment UK are using the discs from Madman’s “Dragon Ball Complete Collection Part 1” set we are treated to a variety of extra content that is not included in the American release, namely the inclusion of Character Profiles and a full-fledged Dragon Ball Movie.

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In addition to the Dragon Ball movie, which is located on the first DVD disc, each of the discs also contain Character Profiles and a selection of trailers. What’s interesting is that these trailers are for titles which have been released by Madman Entertainment in Australia but are not licensed by Manga Entertainment in the UK, so its extremely doubtful you’ll see any of these titles being released in the future.

Disc 1:

  • Character Profiles
  • Curse of the Blood Rubies
  • Trailers (Cromartie High School, Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charact)

Disc 2:

  • Character Profiles
  • Trailers (D.N.Angel, Beats Wars: Transformers)

Disc 3:

  • Character Profiles
  • Trailers (He-Man, Kimba The White Lion, Stellvia)

Disc 4:

  • Character Profiles
  • Trailers (Madlax, Planetes)

The inclusion of the Dragon Ball movie, titled the Curse of the Blood Rubies, is abviously the main talking point of the extra features, as it’s a 48 minute length feature which retells the initial Saga of Goku storyline and then alters it with the introduction of a different storyline and new characters. For instance in the Dragon Ball TV Series Emperor Pilaf is considered the main antagonist, but in this film it’s actually Gurumes and his henchmen.

The story is that while Goku and Bulma are off looking for the next Dragon Ball they encounter a young girl named Penny who is looking for a way to save her homeland. It’s soon explained that King Gurumes is constantly attacking her homeland and she wants to restore it to its natural beauty by using the Dragon Balls, meanwhile Gurumes and his henchmen are also in search of the Dragon Balls so that Gurumes never ending hungry can end. While it features a different set of characters and storyline, the main TV Series elements are still there, as introductions with Master Roshi, Yamcha and Bulma all remain present within the film – it’s just this time Penny is along for the ride.

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While this is included as a bonus do not get too excited as this Curse of the Blood Rubies movie uses the original BLT Productions English dub and there is no Japanese audio track, which means not only is the film edited (and scenes removed) but the voice actors are entirely different to those used within the TV Series. Fortunately the Curse of the Blood Rubies is not the main selling point of this release, as that is left to episodic content of the Dragon Ball TV series, which is completely uncut and features the newer FUNimation produced English Dub.

Finally to round out the extra features each disc contains a selection of trailers, most of which have never seen a UK release, and character profiles for the main cast of characters seen within the included episodes.

Specs:

Media: DVD 9 x4
Region: 2
Running Time: 2:26:06 (Disc 1), 2:50:28 (Disc 2), 2:50:35 (Disc 3), 3:14:27 (Disc 4)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Dragon Ball, the original manga-come-anime is a series that sees Goku embark on his first adventure to find the mysterious Dragon Balls, along the way making new friends, encountering enemies and more importantly learning about the ‘real world’. If you are new to Dragon Ball, but have seen Dragon Ball Z or Dragon Ball GT, then forget everything you have learned as within this set fighting androids and aliens from other planets is not on the agenda, instead it’s about finding those Dragon Balls and winning the World Martial Arts Tournament.

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Since Dragon Ball is vastly different to its successors it can be a refreshing experience, as it’s the same characters, but younger versions and slightly different rules.For instance both Dragon Ball Z and GT featured heavily on fighting and less on the development of the characters, while in this series its more about the character development and exploration of the world. While the episodes contained within Dragon Ball – Collection 1 offer an alternate experience it is littered with issues, non of which could be avoided. The problem is that It feels very dated and even with the picture being digitally restored there is still traces of picture grain and scratches to the picture frames.

To some this ‘vintage’ look will offer a more authentic Dragon Ball experience, and I agree, but at some times it can feel a bit distracting and unprofessional for an official release. The same can be said about the audio quality, as the Japanese soundtrack seems slightly muffled whereas the newer English Dub (provided by FUNimation) offers a louder and clearer sound. The English Dub is arguably the better audio track, but at times I found myself thinking that the voice actors weren’t playing their role effectively as it didn’t feel natural to the motions they were representing on screen. This could yet again due to age and experience, as the English Dub is several years older than the FUNimation shows that we watch nowadays.

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Overall Dragon Ball – Collection 1 is what you expect it to be and much more, namely because it brings a long over-due series to the UK but also because it provides a few surprises with the inclusion of an edited Dragon Ball movie and character profiles. If you are a long-time Dragon Ball fan then the wait is finally over, but if you are new to the franchise then be prepared for a rather old-school approach to anime as it’s time to find those Dragon Balls.

Score: review-stars-4

Dragon Ball – Collection 1 will be available on DVD from the 5th May 2014.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

One Response to DVD Review: Dragon Ball – Collection 1

  1. Pingback: Dragon Ball & K Unboxing Videos Begin Streaming on MangaUK’s Youtube Channel | AnimeBlurayUK

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