Blu-Ray Review: Dragon Ball Super – Season 1 Part 1

It’s been more than twenty years since Dragon Ball Z ended its initial TV run in Japan, and more than four years since the first continuation to the story, known as Battle of Gods, was released in Japanese cinemas; but now the true continuation to Dragon Ball Z, kown as Dragon Ball Super, is finally making its way to the UK in part instalments.

Introducing Dragon Ball Super – Season 1 Part 1 and today we will be exploring what this set has to offer in our latest review!

Synopsis:

After defeating Majin Buu, life is peaceful once again. Goku has taken a completely new role as a…radish farmer?!

With Earth at peace, our heroes have settled into normal lives. But they can’t get too comfortable. Far away, a powerful god awakens to a prophecy revealing his demise at the hands of a formidable being. Can Goku and his friends take on their strongest foe yet?

Our View:

When it comes to the UK market Dragon Ball Z has had a long and checked past, with examples being its initial TV broadcast on Cartoon Network (which received numerous edits and redubs) as well as the exceptionally long wait for uncut episodes to be released into the country on home video; the latter of which was resolved when Manga UK (who are also distributing Dragon Ball Super) released complete season sets on DVD.

This same ‘questionable’ history has also plagued Dragon Ball Super in the UK; as while other countries have enjoyed legal streaming of Japanese content, as well as localised dubbed variations in European countries, we were left out for a long period of time. Of course this changed when Crunchyroll began streaming Dragon Ball Super in the UK and it became even better when Manga UK announced they would be releasing the series on home video; starting with Dragon Ball Super – Season 1 Part 1 on Blu-ray and DVD.

This first collection of Dragon Ball Super, which contains the first thirteen episodes in both English and Japanese, takes place six months after the defeat of Buu and acts as a reimaging of the 2015 Dragon Ball Z Movie ‘Battle of Gods’. Now this isn’t a simple retelling of the movie, a story which saw Beerus, the god of destruction, travel to earth to find a Super Saiyan God.

Instead the episodes within Dragon Ball Super – Season 1 Part 1 explore more about the characters on earth while gradually building up to prophecy about the Super Saiyan God. It is a slow paced story in the grand scheme of things, as the entertaining aspects do not start until well over half-way through the release, but it does provides that much needed narrative that the Battle of Gods movie lacked.

For instance we get to see Goku being a provider for his family as a farmer and Vegeta spending time with his family, an episode which even contains a flashback to an event in the Great Saiyaman Saga of Dragon Ball Z. Furthermore during this build up we are also introduced to Beerus, the god of destruction, and his servant Whis, as well as how they interact with characters in other worlds before remembering of the Super Saiyan God prophecy.

As mentioned it is a slow paced narrative but when Beerus remembers about the prophecy of a Super Saiyan God he travels the universe in order to find his answer. Much like Battle of Gods we see Beerus fight Goku, although this time it is a longer fight, as well as Vegeta attempt to keep Beerus happy through the use of food before the final confrontation between gods take place – and even when it does appear it is longer and more entertaining that that of the movie.

If anything Dragon Ball Super returns to the roots of Dragon Ball whereby a fair amount of comedy is on display for the viewer in addition to a serious storyline. Dragon Ball Z, and in turn Dragon Ball Z Kai, provided much intensity with its fights and over-the-top action; but here in Dragon Ball Super we find ourselves laughing more than being engaged in a fight; but alas this was one of the charms of the original Dragon Ball series – some fun and some fight and this time it’s beautifully animated (for the most part at least).

It’s a slow start for Dragon Ball Super but at the same time it provides us with a different outlook on the events of the Battle of Gods movie; and although the animation quality isn’t as ‘high quality’ as the movie the pacing and presentation of the story is better suited to this episodic style. It is just a shame however that we do not get to experience the full ‘Battle of Gods’ arc and as such ends on a bit of a cliff hanger for those who are not aware of what happens.

Extras:

In a surprising turn of events Manga Entertainment UK have opted to use the same disc masters authored by FUNimation in America and as a result we receive the same disc content; including the rather expansive bonus features. In this case fans can find textless opening and ending variations of the show as well as cast interviews which further explore the world of Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super.

The highlight of these bonus features for me were the inclusion of interviews with Sonny Strait (Krillin) and Christopher Sabat (Vegeta, Piccolo) as these segments provide a breakdown, from a voice actors perspective, on what it was like to re-voice characters more than a decade after the original series. Naturally these actors have done voices for Dragon Ball Z Kai, Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Z Movies but it still is interesting to see their experiences with the franchise.

The remaining content however remains truthful to your regular anime release, with inclusions such as textless songs and trailers, all of which are tailored to US auideinces. Sure it’s not a great selection of bonus content but for me the ‘interviews’ offer up a rather ‘meaty’ selection of content. Speaking of textless songs the ending (for whatever reasons) has been dubbed into English; however changing the audio option to Japanese will see the Japanese version of the song played out.

It’s worth nothing that this Blu-ray disc also features a Marathon play mode, just like the Orange Brick (Season) DVD release of Dragon Ball Z; so fans can watch all episodes without skipping the opening or ending tracks (which are actually pretty good).

Specs:

Media:  BD 50 , BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 3:28:15 (Disc 1), 1:32:39 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DolbyTrueHD 5.1 & DolbyTrueHD 2.0
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Dragon Ball Super acts as a continuation to the events of Dragon Ball Z to deliver a rather familiar story about a god of destruction who dreams of finding an arch-rival known as a Super Saiyan God. As part of this selfish request of fun Beerus travels the universe in order to find this Super Saiyan God, all the while causing destruction along the way; that is until he arrives on earth to find a familiar looking Saiyan. Several meals, and punches later, a massive fight breaks out that sparks the end of earth; but as always Goku steps in for one last chance at saving the planet.

This is pretty much the events of Dragon Ball Super – Season 1 Part 1 in a nutshell; but in a more comical and action-packed manner. If you’ve seen Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods then you’ll already be familiar with ‘what happens’ but not ‘how it happens’ and with Dragon Ball Super we are given a fresh new look at the events from a different, more comically entertaining, perspective. This being said I still personally prefer the Battle of Gods movie but that’s mostly because everything happens so quickly.

In regards to this Blu-Ray release by Manga Entertainment UK then the disc assets are exactly the same as the US and while I have no complaints about how it is presented it boggles the mind my FUNimation opted to ‘dub’ the ending song of the anime (much like how they did it with Dragon Ball Z Kai). Watching the series dubbed in English (which is naturally the best way to watch this series) will see the opening song in Japanese and the ending song in English; but changing the audio options to Japanese will see both songs in Japanese. It’s not clear why FUNimation did this (personally seems like wasted effort) but they have. A feature I do like about these discs is the Marathon play mode, a feature pulled over from Dragon Ball Z season sets, and the ‘US created bonus features’ in the form of cast interviews.

Overall Dragon Ball Super – Season 1 Part 1 is exactly how I expected it to be; a well presented release that retells the events of the Battle of Gods movie with a slightly different twist. It’s fun, it’s beautifully animated but more importantly it has the English dub with returning voice actors from Dragon Ball Z Kai. Whether you’ve watched the films or not Dragon Ball Super – Season 1 Part 1 is worth adding to your collection; and you won’t regret it.

Score: review-stars-5

Dragon Ball Super – Season 1 Part 1 is now available on Blu-ray and DVD within the UK.

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.

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