Blu-Ray Review: Dragon Ball Z – Movie Collection 2

Manga Entertainment UK continues to satisfy long-standing Dragon Ball Z fans by bringing out the second movie collection as a Blu-Ray and DVD Combo Pack; and today we will be sharing our thoughts on the Blu-Ray disc that is included as part of this Combo Pack collection.

Synopsis:

The Tree of Might: The Earth’s destruction lies dormant within a single, solitary seed. Brought forth from the darkest reaches of space, the Tree of Might has been sown with the vilest of intentions. Once it takes root, nothing else can survive. A plant designed to drain the energy of a planet, it steals the very essence of life only to blossom in death and desolation.

Lord Slug: Once again called upon to save their planet from disaster, Goku and Krillin race to head off a giant asteroid on a collision course with Earth. The threat deflected, their home is saved… Or is it?

Our View:

Dragon Ball Z once again makes an unexpected arrival within the UK and this time it is with the entertaining cinematic releases found within Dragon Ball Z Movie Collection 2. For those unaware this second Dragon Ball Z Movie Collection features The Tree of Might, a film which some fans may be familiar with due to scenes being used in the opening credits of the original Toonami / Cartoon Network broadcast, and Lord Slug, a film which has previously been released on DVD in the UK under the name ‘Super Saiya Son Goku’ and featured the TV edit version of the film with an unlikable voice cast. Fortunately for us this Blu-Ray (and DVD) releases of the films remain true to the Japanese (and in turn American) release with full uncut video, original Japanese audio and a FUNimation produced English Dub that fans will enjoy from start to finish.

So; what exactly happens in these two movies? Well for starters The Tree of Might, which is the third film within the Dragon Ball Z movie timeline, sees Gohan, Krillin, Bulma, Oolong and Master Roshi on a camping trip when a mysterious object crash lands in a nearby forest; resulting in the forest catching fire.

Our group of heroes rush to save the animals caught up in the fire and then opt to use the Dragon Balls to restore the forest to its natural state. Elswhere however the mysterious object that crash landed on Earth turns out to be a group of warriors, lead by the Saiyan known as Turles, who plan to use the earth’s natural resources to create the Tree of Might; a tree which produces fruit that grants immense power once eaten.

Unaware of the current events taking place within the world Goku receives notice from King Kai that earth is in great danger; so he, along with Gohan, Piccolo, Krillin, Tien and Yamcha, head off to find the Tree of Might and put a stop to its draining of the planets resoureces Upon arriving at the location our ‘Z Fighters’ encounter Turles and has band of warriors, and as you would expect, a great battle ensues with earth fighting for its survival.

As far as Dragon Ball Z movies go it is easily one of the better films, mostly because it has an actual story to tell and in turn builds upon it to its final conclusion. We even see Gohan make friends with Icarus (a baby dragon) and even a few secrets are revealed about the Saiyan race; especially one that involves Goku and Turles (a fact which most Dragon Ball Z fans should be aware of by now).

The fourth Dragon Ball Z film meanwhile, known as Lord Slug, sees Goku, Piccolo, Krillin and Gohan team up to defeat a group of alien warriors to arrive on Earth in order to terra-form the planet to make it inhabitable for themselves as well as make it their new home.

Unlike other Dragon Ball Z films Lord Slug develops an alternate agenda; as while initially the purpose of Lord Slugs arrival was to take control of Earth when he discovers the Dragon Balls he opts to use them to become ever young. This quest for the Dragon Balls, as well as to put bring chaos to the world, puts Goku and Piccolo into action and as such a chain of battles take place – with some surprising results in store for both Lord Slug & Goku.

Unlike the previous Dragon Ball Z movies, Dead Zone and The World’s Strongest, the focus is shifted from support characters, such as Gohan, Puar and Bulma, to Goku, Krillin and Piccolo and as such we receive more engaging fights, the types of fights that Dragon Ball Z is known for, as well as a stand-a-lone story.

Ironically though although these stories are different they do offer similarities, such as the fact that aliens want to take over the world for their own purposes. Either way both films are enjoyable to watch from start to finish; with each offering something unique to the viewer.

Extras:

As per the norm Manga Entertainment UK have opted to use the same disc masters as those used by FUNimation all those years ago; so as a result the only bonus features are a selection of [outdated] trailers for other anime series that FUNimation were releasing at the time.

It is worth noting that just like past Movie Collections three different audio options are available with English 5.1 with Japanese Music, English 5.1 with US Music and Japanese with English Subtitles being the different choices.

The English with Japanese Music provides that ‘authentic’ Dragon Ball Z background music while retaining the English Dialogue where as English with US Music features a remixed background score featuring songs from, at the time, popular American bands to ‘westernize’ the films.  Finally the Japanese audio tracks provides that original Japanese Dragon Ball Z experience that many may be familiar with.

Specs:

Media:  BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 1:53:05
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DolbyTrueHD 5.1 (English) & LPCM 1.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

This second movie collection manages to combine two different movies with similar stories into a single collection; but despite the similarities between them they are refreshingly different from the normal ‘save the world before the planet is destroyed’ story line that we have come to expect from the Dragon Ball franchise. For instance in the Tree of Might the planet will be destroyed by the tree sucking the life energy out of the planet while in Lord Slug the planet will be terra-formed into something else; but at the same time destroying all life on the planet. Naturally it is a race against time for our favourite characters to defeat the enemies and as these films take place before the Namekian Saga the focus is on a small selection of characters rather than the usual group we have come to rely on in new instalments of the franchise.

From a High Definition perspective the films look great and manage to survive the test of time; sure enough it is not the crisp animation quality we come to expect from High Definition (digital animation) films we see today, as some minor grain and scratches on the film can be seen, but the HD transfer brings the films up to date and makes them look better than any previous release.

Combine this with the various audio options available, two of which are 5.1 Surround Sound, we are given three different ways to watch a film that, at times, could only be watched once and each will deliver a slightly different experience. The English with US Music Audio option will provide the Englih voice over we know and love but combined with popular American bands at the time of its dubbing. It’s not something we usual see done nowadays, American bands being used in anime, and strange enough it does work at times.

Overall Dragon Ball Z Movie Collection 2 remains true to are expectations received from the previous Movie Collection 1 release; two ‘overdue’ films in a single collection remastered in High Definition and presented at a top tier quality. The only disappointment would be the small text on the menu, but considering how old the Blu-Ray masters are this is to be expected. If you are a fan of Dragon Ball Z then these are two films worth adding to your collection as they further expand the franchise in more ways than you can imagine; plus they are just good films in general.

Score: review-stars-4

 

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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