Blu-Ray Review: Dragon Ball Z – TV Specials Collection

It has been a long wait, but a rather short release pattern, as Manga Entertainment UK brings us the final installment into the Dragon Ball Z Movies and this time it is the ‘TV Special Collection’ which puts the spotlight on two origin stories from within the Dragon Ball Z timeline; namely Bardock, who is of course The Farther of Goku, and Future Trunks.

Synopsis:

The History of Trunks: In an alternate version of the future in which Goku dies from the heart virus that afflicts him during the Androids Saga, a teenage Trunks trains with Gohan and tries to defeat the Androids #17 and #18 as they ravage Earth. The only hope left to prevent this happening is the delivery of the medicine that would save Goku, which would involve travelling back in time…

Bardock, The Father of Goku: Bardock, a low ranking Saiyan warrior, is given the power to see into the future. Seeing both the fate of his race and that of his newborn son, Goku, Bardock attempts to lead a rebellion against the space tyrant Frieza in order to prevent the impending massacre of Planet Vegeta.

Our View:

The circle is now complete, as two of Dragon Ball Z’s most often discussed timeframes, the destruction of Planet Vegeta and the appearance of the Androids; finally arrives in the UK as part of this Dragon Ball Z: TV Specials Collection on Blu-Ray and DVD. Once again two films, one collection and plenty of old-school Dragon Ball Z entertainment can be expected from this release and this time both stories are integral to the Dragon Ball Z timeline.

The first TV Special, known as Dragon Ball Z: Bardock Father of Goku, sees viewers treated to the origin story that led up to Planet Vegeta’s destruction as well as the revolt against Frieza from one particular saiyan. Bardock. This revolt from Bardock begins when he starts to have futuristic visions of the planet being destroyed after his attack on another planet. During these visions he not only sees his homeworld, Planet Vegeta, destroyed but his team killed by Frieza’s minions.

Puzzled by these visions Bardock begins a journey of self-discovery and investigates Frieza’s force until, eventually, he decides to confront Frieza head-on; with destructive results. As a TV Special this feature is only double the length of an average anime episode, and is shorter than previous Dragon Ball Z Movies, but it does manage to capture that ‘Dragon Ball Z’ experience by providing fist fights, danger, bloody battles and a developing story that leads up to the beginning of the Dragon Ball story we know and love.

The second TV Special meanwhile, known as Dragon Ball Z: History of Trunks, treats viewers to an origin story of Future Trunks, the Trunks who travelled back in time to warn the Z-Fighters of the impending Android threat, and his experiences with the Androids in his own timeline. It’s a story we have wanted to experience ever since it was explained within the TV anime series; but now as part of this TV Special we get to experience it. As you imagine the Androids are ruthless; even more so than those Androids included within the TV anime, but this isn’t the focus of this story.

The focus of this story is the bond between Gohan and Trunks; and in this particular TV special the story begins with every one of the Z-Fighters dying in combat against the Androids, with the exception of Goku who dies as part of the heart virus, and now its up to Gohan in order to protect earth. Fast forward several years into the future and Trunks, now a teenager, requests Gohan to teach him to fight and to become a Super Saiyan; so over the next forty-five-minutes the two train in secret in order to become stronger; but at the same time a stronger bond is formed between them.

In between this training regime Gohan continues to intercept the androids in order to stop their assault on earth; with each fight delivering great consequences and one that will change Trunks life forever. I won’t spoil it here but it delivers one of the ‘darker’ moments of Dragon Ball Z and an amazing scene which involves Trunks transforming into his Super Saiyan state. Naturally fans of Dragon Ball Z will know what happens; but how it happens and how it is portrayed is where the amazing aspects of this special come into play.

Unfortunately while both films prove to be entertaining they haven’t been animated, or digitally remastered, to the same degree as the previous Dragon Ball Z Movie Collections and as such the video and audio quality are not as great.

For example the visual quality of both films is highly grainy and does not retain the high quality of animation – but this is most likely due to the specials being produced for TV rather as cinematic releases. The audio meanwhile, while available in 5.1 for English with Japanese Music, is only available 2.0 for English with US Music and at times does stand-out as well as the 5.1 mix. Regardless of the minor flaws both TV Specials are exceptionally entertaining and fill the void left over from ‘teasers’ within the TV Series.

Extras:

Just like with previous ‘Dragon Ball Z Movie Collections’ this disc uses the same disc masters as those produced by FUNimation in America all those years ago, and as such the selection of bonus materials is not only limited but outdated.

In this case we receive a selection of trailers relating to products that were being released on DVD and Blu-ray at the time by FUNimation in America, with titles such as Dragon Ball GT, One Piece and Dragon Ball Z being promoted; but in addition to this we also receive gameplay trailer for the Atari/Bandai Namco Entertainment released fighting game Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit. What’s interesting is that this gameplay trailer was tailored to this disc; as it sees Future Trunks and Bardock do battle against each other.

Specs:

Media: BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 1:36:02
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 & 2.0 (English) & LPCM 1.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Dragon Ball Z TV Specials Collection combines two different storylines, and two different parts of the Dragon Ball Z universe, into a single collection that explores two major talking points within the Dragon Ball Z timeline.

In this case Bardock Father of the Goku explores the origins which led up to the destruction of Planet Vegeta, and in turn the preminission of Frieza destroying the Saiyans, while History of Trunks sees Gohan teach Trunks in order to fight the Androids while in turn sees the destructive force of the Androids, especially Android 17 and Android 18, brought to our screens.

Regardless of how the story of these films are portrayed they are animated to the same quality of the TV Series and despite the Digitally Remastered High Definition transfer they are not to the same standards as previous movie collections. This is most likely due to the age of the films but it is a stark constract to the sharp, and vibrant, quality of the digitally remastered versions of the movie collections.

The audio quality of each film also sets within this same ‘mediocre’ styled catergory, as while they do have the same options available as the Movie Collections, such as a 5.1 English Audio Track with Japanese Background Music, it only has 2.o Stereo audio track (for the U.S Music Variation) and 1.0 Mono Audio for the Japanese Audio track.

This English Stereo Sound and Mono Japanese sound is not the ‘only’ disappointment as (once again) the menu design features small text which means viewing the menu from large distances can prove problematic. Fortunately the menus are easily navigated due to the limited content on the disc.

Disregarding these minor flaws the Dragon Ball Z TV Specials Collection provides two ‘feature-length’ experiences that cover some of the more important aspects of the Dragon Ball Z timeline; both of which cover the ‘darker’ areas of the series. Naturally if you are a fan of Dragon Ball Z, especially the TV Series, then this TV Special Collection is worth owning; just don’t expect the crisp quality as from the previous Dragon Ball Z Movie Collection releases.

Score: review-stars-4

Dragon Ball Z – TV Specials Collection, which contains both “The History of Trunks” and “Bardock, The Father of Goku”, will be available from the 16th April 2018 as a Blu-ray and DVD Combo Pack 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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