Blu-Ray Review: Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters – Part 2

Super Saiyans… Super Saiyans everywhere as we take a closer look at what Manga Entertainment UK’s Blu-Ray release of Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters – Part 2 has to offer.

Synopsis:

As Goku and Vegeta land blow after blow in their brutal duel, an enormous amount of energy is transferred to Majin Buu. And despite Gohan’s valiant efforts, the monster reaches full power faster than anyone could have predicted.

With the ancient evil awakened and free to wreak havoc across the planet, the Z Fighters must give everything they’ve got to put Buu back to bed for good.

Our View:

Consisting of twenty-three episodes spread across three Blu-Ray discs this second instalment into Manga Entertainment UK’s three-part release of Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters continues the never-ending Buu storyline with plenty of fist fights, detours, a few comical moments and that fateful grudge match between Goku and Vegeta. This is the beginning of the end; and we’ve got a lot of ground to cover before the next instalment; but thankfully this is Dragon Ball Z stripped to the bone with no filler and pure shonen jump styled entertainment.

Digitally remastered from the source material and presented in 16:9 widescreen, which is a design choice by Toei Animation, the episodes contained within this second part see the resurrection of Majin Buu and the destruction that it brings along with it; but before that we see finally get to see that destined rematch between Goku and Vegeta; albeit this time in Super Saiyan form.

Ever since Goku and Vegeta first met each other in the Saiyan saga they have always had a rivalry that sees them want to best each other and now we finally get to witness this fight in all of its High Definition glory and true to the source material. Even without the HD upgrade this fight always had a special place in Dragon Ball fans hearts and now it not only looks better but it flows better as well thanks to this Kai release.

Of course this ‘grudge match’ is nothing but a small stone in a large river in this release as while Goku and Vegeta go about their business the power given from damage received is enough for Majin Buu to awaken; and as a result Gohan and the Supreme Kai are easily defeated in battle. The arrival of this new threat then causes the match between Goku and Vegeta to be stopped with Vegeta showing a bit of humanity and knocking out Goku in order to take down Majin Buu.

Alas I won’t spoil these surprising details but it shows additional growth to Vegeta’s character and illustrates that he isn’t just a cold blooded Saiyan. With all of earths strongest heroes now defeated, Majin Buu goes on a rampage destroying everything in sight as well as eating any humans that reside within the world; all the while searching for the fighters that had previously escaped his destructive grip.

For the most part the episodes within Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters – Part 2 are simply a “cat and mouse” chase with Majin Buu looking for the Z Fighters while Goku and Piccolo train Trunks and Goten in the art of Fusion with the limited time they have. At the same time Gohan, who was rescued by the Kai’s, is training in the world of the Kai’s in order to unlock his (yet again) latent potential as the Kai’s believe his untapped power can be the power they need to defeat Majin Buu. It’s a three pronged approach to delivering a story and yet they all intertwine at set points in order to help move the overall story along.

Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters – Part 2 start off overwhelmingly strong, especially with the consistent fist fight between Goku and Vegeta and then Vegeta and Majin Buu, but after earths mightiest heroes have fallen (totally not an Avengers reference) the story seems to dawdle on with the heroes training in secret while everyone on earth is being killed. Cold hearted perhaps; but with limited options available it’s the only thing they could do.

As a result of this ‘dawdling’ approach to the story, not a lot tends to happen other than training; with the only highlights during this timeframe being the introduction of Super Saiyan 3 and Gotenks first attempt at taking down Majin Buu. We even have a key moment that sees Mr Satan attempt to defeat Majin Buu; which in turn sparks a fake friendship between Buu and Satan as well as the arrival of another Buu – a Super Buu with even more power and thirst for destruction.

Regardless these episodes still deliver the intensity and variety that far surpasses what Dragon Ball Super has to offer; speaking of which certain background music – especially during the fight between Goku and Vegeta – is the same type of music used within Dragon Ball Super. Naturally Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters was broadcast before Dragon Ball Super (especially in Japan and North America) but it is interesting to see new music being used rather than older music from the original Dragon Ball Z experiences.

I can only guess Toei wanted to pave the way for the future of Dragon Ball by starting with it in this new ‘remastered’ Kai experience but once again the type of music doesn’t flow naturally with the events that are happening on screen. It’s a good attempt; but the original score would have been better.

Extras:

Manga Entertainment UK have once again opted to use the FUNimation Disc Masters and as such the presentation of each disc, as well as included bonus content, is exactly the same as the North American release. As such each disc receives a skippable trailer before the main menu while the bonus features themselves are relegated to the third Blu-Ray disc with a ‘minialmistic’ set of extras being offered.

In this case Dragon Ball fans will find an English Cast Commentary video for Episode 131 of Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters whereby English Dub voice actors discuss their role within Dragon Ball Z Kai and their thoughts on the series. As far as Cast Commentaries go its certainly not the worst but at the same time it’s not the best; however if you are wanting to know more about Dragon Ball Z Kai from the perspective of voice actors then its worth checking out.

Rounding out the selection of bonus features on this Blu-Ray release of Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters – Part 2 is the inclusion of textless opening and closing songs, with audio being tied to the audio currently active from the Setup menu, and Trailers for other FUNimation shows – most of which have yet to receive a UK release.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50 x3
Region: B
Running Time: 3:28:15 (Disc 1 & 2), 1:55:46 (Disc 3)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD 5.1 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters – Part 2 is a step in a long direction to the finish with some of the best content being saved for the final ‘Part 3’ instalment of the Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters series. What starts out strong with the arrival of Majin Buu and the destructive battle between Goku and Vegeta soon slows down to a crawl with training. Sure enough this training is interesting, as it officially introduces Super Saiyan 3 as well as the concept of Fusion, but it’s not until the later stages of this release do we get to see this fusion power in action; and comical action it is.

With twenty-three episodes being included you would expect a lot to happen, and in some aspects it does, but in reality the story doesn’t really go anywhere and we are just left waiting for the fights to commence. Fortunately these fights are spectacular to watch when they do begin; and the arrival of Super Saiyan 3 Goku – as well as Goku explaining the forms of Super Saiyans to Majin Buu – as easily one of the highlights outside of Goku and Vegeta’s own fist fight.

These episodes are here to simply develop the characters not previously seen, such as Goten and Trunks, as well as introduce new ideas within the universe; but at the same time it lacks in actual ‘entertaining’ screen time content.

Regardless of the episodic contents, although it is best to watch in long chunks in order to make any headway in the story, this Blu-Ray release of Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters – Part 2 is consistent with previous Dragon Ball Z Kai and Dragon Ball Super releases, with menu presentation, visual and audio quality being the same throughout.

By now we’ve become used to the new English Voice cast – which of course is the same English voice cast used in Dragon Ball Super – so no complaints here but for those familiar only with Dragon Ball Z it can still be a disheartening experience. Japanese audio is once again included for that ‘original’ experience; but for me Dragon Ball Z has always been better to watch dubbed.

Overall Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters – Part 2 is what one would expect to receive for any Dragon Ball related product; a large selection of episodes that covers a well-respected amount of the story with some destructive battles; but alas this doesn’t seem as progressive as other season sets but this is just a clam before the storm. Naturally this set is a must for any UK Dragon Ball fan; especially for those wanting to watching one of the better presentations of the Majin Buu saga of the Dragon Ball Z timeline.

Score: review-stars-4

Dragon Ball Z: The Final Chapters – Part 1 will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD from the 12th November 2018.

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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.

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