Blu-Ray Review: Dragon Ball Super – Part 8

The Tournament of Power to decide of the fate of the universe(s) begins in Dragon Ball Super – Part 8; but what can we expect from its episodic presentation and story? Let’s take a look and find out in our review of the Blu-Ray being released by Manga Entertainment in the UK.

Synopsis:

With Buu out of commission, and in order to complete their roster, Goku recruits an old enemy as the 7th Universe’s final teammate. However, the other universes aren’t keen on letting this new foe join the fight.

The stage is set, and the Tournament of Power finally starts! Can the Z Fighters last against an onslaught of targeted aggression, or will personal grudges mark the beginning of the end?!

Our View:

If a continuous stream of explosive battles is what you want from Dragon Ball Super then the episodes featured within this eighth instalment will cater towards you as once the Tournament of Power begins it is a non-stop-battle for victory. Naturally a large portion of the event within Dragon Ball Super – Part 8 focus on the arrival, and the beginning, of the Tournament of Power but that doesn’t mean that characters stop developing; especially those from other universes. What seems like a consistent fight is actual several split into individual episodes with time shared for character development and streamlined deliveries of character backstories.

Following on from the events of the previous instalment, of which saw Goku recruiting team members for the Tournament of Power, we find that Goku is one member short due to Buu falling into a deep ‘hibernation’ styled sleep. With the entire universe in danager, and the secret about the truth behind the tournament being revealed, Goku takes desperate measures in opting to recruit Frieza who (yet again) finds himself trapped within Earth’s hell.

The proposal is that Fortuneteller Baba will use her abilities to grant Frieza a 24-hour period in the human world, similar to what Goku and Vegeta received during the Buu Sgaa of Dragon Ball Z, so that Frieza can enter the tournament. The catch; Frieza wants to be returned to life.

It’s a dangerous plan, and one that the rest of Universe 7 are not too happy with, but both Goku and Frieza create a truce between each other; that is after foiling an assassination plot on their lives by another universe and fighting each other to test one another’s skills. Surprisingly these episodes, albeit pretty straight forward in nature, take up around half of set in episode count – but with good reason.

While Goku is recruiting Frieza other universes, especially Universe 6 and Universe 11, have their own recruitment drives shown with the spotlight put on Universe 6 with the introduction of two new saiyans; Caulifla and Kale, both of which have opposing personalities. Caulifla is a strong-willed leader and quickly grasps the powers of a Super Saiyan from cabba while Kale is a timid girl who unleashes a torrent of Super Saiyan rage in an oddly familiar form.

The development of Caulifla and Kale is of something of interest in this part, especially when it comes to the Tournament of Power. Speaking of which, with the teams recruited the episodic content switches to the Tournament of Power and as you would imagine it is a battle royale with all of the different universes battling for survival.

Naturally it is quite hectic and the episodes shift perspective to showcases the different fights. For instance it starts with Goku and his initial fights before shifting the focus to Krillin and then again to Gohan and then finally Android 17 and 18 with Goku’s fights thrown in at random intervals between each focused fight (as he is the main target after all).

From a ‘Dragon Ball Super’ perspective the Tournament of Power offers a completely different experience with a continuous chain of fights that interlink with each other to deliver a complete picture. More importantly the focus isn’t solely on Goku but rather the entire team of Universe 7.

It’s not just the fights that receive attention to detail either as each challenger that approaches Team 7 is given some form of background and insight; with Caulifla and Kale providing the most entertaining aspects with Goku teaching them how to go Super Saiyan 2. Even sidelined characters, such as those that Gohan and Android 17 fight, get given some deeper backstories that you wouldn’t usually expect to receive.

Dragon Ball Super – Part 8 marks the beginning of the end for the ‘current’ Dragon Ball Super series, through the recruitment of Frieza to the beginning of the tournament. It doesn’t share the same witty banter and comedic elements that previous instalments have; but it does return to that oddly familiarity that Dragon Ball Z offered during its peak moments.

Extras:

As with past releases of Dragon Ball Super, with the exception being the Broly Movie of course, Manga Entertainment UK have opted to use disc mastered produced by FUNimation and as such we receive the same content as the North American release.

Usually this would be a positive, but other than an interview it is lackaing in content – especially when compared to past instalments. The main focus is the Interview, or Q&A session if you prefer, with Sonny Strait (English voice of Krillin) and Chuck Huber (English voice of Android 17) as they share their experiences with the Dragon Ball franchise as well as answer questions provided to them via the host.  Unlike English Cast commentaries this interview is both entertaining and insightful, especially if you enjoy the English dub of Dragon Ball Super.

The remaining bonus features meanwhile are the standard inclusion of textless opening and ending songs – nothing new here in this regard but they are both interesting to watch in textless form; especially the opening.

Specs:

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

Overall:

Dragon Ball Super – Part 8 continues the ‘Tournament of Power’ story arc by building up the teams of each universe before throwing them into the battle royale that the Grand Zeno’s orchestrated in a bid to erase the universes that lose from existence. From a story driven perspective the events within this eighth instalment are relatively non-existent, due to its focus on the tournament of power, but from a battle perspective then it is plentiful. Whether it be the introduction of Frieza to the group, the development of Caulifla and Kale or the actual tournament itself there is a lot of look at in a short space of time.

Realistically this is pretty much what Dragon Ball Super – Part 8 offers, a continuous fight overshadowed by minor plot points and character developments, but do not let this distract you from what is an action-packed selection of episodes and it is only going to get better as time goes on. Those that have longed for continuous fights between different characters will no doubt enjoy what the episodes within this set have to offer; with the obvious highlights being Super Saiyan against Super Saiyan as well as Hit and Goku teaming up to take down Universe 11.

This is where the Blu-Ray (and potentially DVD) release of Dragon Ball Super comes into its own, not because of its improved animation quality – especially compared to older episodes – but mostly due to the Marathon Mode feature. Marathon mode allows all episodes on the disc to be watched without opening and ending elements of the series, and with the tournament of power being a continuious series of fights the Marathon mode does offer a greater way of binge watching the episodes in one go. This feature has been present in previous releases, but it does feel more useful here.

From a presentation perspective Dragon Ball Super – Part 8 continues to deliver the same experience as past releases, with simplistic menu design, strong visual and audio, and a simple selection of bonus features with the difference being a different selection of episodes. For Dragon Ball fans it is a no brainer; but the best elements of the Tournament of Power have yet to come. Overall Dragon Ball Super – Part 8 is exactly what you would expect it to be, a continuation of the series presented in the same standards as previous release – so no complaints here.

Score: review-stars-4

Dragon Ball Super – Part 8 will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD from the 28th October 2019 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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