Blu-Ray Review: Dragon Ball Super – Part 9

The ninth instalment into Dragon Ball Super continues the explosive battle between universes in the Tournament of Power; but what types of episodic events can we expect from within this latest instalment? Let’s find out and take a look.

Synopsis:

The Tournament of Power rages on. The 2nd Universe’s warriors of love are out for blood, Frieza makes his move, ad Goku’s attention turns to Jiren. Unflinching resolve faces immeasurable power, as Saiyan and Pride Trooper test each other’s capabilities. But when Goku’s stamina starts to dwindle, can Instinct save him?

Time is winding down, fighters are falling out,and the battles are heating up!

Our View:

Dragon Ball Super continues to diverge from the norm to continue delivering the Tournament of Power, and with each passing episode the events within become not only unique but nostalgic to the core fan base that it appeals to. This ninth instalment, of which contains Episodes 105 – 117 across two discs, is the third instalment that focuses on the tournament of power and while the location may be the same the fights themselves, and the characters being represented, are vastly different to anything seen previously. As such the events within Dragon Ball Super continue to build upon themselves to not only showcase different characters and their abilities, but to keep it entertaining for those that are still watching.

In hindsight however the story within this ninth set could be considered the same as those within past sets; as Universe Seven – which consists of Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Piccolo, Frieza, Tien, Krillin,Master Roshi,  Android 17 and Android 18 – are fighting other universes to be the last team standing in the Tournament of Power. The concept is that the universe with the most fighters left standing at the end of the tournament will not have their universe erased by the Grand Zeno’s. As a result of this all of the universes top fighters are fighting for the survival; although some – such as Goku and Frieza – are not taking it as seriously as one might expect.

From a story perspective then these events within the Tournament of Power do not go anywhere, as they simply proceed to highlight fights with different characters until a ‘plot point’ emerges to keep the story entertaining for the viewer. In this set at least that plot point is the explosive, and beautifully animated, fight between Goku and Jiren. This fight, a spectacular one I might add, sparks the birth of Ultra Instinct; a new form that allows the user to move automatically without thought and an ability even the Gods have trouble mastering. Unfortunately for Goku even this isn’t enough to be effective against Jiren and as such Universe 6’s Hit steps-up to try his own Time Skip abilities against Jiren.

The fights against Jiren is not the only pivotal plot point with this portion of the series; as upon recuperating some of his stamina Goku ends up fighting against Caulfa and Kale – to which Goku teaches them how to become stronger before the duo use Portra earrings to become Kelfa; a fused Super Saiyan warrior that rivals even the power of Super Saiyan Blue. Both of these plot points help process the story along and build-up the characters, their personalities and relationships on screen. Naturally these are just two key moments within this ninth instalment; but other elements – such as Master Roshi facing off against female warriors, Gohan against Namekians and Cabba discovering his latent potential, help progress and refine characters we thought we already knew.

This continued evolution of characters further helps refine Dragon Ball and the characters that exist within the franchise; and for once allows someone other than Goku to be a focal point of the story – even if it is just a small portion. Naturally intense battles are ensured, especially within Goku, Jiren, Vegeta and Hit around, but at the same time we have slower paced battles that further refine and develop characters that do not usually get to share the spotlight. It’s refreshingly nice and gives something new to the fan base that has been watching all this time.

As mentioned previously from a story perspective then Dragon Ball Super – Part 9 is lacking, as it is simply a continuation of the events unfolding through fights, but at the same time we have those intense fights that keep us coming back along with character development that hasn’t been seen in a Dragon Ball series for a long time. Fans of Master Roshi watch out, as you’ll be pleasantly surprised as to what happens – and in this regard its worth the price admission alone.

Extras:

As with past Dragon Ball Super releases Manga Entertainment UK are using FUNimation disc masters adapted for the UK market, as such fans will receive the usual inclusion of textless opening and closing songs, of which change depending on the audio language selected, as well as a Twitter Q&A with voice actors from the series.

The bonus features included are, for a Dragon Ball Super release at least, simplistic and barebones and despite being something different the Twitter Q&A doesn’t really add any worthwhile content other than simple “who do you think is stronger?” type questions. If you’ve been to an anime panel then some of the question, albeit amusing, will feel oddly familiar.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50, BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 3:27:00 (Disc 1), 1:31:39 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: 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:

The ninth instalment of Dragon Ball Super continues the seemingly never-ending, but ever-expanding, tournament of power; a tournament which sees all of the lower ranked universes fighting for survival in a ‘battle royale’ styled tournament. The episodes within this particular set help exacerbate the situation that Universe 7 finds themselves in when Goku fights Jiren as well as teaches the Super Saiyan power to the Saiyans of Universe 6.

Goku, Vegeta, Hit, Jiren, Cabba, Caulfa and Kale may be the stars of the episodes featured within this set, due to the length of screen time they receive and how their characters evolve within the episodes, but the remaining members of Universe 6 – especially Master Roshi – also get their fair share of screen time which allows them to demonstrate their own powers and strengths. As a long time Dragon Ball fan getting to see this ‘alternate’ characters share the spotlight alongside the ever repetitive Goku and Vegeta, is a real treat and offers a refreshing Dragon Ball experience that further refines the characters within an aging franchise.

In short; Dragon Ball Super – Part 9 simply continues the tournament of power with an ever-pacing-selection of episodes which, thanks to Marathon Mode, can be binged watched easily – and in some cases – is essential to getting the best of the scenes that unfold within. Once again FUNimation provides a strong presented set of discs with consistent quality, both visual and audibly, as well as an impressive English Dub cast list that balances equally with its already notable Japanese dub track.

One thing of note is that insert songs have also been dubbed into English for the English dub track, and – disappointingly – cannot be changed without changing the entire audio into Japanese.  Fortunately the insert song, which I personally never really cared for, only appears twice within these particular episodes but those hoping to watch in English, with the song in Japanese, will be disappointed. Audio technicalities aside Dragon Ball Super – Part 9 remains true to the cause, a selection of episodes that continue the story moving forward through an a tournament that is presented consistently with past releases.

Score: review-stars-5

Dragon Ball Super – Part 9 will be available on Blu-ray and DVD from the 9th December 2019 within the UK via Manga Entertainment 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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