Blu-Ray Review: Dragonball Z Season One (1989 - 1990)

Posted by Retrokaiser On Saturday, June 14, 2014 0 comments

"Dragon Ball Z Season One" is the first out of nine volumes in a special re-release series that is specifically targeted for the blu-ray market. This show is a sci-fi action drama (or a sci-fi soap opera as I like to dub it) series about a warrior named Goku and his son named Gohan. One fine day we see Gohan playing around and getting lost in a forest only to have Goku pick him up and then takes him along to a special reunion at a place called "Kame House" where Goku's teacher named "Master Roshi" lives. While on the island Goku introduces Gohan to all his friends only to be interrupted by an invader from space named "Raditz". Raditz drops a major bomb-shell and tells Goku that he is his brother and that Goku is also from another planet. Raditz also beats up Goku and all the other fighters on the island and also kidnaps Gohan. Goku is very upset but from out of nowhere his arch-rival named "Piccolo" turns up and offers that they join up to take out a common enemy with that enemy being Raditz". Goku and Piccolo fly off and get into a battle and only manage just to barely beat Raditz. Once the battle with Raditz ends they find out that Earth has a bigger problem on it's hands as Raditz announces that two more warriors that are stronger than him will be landing on Earth in one year. Now our heroes must train if they must stand a chance of defeating the threat that is coming to Earth. Will our heroes succeed or die trying? (Click "Read More" to read the full review).

The story in this show is quite basic and easy to follow to where anybody can watch this and understand what is going on. There are also two parts to the storytelling with one being though conversation while the other is told through action and violence. It does both styles very well to where it makes a perfect blend of action and drama. The drama is both comedic and serious and you'll find yourself drawn in emotionally by making you feel sad when something bad happens and very happy when something funny happens. The comedy is funny but it is also quite random to where it might not be your cup of tea as they like to do a bunch of sex jokes. A huge problem with the writing is that you will spot a few plot-holes here and there to which you may or may not find ironically enjoyable (I know I did with some of them).

The action in this show is quite exciting with well choreographed fights that will get you jumping out of your seat and yelling "GO GOKU!". The action scenes can also be very hit and miss as they aren't just simple "one fight per episode" as the battles tend to last a whole bunch of episodes and that might be a bit too much for some people although I found it to be great as I didn't find them drawn out at all... Well that's not one-hundred percent true as there were a few episodes towards the end with scenes that did drag out a little bit. The action can also be quite over the top as well and I liked that as it gives me a break from all those TV shows that are trying too hard to be dark, gritty, and realistic.

Characters in this show were great with nice charming and unique personalities. You'll find yourselves supporting the heroes hoping that they defeat the bad guys. I love the atmosphere when the characters are displaying their power in this season as it leaves a very mysterious and terrifying feeling that works especially well with the villains as it makes them very menacing. I also like that the heroes are actually heroes and none of that anti-hero crap that is overused and ironically enough it feels fresh.

One neat thing about this set is that there is a "Marathon Mode" where it cuts out all the credits and plays all the episodes like a movie and it does it pretty smoothly as well. The four discs are also portioned very well to where each major story-arc takes up one disc making it seem like that I am watching four films. Sure each story-arc runs for three hours but believe me as the time just flies-by very fast.

Artwork has been cleaned up for this release and it looks very nice. Character designs are very nice and recognisable to where you won't get them mixed up with one another. Backgrounds range in detailing to where you get some very nice backgrounds and also a lot of basic backgrounds too but in the end they all look nice. A problem I did have with them is when they do out of focus shots by giving the scenes a water colored look as it looks a bit dull and bland. You will also spot the occasional artwork mistake every now and then with some examples being characters that are colored wrong and inconstant character scaling. I also found some shots of the characters eyes to look a little weird where the eyes are a bit wonky looking. Animation in this show isn't bad most of the time but there are some scenes where the animation looks a little cheap. They also tend to re-use some scenes and it can be laughable as you will see characters destroy the same scenes twice.

The English dub in this season was very good with voices that work all too well with all of the characters. The English dub is also quite memorable to where all of the voices will be ingrained into your memory and you'll also remember a lot of lines said in this show just like the ever so infamous "It's over 9000!" line. There is actually a second English dub found on this set and it is the older dub AKA the dub that was on the original television broadcast. The soundtrack in this show is above average through most of the show but I really do love the Japanese theme song for the opening credits and find myself yelling "Cha-la head cha-la" every time I take a shower.

Do the monkey with me! - Johnny Bravo
On top of going though twelve hours plus of watching Dragonball Z you also have around ten extra minutes of special features. What you get in this section includes: A sneak peek of what's to come in the special feature sections of the rest of the seasons. I'm not going to lie as I did found that particular feature to be a little weird, it's like having a very beautiful woman (or man to keep it gender equal just for kicks as I do want to see fan fiction come out of this) dangle a big fat juicy carrot that you have always wanted right in front of you only to not give it to you unless you put a ring on that woman... Or in a much shorter simpler phrase "It's a  f*****g cocktease". All that aside I am looking forward to seeing what is in-store for the rest of the season sets in terms of special features.

The other special features include text-less opening and closing credit sequences that are decent although my biggest problem is that the text-less opening doesn't have the original Japanese theme song but rather the generic US theme instead. The text-less closing credits do indeed use the original Japanese music which makes the text-less opening credits even more weird to watch. Lastly you get the US trailer promoting the season one set in a style that is reminiscent of the old "Toonami" and "Adult Swim" television ads and it was pretty decent filling me with nostalgia and excitement making me feel like that I am ten again.

Overall I enjoyed this release but if you own the "Orange Brick" edition then you might not want to spend the money on this unless you really want this series on blu-ray. I do recommend this series to those who have missed out on getting the "Orange Brick" releases (or the rest of the releases for that matter) as you will really enjoy this. For those who have never seen Dragon Ball Z in their life then this is a good time to check it out and especially if you are a fan of "Yu-Gi-Oh (1998, 2000 - 2004)", "One Piece (1999 - Ongoing)", or "Bleach (2004 - 2012)" (well you will defiantly enjoy this is you like Bleach as almost every anime is good (including "MD Geist II (1996)") compared to the Bleach TV series). An animated classic.

Title: Dragonball Z Season One
Animation/Production Studio: Toei Animation
Genre: Animation/Anime, Action, Sci-Fi, Drama, Comedy
Running Time: 975 minutes ( 39 Episodes)
Distributor: Madman Entertainment (
Rating: PG (Mild animated violence)
Price: $59.95
Recommended: Yes


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