New HD Presentation Shows DRAGON BALL Z Is Still A Sight To Behold
Nov 9, 2011
Families can be a real drag. When you’re descended from a line of space warriors bent on toppling Earth, it can be ridiculously treacherous … especially when your evil warrior brother shows up on the planet demanding that you join forces and eradicate mankind. Suddenly, former enemies form an alliance to keep our world safe. As it’s been said, you can never keep a good man down … at least, not for long … and, well, I won’t pretend to understand it all.
If you’ve missed it, I’m new to the Dragon Ball saga, and this first installment has certainly tweaked my interest. There’s a history here that I’m clearly unaware of, but the storytelling is rich enough that I don’t feel as if I’ve missed all that much. The narrative is structured to fill-in the necessary backstory. Despite my unfamiliarity with Goku, Gohan, Raditz, and the others, there’s no mistaking a story of classic good versus evil with the fate of all mankind (or the universe!) in the balance. There’s a pleasant mythology at work, as well, when fallen heroes disappear into a spirit realm where they can only be reborn by completing a quest and must continue their training in preparation for the challenges yet to unfold.
Plus, with a franchise this involved, you’re always going to be rewarded with some great writing … such as “I don’t want to be a fighter. I want to be an orthopedist when I grow up!” Crazy li’l Gohan!
DRAGON BALL Z – LEVEL 1.1 (Blu-ray) contains the first 17 episodes of the program. The episodes retain their original 4:3 ratio, but it all looks and sounds very solid in this HD presentation. This may be the finest presentation this property ever receives, so I’d say it’s a must for fans of the franchise.
Also, I understand from my online reading that FUNimation has placed Dragon Ball Z thru a massive restoration process in preparation for the series 25thanniversary. As this is my first exposure to the franchise, I can’t speak honestly to the upgrade efforts, but I can say that I found the animation mostly crisp with colors vibrant and only minimal graining common to some conversion processes. Were you to tell me that this property had only recently been animated, I wouldn’t have been all that surprised as what I watched looked particularly solid in comparison to other animated efforts I’ve watched. Clearly, its drawing style isn’t necessarily contemporary, but colors and crispness look fairly modern.
While I would’ve appreciated a special feature detailing some of the challenges the animators encountered with the restoration process, there isn’t anything here, though there’s a brief snippet available online at http://www.dragonballz.com/AD-Takeover/ADPage.html. There’s clearly a lotta love at FUNimation for the property; otherwise, why make such a creative investment? I’d love to see more about this undertaking, and I’m sure others here will chime in on that front. I’m a big believer in supplemental features; hopefully, there will be something available in either future releases or a complete Blu-ray set that’s always inevitable down the road. For as old a property as Dragon Ball Z is, I’d also think that there could be some great interviews by others in the anime field who specifically credit the franchise as an inspiration for pursuing their various careers.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to share that the folks at FUNimation provided me with a copy of DRAGON BALL Z – LEVEL 1.1 for the purposes of completing this review.