Starring: Sean Schemmel, Stephanie Nadolny, Eric Vale, Christopher R. Sabat, Dameon Clarke, Kyle Hebert, Sonny Strait, Jeremy Inman, Chuck Huber, Mike McFarland, Tiffany Volmer, Cynthia Cranz,
Running Time: 650 minutes
So many anime, so little time. With all the BLEACH, NARUTO, POKEMON, and other great series to be watching a few, no matter how important or popular, are bound to fall by the wayside. For me, that series is DRAGON BALL and its sequel DRAGON BALL Z. My only exposure to the world of Dragon Ball are a few memes circling the net and the film DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION, which I’m sure is a grand representation of what to expect? No? Fine, I guess I’ll give the series a go.
But can someone really jump into the series five seasons in? This isn’t like HOUSE or some other procedural show. The world of Dragon Ball, as I’d find out all too quickly, is filled with complex science fiction stories, rich fantasy elements, and impressive superheroics. Just a few minutes into the first episode of this boxset there are mentions of androids, time travel, Piccolos, and Super Seiyans – whatever they might be. So it really is to this shows credit that I was hooked by the end of the second episode. Here’s my interpretation of the plot. There are goodies and baddies, although some are kind of skitter between the two. Super Seiyans are people with super powers, such as great strength and flying. There are androids, who are not so nice and killed their creator. And as this season starts the main character, Goku, is very sick and not involved for quite some time.
Instead we focus on Trunks, a character that has come back from the future, which is all fine and dandy until he finds a second exact copy of his time machine. Whatever has come back in time is causing havoc in a small town, and soon reveals itself as Cell, a big green monster like creature that is out to suck the power from as many people as possible so he can reach his full power. It’s a complex but intriguing story, as it becomes apparent that storylines from previous series run in to the new story unfolding before us. This makes for some great writing decisions, as characters motivations and actions must adapt to the events happening around them, resulting in unpredictable twists and continuous surprises for the audience.
As a newcomer to the show, the world is obviously dense and populated by a large array of fascinating characters. Although at times there were moments when I was clearly lost, by paying attention I was able to catch up quickly and become engaged in the stories and emotional conflicts happening throughout. No wonder fans were so disgusted with the live action cinematic version, as I saw absolutely nothing that relates to this show in the slightest. The animation is bright and wonderfully presented on this DVD. I would assume a lot of restoration has gone into preserving the wonderful visuals, as this show dates back to 1989 but still looks very fresh and vibrant. The action scenes are handled brilliantly and I was also quite taken with the reduced amount of explanatory dialogue during fights.
As this season progresses the stakes are raised really high, and with characters from the future and old enemies having to join forces it’s easy to see how much fun the writers must have had. I would never recommend it as a jumping in point for newcomers, but it has caught my attention and is something I will be trying to fit into my schedule time willing.
DRAGON BALL Z Season 5 is released on DVD on 7th January 2013. You can buy a copy here.