Anime DVD Review: Dragon Ball Season One Box Set

The Dragon Ball Season One DVD box set includes five DVDs that contain 31 episodes. The first four discs contain seven episodes, while the fifth disc contains three episodes and the DVD extras.

Dragon Ball Season One Box Set
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: September 15, 2009

This set establishes the Dragon Ball series. Goku meets Bulma, a girl who is out searching for the Dragon Balls. It turns out that Goku unknowingly has one of the Dragon Balls. The four star ball had been a memento left for Goku after the death of his grandfather, but Goku has never been told that it was a Dragon Ball. Goku joins Bulma on her journey.

Along the way, they rescue a lost sea turtle and return him to his home. As a reward, he brings the pair to Master Roshi, an old man who is also known as the Turtle Hermit. Roshi gives Goku a flying cloud called Kinto’un, and Goku also learns an impressive attack called the Kamehameha. On their journey, Goku and Bulma meet Oolong, Pu’ar, and Yamcha.

After fighting Emperor Pilaf and his cronies and finding the Dragon Balls, Goku begins training under Master Roshi. Another young man named Kuririn also comes to train under Roshi. When Roshi feels they’re ready, he takes both of his students to compete in the Tenkaichi Tournament (which is a big martial arts tournament that is only held every few years). After the tournament, Roshi gives his students a break. For his break, Goku goes on another journey to search for the Dragon Balls. The set ends as Goku is just starting out on his second journey.

The early episodes in this set are very effective in establishing the characters and the Dragon Ball universe. The addition of Kuririn and the Tenkaichi Tournament adds more to the story than just searching for the Dragon Balls.

Personally, I enjoyed the episodes that appeared on this set. I also appreciated how the pacing of the story arcs that appear in this box set is much better than that pacing that takes place in the Dragon Ball Z series.

When it comes to the actual DVD box set, you can watch the episodes with either the English dub or the original Japanese audio with English subtitles. This set also includes a marathon feature. This allows you to watch all of the episodes back-to-back. However, with the marathon feature, you only see the opening credits once, and the ending credits are not shown. This feature is very helpful when you’re trying to watch all of the episodes on a disc in a single sitting.

The menu on the sixth DVD adds in a link for the special features. The only special features included in this set are textless versions of the opening and ending credits, and trailers for eight properties that FUNimation Entertainment was promoting at the time this box set was released.

While there may not be much in the way of special features, this might be due to the fact that FUNimation may not have been able to get any materials from Toei to include in the set. Fortunately, the episodes themselves make this set worth owning.

As of this writing, this set is the best way to acquire these episodes of Dragon Ball on DVD in North America. If you’re a fan of the Dragon Ball franchise, then I would recommend purchasing this set and adding it to your anime collection.

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