Anime DVD Review: Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box Two

Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box Two is a release aimed at Dragon Ball Z collectors. This set contains Episodes 43 through 84 of Dragon Ball Z. The episodes are uncut and have been remastered and restored frame by frame. The episodes that are included on this release are presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio, instead of the 16:9 cropping that was done for the nine “orange brick” season sets.

Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box Two
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: DVD
Release Date: February 16, 2010

The episodes in the set cover the remainder of the Namek saga, the Captain Ginyu saga, and the early Frieza saga. However, in the book that comes with the set, the Captain Ginyu and Frieza sagas are lumped together into the Frieza saga.

After a false start, Bulma, Kuririn, and Gohan make it to Planet Namek. Unfortunately, a new enemy named Frieza and his henchmen are already on the planet and have four of the Namekian Dragon Balls in their possession. Vegeta also arrives on the planet in search of the Dragon Balls for himself. While these three factions try to get the Dragon Balls, Goku has healed from his last battle and takes a spaceship to head for Namek as well. Of course, he trains while he’s on the spaceship.

Once Goku arrives on Namek, he begins to help his friends fight against Captain Ginyu, one of Frieza’s henchmen. Unfortunately, Goku is injured enough during the fight that Vegeta has him recover in an isolation chamber in Frieza’s spaceship. Vegeta begins working with Kuririn and Gohan. Gohan and Kuririn are able to get the password for the Namekian Dragon Balls from the elder and manage to make two of the three wishes that Porunga, the Namekian dragon, can grant. Before a third wish can be granted, the Namekian elder dies, and the Dragon Balls and Porunga die with him. The set ends in the middle of a battle between Frieza and the Z Fighters.

When it comes to stretching out episodes and adding extra material that really wasn’t needed to tell the story, the episodes on this set are rather guilty of this. For example, the two episodes devoted to Gohan and the others arriving at the wrong planet before reaching Namek, and the part where Bulma has to go retrieve a Dragon Ball that rolled away while she was watching it. The main reason I know that these parts were added to the story is from watching the corresponding episodes of Dragon Ball Z Kai, a series that was billed as cutting out the “filler” that wasn’t in the original manga, and noticing that these things weren’t included in Dragon Ball Z Kai.

In some respects, this section of the story can feel a bit like it’s dragging, but the actual story itself is rather strong. A viewer is left sitting on the edge of their seat, wondering what’s going to happen on Planet Namek, and rooting for the Z Fighters to win the day.

When it comes to this release, the default language for viewing is Japanese audio with English subtitles. If you want to hear the English dub, that option is available in the setup menu. However, it should be pointed out that the music score that was created for the English dub is not included. The Japanese titles for the episodes are used on this release instead of the English titles, and the packaging and booklet uses the original Japanese spelling for the characters’ names.

Each disc in this set includes seven episodes, and there are no on-disc extras. However, Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box Two comes with a 47-page hardcover book that has a right-to-left orientation. The book begins with character profiles, which is followed by an “Ultimate Character Relationship Chart.” The bulk of the book, however, is a section talking about the episodes that are included in the set. The episode section of the book includes the Japanese titles for the episodes, a description for each episode, the original airdate for each episode, still images from the episodes, trivia, and a brief overview of the story that appears on each disc in the set. There are also sections that have “best three” countdowns for several topics and viewers’ favorite lines from the episodes in this set. The book concludes with a section about Gohan’s various encounters with animals and line art drawings of some of the characters.

I have to say that this is a nice booklet, and it’s ultimately better than any on-disc extras that could have been included. Personally, I’d rather have more episodes per disc and the hardcover book instead of fewer episodes per disc and on-disc bonuses.

Like the first box, there’s no “Marathon Feature” to watch the episodes back-to-back. However, if you watch the episodes with the Japanese audio, you will be able to see the next episode previews that weren’t available on the nine “orange brick” season sets.

I would recommend Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box Two to fans of Dragon Ball Z who want to have a better version of the episodes than what appears on the “orange bricks.”

Unfortunately, the Dragon Boxes were produced as limited edition collector’s releases, so some volumes are already completely gone, and others are getting close to being completely gone. While there are third-party sellers selling used copies of these sets on sites such as Amazon, I’ve seen some rather high prices for these sets. If you want to own the Dragon Boxes and haven’t bought them already, I would recommend looking around at various sites that let third-party sellers sell DVDs legally and see if you can find a good deal for these sets.

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