Anime DVD Review: Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box Five

Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box Five is a release aimed at Dragon Ball Z collectors. This set contains episodes 169 through 209 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 Five
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: DVD
Release Date: April 26, 2011

The episodes in this set cover the remainder of the Cell Games saga as well as the Great Saiyaman saga. However, it should be noted that in the book that comes with this set, the episodes have been broken up into three sagas: the remainder of the Cell saga, the Anoyoichi saga, and the High School saga.

The first few episodes in this disc focus on the Z Fighters getting ready for the Cell Games. Also during these early episodes, a Namekian named Dende becomes the new guardian of Earth, and a fighter called Mr. Satan announces to the world that he will be competing in the Cell Games.

When the Cell Games actually come around, Mr. Satan and his students are the first to arrive. Cell defeats Mr. Satan’s students very easily, and the audience learns rather quickly that Mr. Satan isn’t as brave as he pretends to be. Goku and the other Z Fighters arrive, and the Cell Games become intense.

After the conclusion of the Cell Games, Goku has a battle in Other World, and then the series moves ahead in time seven years. Gohan is now a teenager, and he has a younger brother named Goten. This set ends with Gohan heading off to high school and what he experiences there.

The introduction of Mr. Satan adds some comedic relief that had almost all but disappeared from the series, since characters such as Master Roshi and Oolong don’t appear in the series as regularly as they did in the first Dragon Ball series or in the early episodes of Dragon Ball Z.

The time skip that ages Gohan into a teenager gives us a new dimension for him as a character. Unfortunately, he was become a real dork now that he’s a teenager; Gohan was definitely much cooler back when he was a little boy. With Gohan now going to a public high school, this gives the opportunity to introduce some new characters to the series. It turns out that one of these new characters has a connection to Mr. Satan, which causes Mr. Satan to become a more important character in the series.

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.

The first five discs have seven episodes, while the sixth disc only has six episodes; there are also no on-disc features on any of the discs. However, Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box Five 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. Mixed in with the episode descriptions are sections labeled as “Fashion Check” (which highlights some of the fashion styles that appear in the episodes of this set), “We Count Down Anything” (which counts down the top three sexy characters, the top three handsome guys, and top three of Bulma’s inventions), and “The Great Saiyaman Illustrated.” The book concludes with line art featuring some of the Dragon Ball Z characters.

The hardcover books that have been included with the Dragon Boxes are very nice, and I believe that these are a lot 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 four boxes, 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 Five 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 using 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.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box Five that my husband and I purchased.

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