Anime DVD Review: Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box Seven

Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box Seven is a release aimed at Dragon Ball collectors. This set contains the final 40 episodes 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 Seven
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: DVD
Release Date: October 11, 2011

The episodes in this set cover the Fusion saga and the Kid Buu saga. However, it should be noted that in the book that comes with this set, the episodes have all been lumped together into the Buu saga.

When it comes to the various story arcs that appeared over the course of the Dragon Ball Z series, I would have to say that the episodes with Majin Buu were probably the weakest. To me, the episodes of this arc that appear in this set get to a point where it feels like the story is simply being stretched out in order to keep the anime series going rather than simply waiting for Akira Toriyama to progress further in the manga in order to keep from catching up. I honestly believe that the Majin Buu arc would have been stronger and a little better if it had been a little shorter.

There’s actually four episodes that take place after the end of the fight with Majin Buu. The first episode of these four is definitely “filler,” because it doesn’t truly add anything. After the filler episode, the series skips ahead in time to 10 years in the future. We meet a new character, and there’s a World Martial Arts tournament involved. These last three episodes are actually rather fun to watch, and are a nice change of pace after having to deal with the extremely stretched out Majin Buu arc.

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 Seven 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 “Tenkaichi Couples’ Championship” (which examines the various romantic couples that appeared during the series), and “The Track of Son Goku’s Infinite Power” (which tracks all the various evolutions and training Goku went through during the series). The book concludes with line art featuring some of the Dragon Ball Z characters.

I really appreciate that FUNimation went to the effort of including these hardcover books with the Dragon Box releases. 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 six 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 Seven 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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