Anime DVD Review: Dragon Ball Z Movie Collection One

The Dragon Ball Z Collection One movie box set was released by FUNimation on November 1, 2011. This five-disc set includes Dead Zone, The World’s Strongest, The Tree of Might, Lord Slug, and Cooler’s Revenge. There were three slimline boxes packaged in this set; the first contained the discs for Dead Zone and The World’s Strongest, the second contained the discs for The Tree of Might and Lord Slug, and the third contained the disc for Cooler’s Revenge. The three slimline cases are housed in a cardboard slipcover.

Dragon Ball Z Movie Collection One
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: DVD
Release Date: November 1, 2011

Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone was the first film released for Dragon Ball Z. At the start of the film, Piccolo is attacked by unknown assailants; then, the unknown assailants go to Goku’s home and attack Chi-Chi and her father, the Ox King. The assailants say they want the Dragon Ball on top of Gohan’s hat, and they kidnap him before Goku returns home. With the help of Master Roshi, Bulma, and Kuririn, Goku is able to locate where Gohan is.

Meanwhile, it is revealed that Garlic Jr. and his henchmen are the ones responsible for kidnapping Gohan. When Garlic Jr.’s henchmen retrieve all seven of the Dragon Balls, he summons Shen Long and asks for immortality, so he can take revenge for his father’s death and rule over the world. Shen Long grants his wish for immortality. Kami and Goku arrive at the same time, and a fight ensues: Kami versus Garlic Jr., and Goku versus the henchmen. When it seems Goku isn’t going to be able to win, Piccolo and Kuririn appear to help even out the fight. The film culminates to an epic battle between Garlic Jr. versus a temporary team of Goku and Piccolo.

The film itself only runs for about 45 minutes in length, which is essentially equivalent to a “double length” episode. The pacing of this film is actually very natural, so it’s a different viewing experience from watching the actual episodes of the Dragon Ball Z series. If the snail’s pace of the anime series annoys you, then you might actually enjoy watching this film.

At worst, there is only one section that I felt was “time kill”: when Gohan eats a piece of fruit after being kidnapped by Garlic Jr., and he ends up getting drunk and singing a song. While I understand that they needed something to happen to Gohan so he would forget what would happen near the end of the film, I thought having him singing while he’s drunk and seeing hallucinations was a little “over the top.”

Even with its faults, this film is important to watch if you follow the anime series. Dead Zone is referenced in a few episodes of the fourth season of Dragon Ball Z; if you don’t watch this film before seeing these episodes, you could potentially become very confused.

The animation style for this film is a little different from what is seen in the Dragon Ball Z anime series. In some respects, you can still see some of the animation style from the Dragon Ball series that preceded this film. Also, the animation in the film is a little sharper than what appears in the actual television series.

Dragon Ball Z: The World’s Strongest was the second film released for Dragon Ball Z. At the start of the film, Oolong and Gohan have used Bulma’s Dragon Ball detector. They discover that the seven Dragon Balls are gathering in one location, and they go to a frozen area called the Tsumisumbri Mountains. It turns out that Piccolo is also there, training.

Before Oolong and Gohan can reach the Dragon Balls, the dragon Shen Long is summoned by Dr. Kochin. He makes a wish that his mentor, Dr. Wheelo and his lab be released from the frozen ground below. Shen Long grants his wish, and Oolong and Gohan are attacked by Kochin’s bio-men. Piccolo comes to the rescue, but ends up being captured by three Bio-Warriors.

Later, the bio-men and Dr. Kochin make a visit to Master Roshi, believing he is the strongest person on Earth; Master Roshi and Bulma end up being captured by Dr. Kochin and his bio-men. While in captivity, Bulma lets it slip that Goku is now the strongest person in the world. At that moment, Goku arrives on a mission to save Master Roshi and Bulma. Will Goku be able to save the day?

The film itself runs for 60 minutes. The pacing isn’t as slow as the usual Dragon Ball Z episodes, but it’s a little slower than the pace in Dead Zone. However, there was one section in the film that I thought was “time kill,” and that the film would have been stronger without it. Personally, I thought Gohan’s musical number about how much he admires Piccolo was rather unnecessary, because this information comes out at least a couple of times in the dialogue during the film.

The World’s Strongest is not considered to be a “canon” film, due to several continuity errors. At the point this was released in the series, Piccolo was dead and had not been resurrected with the Dragon Balls yet. Also, when this film is supposed to be taking place in the series, Goku is still recovering from injuries he sustained after fighting Vegeta, and Gohan, Kuririn, and Bulma left to Planet Namek to find the Namekian Dragon Balls to bring Piccolo and some other characters back to life.

This is one of my least favorite Dragon Ball Z films, because I think it’s a rather boring film. The 60 minute runtime is a little long for the story being told, and for me, some of the battles in this film run for too long. This film would have probably been a little stronger if it was closer to 45 minutes in length instead of 60.

Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might is the third film released for Dragon Ball Z. The film starts with Kuririn, Bulma, Oolong, and Gohan on a camping trip out in the forest. During the night, something crash lands onto the Earth near their camp and starts a forest fire. Kuririn and Gohan use their blasts to put out the fire, and Gohan also rescues a small dragon called Higher Dragon. The friends are joined by Tien and Chiaotzu, and they gather all the Dragon Balls to summon Shen Long. They ask Shen Long to restore the forest to its original state, and he grants the wish.

When Gohan returns home from his camping trip, Higher Dragon follows him home; however, Chi Chi doesn’t like dragons and wants the Higher Dragon to return to the forest. Goku and Gohan go behind Chi Chi’s back and keep the dragon in a nearby cave. Meanwhile, a Saiyan named Turles and his henchmen plant a seed, and it quickly takes root and spreads itself throughout the planet.

A short while later, Goku’s friends all arrive to spend time at his home. Higher Dragon senses something is wrong, and wanders over to the house to find Gohan. Chi Chi is furious to discover that Goku and Gohan went behind her back. Just then, King Kai contacts Goku to inform him about the seed of the Tree of Might being planted on the Earth, and how it will absorb all life from the planet and turn it into a desert. Goku, Yamcha, Kuririn, Tien, and Chiaotzu all go to try to destroy the tree, but they are unsuccessful. Gohan ends up getting a ride to the tree from Higher Dragon, and even Piccolo joins in on the action. Can Goku and his friends destroy the Tree of Might, or is the Earth doomed to become a barren wasteland?

The Tree of Might is not considered to be a “canon” film, due to a couple of continuity errors. First, the film is clearly set after the Saiyan Saga, but every character who had died and had not been reincarnated with the Dragon Balls yet is alive in this film. Also, there is never a real explanation as to who Turles is.

The film itself runs for 60 minutes. The pacing isn’t as slow as a regular Dragon Ball Z episode, and it also isn’t as slow as the previous movie, The World’s Strongest. I was also very relieved to see that there was not a musical number from Gohan in this film. While this had the same runtime as The World’s Strongest, I thought that The Tree of Might was nowhere near as boring of a film.

Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug was the fourth film released for Dragon Ball Z. The film opens with a planet headed on a collision course with Earth. Goku and Kuririn make an attempt to blow the planet off its course; in the process, the pair fall to the ground, and the planet lands on Earth. It turns out the planet is actually a spaceship that is carrying Lord Slug and his henchmen, and Lord Slug wants to take over the Earth.

Bulma, Gohan, and Chi Chi witness the landing, and Gohan starts to take on Lord Slug’s henchmen. Lord Slug discovers the Dragon Ball on Gohan’s hat, and through Bulma, he learns about the other Dragon Balls and her Dragon Radar. Lord Slug takes Bulma’s Dragon Radar, and he sends his henchmen to find the other balls. After obtaining all seven Dragon Balls, Lord Slug summons Shen Long and wishes for eternal youth. The rest of the film follows how the Z Fighters try to defeat Lord Slug and his henchmen.

Lord Slug is a well-paced film for the story that it’s telling. However, I have to admit that the “big surprise” that comes out during the film really isn’t that big of a surprise; the hints that are dropped before the revelation are just too obvious. But overall, it’s not bad for a story that takes place in the Dragon Ball Z universe. Animation-wise, it’s about the same quality as the animation utilized in the anime series.

After watching this film, I think it must belong in an “alternate timeline” for the Dragon Ball Z anime series, since it was originally shown in the middle of the Freiza Saga. About the only way this film could fit into the anime series continuity is if it takes place in between the Frieza Saga and and the Garlic, Jr. Saga.

Dragon Ball Z: Cooler’s Revenge was the fifth film released or Dragon Ball Z. The film opens with a flashback from when Frieza was attacking Planet Namek, and baby Kakarrot (who we know as Goku) is sent away in a capsule to Earth. In this flashback, it turns out that Frieza’s brother, Cooler, is nearby and watching what is happening. Cooler sees Goku’s capsule on its way to Earth, but he chooses not to shoot it down. The actual story of the film is set after Goku learns how to become a Super Saiyan and defeats Frieza on Planet Namek. Cooler takes his henchmen to Earth to hunt down and kill Goku in order to reclaim his father’s honor.

Goku, Gohan, Kuririn, and Oolong are out camping, and are discovered by Cooler and his henchmen; Piccolo also shows up and joins in the fight. The film follows what happens with the characters, and how the fights progress. Can Goku and the other Z-Fighters defeat Cooler and his henchmen?

This is a case where I can easily determine when in the anime series continuity this film would fit. Of all of the Dragon Ball Z films that had been released up to this point, Cooler’s Revenge is the one that best fits into the continuity of the series, instead of being part of an “alternate timeline.”

It’s also a film that is well-paced; the action is always moving and the story is always progressing, and you never feel bogged down or bored as you watch it. It’s also an easy story to follow. Animation-wise, it’s about the same quality as the animation utilized in the anime series.

When it comes to the discs in this set, I can guarantee that the discs for Dead Zone and The World’s Strongest are simply the discs from the steelbook “double feature” version that was released in 2008. I would assume that the other discs in this set are simply the discs from the steelbook releases as well. While Dead Zone includes a commentary track as a special feature, the rest only have trailers as their special feature.

One of the things that FUNimation plays up on the cardboard slipcover is the fact that the films have been digitally remastered. When it comes to the video quality, I can definitely say that the films don’t look nearly as grainy as the Dragon Ball films did after they were remastered. When it comes to the audio, all I can comment on is the Japanese language tracks, since I watched the films with the Japanese audio and English subtitles. The Japanese audio was on the quieter side, but this may be due to the fact that the Japanese audio is in mono, while the English audio is in Surround Sound.

Personally, I can only truly recommend this box set for the die-hard Dragon Ball Z fans that must own everything on DVD, and want to purchase this set as an easy way to acquire the first five Dragon Ball Z films for their collection.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of the Dragon Ball Z Collection One movie box set that my husband gave me as a gift.

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