Anime Blu-ray/DVD Combo Review: Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods

The Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack comes with two DVDs and one Blu-ray Disc, and both formats include the theatrical version of the film, the uncut version with 20 minutes of additional footage, and bonus features. Audio options include the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and the English dub. It should also be noted that alternate versions of the opening and ending theme songs are used on this release, due to the Japanese licensor not making the original versions available. On the Blu-ray Disc, the film is presented in 1080p High Definition 16X9 (HD Native).

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray/DVD Combo
Release Date: October 7, 2014

I saw Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods during its theatrical run in Summer 2014 with the English dub. So when I watched the film on this Blu-ray/DVD Combo release, I was able to see it with the original Japanese audio and English subtitles. It was interesting to discover that the new villain’s name in the Japanese version is Beers instead of Beerus (which is the name he was given in the English dub).

When I watched the film on this release, it was the uncut version with 20 minutes of additional footage. The footage that was missing includes a roughly two-minute recap of both Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, a couple of scenes of Mister Satan getting drunk, and a scene with Beers challenging Oolong to a game of rock-paper-scissors. I have to say that for the most part, these additional scenes didn’t really add anything to the film with the exception of the recap. After seeing both versions, I have to say that overall, the theatrical version was a tighter presentation of the story.

At the beginning of the film, Beers is awakened after a 39-year slumber by Whis, who informs Beers that Freeza was defeated by a Saiyan. Beers explains he wanted to be awakened in 39 years because the Oracle Fish foretold that a mighty opponent, a Super Saiyan God, would appear before him. He decides that the best way to track down this opponent is to talk to the Saiyan who defeated Freeza.

While Goku is training on King Kai’s planet, Beers and Whis suddenly appear. Goku has no idea what a Super Saiyan God is, but he accepts Beers’ challenge for a battle. But even at Super Saiyan 3, Goku is easily defeated. Disappointed with this battle, Beers decides to go to Earth in search of another Saiyan who might have information on the Super Saiyan God.

A big birthday celebration is being held for Bulma at Capsule Corp., and most of the rest of the movie takes place here. Vegeta receives word from King Kai about Beers arriving and is warned that if Beers gets into a bad mood, he’ll destroy the Earth. Beers and Whis arrive and find Vegeta, and Bulma invites them to join the party. There’s a hilarious scene of Vegeta swallowing his pride and doing a song and dance routine in order to placate Beers. To me, this was probably one of the most memorable portions of the movie, outside of the epic battles.

The party also includes a section where Emperor Pilaf, Mai, and Shu play an important part. They were accidentally shrunk back down to children, and their attempt to swipe the Dragon Balls is thwarted by Trunks. There’s a rather humorous bit here when Trunks has Mai pretend to be his girlfriend.

But the fun and games come to an end when Majin Buu refuses to give Beers any pudding and eats it all in front of him. An angered Beers declares that he’s going to destroy the Earth. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Earth is now in danger all because of… pudding. The conflict ultimately escalates to a climax that includes a battle between Goku and Beers.

This is my second time watching Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, but I can still safely say that this is one of the best Dragon Ball Z films that I have seen. What I really appreciated seeing was the humorous aspect that was so prevalent in the first Dragon Ball anime series being used to great effect here. When Dragon Ball ended and Dragon Ball Z started, the whimsical humor of the first series all but disappeared, and Dragon Ball Z ended up taking itself way too seriously.

Beers and Whis are interesting antagonists. Not only were they strong and evil, but they also had a comical side to them. That comical aspect was missing from the majority of the villains of Dragon Ball Z, with the main exception being the original form of Majin Buu. But even with the humor, there’s still the action and fighting aspect that fans of Dragon Ball Z have come to expect from the franchise.

Overall, I enjoyed Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. It definitely has a lot of re-watch potential. Of all of the Dragon Ball Z films, this is the one I’d most likely watch multiple times.

There are five extras included on this release. The first is labeled, “Behind the Scenes: Battle of Voice Actors.” This runs for almost 10 minutes, and it’s got the “picture-in-picture” concept going on. This basically shows the second major fight between Goku and Beers, with footage of the voice actors performing their roles in a bottom corner of the screen while the scene is playing. To be honest, I was disappointed in this feature. From the title, I had assumed it was going to be something completely different and more interesting than what we got.

The next bonus feature is “The Voices of Dragon Ball Z: Unveiled,” and this runs for almost 20 minutes. While it does include some of the “picture-in-picture” effect that was seen in the previous feature, it also includes footage of the various actors in the recording studio introducing themselves, recording lines, or just goofing off and having fun. The lines that are being recorded are from scenes that take place at Bulma’s birthday party. I definitely enjoyed this feature more than the first one, and it’s interesting to see the voice actors recording their lines and the characters’ voices coming out of their mouths. In some cases, the voice actors look nothing like I imagined them from the voices that I know them for in Dragon Ball Z.

There’s a textless version of the ending theme. This is actually kind of nice, because the viewer is able to focus on the effect of flipping through manga pages and not be distracted by the credit text. The “U.S. Trailer” is almost two minutes long, and it promotes the home video release of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. Trailers for other releases that FUNimation was promoting at the time this film was released on home video are also included as a bonus feature.

I would recommend that fans of Dragon Ball Z add Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods to their anime home video library. For fans that have the ability to watch Blu-rays, I would recommend picking up the Blu-ray/DVD Combo.

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