Anime Blu-ray Review: Dragon Ball Super Part 1

Dragon Ball Super Part 1 includes the first 13 episodes of the Dragon Ball Super anime series. Audio options for this release include the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and the English dub.

Dragon Ball Super Part 1
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: July 25, 2017

The first 13 episodes of Dragon Ball Super are basically a retelling of the Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods anime film. However, the story doesn’t quite end in this set. In order to see the conclusion of the first story arc, you will need to watch Dragon Ball Super Part 2.

With this retelling of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, some details have been changed. For example, Bulma’s birthday party takes place on a ship instead of at Capsule Corp. There are some other detail changes as well with this telling. And obviously, the story of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods isn’t long enough to last 13+ episodes, so additional minor plots are thrown into the mix. The most amusing of these is when Vegeta takes Bulma and Trunks to an amusement park because of a promise he made to Trunks. Let’s be honest, Vegeta at an amusement park is a hilarious idea. However, I am a little frustrated that Vegeta’s song and dance at Bulma’s party that we see in the film was cut from Dragon Ball Super. Yes, we get Vegeta rushing to cook food for Beerus and Whis, and it’s amusing, but I still would have liked to see the song and dance remain.

Beerus and Whis are interesting additions to the Dragon Ball universe. They have an interest in food like Goku, but it’s not about how much they can eat quickly. Instead, they’re more interested in trying various dishes from other planets. I think we could say that they’re the Dragon Ball universe’s equivalent of foodies.

The one major nitpick I have with Dragon Ball Super is the character designs and the animation quality. Of all the characters, I have the most problem with Chi-Chi’s design. Maybe it’s just me, but there was something off-putting about it. The designs and animation style are such a departure from either Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and the theatrical films, that it takes a lot of adjustment to get used to the look and feel of Dragon Ball Super. Also, the opening and closing themes just aren’t that memorable or catchy to me. I thought they were rather “meh.”

So far, with how these 13 episodes of Dragon Ball Super are executed, the series feels more like a sitcom with shonen elements thrown in than it does a shonen anime. In a lot of ways, Dragon Ball Super feels like a cross between the original Dragon Ball anime and Dragon Ball Z. After how somber things got near the end of Dragon Ball Z with the Cell and Buu sagas, maybe this more light-hearted approach is needed for the franchise. And, the Battle of Gods anime film was more on the light-hearted side, so this adaptation of that reflects that. Although it feels like the silliness and light-heartedness was bumped up a notch for the anime series. While I may not be entirely sold on Dragon Ball Super, I intend to keep going with it at some point.

The Blu-ray video is 1080p High Definition 16:9 (HD Native), and the audio is Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1 and Dolby True HD: Japanese 2.0. I have no complaints with the video or audio quality.

The first two bonus features see voice actors Sonny Strait and Chris Sabat explaining Dragon Ball Z to their children. Sonny has a daughter who appears to be in her later teens, and Chris’ daughter appears to be around five or six. With both features, the children are quizzed after the parent talks with them about what was just explained to them. Chris’ little girl seemed to retain a lot more of what she was told than Sonny’s daughter did. Of the two, I enjoyed Chris and his daughter more.

The only other bonus features are a textless opening, two textless closings, and trailers for other FUNimation Entertainment releases.

If you’re a fan of the Dragon Ball franchise and want to own all the episodes and films, then you’ll need to add Dragon Ball Super Part 1 to your anime home video library.

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