Dragon Ball History in the United States

Previously, I wrote about the history of the Dragon Ball franchise in Japan. This post will take a look at the franchise’s history in the United States.

While the Dragon Ball anime was an instant hit in Japan, the story was very different in the United States. It ended up taking several attempts before the Dragon Ball franchise became a success in America.

The first attempt to import the anime happened in 1989. Harmony Gold tried to market a dubbed version of the Dragon Ball episodes, as well as edited versions of the first and third films. Harmony Gold test marketed the property in several markets. Unfortunately, this version did not fare well, and it was withdrawn from the marketplace without a full season ever being produced. This version of Dragon Ball has become known as the “Lost Dub.”

FUNimation acquired the rights for all the U.S. releases of the Dragon Ball series in 1996. The company didn’t have enough capital at the time to handle the show by themselves, so FUNimation teamed up with KidMark Entertainment for distribution. FUNimation also hired voice actors from the Ocean Group to provide the voices for the English dub of the episodes and the first movie. Dragon Ball ended up having poor ratings on television and was canceled after 13 out of the 28 episodes in the first season had aired.

FUNimation dissolved their distribution partnership with KidMark and switched to Saban. They created a dub of Dragon Ball Z, using voice actors from the Ocean Group again. Since this series was being aimed at young children and being shown on broadcast network television, quite a few edits were made to the series (the removal of all blood, language, nudity, and references to character death). This cutting came out to be the equivalent of 14 episodes being cut from the first 67 episodes. Dragon Ball Z made its debut on the WB network in September 1996. However, it was only a modest success, and it was canceled in May 1998.

In August 1998, Dragon Ball Z was added to Cartoon Network’s Toonami programming block. The exposure on Cartoon Network gave the series a new life, and Dragon Ball Z achieved new heights in popularity. FUNimation then dissolved their partnership with Saban and continued dubbing the series on their own with their own in-house voice actors. At the same time, FUNimation also eased up on their content restrictions a bit, with the major change being that there was now some small inclusions of blood included in the episodes. The success of Dragon Ball Z also allowed FUNimation to go back and make a new dub of the original Dragon Ball anime.  These new dubs began airing on Cartoon Network’s Toonami block.

In 2003, FUNimation began the process of dubbing Dragon Ball GT. However, since the company was afraid of the series experiencing the same kind of viewer drop-off that the Japanese version did, the decision was made to cut the lighter episodes that started the series originally, and jump right into the first major villain of the series. A special episode was produced that explained what happened in the episodes that had been cut.

After Dragon Ball GT, FUNimation decided to re-dub the first 53 episodes and three movies of Dragon Ball Z that had been heavily edited for the original dub. These versions were released on DVD under the title Ultimate Uncut Special Edition. Cartoon Network began airing these new dub versions of Dragon Ball Z in 2005.

FUNimation also licensed Dragon Ball Kai (which was re-titled Dragon Ball Z Kai for the English dub), a re-worked version of 194 episodes of the original Dragon Ball Z anime series. The series was aired on Nicktoons from May 24, 2010 to January 1, 2012. It also aired on The CW’s Saturday morning block, Toonzai, as well as on its successor, Vortexx. Both the Nicktoons and CW airings were edited for content. The series then began airing uncut on Adult Swim’s Toonami block on November 8, 2014. When Dragon Ball Z Kai was originally produced, it ended right before the Majin Buu arc. A continuation of the series was later produced, and the English dub of this continuation began airing on Adult Swim’s Toonami block on January 7, 2017.

In 2015, a new anime series, Dragon Ball Super, began airing on Japanese television on July 5, 2015. On November 4, 2016, FUNimation announced that the company had acquired the rights to the series and would be producing an English dub. It was also announced that FUNimation would begin simulcasting the series on their streaming platform, FunimationNow. Crunchyroll and Daisuki also offered English-subtitled simulcasts for Dragon Ball Super. The English dub began airing on Adult Swim’s Toonami block on January 7, 2017.

It’s amazing that after having such a rough time getting going in the United States, that the Dragon Ball franchise became such a hit with the Dragon Ball Z anime.

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Dragon Ball History in Japan

Dragon Ball started out in Japan in 1984 as a manga created by Akira Toriyama. As of this writing, the franchise now includes five different anime series, 20 animated feature films, a collectible trading card game, video games, and a live-action film. Dragon Ball’s protagonist is Son Goku, who is based off the Monkey King from a folk legend called Sun Wukong. The Dragon Ball franchise follows Son Goku from childhood into old age.

The first Dragon Ball anime series debuted in Japan in February 1986 on Fuji Television. The series closely followed the manga that it is based on, but there is also some filler included. The filler was added when the anime started catching up too closely to the manga, and this gave the manga enough time to progress before the anime continued to follow it again. The original Dragon Ball anime had a strong emphasis on comedy.

December 1986 saw the first animated film, Dragon Ball: The Legend of Shenlong, being released to Japanese theaters. This film basically retold the events from the first several episodes of the series. Two more Dragon Ball films were also released: The Sleeping Princess in the Devil’s Castle in July 1987 and Mystical Great Adventure in July 1988.

The Dragon Ball anime series ended in Japan in April 1989 after 153 episodes. However, a week later, the sequel series Dragon Ball Z made its debut in Japan. A new series name was given to this series to help emphasize the fact that this series had reduced its emphasis on comedy and its increase in science fiction themes. The first Dragon Ball Z film, Dead Zone, was released in Japanese theaters in July 1989. There ended up being a total of 13 animated films produced and released for Dragon Ball Z. Akira Toriyama brought the Dragon Ball manga to an end in May 1995, and the Dragon Ball Z anime ended its run with 291 episodes in January 1996.

February 1996 saw the premiere of Dragon Ball GT, the next sequel anime in the Dragon Ball series. Unlike the earlier anime, however, this series consisted solely of original storylines written exclusively for the series.

Unfortunately, interest in Dragon Ball was waning in Japan, so the producers felt they had to tweak with the show to regenerate interest. It was decided to return to the original comedy style of Dragon Ball, reintroduce some villains that had not been seen since the original series, a return to a “Dragon Ball quest” storyline, and even a mysterious de-aging of Son Goku. These creative changes did not improve ratings, so the focus of Dragon Ball GT was changed after 16 episodes. The remaining episodes returned to the more action-oriented style of Dragon Ball Z.

In the end, only 64 episodes of Dragon Ball GT were produced. With the continued decline in interest, Dragon Ball GT was canceled. The final first-run episode aired in November 1997.

To commemorate the series’ 20th anniversary, a re-working of the first 194 episodes of Dragon Ball Z, known as Dragon Ball Kai in Japan, was produced. This re-worked version removed much of the content in the original Dragon Ball Z anime that wasn’t in the original manga, as well as a remastered high definition picture, sound, special effects, and a re-recorded voice track with most of the original voice actors.

But that wasn’t the end of the Dragon Ball franchise. The feature film, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods was released in Japanese theaters on March 30, 2013. This film introduced two new characters: Beerus (the God of Destruction) and his assistant, Whis. This was followed by another feature film, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F, which premiered in Japanese theaters on April 11, 2015. This film saw the return of the villain Frieza, who has achieved a new form and is out for revenge against Goku.

Both of these films performed well, and they were followed by a new anime series, Dragon Ball Super, which premiered on Japanese television on July 5, 2015. The series is set four years after Majin Buu was defeated. The first two arcs are a re-telling of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods and Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F, and then new story arcs are introduced into the Dragon Ball story. This series lasted for 131 episodes, and the final episode aired on Japanese television on March 25, 2018.

2018 also saw the release of the feature film, Dragon Ball Super: Broly, on December 14. The film features a reworked iteration of Broly into the main Dragon Ball continuity. Broly had been a villain in three of the Dragon Ball Z films, which basically have their own continuity that doesn’t necessarily line up with the anime series. The Dragon Ball franchise has had quite the history in Japan. I’m sure in 1997, as Dragon Ball GT was winding down, no one could have anticipated that the franchise would end up having a second lease on life nearly a decade later. As of this writing, it appears the franchise is done for now, but who knows? Perhaps another Dragon Ball series or film could be announced and/or released in the next few years. The franchise came back once, and it could easily come back again at some point in the future.

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Toei Animation and FUNimation Entertainment Announce the Newest Licenses for the Dragon Ball Franchise

Toei Animation Inc., and its agent FUNimation Entertainment have announced licensing gains for the Dragon Ball franchise since Licensing Expo 2019. These licensing agreements with both new and existing licensees span numerous product categories and include the game titles Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, and Dragon Ball FighterZ and the TV series Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT as well as Dragon Ball Super. As of October 5, 2020, the complete series of Dragon Ball Super is now available with an English dub on Hulu.

Produced by Toei Animation and distributed in the United States and Canada by FUNimation Entertainment, the Dragon Ball anime franchise consists of 20 feature films and four TV series. Last year was monumental for the franchise, and it remained a top selling merchandise brand with specialty and mass retail. In addition to the global 30th anniversary of Dragon Ball Z, 2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the franchise’s introduction to the United States and Canadian markets; the release of the franchise’s 20th feature film Dragon Ball Super: Broly; the Dragon Ball World Adventure tour; and the return of the Goku balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Toei Animation, together with its licensing agent FUNimation, is focused on further expanding its efforts into new and existing categories in 2021, including Back-to-School, stationery, party, celebrations, food/candy, pets, and more.

Dragon Ball has delighted fans and left an indelible mark on pop culture. Parents who grew up watching Dragon Ball anime are now introducing it to their children –creating a shared love for the franchise and inspiring a new generation of fans,” said Lisa Yamatoya, Director of Marketing and Licensing in North America for Toei Animation. “We see tremendous opportunity to leverage the multi-generational appeal of Dragon Ball to not only grow existing categories but also expand into new ones with licensed merchandise.”

Dragon Ball has become part of our cultural zeitgeist, inspiring celebrities, athletes, artists and musicians along with millions more,” said Anna Songco Adamian, Vice President of Licensing and Merchandising for FUNimation Global Group. “Merchandise showcasing the characters have only grown in popularity, and we look forward to expanding the reach into new areas with licensing partners.”

Apparel, home, and collectibles continue as top-performing categories for the franchise. Following the success of its Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super collections, licensee Bioworld is adding Dragon Ball GT, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot to its collection of apparel, headwear, and bags. Primitive Skateboarding, building on the success of last year’s “Primitive x Dragon Ball Z” co-branded collection, launched an exciting new Dragon Ball Super co-branded collection of hoodies, sweats, T-shirts, long-sleeves, caps, and socks with its first drop in May 2020. And new licensee Isaac Morris will introduce a Dragon Ball Z line of youth apparel.

In the home category, Just Funky, a key contributor in expanding the franchise in retail with its drinkware, home goods kitchenware, and office collection, will release a new line of home products featuring bedding, sheets, and pillow sets. And new licensee Uncanny Brands released a line of Dragon Ball Z kitchen appliances, including a popcorn maker available exclusively at GameStop. In collectibles, powerhouse Funko expands the franchise offering with a new line of Dragon Ball Funko Pops for fans who have been clamoring to buy the highly desirable figurines.

New and renewed licensing agreements include:

Bioworld: The leader in pop culture products will continue key apparel & accessories based on Dragon Ball Super, Dragon Ball GT, and Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot

Funko: A leader in pop culture collectibles is adding new product categories. Since 2018, Dragon Ball has been a Top 10 IP for Funko.

Great Eastern Entertainment: A leading manufacturer of licensed anime merchandise and longstanding partner for the Dragon Ball franchise, brings fan wall art, plush, throws, and accessories.

Just Funky: Premiere manufacturer of licensed and private label merchandise expands to new home categories, including bedding, sheets, and pillow sets. It will continue with drinkware and home merchandise.

Primitive Skateboarding: Well-known merchandiser of skateboard gear and clothing for a new co-branded collection to capture the new “Super” generation of viewers, based on Dragon Ball Super. The line is available at Zumiez and online.

Isaac Morris: The pop culture apparel company for a line of youth apparel based on Dragon Ball Z youth apparel.

Uncanny Brands: The pop culture leader in licensed small appliances for a line of kitchen appliances based on Dragon Ball Z including a hot air popcorn maker available exclusively at GameStop in October 2020.

FUNimation Entertainment Announces November 2020 Releases

FUNimation Entertainment has announced the November 2020 releases for both Crunchyroll and for FUNimation.

Crunchyroll

  • Magical Girl Raising Project: Complete Collection (Blu-ray) (Essentials) – 300 minutes – $29.98 – 11/3/20
    [Special Features: Promo Videos, Web Previews, Nemurin Messages, Textless Opening Song “Sakebe”, Textless Closing Song “DREAMCATCHER”]
  • The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Complete Collection (Blu-ray) – 600 minutes – $69.98 – 11/17/20
    [Special Features: The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Those Awaiting a Star (1-3), Twitter Q&A: The Ancient Magus’ Bride Cast & Crew, Episode 8 Commentary, Textless Opening Song “Here,” Textless Closing Song “-cycle-,” Episode 21 Commentary, The Ancient Magus’ Bride at Anime Expo 2018: Interview with George Wada and Norihiro Naganuma, trailers]
  • The Testament of Sister New Devil: Seasons 1 & 2 Collection (Blu-ray) (Classics) – 600 minutes – $34.98 – 11/24/20
    [Special Features: Maria’s Secret Video, Textless Opening Song “Blade of Hope” Episode 1, Textless Closing Song “Still Sis” Episode 1, Maria’s Secret Video BURST, Textless Opening Song “Over The Testament” Version 1, Textless Closing Song “Temperature,” Textless Closing Song “Temperature” Episode 10, and trailers]
  • Ulysses: Jeanne d’Arc and the Alchemist Knight: Complete Collection (Blu-ray) (Essentials) – 300 minutes – $29.98 – 11/24/20
    [Special Features: Episode 2 Commentary, Promo Video, Textless Opening Song and Textless Closing Songs]

FUNimation Entertainment

  • Actors: Songs Connection: Complete Collection (Blu-ray) – 300 minutes – $64.98 – 11/3/20
    [Special Features: Character Promo Videos featuring Saku Otonomiya, Sosuke Kagura, and Uta Outa; Promo Videos; Commercials; Textless Opening Song, and Textless Closing Songs Versions 1, 2, & 3]
  • Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious: Complete Collection (Blu-ray/DVD LE) – 300 minutes – $84.98 – 11/10/20
    [Contains English and Japanese drama CDs with translation included, an 80-page art book featuring an exclusive manga never released in North America, a lenticular art card and three filmstrip bookmarks]
    [Special Features: Promo Videos, Commercials, Textless Opening Song, Textless Closing Song]
  • Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious: Complete Collection (Blu-ray) – 300 minutes – $64.98 – 11/10/20
    ]Special Features: Promo Videos, Commercials, Textless Opening Song, Textless Closing Song]
  • Dragon Ball Z: Season 1 Collection (Blu-ray SteelBook) – 925 minutes – $59.98 – 11/3/20
    [4:3 aspect ratio Episodes 1–39]
    [Special Features: Textless Opening Song, Textless Closing Song]
  • Dragon Ball Z: Season 2 Collection (Blu-ray SteelBook) – 835 minutes – $59.98 – 11/3/20
    [4:3 aspect ratio Episodes 40–74]
    [Special Features: Inside Dragon Ball Z: Interview with Christopher R. Sabat, Inside Dragon Ball Z: Interview with Sean Schemmel, Justin Cook Shares His Headshot Collection, Textless Opening Song, Textless Closing Song]
  • Dragon Ball Z: Season 3 Collection (Blu-ray SteelBook) – 830 minutes – $59.98 – 11/3/20
    [4:3 aspect ratio Episodes 75–107]
    [Special Features: Inside Dragon Ball Z: Interview with Gen Fukunaga, Inside Dragon Ball Z: Interview with John Burgmeier, Look Back at the Hummer Tour: With Sonny Strait, Textless Opening Song, Textless Closing Song]
  • Miss Caretaker of Sunohara-sou: Complete Collection (Blu-ray) – 300 minutes – $64.98 – 11/10/20
  • My Hero Academia: Season 3 Collection (Blu-ray) – 625 minutes – $69.98 – 11/10/20
    [Episodes 39 –63]
    [Special Features: My Hero Academia at Anime Expo 2018: Interviews with Yuki Hayashi and Daiki Yamashita, Inside the Episode (Kota, Drive It Home, Iron Fist!!!, From Iida to Midoriya, One For All), My Hero Academia: Outtakes Reel, Promo Videos, Commercial Collection, Textless Opening and Closing Songs, My Hero Academia: Conversation with the Cast, My Hero Academia: Outtakes Reel, Inside the Episode (Create Those Ultimate Moves, A Talk About Your Quirk), Trailers]
  • Special 7: Special Crime Investigation Unit: Complete Collection (Blu-ray) – 325 minutes – $64.98 – 11/3/20
    [Special Features: File.0.5 – One Year Earlier: Kujaku Nijo’s Melancholy, File.Extra – Seiji Nanatsuki’s Running Report, Promo Video, Textless Opening Song, Textless Closing Song]

Source: The Fandom Post

Anime Blu-ray Review: Dragon Ball Super Part 3

Dragon Ball Super Part 3 includes episodes 27-39 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 3
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: February 20, 2018

The first episode in this set finishes off the retelling of the Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ anime film. Like with the last set, I wonder why FUNimation bump the first episode of Part 2 onto Part 1 in order to complete that arc in one set. By doing that, this arc could have concluded in Part 2.

But after that first episode, everything else in this set is a completely new story arc that has never been seen in any form before. While we had hints to a couple of characters previously, they are formally introduced in this new story arc. One is Champa, Beers’ fat twin brother, and Whis’ older sister, Vados. They make an unannounced appearance on Beerus’ planet while Goku and Vegeta are training there. We learn that there are a total of 12 universes in this world, and that Goku and the others are in the 7th universe. Champa is the God of Destruction in the 6th universe. After fighting over which universe has better food and discovering that the Earth in Universe Six has been destroyed, Champa proposes a tournament where the winner will be allowed to swap Earths. Oh, and there’s also the introduction of the Super Dragon Balls, which are literally planet-sized Dragon Balls.

And thus begins the Universe 6 saga, where each universe brings forth five fighters for a Tenkaichi Tournament style contest on a vacated, nameless planet located between Universe 6 and Universe 7. Beerus insists on choosing one of the contestants but tells Goku and Vegeta they are free to choose two others. They choose Piccolo and Majin Boo, but Universe 7 loses Majin Boo when he falls asleep during the written portion of the contest and is disqualified.

The contestants from Universe 6 are interesting. One is a Saiyan, and his people’s history and attitude are vastly different from the Saiyans that we know in Universe 7. In a lot of ways, Caba (the Saiyan from Universe 6) almost comes across as what Vegeta might have been like if history had taken a different course in Universe 7. There’s also Frost, who is Universe 6’s version of Freeza. Botamo is a bear-like creature, while Magetta is a robot-like alien. The final contestant from Universe 6 is an assassin named Hit, and his face reminds me of Cell in his “Perfect Form.” There’s also a secret about Monaka, the fighter Beerus picked and claimed to be the strongest in the universe, that’s revealed near the end of this set. With the way the matches go, it would be bad news is Goku is knocked out of the fight he’s in at the end of the set. Unfortunately, we don’t see the resolution of Goku’s fight with Hit at the end of this set, so the viewer is left with a major cliffhanger.

My favorite part of the Universe 6 saga is at the beginning of the tournament, with the performance of “The Anthem of the Universe.” It was hysterical, and I was cracking up when I saw it. If I had to choose a “moment in show” for the episode it appeared in, this would have won hands down.

Another favorite moment was during Vegeta’s fight with Caba, and how he was ultimately giving Caba a lesson on turning into a Super Saiyan, but not making it obvious to those watching what he was up to.

So this new arc gives us another Tenkaichi Tournament, although there are definitely some differences that start popping up as the fights progress. So far, it seems like Dragon Ball Super has been working at trying to recapture the humor and light-heartedness from the first Dragon Ball series, and this Universe 6 arc is doing a good job at achieving this goal. At first, this shift in tone took a little getting used to when I started Dragon Ball Super, but I’ve gotten used to it at this point. I’m enjoying Dragon Ball Super at this point, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the Universe 6 saga will continue in the next set.

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

There are a total of four bonus features included on this release. The first is an interview with Sean Schemmel (the English voice of Goku) and Jason Douglas (the English voice of Beerus) that took place during Anime Expo 2017. This feature ran for about 18 minutes, and to me, it was one of the better interview bonus features that I’ve seen. Sean and Jason had a good chemistry during the interview, and I liked what they had to say about their roles and about Dragon Ball Super.

The only other bonus features are textless opening songs, textless closing songs, and trailers for other releases from FUNimation Entertainment.

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 3 to your anime home video library.

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Manga Review: Dragon Ball Z VIZBig Volume Nine

Dragon Ball Z VIZBig Volume Nine collects the 25th and 26th volumes of the manga that chronicle the Dragon Ball Z portion of the franchise.

Dragon Ball Z VIZBig Volume Nine
Written by: Akira Toriyama
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: November 9, 2010

The entirety of Volume 25 and all but the final two chapters of Volume 26 focus on the final battle with Majin Boo. This sounds like a lot on the surface, but when you realize that quite a few of the chapters focus heavily on the action panels, it ends up not being as long as it seems. With many of the chapters not being dialogue heavy, it makes this omnibus a little faster of a read than it would be otherwise.

Throughout all of the chapters of the final battle with Boo, the stakes keep getting higher and higher. There’s also the surprise of the chubby Majin Boo coming out of the other Boo and helping the protagonists. Near the end of the battle, just when it seems all hope is lost, Mr. Satan (aka Hercule) is able to provide some unexpected help. It’s obvious that the protagonists have to come out on top, but Goku makes an interesting wish right at the end of the battle: he wishes the evil Majin Boo could be reincarnated as a good guy, so they can fight one-on-one.

And as any good shonen property should, there is a timeskip between the end of the battle with Majin Boo and what takes place during the last two chapters of the manga. Technically, this is Dragon Ball Z’s second timeskip. But 10 years have passed since the battle with Majin Boo. Gohan and Videl have gotten married and had a daughter named Pan, making Goku a grandfather. The premise of the final two chapters is a Tenkaichi Tournament being put on by Mr. Satan (aka Hercule). We have several of the usual suspects among the fighters in the tournament, but four-year-old Pan is among them. We get a great scene of Pan beating up a big, burly guy. It just shows that size isn’t everything!

We also see that Goku gets his wish from 10 years earlier, when a 10-year-old boy named Oob is among the fighters. Goku does something surprising right at the end of the story, and at the time it was written, it was thought this would be where the franchise would end. At the time, no one would have dreamed of either Dragon Ball GT or Dragon Ball Super would ever come into existence. From comments that Toriyama makes at the end of the volume, it sounds like he was winding down the Dragon Ball franchise rather suddenly for personal reasons. If the situation had been different at the time, Toriyama might not have ended the manga the way that he did. While the story didn’t truly end, it left open the possibility that more story could be told in the future. As we know now, the story picked back up again in manga form about 10 years after the Dragon Ball Z manga ended.

These omnibus editions for Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z have been a great way to add the manga to my library without having to buy 25+ individual volumes. Unfortunately, the VIZBig editions are getting harder to find. While there was another version of the omnibus releases for  the Dragon Ball Z manga, they’re smaller in size and not as good of quality of paper when compared to the VIZBig editions. If you want omnibus releases for this manga series and can’t find the VIZBig editions, the newer omnibuses is really going to be your only real option. Between the two omnibus pressings, I much prefer the VIZBigs.

Manga Review: Dragon Ball Z VIZBig Volume Eight

Dragon Ball Z VIZBig Volume Eight collects the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th volumes of the manga that chronicle the Dragon Ball Z portion of the franchise.

Dragon Ball Z VIZBig Volume Eight
Written by: Akira Toriyama
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: July 20, 2010

The entirety of this omnibus volume focuses on the Boo Saga of Dragon Ball Z. While we still get to see some of the Tenkaichi Tournament, the main focus of this section of the story is on the Z Warriors going up against Bobbidi, Dabra, various magical beasts, and the reincarnated Majin Boo. Although, when it comes to the Tenkaichi Tournament, we get a great fight between Mr. Satan (aka Hercule) and Android 18. It’s especially amusing when Android 18 throws the contest after she makes a deal with Mr. Satan to get paid to let him win.

When the volume gets to the point of Majin Boo being reincarnated, Boo doesn’t look threatening at all. He also acts child-like. But you can’t let his looks and behavior deceive you, because he’s actually strong and makes for quite the foe for Goku and the others to take on.

Vegeta gets to play a major role after he lets Bobbidi take him over. Of course, Vegeta only allows this because he wants to be able to battle Goku, especially after losing out on the chance to do that during the Tenkaichi Tournament. But after getting beaten up by Boo in a fight, Vegeta decides to try to destroy Boo by destroying himself. This is quite the anti-hero moment for Vegeta, and in his final thoughts, the reader gets to see how much Vegeta has evolved as a character since his introduction in the first arc of Dragon Ball Z.

Gohan is beaten up during the fight with Bobbidi, but Kaio-shin and Kibit take him to Kaio-shin’s realm in order to heal him. Here, he is introduced to the Grand Elder Kai, who is able to increase Gohan’s power… but his method takes some time.

Goten and Trunks are taken to the Spirit Realm, where they learn how to do Fusion in order to become a powerful fighter named Gotenks in order to take on Majin Boo.

This volume also introduces a new power up for Goku: Super Saiyan 3. Not only does he power up, but Goku also acquires long and luxurious hair. And Boo also destroys Bobbidi, so there’s now no one alive who can say the spell to seal him away. This is one of the ways that Toriyama ups the stakes in the story throughout this volume.

One thing I was happy to see here is that the section of the story where Boo builds his house and spends time in it wasn’t just filler created for the anime. I was so happy to see that it was a canon scene from the manga, because for me, it’s the most amusing and one of the more memorable scenes from the Boo Saga. This volume also sees Mr. Satan creating a bond and forming a friendship with Majin Boo. But it was sad to see the death of the dog change Boo from a sweet, yet evil foe to a dangerous villain. And it’s also here that we see the fat Majin Boo eject a thinner and more powerful Boo. Unfortunately, thin Boo defeats fat Boo. Fat Boo is turned into chocolate and eaten by the thin Boo, and this gives him even more power. If those fools hadn’t shot the dog and made Boo angry, who knows how much differently the story could have turned out. Mr. Satan had made so much progress with the fat Boo, so this turn of events is disappointing.

By the end of this volume, it’s clear that the Boo Saga is getting ever closer to reaching its climax. The one thing the reader is left wondering at the end of this volume is just how much stronger Majin Boo can get, and trying to figure out how the Z Fighters can take down this evil villain.

For the VIZBig releases, Volume Eight is the penultimate volume in the series. It’ll be interesting to compare the final volume of the Dragon Ball Z VIZBig editions with the corresponding episodes of the anime series to see how they line up.

Over 20 Exclusive Gunpla and Dragon Ball Figures on Sale Now at Premium Bandai USA

Premium Bandai USA will begin offering highly sought-after and exclusive collectibles from renowned Bandai toy and collectible brands to domestic fans and customers. The catalog has been expanded to feature Bandai Spirits’ Tamashii Nations’ Dragon Ball S.H.Figuarts action figure line and Hobby’s catalog of Gundam model kits (GUNPLA), including many rare and limited-edition releases that were, until now, available only to the Japanese market.

Nearly two dozen products—including Gundam Deathscythe EW (Roussette Unit) MG 1/100, Tallgeese (TV Animation Color Ver.) RG 1/144, and S.H.Figuarts SUPER SAIYAN GOD SUPER SAIYAN VEGITO -SUPER- — became available direct to U.S. consumers for pre-order starting on April 2, 2020, at 6 PM PDT via Premium Bandai USA.

For a complete list of item details, including images and pricing, please visit: https://www.bluefinbrands.com/press

Premium Bandai USA Brings Exclusive Gundam Models and Dragon Ball Figures to North America

Premium Bandai USA is Bandai’s official online store and focuses on stocking high quality anime, video game, and Tokusatsu merchandise. These limited edition and variant products are not available from any other domestic retailer and include action figures, model kits, jewelry and other collectibles based on many popular anime and video game properties.

Starting on April 2, 2020, Premium Bandai USA will begin offering highly sought-after and exclusive collectibles from Bandai toy and collectible brands to domestic fans and customers. The catalog has been expanded to feature Tamashii Nation’s S.H.Figuarts action figure line and Bandai Spirits Hobby’s catalog of Gundam model kits (GUNPLA), including many rare and limited-edition releases that were, until now, available only to the Japanese market.

Nearly two dozen of Dragon Ball and Mobile Suit Gundam products will be available direct to North American consumers starting on April 2, 2020 via Premium Bandai USA

Dragon Ball: https://p-bandai.com/us/cont/campaign/dragonball-cp01
Gundam: https://p-bandai.com/us/cont/campaign/gundam-cp01

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Anime Blu-ray Review: Dragon Ball Super Part 2

Dragon Ball Super Part 2 includes episodes 14-26 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 2
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: October 3, 2017

The first episode of the set finishes off the retelling of the Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods anime film. After seeing that there was only one episode left for that arc, I wondered why FUNimation didn’t make the first set 14 episodes in length in order to have all the story in one set. It just seems ridiculous to start the second disc with the final episode of the first arc.

The second episode on the set was something that was never seen before, which was a nice change of pace since I was already familiar with the basic story of the first arc from Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. It’s an episode that focused on Mr. Satan (Hercule in the English dub) admitting the existence of Beerus and claiming to be the one who defeated him. Surprising visitors from outer space nearly expose his hoax, though! While the episode is a little on the ridiculous side, it fits right in with Mr. Satan’s character.

The next three episodes serve as a bridge between the Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods and Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ anime films. It shows the audience how Vegeta and Goku ended up going to Beerus’ world to train with Whis, which is one of the first things that it seen in the Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ film. I’m glad that Dragon Ball Super took the opportunity to fill in that gap. One of the memorable things in this section is seeing Vegeta trying to cook in order to impress Whis, because it was amusing. Another amusing thing here is seeing Gohan being the overprotective expectant father. He means well by trying to cook dinner one night, but he obviously hasn’t done it very much because he gets flustered easily by it. Wow, two humorous scenes of men trying to cook… who ever would have expected that from the Dragon Ball franchise?

The remaining eight episodes are a retelling of the Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ anime film. While there has been some minor tweaking with the events and story, it’s nowhere near as major or as blatant as Dragon Ball Super’s retelling of the Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods anime film. Unfortunately, this story arc doesn’t conclude in this episode, so you have to watch Dragon Ball Super Part 3 in order to see the ending.

While I nitpicked at the character designs and animation quality of Dragon Ball Super in my review of the first set, I found that it didn’t bother me nearly as much as I watched Dragon Ball Super Set 2. I guess after watching the first set and having some time in between watching this set, I became adjusted to the different style. I also warmed up more to the opening and closing themes. A new ending theme was also introduced right near the end of this set.

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 bonus feature included in this set is a roughly 12-minute piece that includes Jason Douglas (English voice actor for Beerus) watching two episodes of Dragon Ball Super with three of his kids, and they are joined by Ian Sinclair (English voice actor for Whis). To be honest, I thought the kids were one of the best parts of this bonus feature. Jason and Ian were entertaining, to be sure, but I liked the kids just a little more. Overall, I found this to be much more enjoyable than the parents explaining Dragon Ball to their kids, which was the major bonus feature of the previous set. There are also textless versions of the openings and closings, as well as 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 2 to your anime home video library.

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