Dragon Ball, Season One – DVD Review

Review by: Sophie Stevens

Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $49.98 US
Running Time: 745 minutes
Genre: Action
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now

This is where the legend really begins here.

To quote Tom Petty: The waiting is the hardest part and Dragon Ball fans know this more than anyone else does. Yes, we waited patiently for all the Dragon Ball movies and features to come out and yes tried to wait patiently for each Dragon Ball Z season sets but the original Dragon Ball series is what was missing from our collection. I fancy myself as a patient and proper English lass but when Season One of Dragon Ball came I had to admit I certainly had been wishing it had come sooner.

This is the story told from the very beginning in a five-disc set that includes the first 31 uncut episodes of the Dragon Ball saga. It is here that we meet the chatty and tough Bulma who is searching for the seven Dragon Balls that, placed together, will summon a mythical dragon that can grant a person’s wish. For Bulma, that wish is to have the hunkiest boyfriend and for that alone she is willing to scour the land in search for each Dragon Ball.

One fateful day, she manages to discover the location of one Dragon Ball and it just so happens to be in the possession of a boy named Goku who just so happens to have a monkey’s tail attached to him. Bulma discovers that – aside from having a tail – there’s something unique about the boy who happens to be stronger than anyone on Earth. Having been trained by his grandfather who passed on a Dragon Ball to him, Goku won’t part with the relic but he does agree to go with Bulma on her journey to find all of the Dragon Balls.

The pair go on a most unusual road trip as they get into all sorts of adventures and Bulma finds out that the boy is more than capable during a fight and can take a whipping without getting too hurt. Along the way, they meet a talking pig named Oolong who has the power to shape shift and a handsome young fighter named Yamcha who starts off trying to steal from them (despite his clumsiness around women) and ends up befriending them. We even get to see the first meeting between Goku and Chichi.

More importantly, though, this is also where we meet Master Roshi, the perverted and hilarious elderly master who sees great potential in Goku. Just by watching his movements, Master Roshi can see that the boy can actually pull off the Kamehameha Wave, a move that took the old man years to master. As the group is close to finding the remaining Dragon Balls, they encounter a number of enemies that include a gang that wears bunny ears that is terrorizing a small town as well as a giant fire that is consuming the land of the Ox-King.

The most noteworthy enemy the travelers face is Emperor Pilaf who is also looking for the Dragon Balls in order to rule the world. Sending his minions to do his dirty work, Emperor Pilaf manages to gather all the Dragon Balls but is thwarted by none other than Goku who shows a side of himself that is both dangerous and out of control.

In the second half of Season One, Goku returns to Master Roshi’s island to train with the martial arts master. Goku finds that he’s not the only one looking for Master Roshi’s guidance as a boy named Krillin who becomes Goku’s rival. The boys train hard and earn the respect of their master who sees them fit to compete in the World Martial Arts Tournament. The tournament itself is an interesting aspect of the story as Goku and Krillin fight a number of odd characters including an opponent that looks suspiciously like Master Roshi himself.

In the final part of Season One, we meet Colonel Silver of the Red Ribbon Army that is searching for the Dragon Balls. It’s been a year since the events that lead to Emperor Pilaf’s failed attempt to get his wish granted and Goku finds himself back on the trail as well as Emperor Pilaf as well. Exciting times are definitely coming in the second season.

The first season certainly shows us a lot and there’s more than enough action but the real juicy parts come in seeing the saga unfold from the very beginning. Seeing a little Chichi fall for Goku is a treat as is the friendship that forms out of two rivals like Krillin and Goku. Master Roshi is also a blast to watch as he not only pushes his wisdom to two willing boys but how his dream to have a gorgeous girl like Launch living with him comes true but not in the way he likes.

Season One of Dragon Ball will not fail to put a big, goofy grin on the faces of Dragon Ball fans. It’s just as good as we remember it to be and now it’s uncut and perfectly packaged to please old fans and anyone who has always wanted to get into this series from the very beginning. This is the perfect place to start if you’re new to this series and fans will not want to be without this one so a purchase is definitely a Must.

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A-
On a quest to find all seven legendary Dragon Balls to fulfill her wish, a young girl named Bulma runs into a most curious boy with a monkey tail. Thus begins the adventures of the powerful Goku who goes on a road trip with Bulma and ends up meeting and training under the great Master Roshi who takes him all the way to the fighting tournament.

VIDEO QUALITY: A
I can now officially throw away my old VHS copies of the series because Dragon Ball has never looked as good as it does on these five DVDs. Again, it’s great to see that FUNimation digitally restored the series without taking anything away from original print.

AUDIO QUALITY: B+
The Japanese voices are still as good as I remember them to be and the English dub does a great job with the characters. It’s also great to hear the original Japanese soundtrack and opening and closing theme songs.

EXTRAS: C
Marathon Play is great feature to include for a series like this and you just have to love the different audio options that allow you to watch the episodes with English voices but with the original Japanese music. These are uncut episodes with nothing taken out and that’s definitely something to cheer about, right?

OVERALL: A-
At last, Dragon Ball fans can sleep soundly because Season One of Dragon Ball is here and it’s still just as amazing. Uncut and looking spectacular, the series really shines on DVD as the set covers the first 31 episodes of the epic series. Dragon Ball is the reason all of us here are flat broke and if you pick up this set you will know exactly why.

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