Review by: Faith McAdams
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: Blu-ray: $59.98 US; DVD: $49.98 US
Running Time: 325 minutes
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now
Now this is the stuff that Dragon Ball Z dreams are made out of, Saiyan fans!
Like the rest of my fellow reviewers in this office, I am really enjoying the Dragon Ball Z Kai releases. It’s not that the original was flawed in any way that made fans of the manga disappointed and it’s not that the filler made for a bad viewing experience but Kai cuts straight to the story and the action in a way that makes this a more exhilarating thrill ride for Dragon Ball Z fans new and those returning for more.
In Part Two, a voyage to Planet Namek by way of Piccolo’s spacecraft had Bulma, Gohan and Krillin set to find the seven Dragon Balls in hopes of resurrecting their deceased friends. Of course, that was easier said than done since not only is the Saiyan named Vegeta on the planet but so is the evil Frieza and his minions that have been wiping out the Namekian people. In the meantime, Goku is late to the party but is spending his time in space training.
Now, time is running out as Frieza is losing his henchmen by the hands of a powerful Vegeta who has managed to collect nearly all the Dragon Balls to summon Shenron to make him an immortal. Obtaining another Dragon Ball from Krillin – who has no choice but to hand it over – little does Vegeta know that Gohan discovered the location of the Dragon Ball Vegeta hid underwater. With that, Gohan and Krillin head to the Grand Elder who gives Gohan quite a power boost to help him in his inevitable confrontation with Vegeta.
As Vegeta finds the Gran Elder’s tower, however, the Saiyan senses an immense power heading their way. In fact, there are more than one and it becomes clear to Vegeta that Frieza has called in the Ginyo Force – a squad composed of dangerous enhanced foes. In a comical twist, the Ginyo Force does arrive on the planet … complete with their own theme song, teammate introductions and cool pose at the end. How is it that Vegeta is afraid of them?
As it turns out, however, he does have a reason to fear them because all five members of the Ginyu force have their own abilities that make them formidable opponents. Vegeta, sensing he has no shot of taking them on by himself, decides to join forces with Gohan and Krillin. Seeing as these Dragon Balls grant three wishes, Gohan and Krillin agree to give Vegeta his one wish of immortality. So begins an exciting battle with the most unusual sight of seeing Vegeta fighting alongside Gohan and Krillin.
The battles against the Ginyu Force is one of many highlights in Part Three especially since the special abilities of each Ginyu Force member sets them apart such as Ghurd who has the ability to manipulate time to his advantage. Meanwhile Vegeta battles the one called ReaCoom who is a vicious opponent that makes short work out of all three. Luckily for them, Goku finally arrives with all the abilities of a Super Saiyan and goes up against Ginyu himself only to fall victim to Ginyu’s special ability … that of switching bodies with whomever his blast hits.
Meanwhile, Frieza makes his move and collects all the seven Dragon Balls that are currently being guarded by nobody and realizes that he just can’t make a wish. A special phrases needs to be spoken and Frieza thinks that one called the Great Elder might help him only to find himself fighting the Elder’s last remaining warrior. Not far from them, Goku finds a way to get his body back and uses it to defeat Ginyu while Gohan, Krillin and Gohan manage to steal the Dragon Balls Frieza left behind to find the phrase that will summon the great Shenron.
It is Gohan and Krillin, along with the aid of the young Nemekian named Dende that uses the power of the Dragon Balls to summon a creature that is connected to Shenron. It tells them that they can’t bring back all their fallen friends but one of the dead has a brilliant idea that will not only help them in their upcoming battle against Frieza but also find a way to bring back the rest from the dead. Before they could make their final wish, something very unexpected occurs that royally pisses Vegeta off.
Finally, there’s Frieza who confronts all of them in a major battle where Frieza shows off his true power and his transformations that make him an even more dangerous opponent. With Goku recovering in a healing chamber, it is up to Vegeta and the others to fight Frieza and they learn quickly that Frieza isn’t in their league. Help arrives in the form of the one Gohan and Krillin brought back and things get really interesting from here.
Without a doubt, Part Three of Dragon Ball Z Kai is nothing short of brilliantly spectacular. If you thought the first two parts were explosive then what we have here is an H-bomb wrapped in dynamite. It’s a nail-biter, to say the least, but also a 13-episode set that is action anime at its finest so do not miss this part and even more so on Blu-ray.
BLU-RAY REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Vegeta manages to defeat Frieza’s henchmen and continues on his quest to collect all seven Dragon Balls when Frieza calls up the deadly (and hysterically funny) Ginyu Force that arrives on Planet Namek. In a strange twist, Vegeta ends up joining Gohan and Krillin to fight them and secure the Dragon Balls. Goku finally arrives as well but Frieza finally shows up as Gohan and Krillin make a surprising decision.
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
I can’t begin to explain how good anime looks on Blu-ray but then again one look at this series on this format says it all. It is also available on DVD but I very highly recommend going for the Blu-ray version.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The voice acting on both sides is spectacular with strong performances on both sides. Personally speaking, it doesn’t get any better than hearing Monica Rial as Bulma and Colleen Clinkenbeard as Gohan. The music remains as lively as ever as well.
The best new feature comes in the form of a U.S. Cast Interview feature that features a short interview with most of the cast that includes Sean Schemmel, Christopher R. Sabat and Sonny Strait just to name a few. Plus, there are trailers and the clean opening and closing theme songs.
Jumping straight to the story and avoiding all the filler, Dragon Ball Z Kai paints an even faster-paced story that is even more epic than the original and the original was amazing. Part Three of this series is nothing short of breathtaking and if the first two sets didn’t grab you then this one will do the trick nicely. This is what Dragon Ball Z fans have been waiting for and you will not be disappointed.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment