Review by: Faith McAdams
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $29.98 US (DVD), $34.98 US (Blu-ray)
Running Time: 325 minutes
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now
As one foe falls another rises.
You just have to love the Dragon Ball Z Kai series since it jumps straight into the heart of the story without padding it was filler and the result is an even more exciting series that is as delightfully frenzied as series of punches thrown by a Super Saiyan. In Part Five of Dragon Ball Z Kai, however, there’s a calm before the next storm and when it hits it hits with an impressive impact that makes this series such a classic epic. Oh yeah, we’re talking Androids, time travelers and a very unusual alliance.
When we last left Goku in Part Four, he was in the fight of his life against Frieza as Planet Namek’s core has become too unstable to the point that both combatants resort to fighting in the skies above. However, Goku proves to be an even stronger opponent than Frieza had anticipated and – in the end – a wrong move slices Frieza in half. However, as we can see from Part Five, Planet Namek is about to explode and the only means of escape is Frieza’s barely functioning ship. On top of that, a dying Frieza asks Goku for mercy only to try to stab him in the back. It does not end well.
Meanwhile, the surviving Namekians have safely been transported to Earth where Bulma – thanks to her family’s wealthy Capsule empire – has given them a place to temporarily live and escape the prying eyes of other humans in exchange for using the Namekian Dragon Balls to bring back their friends from the dead. Then the Namekian Grand Elder senses the death of their planet and, as a result, passes on. With the planet destroyed, everyone assumes the worst about Goku.
Oh yeah, Vegeta comes to live with the others as well as he becomes something of an ally to group that were once his enemies. Even funnier is the Super Saiyan’s reaction to Bulma who takes a very obvious interest in the cold-hearted Saiyan.
The truth about whether Goku survived or escaped becomes clear when Bulma and the others use the Dragon Balls to bring back fallen friends such as Yamcha, Chiaotzu, Tien and Krillin. However, when the wish to bring back Goku from the dead is denied it could only mean one thing. It’s good news, indeed, and one that has everyone coming to the conclusion that some serious training is going on somewhere far away. Just about the only one who can’t stand that thought is Vegeta who steals a Capsule ship and heads off into space to search for the Saiyan only to come back to Earth disappointed.
In space, however, the remains of Frieza are discovered by none other than King Cold who also happens to be connected to Frieza in a surprising way. Gathering the remains, King Cold has Frieza put together using metal parts and thus turning the villain into an even more threatening cyborg. Determined to get his revenge, Frieza has King Cold take him to Earth to confront Goku only to find the others waiting to battle the fiend one last time.
Interestingly enough, a mysterious young man appears on the scene to battle Frieza and King Cold. As Vegeta and Gohan discover, the young warrior who wields a sword also happens to be a Saiyan, which is impossible seeing as Goku, Vegeta and Gohan are the only Saiyans left. Without a doubt, this young warrior’s fight with Frieza and King Cold is shocking … enough that it takes a surprised Goku who, after having explained his absence, is a witness to the outcome of the battle.
However, the most surprising part about meeting the Saiyan named Trunks is the fact that he comes from the future and he has come with some serious news. It seems that Earth will soon find itself in danger again and this time the threat comes from a group of androids connected to the Red Ribbon Army that Goku destroyed. The news is bad, to say the least, but not as bad as Trunk’s warning that Goku will die by the hands of a virus that attacks the heart. Oh yeah, Trunks also reveals who his parents are and this is also a major surprise.
Once again, Earth’s mightiest warriors begin training to prepare for their battle against the androids. Years pass and the days of peace end as two androids arrive on the very day that Trunks said they would arrive. As Yamcha quickly finds out, both androids are too powerful. One of the androids, it seems, happens to be a very familiar face as Bulma identifies the attacker. Meanwhile, Goku’s arrival is good timing but things turn grim when the virus starts attacking his heart as predicted. Sure, they have the medicine from the future to save his life but will it work?
With Vegeta stepping up to the plate and Trunks by his side, they manage to take down one of the androids only to find out that the second one activated two of the most unpredictable and dangerous androids capable of doing the most damage. They are Android 17 and Android 18 who turn on their master and continue on their mission to kill Goku who is in bed being tended to by his family. Things are definitely looking grim for Earth’s heroes.
Part Five of Dragon Ball Z Kai switches gears as times of peace are interrupted by a newer and even deadlier threat that makes this yet another stellar release Dragon Ball Z fans must not be without. There are calm moments in this part of the story but believe me when I say that when things pick up they do so with enough excitement to keep up fans happy and certainly looking forward to Part Six.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Planet Namek has become way too unstable as Goku finally ends his battle with Frieza and the result has Goku’s friends and family believing he’s dead until they start making wishes with the Namekian Dragon Balls. However, a visit from a mysterious stranger from the future tells them of a threat that could spell the destruction of Earth by the hands of powerful androids. Once again, Earth’s most powerful fighters band together to take on their new adversaries that proves to be even more power than expected and more so with Goku out of the fight.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
The series looks amazing on Blu-ray but the DVD version still looks good enough that the episodes stand out even more beautifully than it did when it first came out. There are a number of truly awesome battles in this one.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
Once again, the new English dub cast does a great job with the characters and its great to hear the original Japanese cast as well as the original soundtrack as well. After all these years, we still love the opening theme song.
There are a few FUNimation trailers to be found on the second disc as well as the clean opening and closing theme songs and that’s about it, Dragon Ball Z fans. We would definitely not mind some audio commentary tracks for this series.
With a less chaotic change of pace and the introduction of a new threat, Part Five of Dragon Ball Z Kai still maintains the excitement that continues to make this series such an epic masterpiece. With Frieza comes an even bigger problem as Goku and his friends find themselves in another fight of their lives and you’ll love every second of it.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment