Review by: Faith McAdams
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $34.98 US (Blu-ray), $29.98 US (DVD)
Running Time: 275 minutes
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now
There are battles and then there are Super Saiyan battles.
While there’s a place in my anime-loving heart for the original Dragon Ball Z series, it is Dragon Ball Z Kai that continues to be the version I have fallen in love with and the one that I recommend to my friends who have yet to experience this epic masterpiece. I mean, how can you not fall for a series that never fails to keep you glued to your seat with each story arc? As we can see from Part Seven of Dragon Ball Z Kai, what started out as a fight against a formidable foe becomes a struggle for survival in a battle that will have Earth’s fate in the hands of Goku and his friends.
As we saw in Part Six, the powerful being known as Cell has finally caught up with Android 17 and absorbed its power and now all he needs to transform into his ultimate form is to absorb Android 18 who is hiding out with a badly injured Android 16. However, Cell runs into Vegeta who has come out of the Hyperbolic Time Chamber and has become a Super Saiyan … or as he prefers to be labeled, Super Vegeta. As it turns out, Vegeta truly is more powerful than before and manages to give Cell quite a thrashing. However, Vegeta – tempted by Cell’s claim that he can provide a better challenge once he absorbs Android 18 – let’s the monster go much to future Trunks’ horror.
Meanwhile, Krillin is the first to find Android 18 and with the means to destroy her he has the advantage. Surprisingly enough, however, Krillin just can’t bring himself to destroy her for obvious reasons. Instead, he decides to try to help her but he finds himself powerless to do so when Cell manages to locate them. The aftermath is shocking as Cell is finally able to achieve his perfect form and it is actually frightening. In his new form, Cell is the one who does the thrashing in his second round with Super Vegeta and this leaves Trunks who happens to be hiding a power that exceeds that of his own father.
While Trunks holds his own against Cell, he’s clearly not able to defeat the powerful being who sees not real challenge in the boy. Instead, Cell proposes something of a challenge that comes in the form of an ultimate fighting tournament that he calls The Cell Games. The rules are simple: all fighters are welcome to take him on but if they all just so happen to lose it means the end of Earth by Cell’s own hands. They are given just ten days to prepare as Cell promises not to kill anyone else as he waits for the day of the tournament.
In the meantime, Goku and his son, Gohan, continue their training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. Gohan is clearly frustrated that he isn’t able to achieve his Super Saiyan form and fears that he is holding his father back from his own training. Goku, on the other hand, has nothing but patience and encouragement for the boy. Suddenly, Gohan finds the right motivation that has him and his father emerge from the Chamber in a surprising new manner that has everyone impressed by their new power level.
However, brining Goku up to speed as to what had happened with the Cell situation, Goku can sense Cell’s power level and admits that he might not be able to defeat the monster. Even more shocking is the fact that he doesn’t plan on more training and decides to take it easy instead. He even takes Gohan on a quiet fishing trip. Why isn’t Goku worried about Cell? Why does he insist on treating this threat so casually when Cell threaded to destroy the entire planet?
As for Cell, he introduces himself to the world when he hijacks a live newscast broadcasting to announce the date and location of his fighting tournament. The reaction around the globe is that of sheer terror to the point that the President sends out the Royal Army to face Cell who breaks his promise by slaughtering hundreds of soldiers during the face-off.
This act of violence is too much for Goku to ignore and not only confronts Cell but also comes up with a plan to bring back all those people that Cell had killed since his arrival. This, of course, requires the Dragon Balls and the only ones who can bring them back to Earth are the Namekians who send a familiar face to summon the Dragon Balls. Meanwhile, Vegeta is joined by his son, Krillin and Piccolo who plan on fighting in the tournament. They undergo their own training in the Chamber and come out of it in time as The Cell Games begin.
On the first day, Goku and his friends arrive but Cell’s first opponent happens to be a world champion fighter by the name of Mister Satan who really believes he is powerful enough to save Earth by defeating a very amused Cell. Ah, Mister Satan, just seeing him in his flashy cape and outfit is hilarious enough but seeing him try to impress Cell is comedy gold.
Then Goku steps into the ring, which is surprising seeing as you would think they saved the best for last. It is here that Goku showcases the power he has gained during his training with Gohan and the battle between these two powerhouses is nothing short of monumental. The question is: will this power be enough to defeat Cell who is clearly suppressing even more power?
There’s certainly a lot to digest in this seventh part and the story arc has reached its more intense moment with the promise of even more thrilling moments as another fighting tournament begins. Sure, there are calm moments in-between but it hardly distracts from the epic moments between Cell and Goku’s friends.
Part Seven of Dragon Ball Z Kai takes a nail-biting story arc and makes it even more intense as the battle against Cell takes a rather interesting turn. As Earth’s heroes once again gather for a fighting tournament with a lot at stake, our heroes find themselves preparing for yet another major fight that keeps this story arc deliciously enticing. If you are new to the Dragon Ball Z series then Kai is still one of the more thrilling versions of this classic series and one that certainly needs to be seen by anyone who calls themselves a fan of anime.
BLU-RAY REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Vegeta, in his new Super Saiyan form, takes on Cell but his Saiyan pride allows the creature to find Android 18 to finally complete his ultimate form. Now, Cell has become even more powerful to the point that he is no match for the likes of Vegeta and Trunks. Proposing a fighting tournament that would have the fate of Earth on the line, a more powerful Goku and Gohan join their friends in preparing for the fight of their lives.
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
Despite the fact that this is a classic anime series, it looks better than ever on Blu-ray and it shows in every since frame of this release. Yes, Dragon Ball Z Kai shines on DVD but it will not fail to take your breath away in HD.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The voice acting in the series is still handled perfectly for the English dub but the Japanese voices are still a personal preference. Meanwhile, it’s still great to hear the original music and the opening and closing theme songs are still catchy tunes.
Again there are no real extras to be found here except for the clean opening and closing animation and a few FUNimation trailers. Still, you can’t complain when you’re holding a Blu-ray version of a Dragon Ball Z series in your hands.
Once again, Dragon Ball Z Kai manages to deliver yet another reason to love this series even more as Part Seven takes a long yet exciting story arc to even more exhilarating heights. Sure, there are calm moments before the major storm that is The Cell Games but that’s hardly a complain considering the events that transpire here are addictively watch-worthy. We definitely will not miss Part Eight.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment