REVIEW: DRAGON BALL – SEASON ONE / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: MINORU OKAZAKI, DAISUKE NISHIO / SCREENPLAY: CHRISTOPHER NEEL, JOHN BURGMEIER, JARED HEDGES / STARRING: CHRISTOPHER SABAT, STEPHANIE NADOLNY, LAURA BAILEY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
We’re all aware of the Dragon Ball series right? Even people who aren’t au fait with every aspect of it will generally at least be familiar with Dragon Ball Z thanks to Cartoon Network showing the series all throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s. The series, along with GT, have received DVD collections in the UK. However the less famous precursor to them all, Dragon Ball, had been beyond the grasp of the average UK fan until this release was announced.
Dragon Ball is a slightly different kettle of fish to its more famous cousins. To say the series is a touch more risqué would be a little bit of an understatement. Within the first episode you will see a naked child Goku kick a giant fish in the face before Bulma turns up, shoots a child and then offers to give him a peek up her skirt if he will give her the Dragon Ball that his Grandfather left him after he died.
So yeah, outside of sticking to the saga format that would be carried on later, Dragon Ball strikes a slightly different tone to the Z and GT series. Frankly, it’s all the better for it too. The humour is on just the right side of dirty, with a certain character’s issues with hentai perhaps venturing a little past the line, and the series doesn’t quite descend into the almost endless cycle of fighting between Saiyans and the various threats they face, which was something the Z series was occasionally guilty of.
Covering ‘The Saga of Goku’ and ‘The Tournament Saga’, Dragon Ball – Season One is the Funimation release, essentially acting as an introduction to a number of story tropes that the series would become famous for, in addition to a host of popular characters, including Goku, Bulma and Krillin.
So what’s in the collection for the people who already know that they are going to get it? Unfortunately, the answer is not a lot. The DVDs do come with the original Japanese audio track, which is a nice little novelty despite the fact that it has clearly not been remastered. However the additional features just seem a little… paltry.
All you get in addition to the first 28 episodes are a few character profiles, featuring a blurb and a picture, and a bunch of trailers. Admittedly the trailer for Curse of the Blood Rubies on the first disc is pretty cool but the rest are simply small trailers for old series that don’t really relate to Dragon Ball, even if they will appeal to genre fans.
Still, the collection does act as a handy introduction to the Dragon Ball universe and the episodes are presented without the heavy-handed editing that many such collections are subjected to. With the rest of the series set to be released across four more box sets, there is plenty here for fans, or prospective fans, of the series to dig into. Even if it’s a little short on the bonus material.
Extras: Trailers / Character profiles