Reviewed by: Azure
Released by: FUNimation
Age Rating: TvPG
Region: 1 - North America
Length: 830 minutes
Audio: Japanese 2.0 Stereo
Bulma, Krillin and Gohan have set off on their journey to planet Namek, whilst Goku rests on Earth. Vegeta has already recovered from his fight on Earth and races to Namek so that he can claim the Dragon Balls first, before the mysterious Frieza can claim them. Their objective? Immortality.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Bulma and co were headed to planet filler rather than planet Namek, the first episodes of the disk focus on several stories that feel like they are straight out of Ulysess 31 rather than Dragon Ball. In the first few episodes the group encounter a spaceship filled entirely with hostile children, in the second they arrive at planet Namek but it’s not quite what it seems.
Once they finally land on planet Namek in one piece, things finally start to get going. No sooner do they arrive then so does Vegeta, preceding them all is Freiza and his men; so this initiates a murderous planet wide hunt for the dragon balls. Frieza and Vegeta’s methods differ greatly from the Earth group who came armed with the Dragon Radar. Both Frieza and Vegeta seem to think torturing the locals is a good idea, sadly this seems to work pretty well as the Namekians keep the balls in their villages. Whilst everyone is busy flying about wrecking planet Namek, Goku is travelling towards them very slowly. Of course being Goku he makes use of his time by training in his space ship by turning the ship’s artificial gravity many times normal, so that he builds his strength more quickly. Fine science it may not be, but in the world of Dragon Ball it works. The training sequence seems to go on forever as it’s inter-cut with the scenes on Namek and occasionally Earth. Once again the box set format helps a lot, watching a chunk of episodes together makes the story pass more quickly.
By the end of the set the plot really starts to slow as Krillin and Gohan frustratingly suffer a number of set backs. The story gains pace once the Genyu force arrive, the Genyu are Frieza’s elite henchmen who are so powerful they can afford to focus more on their poses and mottos than any real fighting challenge. The comedy makes things much more fun, and the action really picks up when Goku finally shows up. The final episode of the DVD " Captain Genyu the frog!", stands out. Dragon Ball Z is at it’s best when it’s silly.
There are still no extras on this release, and every disk still starts with an annoying trailer. The inclusion of the dub with the Japanese music is still a welcome feature, even if I only hop over to it out of curiosity rather than sit down and watch it.
The second season leaves behind the fantasy of previous Dragon Ball episodes in it’s place is a surreal kind of science fiction, an amalgamation of Western science fiction films and Japanese sentai action. It’s at this point the plot really starts to flow, energised largely by the introduction of some of the series most memorable villains.