Dragonball Z: Deadzone

Old Man Kangaroo

imageStudio: Funimation
Rating: TV PG

Evil forces are collecting the Dragonballs, as evil forces are wont to do. This time they’ve not only taken the Dragonball on baby Gohan’s hat but the kid that was under it. With the fate of the world as well as his son in danger Goku springs into action to save the day, as he is also wont to do.

Dragonball fans have long been hoping for a chance to see the bits of Dragonball that were too much for daytime television. Your wish has been granted. This new edition of “Dragonball Z: Deadzone” is part of a new series of uncut special editions Funimation has begun releasing. In the Dragonball timeline it occurs between the original Dragonball series and the Dragonball Z Vegeta saga.

Immediately on receiving the DVD I was impressed by the shiny foil graphics on the cover and the big letters claiming it to be “The Ultimate Uncut Special Edition.” There wasn’t that much to cut out of the Deadzone movie to begin with but it is still nice to have those little extras.

imageProbably the biggest feature offered in this special edition is the original Japanese dialogue (which now that I think of it should really be in every Anime DVD. They already have to translate it for English, how hard would it be to include the original dialogue track and subtitles). Even in the uncut English version they really gloss over the fact that Gohan gets totally hammered in Deadzone. In the Japanese, they have a whole musical sequence devoted to it. I guess the American censors had some sort of problem with a drunk five year old singing about how happy he was.

In “Dragonball Z: Deadzone,” Garlic Jr. the son of Kami’s rival for the seat of guardian of the earth has returned to exact vengeance on Kami and pretty much everyone else while he’s at it. Villains are always talking about using the Dragonballs to wish for immortality. This stand alone movie is notable in that, for once, someone evil actually manages to get the Dragonballs and become immortal. I’m not really giving anything away since that happens in the first five minutes of the film.

Some themes which become important later in the series are developed in Deadzone. Piccolo shows his willingness to side with the good guys if the circumstances are right. He also starts to become guy the bad guys will beat the crap out of so the audience will know they’re tough. Meanwhile, Gohan starts to show his hidden power.

As Dragonball battles go, the battles in Deadzone are not especially impressive. The fights are extraordinarily short, especially considering how long the series can drag out an important battle. There are a few cool moments but nothing that really measures up to some of the more epic battles of the series. We do see Kami fighting which is somewhat rare and is among the better parts of the movie. However, that battle is not only short but we don’t even see all of it since the film cuts away to another battle. Meanwhile, the final battle where Garlic Jr. is defeated (I don’t’ think that’s a spoiler. What did you think he’d win?) is unsatisfying, it finally looks like you’re going to have one of those really cool Dragonball moments and then it’s just over.

imageAt this point in the Dragonball series, you don’t have the beam battles and planet-destroying energy attacks. The earlier battles are marked by more basic physical attacks. Between attacks, blocks, and counters, this still leaves plenty of room for an interesting battle. While there is some of this in Deadzone, the battles are over so fast there is hardly time for it to get interesting.

Technical/Extras 9
Funimation put just about everything a Dragonball fan could have wanted in this DVD. In addition to the original Japanese dialogue, there is a commentary track from Chris Cason (ADR Director) and Chuck Huber (Garlic Jr.). Concept art could have been included but, all things considered, the extras are quite good.

Entertainment 7
Deadzone is one of the shorter Dragonball movies and the battles are only so so. It is still Dragonball which is always fun.

Overall 7.5

With very strong extras and good presentation “Dragonball Z: Deadzone” would be a good addition to a serious Dragonball collector’s library. However, if there is one Dragonball movie you choose not to buy this would be the one. Cartoon Network is airing uncut versions of the Dragonball Z episodes. So it is likely that a whole collection of special editions is on the way. Unless you want to own every single bit of Dragonball available, I’d be saving my money for the series DVD’s.

Extras:Original Uncut Japanese Footage, English 5.1 Digital Surround Sound, Japanese Dialogue, Director/Actor Commentary

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