Dragonball Z: Volume 3 Into the Wild
The Ultimate Uncut Special Edition of Dragonball Z continues to roll out. Dragonball fans will think they have died and gone to heaven. Then their friends wished them back to life and they’ll be all “Why’d you do that. I was digging heaven.”
And their friends will all be, “We need you to save the earth.”
And they’ll say, “Why do you only resurrect me when you want something?”
And then they’ll be all, “We’ve resurrected you other times.”
“Oh yeah, like when?”
“So are you going to save the earth?”
“Well I guess so.”
The real star of this volume is a twenty-five minute featurette in the extras. Titled “Goku vs. Vegeta” it consists of interviews with Sean Schemmel (the voice of Goku) and Chris Sabat (the voice of Vegeta). Though hardcore fans probably won’t find any new information in this featurette, hearing the actors talk about their experiences as the series has developed is definitely enough reason to buy the dvd.
One of the most interesting things in the featurette was hearing Chris Sabat talking about how he’s always wanted to do certain parts of the Dragonball story and this new release was finally giving him the chance. Schemmel and Sabat were actually not the first to voice their roles for Funimation. The changeover came in episode 54, about halfway through the Frieza saga. It adds an interesting new dimension to the voice cast to listen to the emotional investment they have in their roles. Sabat and Schemmel talk about their roles as if they were longtime friends. This ‘ultimate’ edition is seems somewhat poignant as it is a last chance for these two to play the roles that have been with them for a decade.
Episode 7: Day 1 Today nothing existed. Gohan begins his first day of training under Piccolo. Piccolo tells Gohan the first six months of training will consist of staying alive after he abandons him in the wilderness. So after some bawling, Gohan is left alone.
Almost nothing happens in this episode. Gohan wanders around, gets chased by a tyrannosaurus rex looking monster, almost gets eaten but escapes to the top of a rock spire. Goku travels along snake way, almost falls off, but doesn’t. Krillin goes to see Chi Chi to tell her all that’s gone on what with the Goku dying and Gohan being kidnapped and then rekidnapped. However, in the end, he doesn’t. Now I know that the plot does need to develop. There cannot be big fights in every single episode. Still, this episode may have the least action of any episode in the entire series.
Episode 8: Gohan Goes Bananas At least one thing is for certain, this episode is clearly superior to its’ namesake ‘Herbie Goes Bananas.’ I suppose the episode might have been better with strangely animate cars. We do see a few aircars. Krillin drives away in one after sneaking out of Chi Chi’s house in the night without breaking the news to her (Oh Krillin). Yajirobe then shows up in one at Kame House to tell Krillin that Kami has summoned him for training. Chi Chi also drives an aircar to Kame House where she finally finds out about Goku and Gohan. However, none of these cars appear to be the least bit alive.
In the wilderness, Gohan sees the full moon for the first time. As Saiyans tend to under the full moon, he turns into a giant ape and starts blowing up everything in sight. At least he gets himself down off that rock spire though. Horrified by the destruction giant ape Gohan is causing, Piccolo destroys the moon and reverses the transformation. Thanks to this being an uncut edition, we get to see Gohan naked as he returns to normal. Well, I guess you take the good with the bad. After detailing the boy, Piccolo gives him a new outfit and a sword.
This is a decent episode. Personally I’ve never been able to fully appreciate it since I can’t get over Piccolo destroying the moon. The ecological impact of destroying the moon would be incalculable. The simple fact that there would no longer be tides would have huge effects on coastal areas. Of course, I have no trouble taking the fact that a little boy can turn into a giant ape monster in stride.
Episode 9: The Strangest Robot As it turns out, quite a lot of things out in the wilderness consider Gohan edible. He is chased back and forth until he eventually falls into an ancient, buried temple. In the temple he finds a robot that was trapped there during an excavation. The robot really just wants to be left alone and so Gohan proceeds to pester it without mercy. And that’s about all there is to say about this episode.
In Episode 9, we do have some important character development for Gohan. By the end of the episode he decides that he is going to stop looking for others to take care of him and learn to take care of himself. The development of Gohan’s character is a major theme in the Dragonball Z series, extending from here until it peaks in the Cell saga. However, in the case of Dragonball, I generally prefer character development where explosions are involved.
Technical/Extras: 10 The presentation of the ‘ultimate uncut special edition’ series remains excellent. The viewer has several dialogue options as well as 5.1 surround sound with the English dialogue. Along with the excellent extras Funimation has packed into this release, this dvd has the “Goku vs. Vegeta” featurette. They might have thought the dvd needed a little beefing up and this definitely does the job.
Entertainment: 8 Not a lot of interesting stuff happens in these three episodes. Besides the Gohan turning into an ape part, it’s mostly just story and character development. While character and plot development do need to happen, they are not what I watch Dragonball for.
Overall: 9.5 The episodes on this dvd are kind of ‘meh.’ Very little action occurs. If you are really interested in Gohan living alone in the wild, you will appreciate them. Otherwise they are not especially memorable. There are also an unusual number of shots of Gohan urinating. I’m not sure why the Japanese director felt a need to have Gohan drop his pants in every single episode. If this significantly adds to the entertainment value for you, I have to say that’s somewhat disturbing.
However, Dragonball Z: Volume 3 is saved by an excellent featurette. Even with its’ lackadaisical episodes this one is still a strong buy. Unless you have been to an anime convention, you probably haven’t heard either Sabat or Schemmel speak as themselves. We can only hope that other volumes with less than spectacular episodes will bring us more great extras.
Extras: English, Espanol, and Japanese dialogue
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound (English only)
Trailers (Dragonball Z, Fullmetal Alchemist, Degrassi, Tenchi Muyo: Ryo Ohki, Z Store)