Dragonball Z Complete Season Seven (Episodes 195-219) (Cert PG)
6 Discs (Distributor: Manga Entertainment) Running time: 580 minutes approx.
It seems quite a lot has happened since we last joined Son Goku and the Z-Fighters back in season five, who were embroiled in a colossal battle against the supremely powerful being known as Cell. Since then Cell was defeated but in the process Goku died (again!) but couldn’t be resurrected as he had already been revived once before, so it’s off to the Otherworld for our Orange suited hero.
As we rejoin the action, the deceased but still alive (don’t ask) Goku is drafted into the Otherworld Martial Arts tournament to determine the best fighter in the four quadrants, pitting him against a mélange of bizarre opponents from aquatic based fighter who tries to down him to a giant centipede whose chief weapon is to tickle his opponent into submission!
As you’ve probably surmised by now the tone of this latest volume is a much lighter and comedic one and wouldn’t you know it, makes this – for this reviewer at least – the most entertaining DBZ collection thus far. It is this refreshing change from the standard intense, drawn out, multi-episode battle format and the introduction of new characters that keeps things moving, providing a new scope for entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, this is still DBZ as you know it, just with a fresh make-over and new direction for the storylines.
The events from disc two onwards are set seven years after the Otherworld Martial Arts tournament. Goku is still dead but happily existing in the Otherworld while his son Gohan is now a teenager and has a younger brother Goten (Goku’s wife Chi-Chi was pregnant with him before Goku bit the dust). Krillin has grown his hair out and married former android No 18 and have a daughter, Marron, and Vegeta and Bulma of course have young son Trunks (whom we met as an adult from the future in Season Five).
Goten is ready to go to high school, but Chi-Chi didn’t want her son to expose his Saiyan powers to the world so she send him to Satan City. Like any teen son however, Gohan fails to listen to his mother and on his first day, foils a bank robbery in his Super Saiyan form, creating a stir among the city residents as to who this golden haired saviour is! Realising his folly, Gohan asks Bulma to create a transformation disguise, giving the world its newest superhero; the Great Saiyaman!
Unfortunately for Gohan, a fellow student at college is Videl, daughter of Mr. Satan (pronounced Sah-Tun), the strongest man in the world, herself a legit crimefighter due to her inherited strength. Gohan decides to tag along – in disguise natch – arousing the suspicions of his true identity within Videl, something she is determined to find out, with hilarious consequences.
If it isn’t evident by now this set of episodes is played completely for laughs and as a result are a whole lot of fun. Predictable, silly, occasionally lacking in logic but hugely entertaining and that is what you want from your anime. Some of the humour is quite clever too. In one instance, Gohan is tired of the flak he receives from others about his costume being so uncool and lame so he asks for something cooler that will still conceal his identity – so, Bulma ditches the cape and helmet and gives him a white head scarf and a pair of shades! Yup, that would work….
The final arc in this set sees a return to the more serious DBZ in the form of the World Martial Arts Tournament, where Mr. Satan, Videl’s father, is the reigning champion. Gohan is blackmailed by Videl to participate and his announcement leads his fellow Z-Fighters – including father Goku from beyond the grave – to also declare their interest in signing up. The first part is once again largely a comic affair as the junior tournament kicks things off with Goten and Trunks being the hot favourites among a bunch of chubby crybabies.
Things get serious during the main tournament when Videl faces Spopovich, a muscular fighter known for being weak and uncoordinated. Since he defeated him with ease many years prior, Mr. Satan thinks his daughter should walk this match; the outcome is shockingly and violently different. And with the arrival of two mysterious figures whose powers scare piccolo from fighting, the Z-Fighters are on course for another dangerous mission which is likely to yield a number of hard fought but serious casualties.
I’m sure that DBZ diehards would probably be calling for head on a silver platter for suggesting this but I have to call it as I see it, and this is by far the most entertaining and consistently enjoyable release thus far. It’s only taken two hundred episodes but finally I found myself genuinely eager to put the next disc into the DVD player to see what would happen next.
And the cliffhanger ending of the final episode has left me dangling in anticipation for volume eight. I have a feeling that we may return to the same old DBZ forward this set bravely eschews and if that is the case, at least we had a ton of fun with this release.
English Language with Japanese Music 5.1 Surround Sound
US Broadcast Version Stereo
Original Japanese Language Mono with English Subtitles
Disc 6 Only:
Ratings – ****
Man In Black