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Dragon Ball Z- Dragon Box 5 and Excel Saga- The Complete Series DVD Reviews

 

“Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box 5” is a mixed bag.

“Excel Saga” suffers from an irritating lead character.

Dragon Ball Z- Dragon Box 5

In the fifth Dragon Box (which contains episodes 169-209), viewers will see the continuation of the Cell saga, the Anoyoichi Saga, and the start of the high school saga. Episode plots include a lot of filler Build-up to the Cell tournament (like a birthday party for Gohan), training in the Room Of Spirit And Time, the goofy braggart Mister Satan entering the tournament, Goku searching for Dragon Balls, the inevitiable Kamehame-Has filled showdown between Goku and Cell, Goku making a big sacrifice, resurrections, and Goku in the Next World. After that, ANOTHER tournament begins only this time it’s in the Next World. Contestants include members of the North, South, East and West galaxies who are fighting for a chance to train with the Great Kaio.

After that tournament ends, the show debatably “jumps the shark” and moves ahead in time 7 years in which Gohan is now in high school. We soon learn that Gohan has become a secret superhero of sorts called the Great Saiyaman and new characters are introduced (namely Videl and Gohen). The box wraps up with, you guessed it, the start of a new tournament (the Tenkaichi Tournament) where someone makes a surprise appearance.

To me, the episodes at the end of this box set pretty much signaled the end of the best parts of “Dragon Ball Z.” Once Gohan became the central character, DBZ started to feel like a different show (and more like the inferior “Dragon Ball GT”). Thankfully, DBZ fans still get some classic episodes in the first half of the set. My personal favorite moments here include the out of his league fighter Mister Satan (and the announcer commenting on his every move), the Trunks centric episode (194), and the pivotal moment of Goku giving up his fight with Cell so that Gohan can take him on because he felt he was stronger. It was a defining moment for the show and it was a game changing coming-of-age moment for Gohan. In a way, it was one of the last real DBZ moments before the show went in another direction by moving 7 years in the future.

Summary: Completists will want to pick up this set, but if you are a casual DBZ fan, I’d stick with buying the first 3 Dragon Boxes instead.

Video/Audio:

Despite being a little fuzzy, the fullscreen picture quality on this set is the best for DBZ outside of ‘Kai’ of course.

This set includes English Dolby Digital 5.1 and Japanese Stereo tracks. As I’ve stated in the best I’m a huge fan of the English dubs for DBZ, but I also did the Japanese tracks as well. Really, you can’t go wrong with either.

Extras:
* As with the previous 4 box sets, this set includes a hardcover booklet that contains episode summaries, character profiles, sketches, etc.
* Trailers for “Summer Wars,” “Soul Eater,” “Evangelion 2.22,” “One Piece,” “Kenichi,” and “Initial D: Second Stage.”

Excel Saga- The Complete Series

The plot: Excel is a teen girl who for a secret organization (ACROSS) that is looking to conquer the world. Plots of this 26 episode series involve Excel trying to kill a manga artist, an invasion by the cuddly aliens Puchuu Imperium, the Department Of City Security (who defend the city from evil), a laser, a pool trip, bowling, Excel’s former high school, a recap special, bombs, a trip to USA, F City being damaged, and romance. That’s also some really out there stuff here such as as the powerful being The Great Will Of The Macrocosm, a spirit named Pedro, appearances by “Excel Saga” author Ridko Koshi and the director Shinichi Watanbe, and a singing dog named Menchi (who has his own adventures in two episodes).

On paper, “Excel Saga” sounds promising. I think anyone would be intrigued to know that ‘Saga’ is a wacky comedic anime series that spoofs everything from sci-fi and rom coms to horror and sports. Unfortunately, the series is more concerned with parodies and sight gags than story and characters.

Anytime you have an anime series with a truly obnoxious lead character, the series can’t work at all. That is the problem that plagues “Excel Saga.” Excel is a singing, screaming spaz who never seems to be able to speak in a normal tone of voice. The character constantly makes you want to cover your ears because her voice is so annoying. In fact, the entire series is bound to give you a headache as the absurd storytelling spirals out of control by series end. It doesn’t help that many of the story elements are forced and non-sensical to boot.

Summary: Despite some clever parodies, “Excel Saga” is more trouble than its worth. Skip it.

Picture/Audio:

The fullscreen picture quality is decent, but it’s not going to wow anyone.

This set includes English and Japanese Stereo tracks only. The English track has some truly painful voice acting, but unfortunately, the Japanese track is not much better. Both actresses who voice Excel make you want to plug your ears.

Extras:
* Trailers for “Chrome Shelled Regios,” “Disgaea,” “D.Gray-Man,” “Linebarrels Of Iron,” “Sgt. Frog,” “Rideback,” “Strike Witches,” “Evangelion,” “Eden Of The East,” “Kenichi,” “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood,” and “Noir.”
* Textless songs.
* 2 Japanese trailers and 2 TV spots.
* CD single and soundtrack spots.
* Puni Puni Poemy OVA Preview

* Opening credits first cut and timing sequence.
* Animated video piracy warning and “Daitenzin” commercial.

* Text interviews with Koshi Rikdo and Shinichi Watanbe in which they chat about animation, inspirations, jobs, etc.
* Puni Puni Poemy Latest Info (last minute updates).
* Puni Puni Poemy Character Designs.

* Puni Puni Poemy Staff Interview. A brief and pointless 1 minute video.
* Watanbe’s Puni Puni Poemy interview and an interview with voice actress Yumiko Kobayashi

June 17, 2011 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , ,

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