Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
FUNimation released the first two Dragon Ball Z films, Dead Zone and The World's Strongest, as two-disc DVD set on May 27, 2008. With a total runtime of 105 minutes between the two movies, I personally thought it was a bit of waste to release them on two different discs.
Dead Zone was the first film released for the Dragon Ball Z franchise, and it introduces an evil character who is referenced in a few of the episodes of the fourth season of the Dragon Ball Z anime series. In this film, Garlic Jr. is wanting immortality in order to take revenge for his father's death and to rule the world. Garlic Jr. wants to acquire this by gathering all seven of the Dragon Balls and summoning Shen Long, the Eternal Dragon. Goku's son Gohan has the four-star Dragon Ball on the top of his hat, and Garlic Jr.'s henchmen kidnap Gohan. The film shows Goku trying to save Gohan, and how he ends up forming an unexpected alliance with his archnemesis, Piccolo.
The disc for the Dead Zone film contains two bonus features. The first is labeled as "Original Feature Commentary," which provides an audio commentary track for the film from voice actor Chuck Huber and ADR director Chris Sabat. The second feature is labeled as "Trailers"; in this selection, there are links to trailers for The Galaxy Railways, Blue Gender, Glass Fleet, and Fullmetal Alchemist.
The World's Strongest was the second film released for the Dragon Ball Z franchise, and it has to be seen as a kind of "alternate timeline" story to the Dragon Ball Z anime series. In this film, a scientist named Dr. Kochin gathers the seven Dragon Balls and summons Shen Long. Kochin requests that his mentor, Dr. Wheelo, and his lab be released from the frozen ground where they are buried in the Tsumisumbri Mountains; Shen Long grants the wish. Then, bio-men and Dr. Kochin come to Kame House, thinking that Master Roshi is still the strongest man in the world. Roshi and Bulma are kidnapped by Dr. Kochin's men. While in caprivitiy, Bulma lets slip that Goku is now the strongest man in the world. Goku comes to the laboratory to try to save Roshi and Bulma, but can he triumph and save the day?
The only extra included on the disc for The World's Strongest are trailers for Ragnarok, xxxHOLiC, the Dragon Ball Z movies, and Dragon Ball Z. It was a little disappointing to not get an audio commentary, since the first film in the set had one.
When it comes to the films in the set, I enjoy Dead Zone; its 45 minute runtime is the perfect length for the story that's being told. However, I think The World's Strongest is a little too long. It's 60 minutes in length, but some of the battle sequences run a little too long; it would have worked a little better if some of those sequences could have been shortened.
If you're a fan of Dragon Ball Z who is trying to track down the movies, these "double feature" DVDs is one of the potential ways to go about getting the films for your collection.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of this DVD set that I checked out through the King County Library System.