News Archive

July 2011

VegettoEX3:34 PM ESTPodcast

This week on our show we are joined by our comrade Hujio to discuss FUNimation’s announcement that they will be releasing the Dragon Ball Z TV series on Blu-ray beginning later this year in November. Will this just be a repeat of the orange brick masters from 2007’s “season sets” or does FUNimation have something else up their sleeve? What does this mean for the majority of our audience who has been snatching up the Dragon Box sets? Download the show now, or head on over to the podcast page for more information or to subscribe.

Episode #0266! VegettoEX and Hujio discuss FUNimation’s recent announcement that the DBZ TV series is coming to Blu-ray this year. Will this be another fiasco using 2007’s orange brick masters, or does FUNimation have something else up its sleeve? How will these products compare to everything else that is out there, including other versions of these same episodes sitting alongside them on store shelves? Also, who exactly will these new sets be aimed at, especially with Dragon Box releases coming to a close?


Happinet has unveiled the cover art for the final Dragon Ball Kai home video releases. Both are scheduled to be released 02 August 2011 with the DVD retailing for ¥1,995 (~$25) and the Blu-ray running a nice ¥14,679 (~$175). The DVD will contain the series’ final two episodes (97 & the “extra un-aired episode”) in a 16:9 widescreen format, while the final Blu-ray box set will contain episodes 88-97 (plus the “extra un-aired episode”) presented in 4:3 full screen spread across four discs. These releases all contain the Shunsuke Kikuchi replacement score, as opposed to their original broadcast score from Kenji Yamamoto.

During their industry panel at Comic-Con this afternoon, FUNimation announced that the standard (non-Kai) Dragon Ball Z TV series will receive a Blu-ray release beginning 08 November 2011 with the first set entitled Dragon Ball Z Level 1.1 containing episodes 1-17.

FLOWER MOUND, Texas, July 21, 2011 – FUNimation® Entertainment is announcing that it is bringing the first installment of the anime phenomenon Dragon Ball Z to Blu-ray disc for the first time this fall.

Among the most prized in the FUNimation catalog, the studio has used the newest technology available to remaster in high-definition and digitally restore the 291 episode series.

FUNimation worked with Dallas-based ANDTRANSFER for the digital film transfer. FUNimation previously worked with the post-production house to remaster the series for the season set releases on DVD. The transfer was performed by nationally-recognized colorist Steve Franko and supervised by FUNimation, which then finished the rest of the restoration process.

Today’s state-of-the-art systems offer tools that allow restoration teams to make a wide range of repairs and focus on more difficult tasks which, in the end, deliver a clean product that faithfully presents the original version and measures up to the high-quality standards of HDTV and Blu-ray.

Once again, the Dragon Ball Z series was digitally transferred from the original Japanese 16mm film frame by frame at 1080p. Developments in restoration software gives mastering artists more to work with when they apply tools to even out film grain and remove fading, film cuts and other visual anomalies. As a result, the viewer will see brighter, clearer colors, less variance in quality between scenes, and a sharper image.

“Working with a very old and fragile source film presented a number of challenges for the restoration process,” said Gen Fukunaga, CEO and president at FUNimation Entertainment. “Our purpose was to restore the series as accurately as possible, to what it must have been like to see it when it was originally mastered, and preserve the charm of the animation. After all, it is of a particular time and place.”

After debuting in 1989, Dragon Ball Z has become an iconic anime series. The franchise has sold more than 25 million DVD and Blu-ray discs in its lifetime, becoming the best-selling anime series of all time.

Dragon Ball Z is the explosive sequel to Dragon Ball. The series follows the adventures of Goku and his son Gohan as they team up with their friends to battle evil forces throughout the universe to protect their beloved planet Earth. The first season covers the Vegeta Saga and chronicles the introduction of one of Dragon Ball Z’s main characters, Vegeta.

This restored edition also features the original U.S. voice actors as well as the original FUNimation soundtrack – all in lossless Dolby® TrueHD.

Dragon Ball Z Level 1.1 includes the first 17 episodes on two discs with over 400 minutes of action and among the extras included on this release is a feature that looks at the restoration and remastering processes.

Dragon Ball Z Level 1.1 will be available at major retailers nationwide on November 8, 2011.

A bit of history (and even contemporary information) is necessary to place this announcement in the proper context, however.

In 2007, FUNimation replaced their silently-canceled “Ultimate Uncut Edition” of the early episodes of the series with cheap “season” sets, “remastered” and color-adjusted from their multi-generational film stock by Studio Post & Transfer. The original 4:3 framing of the series was cropped to 16:9, whereby the top and bottom portion of the screen (approximately 20% of the image) was removed to fit the negligible extra footage obtained on the left and right sides and into the widescreen format. The entirety of the 291 episodes series was released this way over the course of two years in nine sets, the first time the series ever received any kind of consistent and fully uncut release in North America, despite having been licensed over a decade prior.

Two months after finishing this release, FUNimation announced the impending “Dragon Box” release of the series during their industry panel at Otakon 2009. This release would span seven boxes, and was a licensed release of the special remastering the series received in Japan, originally released in two giant boxes in 2003, and later on individual discs from 2005 to 2007 — notably, this was actually the first time the TV series had ever been released on any home format in Japan. The sixth set was just released in North America this week, with the seventh and final set due in October.

Then there is Dragon Ball (Z) Kai, the “refreshed” version of the TV series created to celebrate its 20th anniversary in Japan. FUNimation began releasing this version of the series on both DVD and Blu-ray in 2010 (not to mention well-viewed airings on both Nicktoons and TheCW4Kids), and is expected to continue for a few more releases.

Most confusing of all is the fact that FUNimation has also recently revealed that a “season” set combining the first two volumes of their Kai release will see the light of day on 18 October 2011 on both DVD and Blu-ray, just a couple weeks before this new “1.1” Blu-ray release of the first version of the TV series hits store shelves, too.

This puts two new releases of the same footage on store shelves at the exact same time, alongside prior releases either still seemingly in-print (2007’s orange bricks) or still in-stock (2010’s Dragon Boxes), with one of them a re-package of the same material from a year prior (2010’s Kai first volume), itself possibly with a replaced soundtrack due to its Japanese background music debacle.

As of this posting, there is still a ton of information that is left unclear, or was phrased in a way vague enough to leave some doubt in our minds. Is this a new film transfer, or the same one done in 2007 that was also touted as a high-definition, 1080p transfer? Is new color adjustment work being done? If it is a new transfer, will it be cropped like the orange bricks, and was a new stock of film obtained? What exactly does “original FUNimation soundtrack” mean? Speaking of which, what type of audio masters are being used on each language track? To what extent is Toei in Japan involved with this process?

As always, more information will be posted as we get it!

Namco-Bandai and FUNimation are showing off the upcoming Ultimate Tenkaichi (PS3/360) down at Comic-Con in San Diego this weekend, and have a few new tidbits to pass along. Most of this has already been divulged via prior interviews, but it is nice to see things like the character creation mode and nods to Dragon Ball GT listed in the general press materials this time around:

  • Complete Character Creation & Customization – Appearance and attributes can be customized such as model body, face, hair, attire, fighting style and more! Additionally fighting style and special moves can be selected.
  • Enhanced Battle Mechanics – “Impact Break” system allows large scale environment destruction. Improved mechanics allow for faster long-to-short range fights. There is also an added health recovery system and a vast collection of more cinematic camera angles.
  • Deeper Brand Representation – Fight presentations more closely mirror the animation series. Battle against a new group of giant bosses as in the animation series. Experience 15 animated scenes with bosses up to 15x the size of playable characters! Also enjoy bonus level from movie and Dragon Ball GT series!

A third trailer for the game has also been made available:

Finally, check out a couple new screen shots below:

VegettoEX7:06 PM ESTPodcast

This week on our show we are joined by our comrade Herms to discuss “mistakes” in the most well-known of the guide books for the franchise, the daizenshuu. Are there truly mistakes in the books, however, or are these contradictions and questionable tidbits simply the work of fan mistranslations and over-active imaginations?

Download the show now, or head on over to the podcast page for more information or to subscribe.

Episode #0265! VegettoEX and Herms break down mistakes that appear in the most well-known guide books for the franchise (and our namesake!), the daizenshuu. Are they truly mistakes, though? What is actually wrong contradictory in the text, what is new information, and what have fans made up as false mistakes over time? Meri joins to banter about with what non-news there is, along with the rest of July’s releases!


VegettoEX3:14 PM ESTPodcast

This week on our show long-time reader and listener Drabaz joined us to talk about his custom Dragon Ball-themed level in LittleBigPlanet called “The Search for Shenlong’s Little Big Dragonballs!”

We also dove in to some listener questions about the Japanese language, dialect and speech pattern quirks, and even character names. Download the show now, or head on over to the podcast page for more information or to subscribe.

Episode #0264! VegettoEX and Julian discuss all the “Ultimate Tenkaichi” news you can eat and turn their attention to several listener questions about the Japanese language and speech patterns used in the series. Doug joins us for an interview about his custom LittleBigPlanet level called “The Search For Shenlong’s Little Big Dragonballs!”


Amazon is currently having a pretty ridiculous sale on FUNimation’s Dragon Box sets for the Dragon Ball ZTV series — the first six sets are $23.99, and pre-orders for the seventh (and final) set are down to $31.99!

It goes without saying that, for our audience, we could not possibly ask for anything better than this. By all accounts, if you have not already fleshed out your collection, you no longer have an excuse! As our buddy TanookiKuribo pointed out, the prices for these sets are below what we used to pay for three-episode single-disc volumes over a decade ago!

Amazon Japan has revealed the cover art for the upcoming Dragon Ball Z Special Selection DVD which is scheduled to be released 05 August 2011 for ¥1,000 (~$12.50). The release will consist of a single DVD containing the Bardock TV Special and Trunks TV Special. The actually DVD case will come packaged in a larger promotional cardboard box, as pictured below on the right. The DVD will come with two exclusive Dragon Ball Heroes special promotional cards featuring the DVD box art drawn by Tadayoshi Yamamuro which will be available only with this release.

The DVD will also come with a few extras, including a special comment from Akira Toriyama, a preliminary image archive collection covering the two TV specials, and a special Dragon Ball Heroes image of some sort. I imagine there will be some more information available on these extras as the release date approaches, so we will be sure to keep you updated!