Home Video Guide

Over the years we’ve seen Dragon Ball home video releases evolve along with ever-changing media formats, from VHS videocassette tapes and LaserDiscs, to DVD discs, and then finally to the more recent high-definition Blu-ray discs. As these video technologies changed, so did the complexity and available content for these releases. While the early VHS format allowed for hard-coded video only, the later DVD and Blu-ray formats gave way to the inclusion of multiple audio tracks, subtitles, and alternate angles along with the video content itself. Unlike more recent anime series, the Dragon Ball franchise has endured nearly every major home video format, making its releases ripe with history.

While many fans are aware that the Dragon Ball TV series’ are available in both Japan and North America, some may not realize just how contrastingly different their release histories actually are. Although the majority of the TV series’ were released on VHS in North America almost immediately after their initial broadcast, the VHS releases were quickly abandoned in favor of the DVD format’s improved video quality and versatility to include subtitles. Of course with the improved video formats came new video technology, which ultimately led to some interesting “remastering” issues in North America. However, in Japan the leap from broadcast to home video was not quite so quick, as it wouldn’t be until early 2003, nearly 17 years after the Dragon Ball TV series was first broadcast, that any of the TV series’ were even available on home video in Japan. The TV series releases in Japan actually skipped VHS tapes entirely and jumped straight to DVD, with only the movies ever receiving VHS and LaserDisc releases. North America was also the first to release one of the original TV series in a high-definition Blu-ray format, albeit Japan had already ventured into the high-definition arena with its “refreshed” Dragon Ball Kai series.

With numerous releases spanning multiple formats in these two regions, it has become quite hard to track down exactly what release is what. For that reason, this guide has been created to archive all Japanese and North American home video releases on the more readily available DVD and Blu-ray formats. The guide includes pertinent background information for each release, along with specific product information, such as cover art, retail price, release date, and the product’s contents.