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99 of 106 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Full frame releases would have been better, but what is here is so much better than people are giving it credit for.
Let me preface this. I'm in my thirties. I've got DBZ releases across Pioneer discs, Funimation single discs, Dragon Boxes, Orange Bricks, Funi Blu Rays and steelbooks of the movies, and now these new Blu Rays. I never got the Level sets, because the Dragon Boxes had just finished, it seemed kind of pointless at the time, but now I realize it's a shame that they cancelled...
Published 11 months ago by J. K. Baxter

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35 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars From someone who has done an extensive and time consuming comparison
I don't actually own this release, however I was able to borrow a friend's copy just so I would be able to give a (almost un-biased) review. For this review, I watched and compared episodes 1-34

Pros:
- In terms of picture quality, it is slightly less grainy than the Level 1.1 and 1.2 Blu-ray sets; but it's barely noticeable unless you looked very hard. In...
Published 12 months ago by J. Stephen Alderson


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99 of 106 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Full frame releases would have been better, but what is here is so much better than people are giving it credit for., February 5, 2014
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This review is from: Dragon Ball Z: Season 1 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Let me preface this. I'm in my thirties. I've got DBZ releases across Pioneer discs, Funimation single discs, Dragon Boxes, Orange Bricks, Funi Blu Rays and steelbooks of the movies, and now these new Blu Rays. I never got the Level sets, because the Dragon Boxes had just finished, it seemed kind of pointless at the time, but now I realize it's a shame that they cancelled full frame Blu Ray releases. But my point here, I'm going to try to make an argument FOR these Blu Rays, and I'm not new to this franchise, and I'm not an "accept everything and like it" fan. I may have bought some Orange Bricks, but I was not a fan of the cropping on those releases.

I received my Blu Ray of the first season, and after watching it, I popped in the first Dragon Box, and then individual discs of the Captain Ginyu saga to compare the openings, and the colors. The Dragon Boxes essentially look like VHS releases next to this. They're certainly nice to own, but I'm willing to do my next rewatch of the entire series in the new Blu Ray format. Also, the cropping isn't NEARLY as egregious on these season sets. It is handled much, much better than the Orange Bricks. Obviously, you are still losing image, but the episodes now pan and scan up and down, left and right, and fill in areas being lost. The Orange Bricks were simply a crop, dead center.

Yes, it's incredibly frustrating that the Dragon Boxes instantly went out of print. It's also almost a certainty that the uncut, full frame episodes will receive another release in the future, since we know Funimation will release the Dragon Ball franchise forever, and that's understandable, as it's the most bankable anime series of all time, arguably. There's also the bone that was thrown compiling all the Pioneer DVDs in the "Rock The Dragon" box set, which for many people fills their need to watch the (albeit edited versions of) episodes found on the first two Dragon Boxes, leading up to the Captain Ginyu releases on DVD, where many of us started buying the uncut DVD's many years ago, before the Orange Brick releases existed.
However, as far as the new Blu Rays go, if you despise the way they look, you probably already bought the Dragon Boxes. It's not as though there was a shortage of uncut, full frame Dragon Ball Z releases in the past, it's just that it was the process of compiling endless four episode single disc releases. There was also the unfortunate gap of the 30 or so late Saiyan Saga/early Namek Saga releases that can still only be filled by the Dragon Boxes if you want an original full frame presentation, uncut, with both languages. (There's also the matter of not having consistent, full frame releases of every episode with Faulconer's music score, for those that want it. ) But if you're the kind of fan who hates what is being done with the new remastering/matting/cropping, you bought those. If you didn't, then you'll probably just have to wait another two years until the next re-release, or buy DBZ Kai DVD's/Blu Rays.

Now, onto the remastering. It's become the accepted thing to do, if you're a hardcore fan, to say that they look awful. For me, the issue should just be aspect ratio, but not the remastering. I would have MUCH rather had these Blu Rays in 1:33.1, 4:3. But the new, bright colors? These are not the issue.
Show the comparison screenshots of Saibamen going around to 20 people who are not members of a DBZ message board, and ask what looks better, and 19 out of 20 will pick the remastered shot. It's incredibly insulting to say that these people are "low information idiots" or "they don't know anything about film". People are advocating grainy footage with a gray haze over it, or arguing that excessive grain maintains the integrity of the original material. Yes, the new hipster-y thing to do is claim that film grain is detail. Film grain is inherent in the "canvas", so to speak, when something is filmed. Film is the canvas for the animated image. But grain is not painted onto the original film CEL. If you've seen a film cel from an anime such as this, it's bright, and it's clean. As remastering pushes things more to what a clean, painted film cel looks like, people have now begun to cry "Where's the grain?" Think back to when DVD came out. If you had shown the old Saibamen shot as a VHS picture example, and the DVD release looked like the remaster, everyone would say "Look how clear it is! Look how DVD makes the colors pop!" Why the shift to wanting everything to look like a twenty year old VHS?

If you were worried about DBZ looking the way it did on 1989 on someone's TV in Japan, then you should be watching it on a tiny, standard definition TV. On VHS. In raw Japanese with no subtitles, since those weren't there for the original broadcast. And you wouldn't be watching an English dub, since that wasn't there for the original broadcast. Again, I get arguing for aspect ratio, but making something look bright and clean and giving the image new life is not a bad thing. The original masters exist. The VHS exists. The old DVDs exist. No one has thrown them all into a fire. This is like when a painting is restored. Look up the process of restoring old paintings, it's done to make them bright, clear, and make the image pop again.

The point of the new Blu Rays is to make DBZ look like a brand new show, even though it isn't. And again, since we've seen it in its original form, more or less, then it doesn't hurt to look at it the way it's never been seen before. (It also helps to consider this as making all of the episodes look like the 14 movies that were shown in widescreen, 13 of which were animated in 1.33:1, but intended to be shown widescreen.) If DBZ aired on TV next year on Cartoon Network, it'd probably look like these Blu Rays, and a whole spate of new fans would find out about it, etc. This is also curiously like what was done with Seinfeld, which has aired in a widescreen HD version for the past 5 or 6 years on HD TV channels. (I think Seinfeld was actually filmed on 32mm film stock and cropped to 1.33:1 for TV, actually, though.) I have never heard anyone complain about watching HD Seinfeld, though.

On a side note, a large % of the reviews here are from people who do not own this set, have not seen how this set looks besides a YouTube trailer, and many of them haven't purchased any DBZ. You'd be surprised how often you encounter message board posts where people keep "holding out for something better" every time DBZ is re-released, and admit that they own nothing of the previous releases. I really don't think Funimation is interested in the fans who don't spend money, and complain endlessly about every release.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DBZ Season 1 Blu-ray- A decent release with mixed results (honest review), January 30, 2014
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This review is from: Dragon Ball Z: Season 1 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This review is mainly on the Blu-ray itself. (which I own a copy of, AND actually had seen a few episodes) All I can say about this show is that it may not be my favorite show, but I did grew up with this title when I was a kid (not this much) and it has its moments. At times, the fillers that were not in the original Manga can make the show drag... a lot. I recommend people to read the manga for the best experience, but the anime is still a good show to watch.

In regards to the releases: Funimation never ceases on milking this title since the 90's, from VHS, DVD's to now Blu-ray. Before discussing this set, I would like to discuss my earlier experiences with the earlier sets starting with the Season Set DVDs made years ago. (the next paragraph would start the analysis of this new release for those that only want to know about this.)
- The "Orange Brick" DVDs were the first to have the entire series in 9 affordable box sets with controversial video framing and restoration, the worst being the widescreen cropping. From my memory, it wasn't that great of cropping, and its details and colors were troubling. It included 3 audio versions (the Original language and the newly-revised Funimation Dub [both in 5.1 mix with original Japanese music and 2.0 with American Broadcast music heard mainly on Toonami at the time]). The Marathon Mode was a nice feature (no need to revisit the opening, the ending, and "previously on" segments all the time).
- Then came the "Dragon Boxes" which corrected what should have been: A faithful (though still questionable, in regards to the colors) restoration from Toei Animation and Pony Canyon in 2003, the 2.0 American Soundtrack mix dropped for better video quality, leaving the original language and 5.1 mix, and presented in 7 well-made boxes nearly replicating the original imported Dragon Boxes. Needless to say, the video quality was superior than the previous boxes. It felt better seeing this than the previous sets. It also had "Next-Time previews" that were never aired nor presented before on American DVDs. Unfortunately, these were not dubbed for these previews. Like the imported box sets, these sets were definitely limited edition. These can now be hard to get if one wants all 7 boxes.
- In 2011, Funimation at one point decided to be generous to the fans, and provided Blu-ray sets called the "Level Sets". These used newly-transfered restorations from Funi that retained the film grain, kept the original aspect ratio, got rid of most of the dirt and damage, and provided quite possibly the best version of DBZ out there. I couldn't believe the quality that this set provided. Only problem? Funimation had to cancel the sets all together after releasing 2 sets due to what they state "high costs of restorations". Will Funi go back to do this and continue from there? ... oh, if only.

2 years after the release/cancellation of the Level Sets, Funimation is releasing the show again on Blu-ray, this time in affordable packaging featuring the same amount of episodes from the orange Boxes, now referred to as the Blue Boxes (Seems that Funi would be able to provide the entire series this time around with pre-orders of future sets made.) What will people now get with this, and future, set(s)?
1) Another cropped widescreen release. ... but not as bad as it seems. As stated in the press releases, Frame-by-frame pan-and-scanning was used to not crop out the important information. It's now better than the orange sets, and at times, you wouldn't mind seeing this in widescreen rather than the 1.33:1 ratio. And I almost thought that Funi would use the troublesome HD source used for the Orange Sets. It's that tolerable. ... except for the End Credits. Severely cropped further. No joke, it's actually that bad. The opening is cropped nice but not the ending? ... why bother?
2) HEAVY (distracting) DNR. This is mainly the one negative thing about this set. At times, you might not notice the issue. Other times though, it's beyond intolerable. I've seen better handling on DNR through other titles. Depending on the scene, it can get very distracting. Why bother removing the grain entirely if it makes the picture quality worse? (same question to the Orange sets, but this is a Blu-ray release! Meaning more flaws detected! The Orange DVD sets had DNR also, but somehow, it looks more washed-up. Guess they shouldn't have give artificial sharpening on this.) I now question Funimation's quality control in regards to the balance of grain. Again, it's not always the case throughout the episodes, but depending on the screen size and technology on your HDTV, it can look bad at times.
3) Color and Detail. The colors can look nice (not the colors of the Dragon Boxes, but at least it mostly looks natural), and detail is a step-up from the Orange sets (despite the harsh DNR applied). Most of the dirt and dust has been removed, another sign that it's not the same HD master that was used in the Orange Boxes. Not that much to say in this area.
4) Like the level sets, this contains the 3 audio tracks from the DVDs in Lossless Dolby TrueHD. (even the original language which is mainly in mono!) The Audio quality is, as expected, the best I've ever heard. The original language is sadly (and strangely) muffled, but I guess not much could be done on the original language version. Not a lot of complaining here. Subtitles included for translation of original language. The differences between the original translated subtitles and the Funimation dubs can be staggering.
5) Marathon Mode is back (like in the Level Sets). Nice.

In the end, it's not the release we wanted (in fact, it's the complete opposite of the Level Set/Dragon Boxes), but it's good enough for those that aren't that picky on the video quality. I'm not a hard-core fan of this, as some are in the fandom, so I wouldn't complain much for this release. The pricing is very justifiable, so I guess, for what it is, it's a decent release. A huge upgrade to the Orange Boxes thankfully, but a step-back from previous (and better) releases. Here's hoping that Funi can at least improve the quality for these future sets.
If it sells well, fans might get a more faithful release like how the Dragon Boxes went though thanks to the sales of the orange boxes... along with Dragon Ball and GT Blu-ray sets.
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63 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personally My Favorite Release So Far. . ., January 15, 2014
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This review is from: Dragon Ball Z: Season 1 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I may not be, as many would call it, a "true" DBZ fan, considering my rather late interest in the series. I just started watching this a few years ago when I bought the orange brick sets on DVD. I know, I know. . . They apparently suck and aren't the real deal, but that's what I first experienced the show on. That said, I can only really offer my opinion on this release in comparison to those versions I HAVE seen. So, here goes. . .

Video Quality: The moment I received my purchase, I set out to compare the quality to that of the DVD sets I had in my possession at the time. The Blu-ray, I set to my 720p screen, while I had the DVD playing on my 1080. Even with the reduced resolution, the difference was obvious. Colors and line-work were much, much clearer, no sign of blotches or dust marks, and even much of the odd frame shaking had been reduced. It was still there, that's sure, but there was significantly less of it. Lastly, the cropping, which is what everyone is complaining about, was done better in this release than in its orange brick counterpart. They did a better job focusing on the characters and important parts of the video rather than haphazardly cutting off the edges as before.

Sound Quality: While watching the DVDs, I noted a lot of fluctuation in the volume. Some segments were quieter, while others were louder (this is much more noticeable while wearing headphones). The blu-ray set, however, did not have this issue. The sound quality is much clearer and less static-ridden (particularly in the mid-episode transitions).

Overall Presentation: The box itself is much more conveniently small and compact than the DVDs and the discs are organized in the fashion standard to blu-ray, which, in my opinion, is easier to manage than the awkward overlapping arrangement found in the Orange brick sets. Additionally, there are (as one would expect) more episodes per disc, thereby reducing the number of physical discs in the set, so you don't have to switch out your discs quite as often.

So there you have it. A review from a standpoint not colored by nostalgic attachment or a generally biased dislike for FUNimation's involvement in this series. I hope this helps your decision on whether or not to buy this set.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best release of DBZ forever, January 17, 2014
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This review is from: Dragon Ball Z: Season 1 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This release is awesome.. no grains like (level sets) no pink skin like (Dragon Boxs) and Super QUALITY.

Pick it up now if you're a fan of the series.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those who are insulting the cropping, February 17, 2014
This review is from: Dragon Ball Z: Season 1 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Let me start by saying season 1 is the only one that I really remember in the original format, because it seems like it was the one that always played the most. Now the cropping really is not bad at all, a lot of the comparison videos I have seen of the 4:3 compared to the 16:9 is a joke it is not that bad at all, yes there is a fair amount cropped out, but what is cropped out is not important details at all, and what is added to the sides always felt like the details are a little more important.

With that being said I highly recommend this product, especially for those who are just getting into the dragon ball series, the video quality is incredible, and the colors are very true. For the most part nothing is over or under saturated. And piccollo DOES NOT look like a green highlighter.

It would have be nicer if it was restored with just adding footage to the sides instead of taking some off the top and bottom and adding a little to the sides, but all in all it still looks great.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Buy, January 10, 2014
This review is from: Dragon Ball Z: Season 1 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Dragon Ball Z looks beautiful on Blu-ray. It has its downsides such as being cropped, but it's a small price to pay for the audio and video quality you get with Blu-ray. If you haven't already bought Dragon Ball Z on DVD I highly recommend picking this up.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great release in HD, February 8, 2014
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This review is from: Dragon Ball Z: Season 1 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This set is great. The menu is really nice, showing the differences from the grainy old film to the current transfer. It was put together really well with nice packaging and artwork. I know there is an issue with it being in 16x9 rather than 4x3 but I am fine with it. The picture is so clear for its age and the audio is top notch. Any DBZ fan would love this release, even with it's lack of 4x3.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely packaged, highly enjoyable., January 18, 2014
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This review is from: Dragon Ball Z: Season 1 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I have been really enjoying this Blu-Ray release of the first season of Dragonball. I am watching it with the Funimation cast and the original Japanese music (my personal favorite voice cast and music)

While I think ideally I would have preferred the original aspect ratio the cropping has been done tastefully and has not been distracting or prevented me from being fully immersed in the show. The artifact and noise reduction (while perhaps a little overzealous at times when it comes to noise) has resulted in a generally consistent, extremely clean, vibrant video that is an absolute joy to watch. The bright, vibrant colors are greatly appreciated. At times, it's almost hard to believe that the animation is at old as it is. I honestly can't imagine the series ever looking much better.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu Ray is Best, February 13, 2014
This review is from: Dragon Ball Z: Season 1 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The picture and audio quality is superb. This is the best version of DBZ I've seen. If don't have it yet, change that now!
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars yo its awesome!!!, January 11, 2014
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This review is from: Dragon Ball Z: Season 1 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I own and love this! The picture quality is beautiful. As far as i can see there's no image cutting, plus you know that the pictures move and pan so in 2 seconds you see what you may have missed in the last frame. LOL . Plus i don't know if you guys know this, but the characters hair styles are the same from episode to episode. so quit crying about the editing. I want funimation to finish this!!!!
Good call on this sets name Dragon Ball Z - Blu-ray. All that 1.0 and 1.2 blu-ray garbage was a bad choice and hurt sales, but this time funimation please finish i will buy them all.
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Dragon Ball Z: Season 1 [Blu-ray]
Dragon Ball Z: Season 1 [Blu-ray] by Kent Williams (Blu-ray - 2013)
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