Customer Reviews: Dragon Ball Z: Season 1 (Vegeta Saga)
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on August 27, 2007
Quick Facts: I'm 27, been a fan of Dragon Ball Z since 1999, and a fan of anime since 1992. I'm very picky about uncut anime, and I always prefer the original aspect ratio. I dislike English dubs as most any anime fan does. This is my first review of a DVD.

Video: FUNimations claims this is a widescreen transfer from the original video. Dragonball Z fans are screaming the original video was cropped to make it widescreen. I've spent the last 2 days with WinDVD and Photoshop to confirm or disprove this. Anyone who does image editing knows that cropping a 4:3 image to 16:9 can be really dramatic. After watching 67 episodes of this new release from FUNimation, I wasn't completely convinced about the transfer being cropped from it's original 4:3 aspect ratio. Dragonball Z fans are correct to say the widescreen transfer is cropped, but they also would need to admit to that the 4:3 broadcast we fans know and love was also cropped! The widescreen transfer has extended video on the left and right that was cropped for the original 4:3 TV broadcast some 18 years ago. A time when 4:3 televisions were standard. In recent times, 16:9 televisions have taken over, and we're much more widescreen oriented. The original animation aspect ration I got when I was done sizing and layering the images over each other from the 4:3 and 16:9 gave me a 16:11 aspect ratio. This my Dragon Ball Z fans... Seems to be the ORIGINAL size. 16:11 though won't look all that great on any TV set. Also makes sense though since animators make the original larger so when transferring the animation to video, there's room to play with so you don't have random spots missing on the sides, top and bottom. So if you have to ask yourself if this is a legitmate 16:9 transfer or some 4:3 cropped (cut/edited) video, the real answer is... It's a legimate 16:9 transfer. Both the 4:3 and the 16:9 are cropped from the original... In the end, it depends on personal preference.

The video was supposedly cleaned up, and the colors remastered. Personally, For the most part, I see an increased brightness on the video, which actually does look better. They did clean up the video and removed grain and video noise. All in all, the remastered picture looks better compared to the original DVDs that FUNimation released.

Audio: I can't say much about the sound quality since I'm using my computer for the time being. Just moved, and have yet to hook up my home theater again. FUNimation is releasing this with 3 settings. The original Japanese language and music. Nothing seems to have changed between the original DVDs and this release. For those who watch DBZ subbed only, I see no change at all. The second option is the English dub with the Japanese music. This is actually quite interesting, and I give credit for this addition! In this rare instance, I have always like the dubs for Dragon Ball Z, so having the option to watch it with the original music is great. If that isn't enough though, this new way to watch the series is in Dolby Digital 5.1. Then there's the third option which is the English dub with the US music done by Bruce Faulconer in stereo. I guess doing this in 5.1 would have taken too much time.

The dub was also redone for whatever reason. After comparing the original DVDs vs the new ones, the older ones sometimes seem a bit more consistent with what was originally being said. One quick example would be this...

Japanese Audio: Vegeta "I suppose"
Original English Dub: Vegeta "I guess so"
New English Dub: Vegeta "Shut up!"

Why FUNimation went out of the way to do a whole new dub, I have no idea... This seems to be wasteful of production time, or maybe they can't use the original dub anymore. Why FUNimation does anything at times is beyond my understanding. They have time to redub the series, but they can't make the English dub with the US music in 5.1...

The menus on these discs are light years ahead of the original DVDs FUNimation released, with much more chapter points, and the MARATHON option which allows you to watch all the episodes on a disc straight through without the opening/closing between the episodes. More like watching a movie than episode after episode, having to skip after each one.

The packaging of the discs in the case is rather nice. Seems upon collection the series, you can line them up for a large "DRAGONBALL Z" title! Each season comes with a small booklet with character information, episode information, etc.

Also want to note that according to FUNimation, this video was remastered on HD 1080/24p. This doesn't mean the discs are HD and can optimize the new HDMI 1.3, but it does show that 1080/24p mastering is being done, and we're probably not far off from seeing this much more commonly done and seeing HDDVDs with actual 1080/24p video as TVs are now coming out with HDMI 1.3.

I hope this information helps people looking to possibly buy this series or in the case I'm in, buy it again for the remastered video and widescreen version. Also much more compact compared to dozens of standard DVD cases!

Giving this 4 stars. Why not 5? Because there is still room for improvement. The new dub doesn't always seem to fit, and in comparison to the actual translation of what was being said, it's like comparing black and white. FUNimation was always lousy about the dub translation, and there's little excuse for rebubbing the series and making it just as poor as the first time around. Making the English Dub with Japanese music 5.1, but the US music in 2.0 is another point away from me. While this doesn't change anything for me, if they had the time to redub and upscale to 5.1 for the Japanese music, it seems to me they should have taken the time to upscale the US music track too. Lazy? Additionally, they should have some slight explanation of the widescreen transfer included. The extras on the discs are meaningless.

For the price these new box sets go for... It's an unbeatable deal for the series and Dragon Ball Z fans.
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on February 2, 2007
"Dragon Ball Z" is the most controversial anime ever made. Not for reasons because of questionable content in the vein of "Evangelion," "Cowboy Bebop," and "Koi Kaze" (though the show is very violent), but just in various different arguments. Some people feel that "Dragon Ball Z" represents the best anime has to offer, while other people believe that "Dragon Ball Z" represents the worst anime has to offer. Add into the fact that "Dragon Ball Z" has had one of the most questionable dubs of all time, and (along with "Sailor Moon") helped make anime popular in the USA (before "Pokemon" and "Yu-Gi-Oh!" painted anime as thirty minute toy commercials). With a reputation like that, "Dragon Ball Z" is certainly one of the most important animes ever made, but the show has been a hassle to buy if you were a fan of the show. Released in overpriced DVD's that retailed for $25 each and contained three episodes a piece, one had to buy at least SEVENTY DVD's before they could get all of "Dragon Ball Z" on DVD!

Add in the fact that the episodes were released out of order, and you'll see that buying "Dragon Ball Z" on DVD has certainly been one frustrating experience for many people (myself included). Now FUNimation is re-releasing "Dragon Ball Z" one more time in season box sets. These sets are supposed to be the ultimate release of the show, and the release hardcore fans have been waiting for. In some ways they are correct in this statement, and in some ways they are dead wrong. Like everything "Dragon Ball Z" related, the release of "Dragon Ball Z: Season One" is such a mixed blessing/curse that there is no way to be straightforward about the release. These DVD's are supposed to represent "Dragon Ball Z" as restored from a master print, with three sound options (Japanese mono, English surround, and English with original Japanese score), and remastered in high definition widescreen.

I'll talk about the widescreen remastering first since this aspect of the DVD is the most controversial (and with good reason). In case you didn't know, "Dragon Ball Z" was first aired in 1984. The show was animated in full screen, as widescreen TV shows didn't really exist back then. To achieve the widescreen scope this DVD presents, the image has been cropped at the top and the bottom, therefore losing about 20% of the image. This has caused the biggest problem with the release as a good portion of the show either looks cropped, poorly photographed, and sometimes silly and/or odd. The show almost never obtains the "cinematic look" FUNimation claims it's supposed to look with the new widescreen transfer, and even the most casual fan will find several shots in the show that look at the very least strange. Granted, it's not like you always feel like your missing something, but enough of the image is lost where you defiantly notice something is off.

The sound is fine. If you're watching the show in English FUNimation has given the show a brand new 5.1 surround sound mix, which sounds excellent on a surround sound system. If you're like me though, and prefer to watch the show in it's original Japanese language track, you'll find the same mono track that was presented on all the other single disk releases of the show. With (what surely sounds like) a fatal flaw when it comes to the viewing of the show, many of you may be wondering why you'd want to bother with the show at all. Well, two things: Picture and price. Yes, the display of the show may be the biggest problem for this show, but the restoration is also one of the brightest things about the DVD. While not perfect, "Dragon Ball Z" has never looked this good before on DVD. The colors are mostly perfect, and the tone is very consistent, with only some grain to be found in certain spots. Regardless what you think of the widescreen presentation, the look of the picture is excellent.

Then there's the fact that this DVD set retails for $50 and contains the first 39 episodes. I remember spending $20 on a "Dragon Ball Z" DVD with three episodes on it. If you bought the single disk releases on sale for $16 each (and this is being generous, as most single disk "Dragon Ball Z" DVD's will cost you $20 easily), then you'd spend around $250 by the time you got up to episode 39. Considering you can get "Dragon Ball Z: Season One" on sale for $30-$35 at most places, this is the cheapest "Dragon Ball Z" has ever been on DVD. At this rate, $250 will get you the whole show. All 291 episodes for what you would originally pay for the privilege to own 39 episodes. Despite the issues with the widescreen, it's hard to argue when the savings are that huge. Whether or not the widescreen issue is enough to scare you away from this DVD is entirely up to you.

Re-watching the show again after I hadn't seen it for several years has made me see it in an entirely different light. It no longer seems to be the greatest action show I remember it to be. Some of the fights are rather silly looking, there are stretches of time that contain way too much filler, and several episodes early on in the show seem to wasting time while they are waiting for the story to come around. That said, when the show is good it's very good. Character development in these early episodes is excellent, there are many heartbreaking moments, and to actually go back to when Goku wasn't a Super Saiyan is a revelation as it shows me that it was more interesting to see these characters grow stronger then it was to watch them...well, BE stronger! It's not a perfect show, but a good portion of the episodes on this set do hold up quite well, and there's a reason we'll still be watching "Dragon Ball Z" several years from now. Maybe in ten years the show will be revisited in a much better HD-DVD or Blu-Ray set. For now though, I think I can live with these sets. On that note though, why is Vegeta on the cover for Season One while Goku gets banished to being on the cover of Season Two?
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on April 5, 2008
Well first, I would like to say that I own the COMPLETE original Dragonball Z DVD's that Funimation originally released. If you are wondering which to buy, then I will try to be of some help.

This particular season, was re-released by Funimation, the voices were re-done to be that of the Frieza Saga and beyond (all of you may know that Vegeta and Goku's voices sounded kind of wimpy when Pioneer did them). There are episodes that were NOT released to DVD originally by Pioneer, and these are all un-cut. Now lots of people are saying that this is "cropped", I have yet to notice them, yes, you did lose some screen on the top and bottom, but have you ever tried watching the 4:3 format of DBZ on a HDTV? It looks awful, it is very pixel lated, and blurry and whenever they do a Energy blast, you can see freckles around it. If you have a Wide-screen TV and want these again, buy these, you will NOT be disappointed. The colors are amazing to say the least, and you cannot even tell that it is being cropped if you are watching it on a widescreen TV as I said before. Now if you still own a 4:3 TV and want DBZ, and HATE the black bars on the top and bottom of your TV, these may not be for you.
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on February 8, 2007
I recently purchased and watched this set, and thus feel like typing up this review. I will try to remain relatively objective throughout the review, but if you feel as though I am being to subjective, I urge you to not continue (wherever you feel as though I may be biased).

First, let me say that I rather like this release. I've never seen all the episodes of the Vegeta saga before (I did see a good number of episodes on CN though, of the Ultimate Uncut Edition), so this is a pretty new experience for me. I watched this one my 32" Panasonic TC-32LX60 LCD HDTV, though I watched it in 480i playing on my Panasonic DVDS52S DVD Player, in proper 16x9 Widescreen, so as the black bars would not appear. I liked the visuals and the audio. I rather prefer the English Dub cast over the Japanese Dub cast, and the English Dub seems even better with the Japanese music. Once again, let me say that I am rather pleased with this set.

Now, there are some flaws with the set. Many of you may have heard this before, so skipping over it might save you some time. Seeing as Dragonball Z was originally broadcast as 4x3 show, with no 16x9 version ever available before, FUNimation had either 2 options: to either stretch the picture or crop it. They went with the latter. Do not be deceived, you are losing picture from the top and bottom. About 20% of each initial frame is lost You do get some added to the sides of each frame, but it is rather minimal in comparison. A stark 3-4% is the picture that appears on the sides, and it is rather unnecessary. Overall, you are losing more picture than you gain. There are also a number of shots where you may notice some dirt and glue running over. If you intended to see the show as it was ORIGINALLY intended to be seen, you will not.

Now after that, do I consider this release bad? No, I do not. I admit, it could have been better. A better set would have been the footage FUNimation cropped dubbed into English, along with the other options of the Japanese Dub with Japanese music, and English Dub with previously used English music presented in a 4x3 format. The ideal set would have been the Dragonbox masters, with the same audio and langauage options ins this set, with the OPTION of Widescreen (for those that would have wanted to see it as such), all at the price this set is being sold for. But we must make due with what we have. And what we have is, in my opinion, a good release.

Though not much of an actual "remastering" process has been done with this set, FUNimation did spruce it up a bit from their previous releases (keep in mind, everything in this paragraph is my opinion, your opinion may very well differ). FUNimation has changed the colors up a bit, making it a lot better. The audio is absolutely wonderful, sounds very nice, and is by far the best I've heard in any Dragonball related release (note that I only saw the English Dub with Japanese music). Overall, I would rate it as FUNimation's best release of these episodes though. When comparing to the episodes I have seen the Ultimate Uncut Edition of the Vegeta saga episodes that aired on CN about 1-2 years earlier, I prefer this by a large margin.

Now this set isn't for everybody. If you insist on watching it as it was ORIGINALLY inteded to be seen, then you may not want to purchase it. I do urge everyone that is reading this to at least check it out, but hey, if you feel you do not wish, that is your choice, and I hope no one forces you to watch it against your will. For those that wish to see these episodes in its English Dub format with the Japanese music, this may be a nice little option, and I find it rather enjoyable.

Now if FUNimation decided to reuse the footage that's present in this iteration, but maintain it in its 4x3 format and re-released it, would I purchase it? No, I would not. If FUNimation licensed the Dragonbox masters and released those, would I purchase it? Most likely, assuming the price isn't too high. Will I continue to purchase these 16x9 season sets if FUNimation keeps pumping them out? Yes, I will support this until the end, and I do hope FUNimation releases the series in its entirety in this format, since they've already started it.

Well, thanks for reading my review (whoever's left). I hope that I've helped in your ultimate decision on the importance of purchasing this set yourself.
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on August 28, 2013
I have been a long time fan of DBZ. In fact, I want to collect all versions of DBZ. I thought that these Orange Brick box sets is the first thing I should buy first. They are inexpensive, and $20 bucks seems like a great deal, right? But sadly, you get what you pay for.

There has been a lot of controversy over the Orange Brick box sets. The reason why this is, is because people are misinformed, and I can only imagine why. I'll have a list of the pros and cons of this product down below


. $20, inexpensive, cheap
. Bruce Faulconer soundtrack for english dub fans.
. Original Japanese Mono and soundtrack.
. Simple title screen.
. All 39 episodes.

. Horribly Remastered
. In some cases, there is Grain Removal to the point where almost all details, and sometimes faces, have disappeared
. NOT HD. DVD's CAN NOT BE IN ANYWAY, HAVE A RESOLUTION OF 720p AND 1080p. On a Blu-Ray player, it may have HD like quality, BUT IT IS NOT HD.
. Cropped to a 16:9 Aspect Ratio(Widescreen)to fit your TV. That may sound good, but it's not. If you didn't know, DBZ originally aired in a 4:3 aspect ratio(Normal screen.) Meaning that it fitted most TV's in the early 90's and late 80's. So what happens when you crop a video meant for 4:3 to 16:9. Well, I'll let you take a guess.

Overall, if your looking for a version DBZ, buy Kai or the Dragon Box's. Sure they might be more expensive, but because of that you get a nicer, cleaner, better quality product then the Orange Bricks.

But if you want to collect all 3 versions, I recommend all 3. Simply because there basically the same show, just different versions. This has been my first review on a product, so I know I probably could do better, but I hope this review helps you.
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on April 21, 2011
I bought this off Amazon to watch in New Zealand. The DVDs are multi-regional (1, 2, 4) so this is very convenient for us Southern Hemespherians (is that a word?) at an unbeatable price!

>>First off, this box set kicks butt.
If you don't know much about the DBZ DVD releases, this set is referred to as "orange box". It's a remastered copy of the japanese episodes. Yes, there's real fighting. The days of seeing a raised fist and then someone flying off, are over! This is how Toriyama wanted viewers to see his anime. No more PG editing scrubbing out all the good stuff.

>>Ok so the technical aspects.
The footage has been cropped down to 16x9 (widescreen) from 4x3. This effectively means there is image at the top and bottom missing. This can be noticeable but never so bad that someones head is cut off during an important dialogue so don't worry. To compensate, there is some additional image on the sides (but only a percent or two). So why this cropped version instead of the 4x3 "dragon (yellow) box"? The audio. DBZ is the one and only anime where the english dub is better than the japanese. My preferred audio option is the English 2.0 With Music. It just suits better with some electronic/rocky music in a fight scene than japanese triangles and flutes. Dragon box does not have this audio option. Watch this on a widescreen tv. My preferable setup is running off a laptop with media player classic so you can remove the blackbars. Don't zoom on your TV remote to remove the blackbars or you'll miss out on a lot of picture.

>>The DVDs and boxset
For all those collectors out there, the DVDs come in a "photobook" of sorts, all nicely packed with an information booklet (containing some art, character bios and episode summaries). The photobook comes inside printed cardboard sleevebox. This is wrapped up in plastic. Each DVD has around 7 episodes, watcheable as seperate episodes or in "marathon mode" (with the opening and ending cut)

>>The episodes
This boxset effectively covers the saiyan saga from episode 1 to 39. The broadcast version most people watched as kids were only 28 episodes so do the math and thats 10 episodes of content you missed out on! Each episode is around 25 mins and includes an opening, intermission and closing. If these irritate you, just go "marathon".

>>The verdict
I give this orange box set a 4/5. Four and not five because of the cropping. However I'd rate the dragon box 4/5 too because of the missing audio track. So orange box or dragon box? I say orange. DBZ Kai has also been released and is coming down to some decent prices. It's re-done the footage and re-dubbed the audio to "cut all filler content" and moves at around 3 times the speed! Maybe a bit too quick.
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on March 11, 2014
I bought this because I heard it was the best option available for DBZ fans to re-watch the show and I am satisfied with my purchase. The only issue I have, along with everyone else, is that it's in widescreen and to get it in widescreen they cut 20% of the picture so the cropping was rather annoying to deal with. Does it completely ruin the quality of the Orange Brick set? No.

I would still recommend buying the Orange Bricks because it reminds me of the classic DBZ when it originally aired, The show that I absolutely loved to watch and still do, and I easily found myself watching multiple episodes in one sitting. So yes the Orange Bricks are the best and cheapest way to re-watch this classic show.

If you want top notch visual quality though then the Blu-Rays are for you, Keep in mind though that the cropping issue is still there and you will have to wait a while for all the seasons because they only have seasons 1 through 3 out.
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on July 28, 2015
Man child checking in! I bought this whenever I seen it. I just had to own this. There is just something cool about owning this set. I love the box art, and I love having access to my favorite episodes. It is just how I remember it.

The fighting is awesome, more so than what I remember. The remastered version is even better than watching it as a child. With the fighting your adrenaline increases and you get goosebumps. The photobook is awesome and contains all kinds of information fans of the series would love.
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on March 8, 2007
FUNimation's latest release acts as a slap in the face to fans of the series. After 6 years of DVD releases, which consisted of 79 discs at approximately $2,000 retail, FUNimation has pulled the rug out from underneath the very fans that helped them establish their position as a respected anime company. Now, fans who had 251 episodes out of 291 will never be able to complete their collections legally.

The release itself consists of 39 episodes which have been cropped, losing 20% of their original vertical resolution. While this is often minor details such as hair and so forth, during high-octane fight scenes entire characters can lose the majority of their bodies and half of their heads. This is most definitely NOT the way the series was intended to be seen.

As DragonBall/Z/GT is being mastered from 16mm film, it is essentially a 4:3 presentation (it is slightly larger, but nowhere near a widescreen aspect ratio). FUNimation, in conjunction with Video Post & Transfer, have destroyed the original framing of the series by carelessly cropping it to widescreen. While people seem to mock those who are angry about this, proclaiming the details lost to be only "hair and feet," in truth the detail gained is usually even less (5% which tends to consist of rocks, clouds, etc.). In addition, the cropping makes the action scenes very claustrophobic.

In addition to the above, FUNimation and VP&T have destroyed a great deal of detail in the digital print by applying Digital Video Noise Reduction (DVNR) by way of an automated process. This results in the series looking like a pastel painting and even causes some lines in the animation to disappear completely in certain scenes (such as Nappa's teeth, Goku's face and more). This completely eliminates the point in doing an HD transfer, as the purpose is to capture more detail not to destroy it. Add to this the obvious changes to contrast and color balance, which cause humorous problems such as Gohan flashing blue when bursting out of Raditz's spacepod, and you have a release that is truly worthy of laughter.

The worst part, however, is FUNimation's advertising techniques and the very documentary on this disc. FUNimation has tried desperately to sell this set on lies and insults, such as trying to insinuate that overscan has anything to do with why the show should be cropped. In truth, my television (which is a Pioneer Elite PRO-910HD widescreen plasma) has 2.5% overscan on all sides, meaning I lose 25% of the vertical picture and gain *nothing* horizontally. My television is also fairly high end, as you can verify by looking online. Also, the fact that FUNimation and VP&T felt the need to fabricate the scenes with grain (the framerates of the 'clean' footage and the grain don't match, see for yourself) serves only to insult our intelligence more.

This release embarasses me and it should embarass FUNimation. I've been a fan of the series for 12 years now. I own all the DragonBoxes from Japan because I wanted the series *truly* remastered and not just automatically filtered. I truly had hope that FUNimation would produce a set that was worthy of those who helped them become a force in the world of anime production, however after 7 years FUNimation still hasn't learned.

This release is insulting to the original animators of DragonBall Z, the fans of DragonBall Z and to FUNimation themselves, who have proven they are capable of much more than this. If you want to be respected as a fan and as a consumer, don't buy this set. Don't send FUNimation the message that we like being lied to and will accept whatever they toss us. Just remember, whatever they may say, numbers don't lie. We're losing a net 15% of DBZ. And seriously, who wants that?
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on November 25, 2015
I have no problem with this item specifically. It is a great show and a great price and I have ended up buying all of the seasons. However, my complaint is with the seller. EVERY single season I have purchased of this series has come with a razor blade slice through the DVD box cover. At first I ignored it and figured it was an accident in shipping, but for the remaining seasons to all come the same way?

I ended up not bothering to return/replace my copies, but it was a little astonishing that the seller had a low quality of shipping.
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