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Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part 8(TV) (2011)
The last descendants of an evil race of warriors known as the Saiyans are on a collision course with Earth, and Goku - the strongest fighter on the planet - is all that stands between humanity and extinction. To save his friends and the world he loves, Goku must travel to a realm from which few return, but should he survive, he'll discover the power to face the villainous Saiyan warlord - Prince Vegeta.
For more about Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part 8 and the Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part 8 Blu-ray release, see Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part 8 Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on June 9, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: Yasuhiro Nowatari
Starring: Masako Nozawa, Ryō Horikawa, Toshio Furukawa, Mayumi Tanaka, Hiromi Tsuru, Tōru Furuya
» See full cast & crew
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part 8 Blu-ray Review
Is this really the end?
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, June 9, 2012
And so it's finally come down to this. After seven previous volumes of Dragon Ball Z Kai (see below), we're finally at the endgame. Has it been worth it? That of course will be up to individual viewers, but for those who have stuck with the series through 98 (but who's counting?) episodes will at the very least have a feeling of accomplishment that they've reached the end of a very long journey. Dragon Ball Z Kai advertised itself as "All Action! No Filler!", and while this revamped version of Dragon Ball Z certainly is nowhere near as lengthy as the original series (which had an astounding 291 episodes), it can't be plausibly denied that even Kai went off on its own amount of tangents as it wended its way through the saga of Gohan, Goku and various other combatants as the future of Mankind hangs in the balance. My colleague Dustin Somner and I have reviewed all of the previous volumes of Dragon Ball Z Kai, and for those who might want a relatively brief summation of the "story so far", here are links to those reviews:
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part One Blu-ray review
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Two Blu-ray review
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Three Blu-ray review
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Four Blu-ray review
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Five Blu-ray review
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Six Blu-ray review
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Seven Blu-ray review
As with my previous reviews, I'll give very brief recaps of each of the ten episodes included on this final set, hopefully without posting any major spoilers. However, please be aware that it's impossible to discuss the final episodes without giving away at least a few elements of interest and/or surprise, so for those who haven't seen these episodes and want to retain their "blissful ignorance", it's probably best to skip directly to the technical aspects of the review, listed below. The episodes in this set are:
Episode 89: "Battle at the Highest Level! Goku Goes All Out!" We of course pick right up with the epic battle between Goku and Cell which was a fulcrum of the last volume's closing episodes. Goku attempts a desperate maneuver which may spell disaster for Earth even if it manages to decimate Cell.
Episode 90: "The Opening Round is Concluded! Goku's Moment of Decision!" Cell is not decimated (big surprise, there), but the episode does offer a bit of the unexpected when an unusual decision by Goku brings Gohan into the battle.
Episode 91: "Get Angry, Gohan! Release Your Hidden Power!" Gohan attempts to reason with Cell (guess how that turns out), but gets some unexpected help from Android #16.
Episode 92: "Tears for an Android! Gohan's Inner Rage Bursts Forth!" Android #16's plan is foiled when some surprising information is revealed, leading to the Android's dismemberment by Cell. Cell also becomes a father in a way, with several mini-Cells running around trying to do in Gohan's allies. Will Gohan finally be able to muster his inner powers and fight back?
Episode 93: "Unleash the Warrior Within! Gohan Takes the Offensive!" Cell's nefarious attack against Android #16 finally pushes Gohan over the edge, but Trunks enters the fray and may be the person to fear.
Episode 94: "Perfection's End! A Fury, Beyond Super Saiyan!" Since Gohan has finally become a "new, improved" Super Saiyan, even Cell's maximum power can't compete. However, just when victory seems within reach, something unexpected happens.
Episode 95: "Hero's Sacrifice! Last Chance to Save the World!" This episode nicely sets up the series' endgame, where alternate realities and time travel become increasingly important. Cell's strategy to self destruct and take the Earth out with him is the motivating factor for a lot of dominoes that fall in the series' final three episodes.
Episode 96: "Your Strength! The Final Kamehame-Ha!" The final showdown between Cell and Gohan plays out with Vegeta once again becoming a combatant.
Episode 97: "A Bittersweet Victory! Until We Meet Again!" Though Cell has perhapsŚperhapsŚmet his fate, things are in complete disarray, with several deaths and decisions that need to be made to bridge two different timeframes.
Episode 98: "Peace for the Future! The Spirit of Goku is Forever!" Trunks' time traveling would seem to have everything getting back (or forward, as the case may be) to a relatively happy ending, but of course there are a couple of final battles to be fought.
This final set of episodes moves at a pretty breakneck speed, and the final four or so episodes are especially involving as Trunks moves between two timelines. Of course any fan of Dragon Ball Z Kai will know that the bulk of the series is made up of hyperbolic battle sequences, and those are of course here in abundance, something that frankly does get a bit (or perhaps more than a bit) repetitive by the series' end. The long delayed "happy ending" also is put off probably one too many times, but there's a surprising emotional impact to the final arc between Gohan and Goku that will most likely make this long journey worthwhile for ardent fans.
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part 8 Blu-ray, Video Quality
There's not a lot I can add to the assessment that Dustin Somner and I have already given to the previous seven volumes of Dragon Ball Z Kai's AVC encoded 1080p transfers in 1.33:1. As Dustin and I have discussed in our reviews of the previous releases of Dragon Ball Z Kai, FUNimation's efforts with regard to this series have been largely commendable, restoring, reediting and crafting new bridging segments to remake the original Dragon Ball Z into a supposedly "no filler", to the point piece. The video quality here is very much in line with the previous releases. A lot of this presentation looks a bit on the soft side, as all the previous volumes have, but colors are incredibly robust and beautifully saturated. As with Volume Seven especially, Volume Eight once again shows notable sharpness differences between the older and newer elements, which may simply reflect this particular set of episodes' increased usage of newer bridging elements. There are once again some minor stability issues that are akin to telecine wobble that are quite noticeable in several episodes.
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part 8 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Continuing the pace set by the first seven volumes, Dragon Ball Z Kai Part Eight offers two great lossless tracks, a Japanese language track delivered via Dolby TrueHD 2.0 and an English dub delivered via Dolby TrueHD 5.1. As has been the case in the previous volumes, the Japanese track sounds just a tad clipped at the extreme upper and lower registers, making it not only narrower but also slightly more compressed sounding. The English dub is incredibly boisterous and offers a surprising amount of really good surround activity (this volume has some especially good sound effects which zing through the surround channels, notably in the final battle arc that makes up a central part of this volume's episodes). It also has good, consistent use of LFE throughout the many battle sequences.
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part 8 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part 8 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
It's been a long, strange trip over eight volumes now (and let's just collectively put FUNimation's new season sets of Dragon Ball Z Kai out of our minds), but the series is in its own daffy way hugely enjoyable, as legions of fans attest. This final volume is one of the more quickly paced and it has some fun banter mashed up with typically over the top battle sequences. The time travel element is also fun, and there's a little heartstring tugging in the final couple of episodes that is surprisingly effective as well. This eighth volume is once again a little light on the supplements, but otherwise comes Recommended.
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