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Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Seven(TV) (2011-2012)
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 Seven and the Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Seven Blu-ray release, see the Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Seven Blu-ray Review
Director: Yasuhiro Nowatari
» See full cast & crew
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Seven Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, March 7, 2012
With the recent announcement that FUNimation Entertainment was cancelingŚwell, their official verbiage was "suspending"Śtheir much ballyhooed remastered and restored release of the original Dragon Ball Z (after just one volume, reviewed here). Fans were understandably distraught, especially after FUNimation so breathlessly hyped the "old, improved" version of the venerable series. But the marketplace is a mean taskmaster, and the expense of restoring a 291 episode series was obviously daunting and must have ultimately been too far a bridge to cross for the Texas based company. Even Dragon Ball Z's most rabid fans were usually forced to admit (when pressed) that the original version of the series contained a fair amount of filler, and that provided a lot of the allure for Dragon Ball Z Kai, a reedited version of Dragon Ball Z the promised to cut out all of the "boring bits", and to concentrate solely on the action. FUNimation has been doling out episodes of Dragon Ball Z Kai on Blu-ray that feature around ten episodes each, and that's the case with this new Volume Seven, which offers Episodes 78 ľ 88, which should mean Volume Eight will complete the series. For those who want to know about the story so far, our previous reviews can be found here:
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
As I did with my reviews of Part Five and Part Six, I'll offer short episode recaps that attempt not to spoil anything major. That said, some salient plot developments do of course need to be mentioned, so for those of you who don't want to know anything regarding what happens, it's probably best to skip down to the technical section of the review.
Episode 78: "Cell on the Verge of Defeat! Krillin, Destroy Android 18!" You know how there's always a (manufactured?) plot arc in every season of Survivor where some supposedly noble warrior wants to go to the finals with the "best competitor"? And you know how that regularly works out? Pay attention to Cell's appeals to Vegeta as Cell attempts to morph to the next level of awesomeness for a great anime example of this trend.
Episode 79: "The Battle Turns for the Worst! Cell Attacks Android 18!" Cell manages to achieve his nefarious goal, despite the best efforts of Trunks.
Episode 80: "The Tables Are Turned! Witness the Power of Perfection!" Family elements come into play with two pairs of characters in this episode. Gohan eggs Goku on to up his training regimen, while Trunks is worried about offending Vegeta by displaying his (Trunks') superior powers against Cell.
Episode 81: "Vegeta's Final Push! Defeat the Invincible Cell!" Vegeta unsuccessfully tries to take on Cell, but after he's knocked out, Trunks can finally show what he's capable of without fear of alienating his father.
Episode 82: "The Strongest Super Saiyan! Trunks' Power Unleashed!" Trunks is finally able to reveal his true strength, but will it be enough to defeat Cell? Meanwhile, Goku is hatching a plan of his own. This episode takes a kind of funny drastic right turn out of pretty much nowhere that some people may claim is a stalling tactic to pad the series for a few more episodes until the "final showdown".
Episode 83: "Cell Invades the Airwaves! Announcing 'The Cell Games'!" That right turn is a tournament that Cell arranges where he announces the survival of Mankind is on the line. Can Goku and Gohan's training save the day?
Episode 84: "Training Complete! Goku Sizes Up the Competition!" Goku is brought up to speed about Cell and his tournament, and Goku makes the perhaps unusual decision to spend the intervening time before the tournament training outside of the Hyperbolic Time Chamber.
Episode 85: "The Truce is Broken! The Defense Force Strikes Back at Cell!" With Goku and Gohan not using the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, Piccolo and Vegeta take their place, but an unwise decision to launch a surprise attack against Cell backfires, leading Goku to try to come up with a plan to use some Dragon Balls.
Episode 86: "A New Guardian! The Return of the Dragon Balls!" Goku needs information from King Kai about where to find Namekians so that new dragon balls can be revived. The character of Dende is introduced.
Episode 87: "Mr. Satan Takes the Stage! The Curtain Rises on the Cell Games!" Mr. Satan has announced that he will defeat Cell. Three guesses how that works out.
Episode 88: "Showdown! Goku vs. Cell!" Goku and Cell finally step into the ring with each other, but Cell has some unexpected tricks up his sleeve.
Years ago in high school when my friends and I were going through our no doubt pretentiously intellectual Ayn Rand phase, I had made it quite a bit of the way through Atlas Shrugged when suddenly a patently silly plot development just made me want to scream. (Without overly spoiling anything, let's just say it had to do with a certain kind of hide 'n' seek game being played by the world's greatest creators). My best friend, who had already finished the long tome, laughed and said, "It just makes you want to throw the book across the room, doesn't it?" Fans of Dragon Ball Z Kai may feel at least a little similarly with the abrupt decision of Cell late in this volume's episodes to suddenly set up a tournament, which makes a lot of what has gone before seem kind of moot. But like those who have already devoted several hundred pages of reading to Atlas Shrugged, having already spent hours making it through scores of Dragon Ball Z Kai episodes may be enough of a motivation to keep on going, no matter how stupid that one decision may seem. That one qualm aside, this is arguably some of the most involving and best paced arc of episodes in Dragon Ball Z Kai, with the continuing drama of what Goku and Gohan are going to do (and when they're going to do it), playing out against Cell's continuing dominance and the halting efforts of both Vegeta and Trunks to stop Cell from annihilating Mankind (not to mention them ).
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Seven Blu-ray, Video Quality
Dragon Ball Z Kai Part Seven is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.33:1. As my colleague Dustin Somner 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. One notable difference about this volume, which may simply reflect this particular set of episodes' increased usage of newer bridging elements: there's quite a disparity between the older, "archival" footage and the newer sequences, especially in terms of sharpness. I have to assume that segments like those that are represented in screenshots 4 and 17 are so much sharper and clearer simply because they come from newer elements. There are also some minor stability issues that are akin to telecine wobble that are quite noticeable in several episodes.
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Seven Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Continuing the pace set by the first six volumes, Dragon Ball Z Kai Part Seven 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. It also has good, consistent use of LFE throughout the many battle sequences.
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Seven Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Dragon Ball Z Kai: Part Seven Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Things are hurtling toward the endgame of Dragon Ball Z Kai, despite the kind of odd detour the series takes in the last couple of episodes in this particular volume. The show continues to be really enjoyable and often extremely funny, with over the top characters and situations. With the rise of Cell, this set of episodes is full of nonstop action and great showdowns, and things seem primed for a really big finish. Video and audio quality continue to be pretty much what they have been throughout the previous releases, and while supplements are once again on the paltry side, Dragon Ball Z Kai Part Seven comes Recommended.
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