Everyone and their mother knows Dragon Ball Z; the series famous for fighting has branched off into every form of media possible, insuring that its popularity remains undiminished more than 15 years after it originally ended its syndicated run on Japanese television. Funimation has made a killing off the series for some time now, releasing and re-releasing the DVD’s first as individual releases, before moving on to season sets, and finally collector’s box-sets. One can’t blame Funimation though, as just when it appears they’ve done all they can to milk the series, Japan one-ups them and releases yet another set for the company to port over.
The Dragon Box is the latest example of this, sporting enhanced audio and visuals in stylish boxes that hold around 40 episodes. While the sets lack significant extras besides Funimation’s usual assortment of trailers, there is the inclusion of a hardcover guidebook to look forward to, with character sheets, episodes summaries, and miscellaneous information regarding the origins of the series.
Dragon Box Volume 6 provides the starting point for the infamous Majin Boo Saga. The arc had the unfortunate distinction of following the fan favorite Cell Saga, and as such also had the unfortunate task of picking up the pieces f Goku’s passing, Gohan’s ascension into adulthood, and the continuation of the series after what many consider to be a perfect ending. What followed was a break from the norm. The series’ shift from adventurous martial artists battling alien overlords to said martial artists trying t settle into mundane life after all threats had been vanquished.
While the humor was a return of sorts to the beloved prequel series, Dragon Ball, fans who had grown accustomed to the episode long throw-downs were left disappointed. Thus the set picks up with the heroes participating in the world’s martial arts tournament. After having saved the world from the machinations of Cell some time ago, Vegeta, Piccolo, and the rest are itching to let loose their powers one last time. Even has returned from the afterlife for the occasion.
However, before things can get underway, the tournament is interrupted by a deity known as the Supreme Kai, who brings terrible news of a new force on the rise. An alien sorcerer named Babidi has landed on Earth and is planning on unleashing an ancient threat capable of destroying the universe. Naturally, Goku and the rest jump at the chance to battle strong opponents and its only a matter of time before they are laying waste to their newfound enemy’s lair. During the melee, Vegeta turns on the group to settle his differences with Goku, and Babidi succeeds in freeing Majin Boo.
The series mixes up its traditional formula, incorporating the multi-episode fights, but with surprising outcomes. Whereas the audience had come to see the heroes as indomitable forces, the Majin Boo Saga threw everything out the window, portraying them as helpless against Boo’s ultimate power. With the warriors falling like flies and Goku on his way back to the afterlife, the series created a feeling of suspense that had not been felt since the early Saiyan Saga.
For longtime fans of the series, the Majin Boo Saga was different from what had come before. The villain of the arc was introduced from the onset and wasted little time in defeating everyone in his path. In between the fights were stretches devoted to the development of Goku and Vegeta’s sons, Goten and Trunks, both of whom many presumed would be the new focus of the series. Sadly, character development is not Dragon Ball Z’s forte and what should have been insightful and entertaining episodes spotlighting the boys became boring and tedious.
Fortunately, the introduction of Boo offsets this by providing a completely different type of villain from what has come before. Boo was more childish than evil, and his playful nature combined with his massive power made every appearance unpredictable and a joy to watch.
In all, this is a decidedly mixed set of episodes. Those devoted to Goten and Trunks feel boring and meandering as the two are just not that interesting as compared to the significantly better developed Gohan. The switch in focus on the two midway through the arc is excoriating, and the series only begins to recover when Gohan and Goku re-enter the picture.
Still, not everything about the arc is bad. Majin Boo is a joy to watch and the fights are cut down to a digestible three or four episodes. Of course all the humor and character quirks made famous by the series are present as well, reminding viewers that while the dip in quality is noticeable, it’s still the Dragon Ball Z fans know and love.