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"Dragonball Z: Broly Double Feature" Puts The "-" in "Blu-Ray"

FUNimation has stepped into the Blu-Ray arena (which is good, as HD-DVD is officially dead at this point), with a double feature of the eighth and tenth Dragonball Z movies, “Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan” and “Broly: Second Coming”. They’ve remastered the films, and used the Blu-Ray space to fit two flicks on one DVD, but can technical advantages improve the content? At it’s heart, Dragonball Z is about guys beating the hell out of each other, trying to make each other’s heart stop. The man hoping to destroy the Z Warriors this time is Broly, a Saiyan with a major desire to take out Goku because he cried as a kid.

Not kidding, that’s his motivation. It’s not a deep franchise.

The first movie on the disc, “Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan”, sees the heroes enjoying normal life, which they rarely do. Goku and Chi Chi remember that their son Gohan is a kid, and therefore needs to go to school between going Super Saiyan and going to other planets to save the day. As they try to enroll him at the best school in the area, the other characters that the producers remember exist are on a picnic, when a tiny version of the Death Egg from Sonic The Hedgehog 2 lands nearby.

The cargo? A never-before-mentioned subset of Saiyans that somehow escaped the destruction of their Planet Vegeta and the death of their leader, King Vegeta, and have tracked down their new king, Prince Vegeta, with the hope to take him back to their new home, Planet New Vegeta.

… Saiyans need more words.

While interviewing for the school, Goku (horribly awkward in a suit and tie and having to avoid bringing up “saving your butt” multiple times to the interviewer when it comes to hobbies) is pulled away by King Kai with a new mission: a legendary Super Saiyan is destroying galaxies, and is now wanting to destroy their galaxy. As Goku is the hero of reality and existence it seems, and potentially the coolest Jesus-analog ever if you think about it just right, he needs to teleport around looking for this Saiyan.

Vegeta and acquaintances end up on New Vegeta, and enjoy the sights, such as slave labor camps. Paragus, the man who brought them there, is accompanied by his son, Broly. If it’s not obvious from the title of the movie, something is off with this Broly. He may not look like it, being a quiet and weak individual.

Something’s fishy with New Vegeta.

You can pretty much guess the plot from there. The heroes find out that Broly is the real threat, having run around destroying galaxies, because he’s a Super Saiyan with a split personality. Due to being born the same day as Goku, he had to deal with the young Goku’s temper tantrums, which now makes him hate Goku. Thanks to Paragus being fearful of his son, he used a device to block off his power, to a certain extent.

Big fight, good guys win, planet gets destroyed, etc. This is Dragonball Z 101, and I’m your professor, Dr. “I Grew Old Of This Five Years Ago”.

If the title wasn’t indicative enough, “Broly: Second Coming” features the return of Broly, but with even less plot. For no reason in particular, seven years after his defeat, Goten, Trunks, and Videl are looking for the Dragonballs. They’re bored, or just think it would be convenient to have them around when everyone on the planet dies in a year or two. Their quest leads them to a odd little hamlet that is fighting dinosaurs (and no Turok, dinosaur hunter, in sight), where some kooky antics lead to Goten crying.

Goten, being Goku’s son and a damn doppleganger at that, apparently has a similar enough cry to a young Goku’s. By chance, Broly’s body is nearby.

Yes. Despite having presumed to have died on a planet far, far away, Broly’s apparently coma-riddled body has made it to Earth and did the Captain America/Sherlock Holmes thing of being cryogenically frozen by really, really cold water.

Can you guess the plot?

A) Broly manages to easily defeat the children, requiring Gohan and Goku to save the day.

B) The heroes wimp out and call the Eternal Dragon to defeat Broly for them.

C) Goten and Trunks’ valiant battle against Broly involves the basest of “potty humor.”

D) All of the above.

If you guessed “D”, you can write a plot for another Dragonball Z movie, as you hit all the important points. Go hang out with the cast of the new live-action movie, as they probably have a little more plot to work with.

Extras? With the space of a Blu-Ray, FUNimation could have easily fit on commentaries, interviews, hell, they probably included the other Broly movie on here. Instead, we’re treated to two advertisements, for the remastered DBZ and the Season Sets, which are even outdated on the disc, given that both advertise them as coming out in early 2007.

Since we’re looking at Blu-Ray, one major importance is the video. I watched this disc on a Playstation 3 on a 720p HDTV, which is probably an average viewing experience for this disc. The age of the movies, over a decade, shows with a little bit of grain or scratches here and there, but the video is sharp. It’s just really sharp and grainy at times. Without going back to the original masters and digitally repainting cells or whatever the terms would be, this is probably as good as these movies will look.

Let it be known: these aren’t bad Dragonball Z movies. Yeah, sure, the plots are paper thin and rely more on crazy action scenes with established characters in unique situations. Dragonball Z fans enjoy these movies, and Japan liked Broly enough for him to show up in three movies. Still, in 2008, they remind me of what I enjoyed as a kid, but have grown past. For this disc, it seems like FUNimation has just taken a quick-and-dirty route to get a Blu-Ray disc out there. It’s acceptable, it’s just nothing special. Unless you are dying for a higher quality pair of DBZ movies, keep your original DVDs.

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