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"Dragonball Z" Season Nine & Movies 12-13: Boo Majin But No Big Boo Boos

The battle to save the Earth from Majin Boo concludes at last! After Son Goku’s return to the Afterlife it comes down to Son Goten, second son of Goku, and Trunks, son of Vegeta, to perfect the fusion technique so as to defeat the unpredictable pink blob-of-a-demon Majin Boo and ensure the existence of the entire universe. However, unbeknownst to them, “World Champion” Mr. Satan has befriended Boo and taught him that killing and destroying is wrong! All seems jolly until a new, more powerful Majin Boo is spawned. This one is pure evil …

Season Nine of DragonBall Z, which originally aired in Japan in 1995 and 1996, covers the mega-series’ final thirty-eight episodes. While the story pads out Akira Toriyama’s usual fifteen-page chapters, it is actually better for the additional character interaction and extended fights. Not all the new stuff is to the good, though. The focus on characters like Gotenks and Gohan—that latter of whom spends a good five episodes sitting on his rear waiting for a crotchety old man to unleash his full power—look especially bad when Son Goku is brought back into the fray. First-time viewers who have followed Gohan’s journey from frightened boy in Season One to brave warrior in Season Nine will be especially heartbroken by Toriyama’s decision to bring Goku out of retirement again, even though Gotenks and Gohan are actually more powerful than him. In the end, Goku faces Boo as his original, undiluted self (commonly known to fans as “Kid Boo”) and after a fierce battle must call upon the help of Earth’s “true champion” to eradicate the wild pink demon once and for all.

While the canonical DragonBall Z wraps up in Season Nine, FUNimation has taken the opportunity to also wrap up their re-release of the thirteen theatrical DBZ films. The final double feature contains films set during the “Boo era” of the series. In Fusion Reborn, the Grand Kaio (overseer of those gods who themselves oversee the four galaxies of the living realm) sends Son Goku and Paikuhan to investigate a disturbance in Hell. It turns out that Great King Enma, passer of judgment upon newly dead soul, has been sealed by the monster Janemba and the gates of Hell have literally opened, which means that our living heroes on Earth must fight old foes once again. While Paikuhan frees Enma, Son Goku faces off against the playful Janemba, but things turn serious when the demon transforms into a more deadly form. With the failure of solo efforts, two rivals realize only fusion can succeed.

In the final DragonBall Z film, Wrath of the Dragon (or, as some may prefer, its Japanese title “Dragon Fist Explosion!! If Goku Won’t Do it, Who Will”) the gang meets Tapion, a lonesome warrior sealed away along with the beast within him. In a rare departure from the usual, this film focuses more upon character, with the development of a bond between Trunks and Tapion, each fulfilling the others need for a big or little brother. At the end of the day, as expected by the title of the film, Son Goku saves the day with a Dragon Fist attack, destroying the evil unleashed from within Tapion. With both films being non-canon and not even one hour long, it takes a dedicated DragonBall or action fan to want to pick up this double feature.

DragonBall Z‘s animation, even over 200 episodes, maintains a solid and beautiful look. While this season has its share of bad animation (hello, episode 278) it can turn around in the very next episode and feature articulate design work, especially with the hair. As silly as this seems (this is an Akira Toriyama series, after all), the hair says a lot about the Saiyans.

As usual, FUNimation provides the original mono Japanese track with an accurate subtitle track. The original audio, now nearly fifteen years old, shows its age, especially on Wrath of the Dragon where you might have to turn up the volume quite a bit if you want to actually hear the often muffled audio. Fans of the series during the golden days on Toonami will appreciate the continued appearance of the show’s English audio with an American dub-only score. The default audio track is FUNimation’s English dub with the original score composed by Shunsuke Kikuchi, a feature that for some fans will be the only reason to buy these re-releases.

FUNimation’s packaging remains consistent with previous sets—annoyingly so. The Season Nine box set’s foldout container continues to overlap discs, which make switching out discs during a marathon session a little tedious.

DragonBall Z is rated TV-PG for violence, language, and brief nudity. Please use discretion when buying said products.

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