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"Dragonball Z: Dragon Box 4" Mechanically Inclined

The threat of the Androids is at hand. With Goku dealing with a life-threatening illness, it’s up to the other Z Warriors to tackle Dr. Gero’s monstrous creations. With Trunks’ portents from the future not coming completely true, the heroes are left wondering: how many more robotic creations must they face to save the day? Dragon Box 4 covers most of the Android saga and everything up to the Cell Games … Is it everything you wished for?

We can actually skirt one issue that afflicts Dragonball Z: This is one set that doesn’t need the usual “Don’t start here; start with the first episode” caveat. (Heck, given the age of the series, it’s best to even skip Dragonball Z altogether, and instead watch the HD streamlined version, Dragonball Z Kai.) But, for the most part, this set is a rather decent intro. It starts only a few episodes after all the heroes have completed their training for a future threat, and ends right before the next arc. While not an ideal group, it’s probably the best and most complete chunk of Dragonball Z episodes that the Dragon Boxes will give us.

For the initiated, this box set covers the time from the middle of the battle with Androids 19 and 20 to the announcement of the Cell Games. For the uninitiated, this means that 40-something episodes of the heroic Z Warriors fighting six Artificial Humans. Longtime fans will have probably heard that this is the arc after the creator, Akira Toriyama, wanted to end the series (with Goku fighting Frieza on Namek), but he put his full weight on continuing the story, and it shows. The ever-continuing attempt to make Gohan the main character is sidelined here by the future hero Trunks, and series star Goku manages to actually sit out most of these episodes, due to a heart virus and training. This actually allows these episodes, returned to Earth, to focus on the other characters. Vegeta gets his moments to shine as the new anti-hero, but Krillin and Piccolo get their own notable moments. The action even varies it up a bit; this is early enough in the series when becoming a Super Saiyan is something special, the battlegrounds are inhabited cities instead of empty planets, and in many cases, the heroes actually have to search or hide from the villains, instead of just automatically knowing locations due to energy.

While there are no on-disc extras, the exquisite box set contains the latest in the Dragonbooks, the hardcover series guides that have been arriving with each set. Definitely designed for the Japanese audiences (in a right-to-left manner, complete with the Japanese voice cast listed and Japanese versions of the names), it works perfectly for the English target audience who would be buying this box set. Outside of a misspelling or two (“challgenges”?), it’s high-quality stuff. Character, set, and prop designs, character bios, episode synopsis, trivia, and the like fill up the 40-page plus hardbound book.

The Dragon Box continues to be the best way to view the original version of Dragonball Z. Coupled with the excellent Dragonbook and offering a decent selection of episodes, Dragonball Z: Dragon Box 4 is definitely something the fans should have in their collection.

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