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"Dragon Ball Z: Sacrifice" Fun Despite Pacing Problems

by on April 6, 2005

The Cell Saga is often regarded as the best saga in Dragonball, and it’s easy to see why. It has powerful, yet interesting, villains, the heroes grow, develop, and contribute to the plot, and the spotlight’s finally on Gohan. What more could you want or ask for? This disc sees the glory days winding down, as the Cell Games near end.

Episodes on this disc:
Episode #172: “Cell’s Breakdown”
Episode #173: “A Hero’s Farewell”
Episode #174: “Cell Returns”
Episode #175: “The Horror Won’t End”

Super Saiyan 2 Gohan is in the middle of completely and utterly owning Cell. Cell’s attacks are either futile or quickly absorbed. The only problem? Gohan’s getting cocky and wants Cell to suffer. Against the wishes of Goku and company, Gohan starts to draw out the battle deliberately. Eventually, Gohan damages Cell enough to throw up Android #18. Relieved of one of his power sources, Cell’s body returns to its second stage. Sensing no other option, Cell sets his body on self-destruct! This forces one Saiyan to make a difficult decision…

After the awesomeness of the last DBZ disc, this one had big expectations to live up to, and for the most part, it does. The action is fast and furious and the story twists and turns. A lot of things actually happen on this disc, but unfortunately the padding still makes these episodes take forever to get through. The last disc had a focus (Gohan’s ascension) that alleviated the pacing problems, and though there’s another “big moment” on this disc it goes by too fast to help. There actually isn’t much fighting, either. After Cell throws up #18, all we see is Cell’s beatdown, and then the characters stand around, talk, and charge energy blasts until the end of the disc.

Still, this stuff is miles ahead of the Goku vs. Freeza fight from the last saga and pretty much the entire Buu Saga, so it’s not that bad. Gohan obviously took center stage in this saga, but Vegeta gets in some character development as well, and we begin to see the more generous side of him that would develop further in the Buu Saga. Now if only they cut down on the useless filler pans.

The animation quality isn’t quite as good as it was on the last disc. Cell’s scenes are animated nicely, but the scenes after that seem throwaway. One scene in particular stands out where nobody from the hero side is moving, not even their hair, and Gohan looks like a stick figure with a gold aura. Transfer is the usual: pretty good with no noticeable errors, while the Japanese version seems washed out.

The audio is also typical. The dub fares a bit better than last time, and the actors have obviously started to enjoy their roles. I still think Goku’s Japanese VA doesn’t fit (why this muscle-bound super-powerful guy has the voice of a 13-year-old girl I’ll never know), but Gohan’s Japanese VA (who also does Goku) fits just fine. Most people who are going to buy this disc already know about the difference in music and likely have already formed an opinion about it by now. The Japanese audio is a little tinny, but that is due to the poor state of the masters and is no fault of FUNimation’s.

For extras we’ve got the Next Episode Preview (Don’t ask why it’s an extra instead of included with the actual episodes, as I have no idea) and various trailers. There isn’t even an insert. This series isn’t known for having buckets of extras, but FUNi could’ve at least included some interviews or something. Eh, maybe with the inevitable re-releases.

Overall, this is only for Dragonball Z fans. It’s not a good way to introduce someone to the series (last disc is better for that), and it’s almost the end of a saga. Unfortunately, this is also the end of the last good part of the Dragon Ball franchise.

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