Funimation renews 'DBZ' again on DVD


POSTED: Tuesday, July 21, 2009

To all you “;Dragon Ball Z”; fans thinking that the DVD box sets you're buying now are the definitive version of your favorite series: I'm so sorry.

At Otakon in Baltimore last weekend, Funimation announced that it would be returning to the “;DBZ”; money well once again, with the first of seven even newer DVD box sets available this fall. The sets will feature 40 uncut, remastered episodes, opening and ending credits, original episode previews and 80-page hardcover collector's booklets.

The news got me thinking: How many times have “;DBZ”; fans been asked to dip into their wallets for a new version? The online record (particularly with VHS releases) is admittedly spotty, but I managed to assemble a rough time line ... and boy, there were quite a few versions of roughly the same thing:

August 1997: Pioneer (later Geneon) releases the first VHS volume, “;Arrival,”; with the series' first three episodes. This version features an English dub by Ocean Studios (a Canadian production studio) and edits to conform with U.S. broadcast TV standards that trimmed 67 Japanese episodes down to 53 U.S. episodes.

April 1999: Pioneer releases “;Arrival”; on DVD.

May 1999: Funimation releases VHS volumes 18 and 19, containing the first unedited episodes of the series. The episodes are dubbed in-house at Funimation and are the first starring Sean Schemmel as Goku.

June 2000: Funimation releases volume 18 on DVD.

March 2003: Funimation releases its first DVD box sets (minus Pioneer's 53 episodes).

August 2003: Pioneer's rights to the first 53 episodes expire; Funimation immediately scoops up the rights and announces plans to restore the deleted Japanese content (thus bumping the episode count back up to 67) and do a new English dub with its cast.

April 2005: The first DVD volume of the restored “;DBZ”; goes on sale.

February 2007: Funimation puts another restored “;DBZ”; version on sale ... this time in season box sets, with all 291 episodes now featuring digitally remastered footage presented in widescreen.

The Otakon announcement probably isn't the last word on the series, either. Funimation has yet to say whether it will pick up “;Dragon Ball Kai,”; another remastered version of the series streamlined to more closely match the plot and pacing of the manga (meaning less filler, more thriller). And let's not forget that Blu-ray waits in the wings as well. Save your pennies!

Meeting roll call

» Oahu Anime Explorer: 6 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at HMC Academy, 555 N. King St. Visit www.oahuanimeexplorer.com.

Coming up Sunday

Blood, superpowers, romance - see how those all come together in my look at “;Basilisk,”; in “;Drawn & Quartered”; in the Sunday Today section.


For more anime and manga news and commentary, check out “;Otaku Ohana”; at blogs.starbulletin.com/otakuohana. Follow Jason S. Yadao on Twitter at twitter.com/jsyadao or e-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).