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Monday, January 5, 2009

Blu-ray Roundup, Jan 09

1080p, 16x9 delicious anime goodness from FUNimation on Blu-ray. As with most of FUNimation’s Blu-ray releases these anime have already been released on regular DVD, even remastered. The two Dragon Ball releases fall into this category but it’s Vexille that really ups the ante and shows a sign of anime to come. Each of these titles is viewable in 1080p and scales up to 16x9 with full stereo and surround sound, so that’s out of the way, now let’s take a quick peek at the other features in each.

DBZ Lord Slug & Tree of Might on Blu-rayDragon Ball Z: Tree of Might & Lord Slug
Pre-Super Saiyan these two movies show Goku in some of his earlier fights, first with the Saiyan Turles then with Lord Slug. One is looking to establish the Tree of Might, the other is an old man looking to regain his power and youth. Typical DBZ, the action is fast and furious, but the bad guys are forgettable and with no glowing hair power-ups the best part of DBZ is missing which takes away from the nostalgia. The animation also feels very dated even in HD as there is only so much you can do to restore these classic anime.

Fans of DBZ who must have every copy of every movie and episode should pick up this disc, otherwise there are more recent DBZ movies with more action. A great rental, but not when you have action as seen in …

DBZ Cooler Double Feature Blu-rayDragon Ball Z: Cooler’s Revenge & The Return of Cooler
Action is the name of the game as these DBZ movies really kickoff the action DBZ is known for. Two features as is the norm fully restored and looking pretty sharp I must say. These two movies featuring Cooler, Frieza’s brother, both on Earth and new Namek, offer up the Super Saiyan action fans love. Clocking in at just over an hour each these movies don’t beat around the bush, they get right to the action. First up in Cooler’s Revenge the pissed off brother shows up with his own goons to Earth to teach Goku a lesion … he loses but returns in … Return of Cooler where he is absorbed into the Big Getty Star and becomes a self replicating machine. Yeah, he loses again, but the action in-between is excellent and seeing Goku team up with a Super Saiyan Vegeta is always pure joy. Before fusion or Buu or any level two there is this pure Super Saiyan action.

Unlike Tree of Might and Lord Slug, during the Saiyan Saga, these post-Frieza movies are the best since you get all the glowing hair fights you can handle. I really enjoyed these as they are pure DBZ action in a very nice looking HD picture, even with dated animation.

Vexille Blu-rayVexille: Isolation Special Edition
The future, an isolated Japan engaging in banned robotic technology and research, isolation about to end as the world governments decide to send in a special task force, S.W.O.R.D. to investigate if indeed Japan is engaging in illegal robotic bio-technology. The truth is revealed, fate of Japan determined and all questions will be answered in Vexille.

The CGI animation feels stiff at times, but the action is great and fast-paced. The same cannot be said for the story which could have been run as a 12-26 episode series fleshing out each character and setting, so you will feel rushed at times in the story. This being said this is one good looking Blu-ray feature. It looks so sharp and crisp, just built for HD. The special features are the future as viewers are treated to a plethora of making-of, behind the scenes, interviews and trailers quite a few to go into but there is real meat here.

Where the two DBZ titles offer up exactly what is expected, it’s Vexille that shows just how much, and how interactive a Blu-ray should be and where high-quality anime needs to go. Fans of Goku with a Blu-ray player should look into these movies, fans of anime or CGI most def should check out Vexille for all it has to offer. More on Blu-ray anime as they roll out.

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