Reviewby Zac Bertschy, Jan 16th 2004
Dragon Ball GT
DVD 8: Salvation [Uncut]
Goku, out of power and out of time, is powerless against the malicious parasite Baby, who's using Vegeta's body to pummel both Goku and the Tuffle planet into submission. It'll take the power of four Super Saiyans, the will of Pan, and a whole host of last-minute saviors to take Baby out. Once he's finally defeated, Goku and Piccolo have a mere two weeks to save the Earth from total destruction! The clock is ticking…
As a children's show, Dragon Ball has become a landmark, something so ridiculously popular that it's nearly impervious to criticism. There's little reason to point out that the show is silly and repetitive and childish; it's supposed to be all of these things. As entertainment for children, it's a little violent, but it's also chock-full of manly-man ‘wisdom’, over-the-top heroics and endless action, so it's easy to see why any nine-year-old would lap it up like chocolate milk. Dragon Ball GT, the most maligned iteration of Akira Toriyama's epic creation, ties up one storyline and starts another with volume 8. It's a little hard to see why so many people complain about this series, as it seems to do nothing except repeat the formula established in Dragon Ball Z.
The typical Dragon Ball formula goes like this: Goku and his friends have to fight some evil alien being that threatens the entire galaxy. Each new threat is more powerful than the last. They spend a lot of time powering up and learning new attacks and shouting fightin' words at each other, and eventually, Goku and his friends win, usually after an entire planet has been destroyed.
Dragon Ball GT follows this formula to the letter. This time, they're fighting Baby, a parasite that uses the power contained inside a host body. Unfortunately, he's inhabiting the body of Vegeta, so in order to take Baby out, Goku has to smash apart Vegeta's body (rather, he has to take Vegeta's monkey tail off, which results in a hilariously inappropriate shot of Vegeta's rear with a freshly-blown hole. Goku literally rips him a new… well, you get the picture). In this volume, titled ‘Salvation’, Goku finally takes care of Baby, who he's been fighting for the last seven volumes or so.
The biggest complaint lodged at Dragon Ball is that the series takes forever to go anywhere and that the fights always last for hundreds of episodes. If you're interested in seeing just the climax of the first Dragon Ball GT story arc, you may want to start here. Having never viewed any of the earlier episodes, I picked up what was happening right away (it isn't a terribly complicated show) and was mostly entertained by the proceedings, probably because the storyline came to a head immediately and something else happened right afterwards. There wasn't a whole lot of powering up and yelling at each other. In terms of individual volumes, this is probably the best volume of GT available now.
Simply put, Dragon Ball GT is what it is. It's all about guys with huge muscles (although GT has re-introduced the concept of the characters literally turning into apes) spouting silly dialogue and powering up and shooing balls of light at one another. The end result is a fairly childish exercise in repetition that makes for stellar children's entertainment, but isn't good for much else, aside from keeping the little ones happy. As far as tournament fighting shows are concerned, there are entries in this genre that surpass Dragon Ball GT in terms of character depth, development, design, and production value. Older fans will want to stick with classic favorites like Rurouni Kenshin or One Piece.
From a production standpoint, it's clear that FUNimation has gone out of their way to polish this show as much as possible. The transfer on this DVD is crisp and flawless, despite some grain (which is to be expected of a show that's pushing ten years old). They've added their own music, which is a mixed bag. The opening rap song is ear-bleedingly awful, but as a child of the 1980s, I had to smile at the hilariously Def Leppard-esque guitar riffs they've added throughout the show. Electric guitars were just played differently back in the 80s, and even if it wasn't intentional, this series brings that style back.
The dub is professionally handled by seasoned voice actors who have now been dubbing Dragon Ball episodes for many years, and they seem to have really nailed down their characters. Obviously, Dragon Ball is a children's show, and the dub needs to reflect that. The characters might seem like they're overacting, but given what's happening on screen, anything less would seem understated, and there's absolutely nothing about Dragon Ball GT that would fit such a description. I do pity the show's English cast, though. There's more shouting and screaming in this series than anything else on the market right now. They must throw their voices out an awful lot. Here's hoping they keep plenty of lozenges on hand.
If you're a human male age nine to twelve, chances are one half of your room is covered in Dragon Ball paraphernalia, even if the Yu-Gi-Oh half is threatening to take it over, and you don't need to be told to go out and buy this series. Dragon Ball GT fills the empty space left by product-driven kid's shows of the past like He-Man and Transformers, and it does an admirable job of both entertaining and merchandising to today's youth. Anyone older than thirteen or so might find the proceedings immature and repetitive, but that's like a thirty-year-old complaining that the concepts taught by Sesame Street are far too simple. You'll either love this or hate it. There's very little gray area.
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B
Story : C
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : C
+ Good children's entertainment, professional dub.
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