Tuesday saw the release of the Dragonball Z Season One box set from FUNimation. And this geek is just in heaven. For $30, fans can now get the first 39 episodes on DVD, the entirety of the Vegeta Saga and the first few episodes of the Namek arc.
However, there are some hardcore fans out there that are acting like this set is the end of the world.
See, for years, Dragonball Z has kind of been a mistreated property. It’s first few forays onto American TV screens saw heavy editing of both dialogue and content, with references to things like death, Hell and light sexuality removed. On top of that, English dubs were often so different that the original Japanese scenes, they often played out quite differently over here, and characterizations dramatically changed. However, in recent years, fans have been given uncut versions of the show where most of the content has been shifted back. But, when DVDs cost about $20 a pop and you only get three episodes per DVD for a series that ran 291 episodes, to say you’re not getting the bang for your buck is an understatement.
So you'd think fans would be have Earth shattering orgasms over this new set, right?
Well, some are. However, the source of recent fan anger over the new box set stem from the series now being presented in widescreen. The problem though is that the series was not animated in widescreen. It was animated for TV. So to get the widescreen effect, scenes have been cropped and you lose a few inches from the top.
To me, this ain’t a deal breaker. In fact, I’ve watched about ten of the episodes so far and you barely notice it (and the only reason I did was because I was aware of the cropping before hand). Sure there are a couple of places where you can see where the awkward cropping was done, but beyond that it’s still DBZ. Yet purists are calling this a slap in the face to fans and on message boards fans that have broken down and bought the set are being called out and labeled as being traitors. I love the melodrama of fandom, don’t you?
Here’s what I know for a fact. Sitting on my DVD shelf is a box filled with 6 discs that I got for under $30 and since I’m a die-hard DBZ fan, this is a big deal. In college my brother and I dropped some big money on VHS fan-subs of the series. It was fun and we spent a couple of weeks eating and breathing DBZ. Now, I have the first 39 episodes on DVD and got them for cheap. The picture looks pretty and I can pop a disc in any time I want now and enjoy one of my favorite shows. No content has been changed and nothing has been added. Does the cropping suck? Sure, but not so much that I can’t enjoy the show (and oh, how I enjoy this show).
I guess my point is that fandom is tricky place to live and there’s a fine line we all walk between playful arguing and becoming truly enraged over the properties that we love. However, I think sometimes be become too wrapped up in our little microcosm that we lose site of the big picture, that being that we were all attracted to this stuff because it was cool and fun. When people started taking these things so seriously to the point that they begin publicly berating others and calling for the death of companies for minor transgressions, then it’s time to step back into the real world and take a deep breath.