(NOTE: Amazon's date states October 17. On that date, I wrote a different response. On December 17, I've created a review of this release, so this was actually written on the later date.)
Update 6/9/12: Unfortunately, Funimation suspended all
future releases of DBZ Blu-rays in January 2012 due to Restoration financing. It's a shame because these Blu-rays are the best way to watch DBZ. Now that those aren't being continued, and the Dragon Boxes are becoming out-of-print, the only option is the cropped Orange-box versions... please continue the restorations, Funimation.)
At first, it was skeptical. Funimation making the Blu-rays of the series before Japan does? New HD masters done by Funimation? This was the company that gave us the Orange Box sets that had cropped images and controversial picture quality. It was all justified when they released the Dragon Box, a replica of the Japanese DVD-Boxes which was considered the ultimate way to watch Dragon Ball Z... it no longer isn't.
Yes, believe it or not, the new Blu-rays made by Funimation are actually the BEST way to watch DBZ, period. The Dragon Box, what would've been considered the Ultimate Edition, actually had its colors changed abnormally and grain reduced (now, these masters were done for the purposes of DVD).
Instead of Funimation using the HD masters that would be used for the Orange Box sets, they went back from scratch and did an all-new frame-by-frame restoration. The difference from the new and the old masters is that grain is finally shown, the colors are untouched, the telecine wobble and jutters have been greatly reduced, and most of the dirt shown on the Orange Box DVDs have been reduced significantly to near-Dragon Box restoration... though, not entirely, but never distracting.
Those that expect modern Anime picture quality will probably not bother seeing this... or reduce the grain themselves with their TVs, as DBZ now looks like what film should look like... and I couldn't be happier. DBZ clearly has never looked better.
As for the sound department, behold, big upgrades have occurred. The 5.1 English-with-Japanese-music and the 2.0 American Broadcast audio (the 2.0 track dropped out in the Dragon Box for optimal video presentation.) are presented for the first time in lossless Dolby TrueHD, but the bigger surprise here is that the Japanese audio is now lossless. This is the first time that the Japanese audio has been given this treatment, as all previous releases would provide compressed audio for the original language of this show. That's not to say that I hate the dub (though I'm not a fan of the American Music), but giving the original what it deserves is a plus.
NOTE: The original Japanese theme can only be heard in the Japanese Audio, despite the English 5.1 having the Japanese music, as was the case in the orange box sets. In the Dragon Box, it was corrected. The reason for bringing back the error is unknown.
Now, that is not to say that the Dragon Boxes were a waste of money. In terms of DVD representation, it clearly is the best to watch the show possible, provide the best detail and colors (though inaccurate). In terms of faithfulness, well, I have to declare the Blu-ray the winner... but I do have further opinions on the comparisons.
The plus side for the Dragon Boxes is the inclusion of original Japanese text, "next-time" previews and booklets that contain Episode guides and a few bonus bits in the book. This is not the case for the Blu-rays, as it's just English Text (the opening credits were not translated, but instead, textless), and previews and Episode guides are gone, just an Episode list of the Funimation English titles... thankfully, other than the Booklets, these are minor changes.
The one negative side for the Dragon Box is what the Orange box had that the Funimation Dragon Box didn't have (yet the Japanese Dragon Box had): Marathon Mode. Don't want to deal with the opening/closing theme and last time previews every time? The Marathon Mode (or Story Mode in Japan) gets rid of all that, as it presents the story continuously (except for switching discs).
Strangely, Funimation dropped the Marathon mode for the Dragon Box (Why? Reason: When you select the Japanese track on the menu, you get the next-time previews. When you select the English track, it goes to another title and removes the next-time previews... why couldn't they have Sean Schemmel provide the narrations for those previews? Would've kept the marathon mode if they did that... but I digress)
What's even worse is that no chapter break is given between "last-time" and the beginnig of the episode. That means that I have to fast forward and possibly miss a few seconds of the episodes after fast-forwarding... no excuse on leaving out a chapter at that position.
Now, with all of the complaining on this one negative aspect, should this apply to the Blu-ray? The good news is: the Marathon mode's been brought back.
As far as which version to get, it depends. If you only have a DVD player, go for the Dragon Box. For those who have the Blu-ray player, there should be no reason to not upgrade. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives, so you can't go wrong. Highly Recommended.