The Funimation Dragon Box Sets are DVD box sets of the Dragon Ball Z series, based on the original Dragon Boxes released in Japan. These box sets were released by Funimation under the titles of Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box.
The Dragon Box releases feature an aspect ratio of 4:3, the original Japanese audio (with options for an English audio track or English subtitles), the original episode previews (these are the only American box set releases to feature "next episode" previews), original opening and closing credits, and a complete collector’s booklet. Each Dragon Box contains roughly 1000 minutes of footage on 6 discs. The English audio features Dolby Digital 5.1 while the Japanese audio is in monaural.
|Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box, Vol. 1||November 17, 2009||1 - 42||Raditz Saga, Vegeta Saga and early Namek Saga|
|Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box, Vol. 2||February 16, 2010||43 - 84||Later Namek Saga, Captain Ginyu Saga and early Frieza Saga|
|Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box, Vol. 3||May 4, 2010||85 - 126||Later Frieza Saga, Garlic Jr. Saga, Trunks Saga and early Androids Saga|
|Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box, Vol. 4||September 21, 2010||127 - 168||Later Androids Saga, Imperfect Cell Saga, Perfect Cell Saga and early Cell Games Saga|
|Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box, Vol. 5||April 26, 2011||169 - 209||Later Cell Games Saga, Other World Saga and Great Saiyaman Saga|
|Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box, Vol. 6||July 19, 2011||210 - 250||World Tournament Saga, Babidi Saga and Majin Buu Saga|
|Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box, Vol. 7||October 11, 2011||251 - 291||Fusion Saga, Kid Buu Saga and Peaceful World Saga|
Originally announced at Otakon 2009, Funimation has stated that the reason why the Dragon Box was so hard to get was that Toei Animation wanted to keep the Dragon Boxes a Japanese release only, so they would not grant Funimation access to release the Dragon Boxes in North America, or any region.
Once Toei finally granted permission for Funimation to produce a North American Dragon Box, they began work to reproduce the Japanese Dragon Boxes as faithfully as possible. They promised they wouldn't touch a single detail of picture or language or violence (e.g. the 16:9 cropping controversy from Dragon Ball Z season sets). At Otakon 2009, Funimation put a Dragon Box mock-up prototype on display, but the discs were yet to have the footage added into them, and the book that was provided had only blank pages.
Unlike the Japanese Dragon Box for Dragon Ball Z, which was released in two volumes, each containing roughly half the entire series, the North American Dragon Box is being released in seven volumes, each with roughly 42 episodes on six discs. Whereas each volume cost ¥100,000 yen in Japan (approximately $1,100 USD), each volume of the North American version has a list price of $69.98 USD.
Funimation marketed the Dragon Box for "hardcore" fans, which by their estimation meant "fans of the Japanese version" as the Japanese version with subtitles is the default language when viewing, the Japanese title cards are used with no alternate angles, and all of the packaging and booklets use the original Japanese spellings for the characters' names. (i.e. Son Goku, Tenshinhan, Freeza etc.) Adding an English audio track was said to have been an "afterthought" on Funimation's part, and thus they only used the 5.1 surround track from the season sets. The 5.1 Track was carried over from the season sets and is the "English voices and original Japanese music" track. The boxes entirely exclude the "Broadcast Audio" track featuring the US score by Bruce Faulconer. This was seemingly done to keep the video and audio bitrates at an acceptable level, as more audio tracks would cause the bitrate to dip low.
Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box One was released on November 17, 2009 in North America, and Dragon Box Two was released on February 16, 2010. Dragon Box Three was released on May 4, 2010. Dragon Box Four was released on September 21, 2010, and Dragon Box 5 was released on April 26, 2011. Dragon Box 6 was released on July 19, 2011, and Dragon Box 7 was released on October 11, 2011.
These were limited edition releases and all of them are now out of print. This has caused their price to skyrocket on sites like eBay and Amazon.
Until the 2019 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition, this was the only fully uncut home video release of the show in North America in the original aspect ratio, covering the entire Dragon Ball Z series from start to finish. Unlike the Japanese boxes, these ones do not include the television specials (most likely because Funimation had already released them as stand-alone movies). Although they have not been confirmed, Funimation is considering producing Dragon Boxes for Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball GT, and the movies.
Main article: Dragon Box