The Dragon Boxes are a series of large and elaborate DVD box sets, containing a certain portion of episodes from one of the Dragon Ball series animes. A total of five Dragon Boxes have been released which, altogether, span the entire television series, as well as all of the movies. These DVD box sets released in Japan are considered by some of the Dragon Ball fan-base to be the definitive collector's sets. The boxes do not contain English subtitles, as most DVDs issued within Japan do not feature them.
The film for the episodes/movies on the Dragon Box sets have been fully restored from the original 16mm film reels, effectively cleaning the film, frame by frame, of all dirt and scratches and most of the grain. The frame alignment has also been fixed, removing almost all cases of jitter. The episodes are also presented completely uncut, including the complete opening credits, ending credits and episode previews, which are not available outside of the Dragon Box release (although they are now available on the Japanese single DVD releases).
Dragon Box releases
On July 7, 2004, the original Dragon Ball anime series was released in the Dragon Box format. This set included the entire series, spanning 153 episodes, and came with another "Dragon Book" and an exclusive World Martial Arts Tournament diorama designed by the creator of the series, Akira Toriyama.
Dragon Ball Z
The first Dragon Box (Volume 1) was released in Japan on March 19, 2003 at a price of ¥100,000 ($841.15 US or £429.62). The set spanned the first half of the Dragon Ball Z series, containing episodes 1 through 147, and the first Dragon Ball Z TV special. It also included a large amount of bonus features such as comparisons of international versions of Dragon Ball Z and several commercials. The set also included an exclusive Goku action figure, as well as a reference book on the series called the "Dragon Book".
A second Dragon Box (Volume 2) was released on September 18, 2003 with the same price tag as the first one, and included the remainder of the Dragon Ball Z series, episodes 148 through 291 and the second TV special. This set also contained a large amount of DVD extras including more commercials and the entire Dragon Ball Z Gaiden: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans OVA. Also included with the set was another "Dragon Book", and an exclusive Piccolo action figure.
In late 2005 the Dragon Box Z DVDs were re-released in single volumes with six episodes per disc, for a total of 49 separate volumes. While the packaging and DVD menus are different from the 2003 release, the same episode masters as the Dragon Box are still used. The two TV specials were repackaged in a standalone set called the Dragon Ball Z Special Selection DVD, which was released on August 5, 2011. This set used the same masters as the Dragon Box, albeit at a higher video bitrate and a lower audio bitrate than what was seen in the Dragon Box. The Dragon Ball Z Gaiden: Saiyajin Zetsumetsu Keikaku OVA has not yet been re-released by itself.
Dragon Ball GT
On February 28, 2005, like Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z before that, Dragon Ball GT was released in the Dragon Box format covering all 64 episodes of Dragon Ball GT, along with the TV Special Dragon Ball GT: A Hero's Legacy. The set includes a "Dragon Book" and a universal remote control in the shape of a Dragon Radar. The TV Special has not been re-released.
April 14, 2006 saw the release of all of the Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z movies in Dragon Box format. This set included 8 DVDs, another "Dragon Book", and two exclusive life size transceivers, functional walkie-talkies modeled after the scouters used in the Dragon Ball Z TV series.
While these movies were originally presented in 16:9 in Japan, they had been animated in 4:3 and were cropped to fit the 16:9 aspect ratio. This resulted in some loss of the image, though this was kept in mind when animating the movies so nothing important would be lost. Strangely, all of FUNimation and Pioneer's releases of the movies were the 4:3 versions without the cropping, save some slight zooming in, which is common on FUNimation's Dragon Ball DVDs. The versions used in the Dragon Box are the 16:9 versions that were shown in movie theaters and released on VHS in Japan.
The first volume of the FUNimation Dragon Box Sets were released In North America on November 17, 2009. The second was released on the February 16th, 2010. The third box set was released on May 4, 2010 and the fourth box was released September 21, 2010. The fifth box was released on April 26, 2011. Each US Dragon Box contains 42 episodes each in 4x3 with the English dub with original Japanese score in 5.1 as well as the original Japanese mono audio track running at a higher bit rate than the previous season set releases. Each box also contains a Dragon Book which has episode summaries, original Japanese names, and other entertaining information.