Dragon Ball Z Kai (known in Japan as Dragon Ball Kai, ドラゴンボール改 「カイ」; Doragon Boru Kai; Lit. Dragon Ball Revised) is an anime series that is a high-definition remaster and recut of Dragon Ball Z done for its 20th Anniversary. It premiered on Fuji TV on April 5th 2009 at 9:00am just beforeOne Piece and ended on March 27, 2011 with 97 episodes, and the two shows are being marketed together as 'Dream 9', which refers to the hour in which they both air. Two issues of Shonen JUMP have included some primary information about the series.
The "Kai" 改「かい」 in the series' name means "updated," "modified," or "altered." interestingly, despite the series being only a directors cut ofDragon Ball Z, the Z has been completely removed from the title (at least in the Japanese version).
FUNimation Entertainment has been dubbing Dragon Ball Kai into English for a North American release, under the release title of Dragon Ball Z Kai(more information can be viewed below). The show has also been airing premieres on the Nicktoons since May 24th. This is quite a change, as all the Dragon Ball series have almost always appeared on Cartoon Network in the United States. On April 26th, 2010, 4Kids Entertainment announced the series has currently aired on The CW's Toonzai block in its 2010 - 2011 season.
A new anime series based on the Toriko manga, is slated to premiere in April 2011 and will be taking over the Dragon Ball Kai time slot at 9 AM on Sunday mornings before the One Piece anime series.
A comparison with the original video side-by-side shows considerable cropping to achieve the 16:9 aspect ratio. However, it seems carefully done to avoid missing anything important. The original image is not stretched, just cut where it would be more appropriate, being a "tilt and scan" or "reverse pan and scan" of the original Dragon Ball Zfootage.The series is being extensively "refreshed" for Japanese television. This is not a new animation, but rather a remastered edit that runs through certain events of Dragon Ball Z. Part of this is reformatting and extending the picture to 16:9 Widescreen. Through digital processing, the image is made vibrant. All the grime, damage and noise remaining on the "Z" film is removed, making the image much clearer in high-definition.
New ending credits with new animations of Dodoria and Zarbon (top left), The Ginyu Force (top right), Frieza (center left), Raditz (center right), and Vegeta and Nappa (bottom left)Added by Beadtmdc
Dragon Ball Kai includes a complete re-recording of the dialog by most of the original Japanese voice cast, as well as completely new sound design with updated sound effects. The opening and ending themes are completely new. Takayoshi Tanimoto performs the series' new opening and closing themes, "Dragon Soul" and "Yeah! Break! Care Break!". This new opening and closing credits have newly animated appearances by most of the main cast, as well as for the villains, such as Raditz, Nappa, Vegeta, Frieza, Zarbon, Dodoria, and the Ginyu Force. There's also a new artwork clip after every intermission, such as one of Cui and Vegeta in episode 19. Unlike the original Dragon Ball Z, which only had 2 sets of eye-catchers for the entire series, in Kai it changes every few episodes to feature an appropriate character ensemble/situation.
The Garlic Jr. Saga will also not be airing in Dragon Ball Kai. Originally lasting from episodes 108 to 117, the saga featured the return of Garlic Jr., the main villain from the first DBZ movie. The saga was completely filler and Garlic Jr. or any of his henchmen did not appear in the original manga. Because Kai stays truer to the manga, this saga has been completely cut out.
For the Androids Saga, the animation in the opening scene and closing credits has been altered a bit to fit the current storyline. New animations of Dr. Gero, Android 19, Android 17, Android 18, Android 16, and Cell appear, as well as the Super Saiyan appearances of Goku, Vegeta, Future Trunks, and Gohan. The new intro also showcases battles taking place within the saga, such as Vegeta vs. #18, Piccolo vs. #17, #16 vs. Cell, Goku vs. Cell, and ends showing a sequence of the Z Fighters standing together with their Cell Saga appearances. The ending credits are also different, showcasing Goku flying with Shenron as the faces of the main cast appear. He proceeds to transform into a Super Saiyan and the cast joins him in flight. The sequences ends with the Z Fighters standing in front of the Earth, with Shenron and Porunga in the backdrop.
Toei released the first set on DVD and Blu-Ray in September, 2009 in 4:3 aspect ratio, which is said that is how it was originally created and was only 16:9 ratio before because it cropped for HD TV.
Dragon Ball Kai used a new background musical score by Kenji Yamamoto, composer of the Dragon Ball video games. His score was used regularly for all releases of episodes 1-95, however he was fired after it was discovered that he was infringing his music off of other artists. The last few episodes of Dragon Ball Kai, as well as Japanese reruns of past episodes, will make use of music recycled from Dragon Ball Z by Shunsuke Kikuichi (although the Kai theme songs will remain intact), however the placing of the music will differ from the original series. it is obvious how it will affect the American broadcast of Dragon Ball Z Kai, the 5th American DVD/Blu-Ray volume has been delayed twice, shamelessly recycle insurance that the original Dragon Ball Z background score will also be used for the remainder of the English release of Dragon Ball Z Kai, only for the DVDs/Blu-Rays.
"The phenomenon that defined a generation... is back for more." — FUNimation's tagline in the Season One release trailer
Navarre revealed during its Q3 2010 earnings conference call, on the morning of February 2nd, that its North American anime distributor FUNimation has licensed the Dragon Ball Kai fighting anime series for release in the "latter part of the upcoming fiscal year." However, it is re-titled Dragon Ball Z Kai (ドラゴンボールZ改 「カイ」;Doragon Boru Zetto Kai). FUNimation has confirmed the license with ANN, and it hopes to provide more details soon. Dragon Ball Z Kai Part one was released on May 18th, 2010. The cast for Dragon Ball Z Kai will be mostly the same as Z except for a few re-casts. Nicktoons has been airing Dragon Ball Z Kai since May 24, 2010, and continues to do so.
On April 6th, FUNimation revealed more news regarding the dub. The series will be edited on Nicktoons to fit the expected audience, and will occasionally contain different verbiage than the home release, which will be entirely unedited. Some character attacks will regain their correct and untranslated-proper-noun announcements in the unedited dub (i.e. "Makankōsappō" instead of Special Beam Cannon, "Kienzan" instead of Destructo Disk, etc). Most other names that have always been engraved in the English dub will remain the same (i.e. Krillin and Tien instead of "Kuririn" and "Tenshinhan"). Dialogue is being treated with much more respect than ever before for an English dub of a Dragon Ball product. Lastly, episode titles are mostly faithful translations of their original Japanese versions.
Toei Animation stated that the Dragon Ball Kai episodes would be edited to more closely follow Akira Toriyama's original story in the manga, resulting in a faster moving story, and to remove any damaged frames. Dragon Ball Kaiwill minimize the filler material produced for Dragon Ball Z's original production run. On the broadcast episodes, only a few minutes of filler material with no impact to the story have been left in (like Gregory's appearance at King Kai's planet, who wasn't present in the manga), probably to help the chapter reach its full 20 min.
Happinet (the Japanese company releasing the series on DVD and Blu-ray) announced the Japanese DVD and Blu-ray release would have an end point of "99 Episodes (tentative)" meaning the current planned and announced episode count will end at 99. Actually, Dragon Ball Kai was supposed to last for 98 episodes, but everything had originally been thrown off an entire week due to the horrific earthquake that struck Japan the prior week. The series ended in 97 episodes as Toei stated.
Main article: List of Dragon Ball Z Kai episodesThe title screen translations are far more similar this time around, but are changed to fit properly into English. Edits have been made to the version appearing on Nicktoons, these include the removal of blood (which sometimes is replaced with black greyish liquid where the blood is supposed to be), overly violent moments, profanity, and others. The CW's Toonzai airings, however, are edited even more so than the Nicktoons version, due to tighter restrictions on broadcast programming. These edits include recoloring Mr. Popo's skin from black to blue, replacing dead characters' halos with glowing orbs, removing virtually all references to death in both dialogue and episode titles and renaming certain special techniques (i.e. Goku's Spirit Bomb renamed as the "Spirit Blast" and Vegeta's Galick Gun as the "Galick Blast"). Also in the beginning of the intro song, Toonzai has edited out Shenron and replaced him with a green colored sky.
It has been mentioned that Dragon Ball Kai will likely not reach the Majin Buu Saga, with the Toriko (another manga) anime series premiering next April at 9:00 a.m. on Sundays, taking over for Dragon Ball Kai. The final Cell Games Saga episode of the series will air sometime near the end of March 2011, aligning perfectly with the April time schedule listed above. The series will have been in syndication for exactly two years. Despite this, the series has been one of the top 10 rated anime series every week since syndication began in April 2009. Still, Japanese cast members are wishful that the series will eventually continue.