Five years after the events of Dragon Ball, martial arts expert Goku is now a grown man married to his wife Chi-Chi, with a four-year old son named Gohan. While attending a reunion on Turtle Island with his old friends Master Roshi, Krillin, Bulma and others, the festivities are interrupted when a humanoid alien named Raditz not only reveals the truth behind Goku’s past, but kidnaps Gohan as well.
With Raditz displaying power beyond anything Goku has seen before, he is forced to team up with his old nemesis, Piccolo, in order to rescue his son. But when Goku and Piccolo reveal the secret of the seven mystical wish-granting Dragon Balls to Raditz, he informs the duo that there is more of his race, the Saiyans, and they won’t pass up an opportunity to seize the power of the Dragon Balls for themselves.
These events begin the saga of Dragon Ball Kai, a story that finds Goku and his friends and family constantly defending the galaxy from increasingly more powerful threats. Bizarre, comical, heartwarming and threatening characters come together in a series of battles that push the powers and abilities of Goku and his friends beyond anything they have ever experienced.
This review will only focus on Dragon Ball Z Kai and not the Buu Saga series Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapter. When I first heard about this anime, I thought this anime was going to be like reboot anime like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. The intro song showed that the anime with updated animation and it was premiered in Nicktoons (the song was played by English voice actor Vic Mignona).
Unfortunately, the anime was received because Nicktoons censored blood and removed the word “death”; when it was premiered in 4Kids, the halos were replaced with glowing balls and Mr. Popo was blue instead of black! However, once the DVDs were released and the anime was premiered on Toonami, the anime was uncut (character cursed mildly, blood was shown and of course death was present.) I will be explaining my thoughts about this remake classic series and tell all of you if it’s worth it.
Story Pacing – Faster, Stronger and Skinny!
Unlike the previous Dragon Ball Z episode list count (a total of 291 episodes. a total of 194 for all the way to the Cell Games Saga), Dragon Ball Z Kai reaches up to the Cell Games Saga in 98 episodes. The reason being is because the studio behind the anime removed filler episodes and reduce the battle moments in the anime. Filler like episodes of Gohan in the Saiyan Saga and fight scenes are reduced speed up the story. If you were to buy one season of the DVDs, you will be able to finish one saga and get ready for the next one.
I grew up watching the classic Dragon Ball Z anime when I was little at elementary school. After school, I would sit down and see Goku fight bad guys. Seeing this anime again brought back some nostalgia. I did noticed that the episodes were faster and every episode kept increasing the suspense. Personally, in comparison to the classic and Kai, Dragon Ball Z Kai is major improvement to the pacing. I remember people commenting that Dragon Ball Z is well-known for drawn out battle moments and extended dialogue in the fights. We were also treated to filler arcs in which gave viewers a breather from the main story. In Kai however, the filler is removed and we give nothing canonical episodes. In one episode we might get a new enemy, and then goes on to an epic battle and then maybe a conclusion.
Animation – If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!
Looks can be deceiving but is it really bad? With a misleading intro and ending song, most people thought Dragon Ball Z was going to come back with new animation like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood or Sailor Moon Crystal, however the classic animation returns but surprisingly updated coloring and camera panning. I can’t really complain much about the animation because I always enjoyed the classic look and seeing it polished up was an eye candy. Overall, if you are gamer who played games like Kingom Hearts HD 1.5 or Final Fantasy VII PS4, you get the idea.
Story – An action packed, funny, sci-fi, and fighting series!
Well-known in the community, Dragon Ball Z is one of the few classic anime with a huge fandom and is highly popular in the anime community. It inspired other Shonen anime like One Piece, Bleach, and Naruto, cartoonists refers in Dragon Ball Z material for parodies, the anime so mainstream that even regular people knows it even if they don’t watch it. However, I will be talking about Dragon Ball Z Kai and I am assuming everyone knows some of the basic story.
Dragon Ball Z takes place after the classic Dragon Ball anime. If you are new to watching Dragon Ball Z and haven’t seen Dragon Ball, Kai does a quick recap of the DB in the first episode; so no need to watch the classic unless you want to experience Goku’s early life. Dragon Ball Z is split into many sagas, which are longer than most anime arcs. Here is the following arcs: Saiyan Saga, Frieza Saga, Androids Saga and Cell Saga.
The anime begins in the Saiyan Saga in which a mysterious alien warrior arrives and plans world domination on Earth. Goku and friends realize the alien invader is powerful and learn that there are more enemies stronger than them. This is the beginning of an adventure.
Dragon Ball Z Kai takes everything you know from the classic anime and compresses them for a whole episode. Even if the anime length is reduced, they were able to manage the gist of the material. The story is known for it’s wackiness in humor but also hardcore serious fight moments. The story can take place on Earth, space or anywhere ready for destruction.
Dub: a Trail Mix filled with improved actors
In the original anime, Dragon Ball Z was dubbed by only a few cast of characters in FUNimation. Most of the characters were played by even a single actor such as Chris Sabat, a veteran actor who played characters like Piccolo, Vegeta and many more. In Kai version, FUNimation included an updated cast of characters to fill in the characters. For example, Gohan’s new voice actor is Colleen Clinkenbeard (previously Stephanie Nadolny) and even the narrator is no longer Kyle Hebert. The new narrator is Doc Morgan and he announces the episodes title and refers back to the previous for the Kai and Super anime.
Once again, I was used to watching the classic anime but after seeing Kai, I had to get used to the new voices. Personally, I actually like the new cast. It gave me a sense of a fresh start and I felt like some really matched with their characters. Characters like Goku, Piccolo, and Krillin still have their voices and what makes it better is that after years of working with Dragon Ball Z, Kai feels like the classic but the characters feel more real and improved. The only character I felt displeased was the new voice for Android 18. Android 18’s voice in the Dub was done by Colleen Clinkenbeard as opposed to her classic voice Meredith McCoy.
Overall: Better than the classic?
In conclusion, Dragon Ball Z Kai is an anime which introduces new fans and welcomes the classic fans. The anime focuses on the main story without getting distracted by filler. Voice actors you know and love return as well as new actors join in for the adventure. If you are a new DB fan and you want to experience Dragon Ball Z real quick and without fillers, go check this out. This anime is recommend to those who likes good action martial arts mixed in with comedy bits especially if you like anime like One Piece or Bleach. If you don’t mind watching the classic animation, you will fit right at home. This anime however is incomplete as it only goes up to the Cell Saga. If you like this anime and want really finish it, go check out Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapter which is shown on Adult Swim Toonami. If you seen this anime, what did you think about Dragon Ball Z Kai. Love it or hate it, comment down below!