Dragon Ball Kai
Released Year : April 5, 2009 to March 27, 2011
No of Episodes : 97
Genre : Action,Adventure,Comedy,Martial Arts,Shounen,Super Power
Plot : A remastered version of Dragon Ball Z that adheres more to the manga's story. This version includes newly recorded dialog by the original voice actors, new sound effects, new OP/ED sequences, and a brand new HD video transfer.
Our Review : I am writing this review with mostly one intent in mind: to get across the point of how much is being cut. I know that we were all excited to have the story condensed, but I think that this has gone a bit further than anyone expected. That does not make me upset, as we can all go back and watch the original againl if the original is what we want, but I think that it should be addressed fairly openly. I will also address art, since that is the other big change.
I hope no one minds the spoilers, as I am assuming that most people have seen Dragon Ball Z that are watching this series, and anyone who is not cannot be spoiled very much about what is not there.
First of all, some extraordinarily gratuitous events that needed to be cut, such as Krillin gathering up the gang again to train, have been left out and improved the series. Some cuts, however, have changed the story in an irrevocable manner. None of these are exactly necessary to the plot's core, which is fighting anyway, but they are all central to the development of the story and how the characters call out to us.
- Vegeta and Nappa's apparent saving of and then ruthless destruction of Arlia is left out entirely.
- Goku being captured by and tormented by Princess Snake is entirely left out (a hilarious episode before, I think).
- Goku battling the red and blue demons and taking their fruit, gaining massive strength, are completely left out, so Goku has no apparent power jump just from reaching Kai's planet, changing how important Kai is to him.
Again, none of these episodes being cut is necessarily awful nor great, but they all matter to how we felt about the characters and the story in the original, I think.
Furthermore, I think that what we have seen from the Nappa versus everyone fighting so far shows us that the fighting will feel enjoyable, and probably not be condensed quite as much (although I could be wrong). The pacing of that felt really proper to me, so I think we can really look forward to future fights being fleshed out better than in the original.
In talking about the art, there is not that much that needs to be pointed out, but there are definitely a few big problems. I think that they have done a great job of making it into a widescreen series from what was not widescreen. There are three big types of errors that I have noticed, sadly.
1) There are moment's like Nappa after he stopped flying above Piccolo in episode 10 (19:53 for me) where he looks incredibly blurred for a few seconds. This is not a one time occurrence, and it is really ugly when it happens. Sometimes this is due to original art, but this instance did not seem to be there in the original DVD to me (maybe the bold lines sometimes make it happen). Sometimes blurriness from the old version is cut out though, so this is not always badly done!
2) They somehow really ramped up the brightness for this show, but occasionally something comes out darker than it should be and jars the senses when it switches back to brightness.
3) The bold border lines of each character gets really thick then bulges to being thinner rather at random. This is the one that actually constantly bothers me and merited a 6 for an art rating. I almost hesitate to point this out because it seems to be one of those trends one cannot unnotice after noticing.
All in all, the devotion built up for the characters (or dislike of characters like Chi Chi) is still rather consistent with the original, and many of us watched Dragon Ball or the original Dragon Ball Z and already have our feelings set about each character anyway. Whatever may be, this is a good effort, and will make it at least slightly easier to share this show with casual fans, which is a major win for the franchise.
If anyone wants a final ruling or something, then I guess that my feeling is this: I would honestly prefer the original by a bit to this point because the original plot never particularly loses steam until the Ginyu Force saga is wrapping up. I am very excited to have Goku versus Freiza and beyond condensed, as there was so much unnecessary (Trunks powering up for a full episode, as good of a joke as it may have provided). I also think that the original art (or previous digitally remastered, less bright, less bold version) is fun in its own right, and probably actually more fun than this to look at when one considers it enough.
If I got anything drastically wrong, then please let me know and I will attempt to deal with it.