Earlier today, @manganewsjapon posted images from the April 2014 issue of V-Jump (officially going on sale this Friday, 21 February). These images confirmed what we have been suspecting for a while now: Dragon Ball Kai will be returning to Japanese airwaves on Sunday, 06 April 2014, taking over the time slot currently occupied by Toriko (which itself took over that time slot from Dragon Ball Kai in April 2011). It will be moving forward with the Majin Buu arc, covering the remainder of the story of the Dragon Ball Z anime (and the original Dragon Ball manga) that was left out with Kai‘s original, seemingly-premature end with the Cell arc.
Even earlier than this, Dragon Ball figure-collector Yohei, who himself has provided a few scoops in the past (such as the content of the Toriyama Q&A from the Battle of Gods animanga), posted on Sunday night that figure-makers at the Japan Amusement Expo (JAEPO) had confirmed the imminent start of the new Dragon Ball Kai broadcast when he inquired about the convenient timing of new figures which just so happened to depict characters and events from the Majin Buu arc. He then followed it up with scans from the magazine that confirmed it beyond a doubt. However, his entry was initially set to private, so that only those registered as his “friends” on the Japanese “Ameba” blogging platform could view this post. He has since made it public, presumably since the news is now out in the wild.
V-Jump’s website has also spilled the beans a little early on its next-issue preview page:
Dragon Ball Kai began on 05 April 2009 as a “refreshed” version of the Dragon Ball Z anime, celebrating its 20th anniversary while cutting down the amount of filler to improve pacing and bring it closer to the story of Akira Toriyama’s original manga. One of Toei Animation’s goals, to reinvigorate the franchise by bringing in a new wave of fans while bringing older ones back into the fold, succeeded, as the series scored consistently high ratings throughout its run. However, Toei’s other goal, increased sales of other Dragon Ball-branded products, failed (in fact, sales actually contracted during the show’s run), which has been interpreted by many, including Kanzenshuu, as a factor in its premature end after the Cell arc.
Dragon Ball Kai was cut short even further after its 97th episode due to the 2011 East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster, leaving the 98th and then-final episode (corresponding to Dragon Ball Z Episode 194) a home-release-only “bonus”.
The series was then replaced by a new animated adaptation of the series Toriko by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro. Toei Animation has heavily promoted this series over the past three years, but it has failed to perform as well as Dragon Ball Kai in the ratings, and its feature-film release in 2013 did not reach even a tenth of the ticket sales or box-office revenue of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods.
Mayumi Tanaka (Kuririn, Yajirobe) originally revealed the continuation of Dragon Ball Kai back in November 2012, at the time believing the series would not even be aired on Japanese TV, but rather be produced primarily for an international audience. With this being the first official confirmation of its continuation in Japan, additional worldwide confirmations will likely take a bit more time.